All Book Reviews by Genre: Dystopian

The Dead and the Gone
Pfeffer, Susan Beth
4 stars = Really Good
Review:

This is the second book in the Life as we Knew it series. In this book it fallows the story of Alex and his family trying to survive this apocalyptic world in a big city, New York City. Read this book before you go on to the next it is very important that you do. I would recommend this book to anyone who has read the first book the author did a fantastic job of writing this book. I wouldn’t read this book if you are younger because it may be a little more graphic. I enjoyed reading this book and the ones after it. Would recommend

Reviewer's Name: Ashlyn H.
Awards:
Book Review: Life as We Knew it
Pfeffer, Susan Beth
4 stars = Really Good
Review:

The book Life as we Knew it is a book about an asteroid hitting the moon and knocking it closer to the earth. Miranda and her family must survive this catastrophe together. I really enjoyed this book I would recommend this book to people who like dystopian books. I would really recommend this book to anyone I can, it is a series though. In the series there are four total books. Definitely a must read.

Reviewer's Name: Ashlyn H.
Divergent
Roth, Veronica
2 stars = Meh
Review:

I read this book shortly after I read the Hunger Games and I truly thought it would be much better than it ended up being. All of my friends had told me it was the most amazing book they had ever read and they loved everything about it. It was a struggle for me to keep reading the book but I had bought the entire series, so I was determined. I truly regret buying the books and wish I would've spent the money on a different series. The entire book seems like it's trying to be a mashup of other popular dystopian books and every time I would pick it up, I found myself thinking it had no originality. It reminded me a lot of The Giver, which is one of my favorite books, but it was like if The Giver was mixed with the The Hunger Games and not well written. I definitely haven't reached for Divergent since I read it the first time, and I don't think I'm likely to ever read it again.
Reviewer Grade: 12

Reviewer's Name: Brenna C.
Nineteen Eighty-Four
Orwell, George
4 stars = Really Good
Review:

Okay, let me just say this: All you poser dystopian teen novels 'breaking the rules' with scandalous gratuitous plot elements better just step back. Nineteen Eighty-Four, the granddaddy of all dystopian novels, just handed your butt to you. This book isn't kidding around. Danger, insubordination, illicit sex, graphic torture, this book has it all. It's not for the weak of heart. And the ending is so powerful and heart-wrenching! The only reason it doesn't get 5 stars from me is the lengthy political and philosophical treatises that appear a few times in the book. I get it, this is the quiet power behind the novel and the part that is dissected by academia. But I'm not an academic, so it didn't do it for me.

Reviewer's Name: vfranklyn
Awards:
The Scorch Trials
Dashner, James
4 stars = Really Good
Review:

This was a really good book in the Maze Runner Series. It keeps the reader hooked for a long time. All of the characters have to make it across a long stretch of the brightest and hottest place on Earth. They also only have two weeks. On the way there, they have to go through buildings of people who are going crazy, called cranks. They also have a limited amount of food and must get food from those buildings. Thomas, the main character is also abducted by who he thought was his best friend. But will they make it?

Reviewer's Name: Achyut N.
Grace and Fury Cover
Banghart, Tracy
3 stars = Pretty Good
Review:

Serina has aimed to be a Grace her whole life. In a world where women aren’t allowed to learn to read, becoming one of the heir’s paramours is pretty much as good as it gets – otherwise she’ll be relegated to a life of work in a factory. When she’s selected to go to the palace to be considered for a position as a Grace, she’s beyond thrilled and takes her younger sister Nomi along as a handmaiden. But neither Serina nor Nomi are prepared for the backstabbing political machinations at large in the palace, and soon both girls will find their world turned upside down.

This was sold to me as The Selection meets The Handmaid’s Tale, which sounded super intriguing as I enjoyed those books for very different reasons - guilty pleasure and biting social commentary respectively. And one of the girls does have an arc that very much meets that description. Interestingly, I didn’t really like her story. Most of that has to do with the fact that we’re told that the character is smart and rebellious, but we’re mostly just shown her swanning around the palace making stupid decisions. The other sister has an arc that’s more Beauty Queens meets The Hunger Games, and I really enjoyed that one. It was a much more unique story, and the character experienced a lot of growth.

Because the sisters’ paths diverge, I feel that it’s fairly safe to say that at least one of the two stories will appeal to most YA dystopia and fantasy readers. If you like your dystopia with a dose of feminism, you’ll enjoy this slightly derivative series opener. I liked it. 3 stars.

Thanks to Little, Brown and Netgalley for the eARC, which I received in exchange for an honest review. Grace and Fury will become available for purchase on 31 July, but you can put your copy on hold today!

Reviewer's Name: Britt
Uglies
Westerfeld, Scott
3 stars = Pretty Good
Review:

In the distant future, a distopian world is thriving. When kids turn 16, they can endure the operation, a surgical procedure that fixes every physical flaw and turns them from 'ugly' to 'pretty'. Society has brainwashed people into thinking that any imperfection is ugly, so it separates uglies from pretties. Tally is about to turn 16, and can't wait. She meets Shay, another 15 year old, but Shay is less eager. She claims that there is a hidden society outside of the city, deep in the wilderness, called the Smoke. Shay leaves Tally riddled directions to this place, and disappears. Tally is then recruited to hunt down Shay, betray her and the Smoke, and then turn pretty herself. With nothing but her appearance on the line, Tally follows Shay's riddle and infiltrates the Smoke. After a few weeks, she becomes acclimated with the lifestyle, and begins to feel trusted. She loves it there, and decides to destroy the pendant that Special Circumstances gave her, which she would activate when the time came. So, this book was pretty good. I loved the hidden backstories and dystopian futures, but other than that...? The people/characters I found to be unrealistic and not very smart. Some of the mistakes and choices Tally made had me slapping my face. And then there was the problem of her being willing to rat out hundreds of people at the Smoke for a chance to look 'pretty'.

Reviewer's Name: Jordan T.
Winter
Meyer, Marissa
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!
Review:

As a continuation and last book from "The Lunar Chronicles," "Winter" by Marissa Meyer is truly just as good as the past three books in the series.
This book is another re-imagining of the old fairy tale Snow White, but is written in such a way that it is barely recognize that aspect unless you knew before. Winter, the protagonist of this story, is a lunar who refuses to use her naturally gifted powers, and it is slowly driving her crazy. Many consider her to be the most beautiful lunar there is. As the crazy daughter of the queen, she allowed to live. Well, that's as long as nobody likes her more than the queen.

Overall, the story is very well written, and a great last book. The books answers many unsolved mysteries, and ties up everything nicely. The characters are once again very well characterized, and the ending is as enjoyable as an ending to get. All chapters continue to move the plot, and there aren't too many extra ideas. Truly a great end to "The Lunar Chronicles," which is worth the read.

Reviewer Grade: 11

Reviewer's Name: Paige P.
Cress
Meyer, Marissa
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!
Review:

The book "Cress" by Marissa Meyer is a big twist of the fairy tale "Rapunzel," where the character Cress Moon Darnel is introduced in a remote satellite that she has lived in for many years of her life. Cress has not left for years, and kept herself sane by programming her own voice into an AI. When she is contacted by Cinder and her crew, she sees not just hope, but also a very attractive pilot named Carswell Thorne. This encounter with Linh Cinder begins Cress' journey to Earth, and her pursuit of saving the other Lunars of the world.

This book is a great read for those who enjoy fantasy, science fiction, action, and well balanced romance. The book, just like its predecessors, is excellently written. The amount of characters have increased significantly since the first book in "The Lunar Chronicles," yet each character from before has grown, and the new characters are just as in-depth. The conflicts are rising, and the stakes are growing higher and higher. As the book pushes the protagonists to the main antagonist, the plot and characters never weaken. Overall, the book was relatively unpredictable, and had many turns that just added to the story. Like in the other books, all of the characters had relatable traits and conflicts, which continued to make the story better.
"Cress" is truly one of the best books for characters and creativity, and continuing "The Lunar Chronicles."

Reviewer Grade: 11

Reviewer's Name: Paige P.
Scarlet
Meyer, Marissa
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!
Review:

The book "Scarlet" by Marissa Meyer is a twist of "Little Red Riding Hood," where the main character, Scarlet Benoit, lived with her grandmother until her grandmother disappears. While the police force have given up the search for Scarlet's grandmother, Scarlet is determined to find her, believing that her grandmother was kidnapped rather than ran away. She meets a man named Wolf at work, where her living situation is turned upside down after she pronounces her belief that Linh Cinder was innocent. The road is long and hard, but Scarlet WILL find her grandmother by any means possible.

This book is an amazing read for those who interest in fantasy, a mix of science fiction, action, and romance. Just like the first book "Cinder," "Scarlet" is just as amazingly written as its predecessor. As part of "The Lunar Chronicles," this book continues to show the readers more about the world, and begins showing the secrets of the main characters and antagonist.

The books is exceptional with its characters, chapters, and conflicts. It makes sure that all action is balanced and realistic. Some parts of the story were predictable, such as the romance, but the obstacles the couple faces, along with the conflicts with everyone else are unpredictable enough to make the story interesting. The main characters are relatable, yet so unique. This story, along with the rest of the series, is one of the best books for excellent fantasy and storytelling.

Reviewer Grade: 11

Reviewer's Name: Paige P.
Cinder
Meyer, Marissa
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!
Review:

"Cinder" is a twist of the old fairy tale "Cinderella," where the main character, Cinder, has a step-mother, two sisters, and cyborg parts attached to her body (much to the citizens of New Bejing's disgust). Cinder is a mechanic who does work for her step-mother along with her companion Iko, and she has dreams of leaving her step-mother's home, though she stays for her sister Peony.

Cinder meets the prince of New Beijing, Prince Kaito. She finds that Kai is a very attractive person, just as everyone in the city says, but also finds her attention turned toward unfortunate event after unfortunate event. Her world changes when her sister contracts the deadly disease, letumosis.

Overall, this book is truly a wonderful book for both romance and action. While the plot is a twist of the story "Cinderella," Marissa Meyer does an excellent job of making the idea extremely unique to the point that the book hardly seems like a twist of Cinderella. The amount of action; internal and external conflicts; and in-depth relationships are written in an exciting way that makes every chapter worth reading. Since this is the first book in "The Lunar Chronicles," "Cinder" sets up the main conflicts and first main characters for the rest of the series exceptionally well. While the main protagonists are very likable and relatable, the main antagonist is truly twisted and very well written with the knowledge that is given in the first book. The book was rarely predictable, and is an amazing piece of fiction.

This book, along with the rest of the series, is one of the best books for both great characters and a unique story idea.
Reviewer Grade: 11

Reviewer's Name: Paige P.
Animal Farm
Orwell, George
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!
Review:

Animal Farm is a dystopian novel about a farm overrun by the farm animals. The animals revolt and create their own hierarchy, which poses an overarching metaphor for humanity. Like many of Orwell’s books, this book exposes the flaws of mankind in an allegorical manner. I chose this book for its dystopian nature, and it did not disappoint. It is artful in its satire, and Orwell takes a clear stance on tyranny. This is among the best dystopian books I have read.
Reviewer Grade: 12

Reviewer's Name: Sabrina J
The Gender Game
Forrest, Bella
4 stars = Really Good
Review:

Gender Game was about two seperate realms, Patrus and Matrus, where one is ruled by males and the other ruled by females. It was interesting to compare the polar opposites and the different extremes of these places. In Patrus, males are dominant and females live in fear, while it's vice versa in Matrus. One character, Violet, a repeat offender in a juvenile delinquent system, is offered a chance to save herself and her stolen brother by acquiring a stolen object for Matrus. See, Patrus stole an egg like object of some importance (what it's purpose is isn't known). Violet agrees, and is forced to assume a false identity and marry a Patrus man to blend in. They develop an ornate plan to steal back the 'egg', and plan to falsely frame Viggo, a coworker of Violet's new husband. But what happens when Violet falls in love with Viggo? The plan goes to pieces and she is left regretting what she did. It ends in a cliffhanger (which I despise). The story line was pretty good, but not incredible. It's a good read for a trip, you can finish it easily and you can read it without thinking/wondering about what you're reading. It's light and fluffy, in other words.

Reviewer's Name: Jordan T.
The Hunger Games
Collins, Suzanne
3 stars = Pretty Good
Review:

The Hunger Games has a futuristic setting were there are 12 districts in Panem, the only civilization left in the world. The Hunger Games was a punishment for the districts who rebelled against the Capital, in the Hunger Games people 12-18 are chosen to fight to the death is a arena literally big enough for a whole natural habitat. Our main character Katniss Everdeen is a 16 year old girl who lives in district 12. Her sister was chosen to participate in the Hunger Games, but Katniss took her place as a tribute. How will she survive against other people chosen to partake in the Hunger Games, an a few mutants every hear and there.

Reviewer's Name: Brendan M.
Divergent
Roth, Veronica
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!
Review:

Divergent is part of a 3-book series. It's about a 16 year old girl named Beatrice Prior who lives in a Dystopian society. There are five factions, Candor, Amity, Dauntless, Erudite, and Abnegation, each of which represent and practice one virtue that the government believes to be the causes of war when they are lacking. When each child in the society reaches the age of 16, they must choose one faction to dedicate their lives to. An aptitude test displays to them which faction they would most belong in, however, Beatrice comes out as Divergent, someone who contains the attributes of more than just one faction. Being Divergent is a threat toward the society and the government, and if they find out you're Divergent, you will be killed.

Divergent is a moving story based on the character Beatrice Prior who goes through a series of events that help her to determine who she is and where she belongs. We watch her struggle with insecurity and doubting herself, a common struggle throughout all teenagers, and we see her overcome them. She becomes confident in herself and her decisions, just like we must all learn to do.

This book is honestly one of my favorites. It's packed with action and suspense, while at the same time it inspires and teaches. It's unique and different from other action stories and definitely keeps the reader intrigued. However, I'd recommend it ages 12+. There's a decent amount of violence, some of which might be hard to read for some kids, and a few other scenes and questionable content that might not be age appropriate for children under the age of 12. Overall however, I loved this book and strongly recommend it for teens.

Reviewer's Name: Ella S.
The Hunger Games
Collins, Suzanne
4 stars = Really Good
Review:

THIS IS A MUST READ! Suzanne Collins does a fabulous job on bringing this novel to life. It is an easy read for word choice. The main characters are very easy to love. The Hunger Games is the first book to a 3-part series.
I recommend ages 11+ because it is a longer book with more mature events. I really enjoyed this series so I rate it a 4 Star. Team Peeta!

Reviewer's Name: Kaitlyn S
The Book of M
Peng, Shepard
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!
Review:

The Book of M is a beautiful dystopian novel about the power and beauty of memories and the pain that comes from losing them.

One day in a market in India, a man loses his shadow for no apparent reason anyone can explain. Shortly after, the man begins forgetting everything he ever knew, but in its place receives a strange and new power. This phenomenon of the lost shadow, soon becoming known as The Forgetting, spreads throughout the world and transform it into a strange dystopian world that is hardly recognizable.

The two main characters, Ory and Max, have escaped The Forgetting so far until one day, Max loses her shadow. Fearing that the more she forgets, the more dangerous she will become to Ory, she flees across a dark transformed world. All the while holding a tape recorder, on which she records her thoughts and feelings of the journey, and her experience of forgetting. Meanwhile Ory, not wanting to give up the little time they have left, follows her, embarking on a strange journey of his own.

The novel swivels back and forth, every other chapter, between his journey and hers. Max’s chapters to me were the most poignant, the most powerful. The recordings of her experiences on her journey, and the emotions she experiences as she fights against this inevitable loss, and slowly forgets everything, made me want to mourn with her for all she was losing. The emotions portrayed by Max’s character came across so real and raw, and anyone dealing with someone who is suffering from Alzheimer’s will be able to sympathize with this very real portrayal of what it’s like for them to forget everything about who they are. This novel is a tear jerker for sure!

Meanwhile Ory’s desperate attempt to find the woman he loves, is a testament to his hope in their survival and his belief in renewal, both for his wife, and I think on a deeper level, the world that was ravaged by the Forgetting. However, as his journey progresses, he is confronted with the reality of this new and dangerous world, and as he begins to adapt to this new world, he realizes that nothing will ever be the same again.

Filled with beautiful prose, strong character development, and peppered with details of a classic dystopian novel, this novel is a testament to the dystopian genre. Peng Shepherd does so much more than just tell a classic dystopian story, though. While it has all the classic elements of dystopian story, her portrayal of Max’s character almost made the novel read like a memoir but feel like a psychological thriller. Yet the existence of magic, and the way it shaped much of the spine of the story, took her novel into the realm of magical realism. The portrayal of war and action took her novel into the realm of an adventure story. Yet the stories focus on the female main character of Max, took the story into the realm of woman’s fiction. However, Max’s musing on her loving relationship with Ory, made the story delve into the realm of a romance. Taking her readers across a large geographic space, different cultures, different people, and different genres, she attempts and succeeds in a telling an ambitious and complicated story that seeks to display the power of the human spirit and ask what it is, to be human.

This story is beautiful, poignant, powerful, dark, filled with adventure, romance, and magic. The long story short, it has something for everyone. This book comes out June 5 but you can put it on your holds list today! If you haven't, please do! You won’t regret it!

Thank you to William Morrow a imprint of Harper Collins Publishers for an ARC of this beautiful novel in exchange for an honest review!

Reviewer's Name: Tawnie
The One
Cass, Kiera
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!
Review:

This book was so good, I had such a good time reading it and would definitely read it again. The One is my favorite out of all the other books.
Getting to the end of America's romance was amazing, America is so relatable and is a great character to follow through the series. Although these books are more romantic there are still many parts where I was so excited that I couldn't stay in my seat. I'm so glad that I read this series and took part in America's journey through The Selection. I highly recommend reading this series because I loved it so much that I would easily read it again and have just as much fun as I did reading it the first time.

Reviewer's Name: Tierney B
Anthem
Rand, Ayn
4 stars = Really Good
Review:

I really enjoyed the book Anthem because of the dystopian future theme that was present throughout the book. The book Anthem follows the life of Equality 7-2521, who finds he is set apart from everyone else in his society.
This society that Equality lives in is structured around the opinion of the majority. Equality is intellectually advanced and strong, both are qualities that his society frowns upon since everyone is meant to be considered “equal” there. I strongly recommend that you read this book if you are a fan of similar books, such as The Giver and The Hunger Games, that focus on future societies.
Reviewer Grade= 9

Reviewer's Name: Hanna N.
Cinder
Meyer, Marissa
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!
Review:

Cinder by Marissa Meyer is a fast-paced and action-packed book that you can't put down. The book is a futuristic and dystopian retelling of the classic fairytale, Cinderella. This is definitely one of my favorite books. You won't find another science fiction book with as many interesting and diverse female characters. The book has a very exciting plot that kept me on the edge of my seat. In addition to that, Cinder has many amazing characters. I couldn't pick my favorite one. All of the characters are lovable and distinct. Another aspect of the book that I enjoyed was the setting. I loved Meyer’s vision of what the future would look like. She described the setting perfectly. I would recommend this book to anyone who is interested in science fiction or fantasy genres.

Reviewer's Name: Sophie L.

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