Dystopia has got to be one of favourite genres. A good dystopian novel will be set in a doomed future, filled with ordinary people set against extraordinary odds, trying to survive in their broken world. I adore the way that this style makes me question how close to reality the story can actually be and leaves me with questions about our world hanging over my head long after I’ve finished. All these things and more are what makes this genre so thrilling and addictive. Which is why I’m always on the lookout for new and unique dystopia.
Over the Easter holidays I raced through 3 fresh and different futuristic books- and a classic which I have only recently discovered, which is just as amazing as the others.
So, if you need some dystopian escapism, these books are for you.
The Extinction Trials, S.M. Wilson
Betrayal. Sacrifice. Survival. Welcome to The Extinction Trials...
In Stormchaser and Lincoln's ruined world, the only way to survive is to risk everything. To face a contest more dangerous than anyone can imagine. And they will do anything to win.
But in a land full of monsters – human and reptilian – they can't afford to trust anyone. Perhaps not even each other...
The Extinction Trials is fast-paced from start to finish full of suspense, action….and dinosaurs. Reading this book was a pleasant change, I usually leave the dinosaurs to my brother and yet knowing that a huge hungry reptile was around every corner just made this book even more gripping, with thrillingly vivid action scenes that filled me with terror. The next instalment, ‘Exile’ is coming out in June, and I can’t wait!
Scythe, Neal Shusterman
A dark, gripping and witty thriller in which the only thing humanity has control over is death. In a world where disease, war and crime have been eliminated, the only way to die is to be randomly killed ("gleaned") by professional scythes. Citra and Rowan are teenagers who have been selected to be scythes' apprentices, and despite wanting nothing to do with the vocation, they must learn the art of killing and understand the necessity of what they do. Only one of them will be chosen as a scythe's apprentice and as Citra and Rowan come up against a terrifyingly corrupt Scythedom, it becomes clear that the winning apprentice's first task will be to glean the loser.
Scythe is one of those books that actually make you feel inferior because of how clever it is. Not only is the world meticulously crafted and the characters vividly written, but the plot is full of swooping twists and turns that keep you on the edge of your seat the whole way through and leave you desperate for the next instalment.
Outwalkers, Fiona Shaw
The border’s closed, Jake said. No one can get into Scotland, just like no one can cross the Channel . . .
This is England and it’s no longer a free country. The Government can track anyone, anywhere, from a chip implanted at birth. But Jake has escaped from his Academy orphanage, and he needs to get to Scotland with his dog, Jet.
When the Outwalkers gang grabs him, they go off-grid while the Government hunts for them. The closer they get to Scotland, the more dangerous it is. Because now, it’s not only their own lives that are at stake . . .
Outwalkers is quite different from your usual dystopian novels. It paces itself, takes time in detailed and lovely descriptions, and it’s set in England. It was a great change from the usually distantly located dystopia novels that I have previously read, and it was comforting yet also sinister to read about a dystopian version of a place so close to home. The other thing that I particularly liked about this book was the relationship between the protagonist and his dog. As a dog-owner myself, I’m a sucker for these sorts of things, and of course, my primary concern was for the dog (Jet’s) wellbeing and whether he would make it through the novel. Outwalkers was certainly different, but a joy to read nonetheless.
The Knife of Never Letting Go, Patrick Ness
Prentisstown isn’t like other towns. Everyone can hear everyone else’s thoughts in a constant, overwhelming Noise. There is no privacy. There are no secrets. Then Todd Hewitt unexpectedly stumbles on a spot of complete silence. Which is impossible. And now he’s going to have to run…
I’m more than a little late to get on this bandwagon. In fact, I’m over 10 years late. So, I may be wasting my time by pouring out yet more praise for this book, but it was simply so amazing I couldn’t stop myself.
This book tackles so many heavy and difficult topics in a fast-paced and suspenseful novel laced with humour, I’ve been recommending it to everyone I know. And to top it all off, it has another clever, funny, heart-warming dog and protagonist relationship. If you haven’t read this book already the you’re in for a treat, a classic that will stay with you long after you’ve read it.
Editor's note: Books suitable from 13+