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Posts Tagged ‘dystopian’

Reckoning by Kerry Wilkinson

Posted by Caitie F on June 30, 2014

Title: Reckoning18490660
Author: Kerry Wilkinson
Hardcover: 368 pages
Pub Date: July 1, 2014
Publisher: St Martins Griffin
Rating: +++++

Summary from pub:

In the village of Martindale, hundreds of miles north of the new English capital of Windsor, sixteen-year-old Silver Blackthorn takes the Reckoning. This coming-of- age test not only decides her place in society – Elite, Member, Inter or Trog – but also determines that Silver is to become an Offering for King Victor.

But these are uncertain times and no one really knows what happens to the teenagers who disappear into Windsor Castle. Is being an Offering the privilege everyone assumes it to be, or do the walls of the castle have something to hide?

Trapped in a maze of ancient corridors, Silver finds herself in a warped world of suspicion where it is difficult to know who to trust and who to fear. The one thing Silver does know is that she must find a way out.


I keep thinking dystopian is done. There are SO many dystopian young adult books, I should be sick of them by now, right? But I’m not because they are SO GOOD!

This isn’t just dystopian, it is also fantasy and has science fiction elements too. If you are a fan of any of those three things, you will probably adore this book.

Silver is a fantastic character. I adored her immediately. She is brilliant and uses that brilliance throughout the book, and not just for herself. She is also extremely kind and doesn’t discriminate against those of a lower class. She is also brave, not just in the big ways, but she is brave in small ways to help others.

The class issues in this book were fascinating and made it more than just another YA book. At first, the offerings, for the most part, stuck to the others in their class. Once they realize what their situation is, they realize they need each other, no matter how much they grew up with.

And their situation is quite disturbing. The King is a fantastic villain because you can picture a ruler like that. There is always more going on behind the scenes and that is also all really good.

This is one of my favorite reads of the year. It has everything I had hope for and more.

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Pills and Starships by Lydia Millet

Posted by Caitie F on June 11, 2014

Title: Pills and Starships18528033
Author: Lydia Millet
Paperback: 256 pages
Pub Date: June 10, 2014
Publisher: Black Sheep
Rating: ++++

Summary from pub:

In this dystopic future brought by global warming, seventeen-year-old Nat and her hacker brother Sam have come by ship to the Big Island of Hawaii for their parents’ Final Week. The few Americans who still live well also live long—so long that older adults bow out not by natural means but by buying death contracts from the corporates who now run the disintegrating society by keeping the people happy through a constant diet of “pharma.” Nat’s family is spending their pharma-guided last week at a luxury resort complex called the Twilight Island Acropolis.

Deeply conflicted about her parents’ decision, Nat spends her time keeping a record of everything her family does in the company-supplied diary that came in the hotel’s care package. While Nat attempts to come to terms with her impending parentless future, Sam begins to discover cracks in the corporates’ agenda and eventually rebels against the company his parents have hired to handle their last days. Nat has to choose a side. Does she let her parents go gently into that good night, or does she turn against the system and try to break them out?

But the deck is stacked against Nat and Sam: in this oppressive environment, water and food are scarce, mass human migrations are constant, and new babies are illegal. As the week nears its end, Nat rushes to protect herself and her younger brother from the corporates while also forging a path toward a future that offers the hope of redemption for humanity.


I keep thinking there can’t be another creative and chilling dystopian book, but they keep coming.

This one is a little bit terrifying. Global warming has brought people very close together and almost all time is spent inside. Corporations have taken over society completely. People are living for a long time and go to special retreats to die “on their own terms” and everyone is always drugged by the corporations. The whole situation is very creepy and you know there is much more going on behind closed doors. Luckily, Nat and Sam get to peek behind those doors when they go to Hawaii for their parents Final Week and see that something has to change. But it is all very scary. You do not want to be in a society like this at all.

Nat is a really great character because she is how most of us would be. She is pretty accepting at first, until things start to not add up. Her brother is more influenced by those speaking out, which is great, but Nat is really what most of us would be like. Once she is skeptical, she starts to try to find out everything she can and save those she loves. She is very bright, but not to an unrealistic extent. She is still a scared teen, but she is a scared teen who wants to make a difference.

This is not a slow book and is very hard to put down. You will want to find out more about the society and how it all happened. It will make you start thinking about corporations roles in our world and where lines need to be drawn. It reminded me a little of the Matched trilogy’s society, only creepier because it is corporations.It laso might make oyu think abotu your own energy consumption. I know I have been trying to conserve more to keep this future from happening!

I really want to read the rest of the series now!

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Under the Never Sky series by Veronica Rossi

Posted by Caitie F on May 8, 2014

Title: Under the Never Sky series
Author:Veronica Rossi
Publisher: HarperCollins
Rating: +++++

Summary from pub:

Under the Never Sky10756656

Exiled from her home, the enclosed city of Reverie, Aria knows her chances of surviving in the outer wasteland—known as The Death Shop—are slim. Then Aria meets an Outsider named Perry. He’s wild—a savage—and her only hope of staying alive. A hunter for his tribe in a merciless landscape, Perry views Aria as sheltered and fragile—everything he would expect from a Dweller. But he needs Aria’s help too; she alone holds the key to his redemption.


Through the Ever Night13253276

It’s been months since Aria last saw Perry. Months since Perry was named Blood Lord of the Tides, and Aria was charged with an impossible mission. Now, finally, they are about to be reunited. But their reunion is far from perfect. The Tides don’t take kindly to Aria, a former Dweller. And with the worsening Aether storms threatening the tribe’s precarious existence, Aria begins to fear that leaving Perry behind might be the only way to save them both.

Threatened by false friends and powerful temptations, Aria and Perry wonder, Can their love survive through the ever night?

Into the Still Blue14288998

Their love and their leadership have been tested. Now it’s time for Perry and Aria to unite the Dwellers and the Outsiders in one last desperate attempt to bring balance to their world.


I read this entire series in under a month, so I was having a really hard time writing a review for each and trying to remember what happened in the individual books, so I decided to review the series without spoiling too much. So there may be vague spoilers, but as all readers know there are three books, it is nothing that will keep you from enjoying the series.

First things first – GO READ THIS SERIES. If you have any interest in YA dystopian/action/romance, this is a series for you. Just stop reading my review, go to your local bookstore or library, and get the first book. It is that good. And be glad you waited until the entire series was done to read it because you get the entire thing at once without waiting.

I adored this series. Perry and Aria are fantastic. They are strong, smart, caring, and so well-rounded. They are thrust into their leadership roles and aren’t always perfect, but they are always looking out for each other and all the others that are with them, even when it is hard.

It is one of those dystopian worlds that you could see happening in the future. It isn’t our world in the near future, but if things don’t get under control, some of it could happen. And that is scary. Every time I read a plausible dystopian book, I try to cut down on my energy consumption a little more. I am not cut out for any of these worlds.

The villains are also so realistic that it is a little bit scary. The thing is, while they are obviously the bad guys, it is easy to see why they do the terrible things they do. There are no simple decisions in this world. Leaders have to make tough choices and it makes them do some really  terrible things.

The romance in this series is awesome, and not just the primary one. There are a few incredible relationships that feel genuine and realistic. There isn’t really that annoying insta-love. There is some insta-attraction, but no one mistakes it for finding “the one”.

If you are looking for a series you can read all at once, take a look at Under the Never Sky – it has everything a good young adult dystopian series should have.


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The One Safe Place by Tania Unsworth

Posted by Caitie F on April 24, 2014

Title: The One Safe Place18267072
Author: Tania Unsworth
Hardcover: 304 pages
Pub Date: April 29, 2014
Publisher: Algonquin for Young Readers
Rating: ++++

Summary from pub:

Devin doesn’t remember life before the world got hot; he has grown up farming the scorched earth with his grandfather in their remote valley. When his grandfather dies, Devin heads for the city. Once there, among the stark glass buildings, he finds scores of children, just like him, living alone on the streets. They tell him rumors of a place for abandoned children, with unlimited food and toys and the hope of finding a new family. But only the luckiest get there.

An act of kindness earns Devin an invitation to the home, but it’s soon clear that it’s no paradise. As Devin investigates the intimidating administrator and the zombie-like sickness that afflicts some children, he discovers the home’s horrific true mission. The only real hope is escape, but the place is as secure as a fortress.


I keep hearing that the dystopian trend is over, but then I read a book like this and see that is not true. There is plenty of room for new stories that look at a possible future in a different and scary way.

The actual story of this was completely engrossing. What is really going on is slowly hinted at, so by the time Devin figures it out the reader has just gotten it also. Figuring it out with him actually made it even more shocking because the realization just started to dawn on you. I don’t want to spoil it, but it is disturbing in the best possible way.

I adore Devin. He is such a good character. He is a good person, which always helps, but he is also bright, inquisitive, and very brave. I can see why he would get picked to come to the home. He isn’t perfect, but his imperfections make you want to root for him even more because he feels so real.

Some of the secondary characters fall a little flat, but the important ones are more well-rounded. The villain is also sufficiently creepy and intimidating. She is not an easy foe and she is very good at keeping secrets.

The whole premise of this book is very disturbing, mostly because it is a possible future. Climate change is going to have significant impacts and those impacts will be show the differences between the uber-wealthy and the poor even more. I like that there are some dystopian coming out about climate change because they feel so real.

This is a great dystopian book. Which do you feel could be the most realistic dystopian society? Let me know in the comments!

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Independent Study by Joelle Charbonneau

Posted by Caitie F on January 5, 2014

Title: Independent StudyIndie Study
Author: Joelle Charbonneau
Hardcover: 320 pages
Pub Date: January 7, 2014
Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Books for Children
Rating: +++++

Summary from pub:

In the series debut The Testing, sixteen-year-old Cia Vale was chosen by the United Commonwealth government as one of the best and brightest graduates of all the colonies . . . a promising leader in the effort to revitalize postwar civilization. In Independent Study, Cia is a freshman at the University in Tosu City with her hometown sweetheart, Tomas—and though the government has tried to erase her memory of the brutal horrors of The Testing, Cia remembers. Her attempts to expose the ugly truth behind the government’s murderous programs put her—and her loved ones—in a world of danger. But the future of the Commonwealth depends on her.


I thought The Testing was incredible and it reminded me of The Hunger Games. This book was also incredible, but it was even better than Catching Fire, and I loved that book.

Cia is still a wonderful main character. She has some idea of what happened during the Testing, so she is very wary of the others, especially the students from Tosu City who did not have to go through it. Her intelligence and natural instincts continue to be at the core of who she is. Does she do some risky things? Of course, it is a dystopian book with death on the line. Yet she thinks, acts, and responds as a leader should.

This book is still about what you would do to become a leader, but it is handled in much different ways. There are competitions and tests, but there are also more ways to work together and encourage others a little more. Not everyone is to be trusted, but there is more trust in this book.

If you dislike books that foreshadow too much what is going to happen, don’t worry, that does not happen in this book. I was reading it in public and I am sure others keep looking at me weirdly because I kept gasping at my book.

The other great thing about this book is that it wasn’t filler, even though it was the second book in a trilogy. Some of the book was set-up, but it didn’t feel that it was just setting up the big action of the final book. The book had events and consequences to those events. There were game changers, but they weren’t thrown in at the very last sentence (I am looking at you Catching Fire). Events mattered, conversations mattered.

This book brings up so many questions about life. What makes a good leader? Are the best leaders those who don’t ask for it? Can leadership be taught? Where are the lines between right and wrong? Would you change your mind on how to react to something differently if it didn’t affect you? There are so many questions about society that I am still thinking about it over a week after I finished the book.

This is a wonderful sequel and I want the last book now.

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Allegiant by Veronica Roth

Posted by Caitie F on December 10, 2013

Title: Allegiant17406183
Author: Veronica Roth
Hardcover: 544 pages
Pub Date: Oct 22, 2013
Publisher: Katherine Tegen Books
Rating: ++++

Summary from pub:

What if your whole world was a lie?

What if a single revelation—like a single choice—changed everything?

What if love and loyalty made you do things you never expected?


This series is interesting. I thought the first book was just okay when most people loved it. I really liked the second. I loved the third and lots of people don’t. So maybe I am just weird. Or maybe I am the one that is right 😉

Tris is a fantastic character in this book. She questions what is really going on. She is not trusting. She still always tries to do the right thing instead of the easy thing. She is so incredibly complex and has been deeply affected by everything that has happened to her and everything she has learned. I love this. Sure, she isn’t happy and there is less romance, but when so much has happened, how can that all be?

Half of this book is from Four’s perspective which was really interesting. It shows how different he and Tris are and it shows how much his parents screwed him up. I was not a huge fan of him in the first two books, and he was still frustrating, but seeing things from his perspective made me understand him more. It also makes me more angry at him when he does really stupid things because as a reader, you see where he is wrong and know that he is smarter than that. But it makes his character so much more complex which I adore.

There is so much I can’t say because I don’t want to give any spoilers, but this book is a great ending to this series. Is it all roses and happy? No. But everything fits the characters, especially what happens with Tris. Whether you like it or not, it fits who she is and it fits in this world she lives in.

I think you should read this series if you are a fan of dystopian. Now that it is done, I think it is a good series. It isn’t great, but it is enjoyable and I would recommend it to many people.

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Proxy by Alex London

Posted by Caitie F on July 11, 2013

Title: ProxyProxy
Author: Alex London
Hardcover:  384 pages
Pub Date: July 18, 2013
Publisher: Philomel
Rating:  +++

Summary from pub:

nox was born into one of the City’s wealthiest families. A Patron, he has everything a boy could possibly want—the latest tech, the coolest clothes, and a Proxy to take all his punishments. When Knox breaks a vase, Syd is beaten. When Knox plays a practical joke, Syd is forced to haul rocks. And when Knox crashes a car, killing one of his friends, Syd is branded and sentenced to death.

Syd is a Proxy.  His life is not his own.

Then again, neither is Knox’s. Knox and Syd have more in common than either would guess. So when Knox and Syd realize that the only way to beat the system is to save each other, they flee. Yet Knox’s father is no ordinary Patron, and Syd is no ordinary Proxy. The ensuing cross-country chase will uncover a secret society of rebels, test both boys’ resolve, and shine a blinding light onto a world of those who owe and those who pay. Some debts, it turns out, cannot be repaid.


With so many dystopian books coming out, there are some hits, but there are also bound to be some that are just okay.

This book has a very interesting concept – the poor are literally punished for things the rich do and it is a system of credit that is nearly impossible to escape. There are some rich kids that have no feelings towards their Proxy and never think about the consequences of their actions. There are others that never do anything wrong because they cannot bear to see another suffer.

It felt like the book would explore this a little more, but it turns into an action-packed novel with little character development. Characters die because it seems like the convenient place for them to die. Several of the twists and turns are predictable.

There are also many religious comparisons in the book and I wish it went further with it. That would have made the book stand out more and be about more than escaping a system. It juts didn’t push it enough.

I really wanted to love this book as the concept was brilliant, it just didn’t reach my expectations.

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The Testing by Joelle Charbonneau

Posted by Caitie F on June 4, 2013

Title: The TestingThe Testing
Author: Joelle Charbonneau
Hardcover: 352 pages
Pub Date: June 4, 2013
Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Books for Children
Rating: +++++

Summary from pub:

It’s graduation day for sixteen-year-old Malencia Vale, and the entire Five Lakes Colony (the former Great Lakes) is celebrating. All Cia can think about—hope for—is whether she’ll be chosen for The Testing, a United Commonwealth program that selects the best and brightest new graduates to become possible leaders of the slowly revitalizing post-war civilization. When Cia is chosen, her father finally tells her about his own nightmarish half-memories of The Testing. Armed with his dire warnings (”Cia, trust no one”), she bravely heads off to Tosu City, far away from friends and family, perhaps forever. Danger, romance—and sheer terror—await.


Everyone is looking for the next Hunger Games. I haven’t seen anything that made me that excited about a character or story until I read this book. The Testing brings fantastic characters, a riveting plot, and questions of what you would do for survival in this new dystopian young adult series.

Cia is brilliant and caring. In some ways,. she really reminded me of why I loved Katniss. But she is not a carbon copy of Katniss. I don’t really think she was even inspired by Katniss. She just has that kind of strength that makes her a character you love and care about. Did I mention that she is smart? Because she is really smart and that intelligence makes this book so great. She isn’t perfect, she makes mistakes and learns from them, but you can really understand her decisions. She is also caring, which is hard to do when there are a lot of people around who want you gone any way possible.

While you always know her intentions and motivations, you never really know about everyone else, which adds so much suspense. Her father told her to trust no one, but she feels like she has to or there is no hope. The reader gets to be suspicious of everyone. It is great because you don’t know where it is going ever. there were many times I thought I knew I could trust a character, and it turns out I was completely wrong.. It is a little bad because it makes you want to never stop reading, especially when the plot is so exciting.

The world that is created is highly believable. There was a horrible war that has seven phases, the first four were human-made, and the last three were from the Earth. Humankind has to revitalized everything. People learn to decontaminate water, figure out how to grow food, and make the planet habitable again. Each colony is within the United States, so it is easy to picture. The Five Lakes District is near the Great Lakes. Since that is where I am from, it made the impact even greater. They were talking about my home! The community still managed to have a Midwest feel which I loved and it made me a little homesick. As each character talks about their colony, you can figure out where they are fromt and the changes that have occurred. It is a really strong world and it helped me get lost in the book.

There is so much in this book about the lengths even people who seem good will go for survival. Are you honest when others aren’t? If you figure out that someone is dishonest, would you warn others to save them or make it easier for yourself to go to the end? Would you kill someone if it was the only way for you to survive? It looks at all of these questions and so many more in a way that makes you question so much.

This is a fantastic debut and I look forward to reading the rest of the series!

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Icons by Margaret Stohl

Posted by Caitie F on May 6, 2013

Title: IconsIcons
Author: Margaret Stohl
Hardcover: 448 pages
Pub Date: May 7, 2013
Publisher: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
Rating: ++++

Summary from publisher:

Your heart beats only with their permission.

Everything changed on The Day. The day the windows shattered. The day the power stopped. The day Dol’s family dropped dead. The day Earth lost a war it didn’t know it was fighting.

Since then, Dol has lived a simple life in the countryside — safe from the shadow of the Icon and its terrifying power. Hiding from the one truth she can’t avoid.

She’s different. She survived. Why?

When Dol and her best friend, Ro, are captured and taken to the Embassy, off the coast of the sprawling metropolis once known as the City of Angels, they find only more questions. While Ro and fellow hostage Tima rage against their captors, Dol finds herself drawn to Lucas, the Ambassador’s privileged son. But the four teens are more alike than they might think, and the timing of their meeting isn’t a coincidence. It’s a conspiracy.

Within the Icon’s reach, Dol, Ro, Tima, and Lucas discover that their uncontrollable emotions — which they’ve always thought to be their greatest weaknesses — may actually be their greatest strengths.


I have never read Beautiful Creatures, but when I saw the description of this dystopian book, I knew that this had to be a priority. I am a sucker for dystopian, especially is there is a science fiction twist.

This book is exciting. The plot never seems to slow down, which makes it a hard book to put down. At the end of each chapter, there are government documents that give hints to what happened one The Day and what is going to happen in the future. It is an interesting structure and makes it more difficult to put the pieces together.

Just because it is hard to put down doesn’t make it a plot-driven novel, the characters are very well-rounded. Seeing what is in Dol’s head make the reader feel more compassion for those is pain and reveals the other main characters feelings in a different way. It made it easy to understand not just Dol’s emotions and instincts, but also the other hostages. It also makes it hard to be on their side when they do things that are wrong. Ro was my least favorite character and is part of the reason that I liked the book and didn’t love it.

The other main issue I had was there was yet another love triangle. Well, kind of two separate love triangles. I am really getting sick of them, especially since one really feels like insta-love. Due to the special power the person has, it makes a little sense, but not enough for it to be okay.

Overall, this is a strong first book in the new series and I am really interested in finding out what happens next. The aliens and genetics make it more science fiction which is great to see in a young adult book.

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Reached by Ally Condie

Posted by Caitie F on April 1, 2013

Title: Reached13125947
Author: Ally Condie
Hardcover: 522 pages
Pub Date: November 2012
Publisher: Dutton
Rating: +++++

Summary from goodreads:

After leaving Society to desperately seek The Rising, and each other, Cassia and Ky have found what they were looking for, but at the cost of losing each other yet again. Cassia is assigned undercover in Central city, Ky outside the borders, an airship pilot with Indie. Xander is a medic, with a secret. All too soon, everything shifts again.


While I loved Matched, I was underwhelmed by Crossed so I didn’t run out for Reached right away. Well I was wrong about that because this book was even better than the first book in the series.

The perspectives switch between Xander, Cassia, and Ky throughout the book which is really needed since they are far away from each other for much of the book. I love getting in their heads because they each have a different opinion of the Rising and know different pieces of what is going to happen. It was great knowing things that some of the other characters didn’t because you can anticipate their reactions, which were never a letdown.

I also felt like the love triangle was much a lot less in this book which is always a good thing. Romance in general was less. Yes, people still loved each other, but they were focused on curing people and helping others rather than who Cassia was going to end up with – which is probably why it was my favorite.

Xander became a much stronger character because of this and probably was my favorite. He was such a determined person and cared about the people. His first thought was his patients and it showed what true leadership is.Many times people commented that he was going above and beyond, which made them want to help also.

I think the main reason I loved this book so much is that they all grew up. They weren’t kids playing around at bringing Society down, they were young adults doing what they thought was right. Their families were always on their minds. They questioned everything and it showed that they learned something. They didn’t just trust The Rising and its leaders and ngot involved in it.

This was a great conclusion to the story. There were a couple questions when I was done, but nothing vital that really should have been included. I was pleasantly surprised with how much I liked this book and now feeling like I can recommend the series to others!

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