Monday, 17 March 2014

Some Brilliant Dystopia Books


Dystopia is a genre quite close to my heart, as morbid as that sounds. I've been deeply interested in it from a young age and there's been a huge dystopia boom lately meaning more people are being acquainted with it. Now that it's popular though, it's hard to distinguish the good from the dreadful, so I thought I'd help you out by sharing some dystopia novels that I have read and thoroughly enjoyed.

1984 by George Orwell

I don't care what your excuse is, if you haven't read this book then you have to do it now. It's possibly one of the most famous dystopia novels to date, and it's brilliant in how it captures dystopia in a way that isn't really too far from reality. It centres around a society in which privacy no longer exists, everyone is watched and controlled by the Party, and anyone who goes against them is not only removed from the present, but removed from history. Orwell captures the themes of rebellion and control in perfect harmony. What I love most about this book is how he doesn't have to create a completely separate and indistinguishable world from the one we know now, he simply takes the world as he truly sees it. It's a great novel. Do yourself a favour and read this.

Animal Farm by George Orwell

Another Orwell novel. This one is a 'fable' about a farm in which the animals hold a rebellion against the humans and take the farm over for themselves. It seems a bit strange, but this tale is an allegory for the 1917 Russian Revolution and has distinct themes of revolution, totalitarianism and fascism woven into it's fabric. It's written brilliantly and is very short meaning you could get through it in a day or two. This novel once again shows us how dangerous our own world is becoming rather than throwing us into a completely different one. It's a brilliant book for readers of all ages.

The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins

Everyone knows about The Hunger Games, but I think it's misconceived by many as your average young adult escapism novel. I personally think that The Hunger Games is an amazing dystopian read because of the themes it incorporates. It doesn't water down the totalitarianism and the brutality of revolution to something for 'teenagers', it's packed full of everything you'd want in a dystopian book. Not to mention, the characters are strong and brilliantly developed, as well as having a well thought-out plot and engaging concept. If you're an adult who's been putting off reading these, I strongly recommend you give them a go.

Brave New World by Aldous Huxley

I read this book a long time ago when I was still a child, and so I think a lot of important themes went straight over my head. Nevertheless, I remember coming out of it knowing that I'd just read something incredibly powerful and I definitely plan on going back and re-reading it. Brave New World is about a society in which life is dominated by drug-control. Huxley has a vivid and distinct writing style which will blow most readers away.

A Clockwork Orange by Anthony Burgess

This is my favourite book. It's overlooked a lot of the time because the themes of dystopia are hidden under the language and plot. But this story is about a world in which the police are losing influence, and the streets are controlled by vicious and dangerous gangs. The government then tries to bite back by devising a method by which they can control the gangs, and this is how the novel plays out. It's written in 'nadsat' which is a combination of English, Russian, and Cockney Rhyming Slang. But you get used to it after a few chapters and you soon start to see the dystopian themes leaking through. If you don't read this for dystopia, read it because it's fun and an entertaining novel.

The Maze Runner by James Dashner

I only just recently finished this series, and though it isn't written to the highest standard and a lot of people didn't really like it all that much, I found it enjoyable. It's a young adult series about a group of boys all trapped in a maze for reasons not yet revealed to us. I loved it because it's one of those books that keeps you searching for answers until the very last page, and I really enjoy those types of books. I'd say give the first one a go at least. It's also being turned into a movie soon, and so the popularity of it might encourage more people to pick it up. It's very much a sci-fi dystopia than a social/political dystopia.

Divergent by Veronica Roth

This is another young adult series which many have really enjoyed. It's similar to the Hunger Games although I didn't think it was as good. I won't talk about this too much because I already wrote a review of this series, and you can read it here.

The Time Machine by HG Wells

I'm in the middle of reading this, but already it's turning out to be a great, scientific based dystopian novella. It's incredibly short, but Wells is good at giving things a great pace as well as adding in beautiful description and dialogue. In this story, a man creates a time machine and travels into the future where society has changed beyond all recognition. Though Wells' work is often science-based, this novel seems to be focused on a lot of social aspects of dystopia too. I'd recommend everyone to read this, it's so short too. If you don't read this one then read at least one book by Wells, because he is a truly brilliant writer and he can create a sense of atmosphere effortlessly.

Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury

This novel is a really great one. There is so much thrown into it and I finished it quickly because I had to see what happened in the end. This novel is about a world in which books are burned because the government are fearful of the influence they could have. It really hit home because books mean everything to me, and to see these people living in this sort of world shocked me. More than anything, this is about censorship, which is a big deal in the world nowadays with films and books getting banned, and all the revision on the UK blasphemy laws. It's a great read, not just because it's relevant, but because it has a great pace, and it's well thought out.

I'm so glad that people are finally recognising how brilliant the dystopia genre is. There are so many brilliant dystopia books that I have yet to read, but I hope you'll pick up at least one of the books I have mentioned above, because they are legitimately life changing. A few others dystopia books that I haven't read which I think you should try are: The Handmaid's Tale, Lord of the Flies, Uglies, The Knife of Never Letting Go, The Iron Heel and The Running Man.

At the moment I'm reading The Time Machine. I also just finished reading the Maze Runner Series and it was absolutely brilliant! I'm soon going to be finishing off the Gallagher Girls series, and start reading a few more books on romance for my English course.

Until next time,
Rachel x

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