Today’s post is going to be a list of my favourite books within the dystopian genre! It’s almost like a follow-on post from last Mondays, which was a list of five books at the top of my dystopian TBR pile which you can find here, and my fantasy TBR here!
Author: George Orwell
Release date: 8th June 1949
“‘It was a bright cold day in April, and the clocks were striking thirteen.’
Winston Smith works for the Ministry of truth in London, chief city of Airstrip One. Big Brother stares out from every poster, the Thought Police uncover every act of betrayal. When Winston finds love with Julia, he discovers that life does not have to be dull and deadening, and awakens to new possibilities. Despite the police helicopters that hover and circle overhead, Winston and Julia begin to question the Party; they are drawn towards conspiracy. Yet Big Brother will not tolerate dissent – even in the mind. For those with original thoughts they invented Room 101 . . .
Nineteen Eighty-Four is George Orwell’s terrifying vision of a totalitarian future in which everything and everyone is slave to a tyrannical regime.”
This novel is definitely my favourite dystopian novel; it’s such a dark and twisted version of reality, but it is also written in such a way that these elements could become a part of reality. I would definitely recommend you read this one if it’s the only one you do!
Title: Animal Farm
Author: George Orwell
Release date: 1945
“As ferociously fresh as it was more than a half century ago, this remarkable allegory of a downtrodden society of overworked, mistreated animals, and their quest to create a paradise of progress, justice, and equality is one of the most scathing satires ever published. As we witness the rise and bloody fall of the revolutionary animals, we begin to recognize the seeds of totalitarianism in the most idealistic organization; and in our most charismatic leaders, the souls of our cruelest oppressors.”
In a similar sense to 1984, Animal Farm really is a thinker. Orwell impressively portrays the flaws of totalitarianism in a time where communism was still reigning strong in Russia. Risky business but again, a fantastic novel.
Title: The Lunar Chronicles
Author: Marissa Meyer
Book 1 release date: 3rd January 2012
“Sixteen-year-old Cinder is considered a technological mistake by most of society and a burden by her stepmother. Being cyborg does have its benefits, though: Cinder’s brain interference has given her an uncanny ability to fix things (robots, hovers, her own malfunctioning parts), making her the best mechanic in New Beijing. This reputation brings Prince Kai himself to her weekly market booth, needing her to repair a broken android before the annual ball. He jokingly calls it “a matter of national security,” but Cinder suspects it’s more serious than he’s letting on.
Although eager to impress the prince, Cinder’s intentions are derailed when her younger stepsister, and only human friend, is infected with the fatal plague that’s been devastating Earth for a decade. Blaming Cinder for her daughter’s illness, Cinder’s stepmother volunteers her body for plague research, an “honor” that no one has survived.
But it doesn’t take long for the scientists to discover something unusual about their new guinea pig. Something others would kill for.”
This is a much-loved and well-read book by a lot of people, and as a fantasy/dystopian fairytale re-telling, it definitely ticks a lot of boxes for myself. The reason I’ve classed this as dystopian is because despite it being a re-telling, the world isn’t too far from reality; earth is still the same and the countries are laid out exactly as is, only there are extra elements and the addition of magic and space that bring it towards the fantasy realm as well. Anyway, I love re-tellings and this series was great. Go and read it if you haven’t. ASAP.
Title: Lord of the Flies
Author: William Golding
Release date: 1954
“When a plane crashes on a remote island, a small group of schoolboys are the sole survivors. From the prophetic Simon and virtuous Ralph to the lovable Piggy and brutish Jack, each of the boys attempts to establish control as the reality – and brutal savagery – of their situation sets in.
The boys’ struggle to find a way of existing in a community with no fixed boundaries invites readers to evaluate the concepts involved in social and political constructs and moral frameworks. Ideas of community, leadership, and the rule of law are called into question as the reader has to consider who has a right to power, why, and what the consequences of the acquisition of power may be. Often compared to Catcher in the Rye, Lord of the Flies also represents a coming-of-age story of innocence lost.”
Another classic, but one that is written so fantastically that it will forever be one of my favourite books. It’s weird and unsettling but that’s part of the magic that is dystopian fiction!
Title: An Ember in the Ashes series
Author: Sabaa Tahir
Book 1 release date: 28th April 2015
“Laia is a slave. Elias is a soldier. Neither is free.
Under the Martial Empire, defiance is met with death. Those who do not vow their blood and bodies to the Emperor risk the execution of their loved ones and the destruction of all they hold dear.
It is in this brutal world, inspired by ancient Rome, that Laia lives with her grandparents and older brother. The family ekes out an existence in the Empire’s impoverished backstreets. They do not challenge the Empire. They’ve seen what happens to those who do.
But when Laia’s brother is arrested for treason, Laia is forced to make a decision. In exchange for help from rebels who promise to rescue her brother, she will risk her life to spy for them from within the Empire’s greatest military academy.
There, Laia meets Elias, the school’s finest soldier—and secretly, its most unwilling. Elias wants only to be free of the tyranny he’s being trained to enforce. He and Laia will soon realize that their destinies are intertwined—and that their choices will change the fate of the Empire itself.”
As one of my favourite reads of 2016, An Ember in the Ashes is set in an awful world where a tyrant reigns strong and a rebellion is brewing just beneath the surface. For such a big book, I read it incredibly fast because it was so great. It’s a very well-known series so I’ll presume that many of you have read it already so I won’t bang on about it!
So there you have it, the five books that constitute my top books in the dystopian genre and I recommend all of them very highly!
Have you read any of these? Also, let me know what your favourite dystopian books/series are, I’d love to get some new recommendations!