Genre Breakdown: Dystopian

May 10, 2012 Dystopian, Genre Breakdown 15

I decided it would be fun to spend some time on the blog to take a closer look into specific genres, and sub-genres, of Young Adult fiction. Here we can discuss what it is that we love or hate about it, our favorites and I would also love to hear from YOU guys too! Are there any stereotypes that drive you mad? What makes you really want to read one?

Does this sound like fun? I hope so!

So for the first Breakdown we are going to take a closer look into Dystopian. Why did I pick this first? Well, because it has probably become my favorite genre to read! I haven’t met many I did not like so this is why we shall start here.

                                                                                                Picture found at Infinity Illustrations on Pinterst

Let’s start with a definition… According to Wikipedia: ‘Dystopia is the idea of a society in a repressive and controlled state, often under the guise of being utopian. Dystopian societies feature different kinds of repressive social control systems, and various forms of active and passive coercion. Ideas and works about dystopian societies often explore the concept of humans abusing technology and humans individually and collectively coping, or not being able to properly cope with technology that has progressed far more rapidly than humanity’s spiritual evolution. Dystopian societies are often imagined as police states, with unlimited power over the citizens.’

Got all that? In short it means, the world is different and messed up. LOL

What attracts me to it… What I love is how open this genre is. There are so many unique ways the world could be different. Perhaps there was a war that caused the changes. Perhaps science and technology has spiraled out of our control. The best part is, you can intertwine all kinds of different genres into Dystopian! Science-fiction and Dystopian often go hand in hand, but there have been numerous others combined into it. Recently there have been a few Vampire books that take place in a Dystopian society. This really intrigues me!

What I usually look for is a premise that immediately catches my attention. A world I can almost see happening will most likely be put on my TBR list immediately. I need a strong protagonist as well. One that can stand up for their rights and beliefs, but also not be afraid to show vulnerability at times. I usually prefer a good romance to be involved as well, though it isn’t always necessary if the world building is strong enough to hold my attention. Sometimes a good dystopian fiction can really make you look at and evaluate our society now and see how on a specific course, we could truly head in that sort of crazy direction. IT COULD HAPPEN, PEOPLE!

I have been racking my brain to come up with what I don’t like. I honestly cannot think of anything other than I need the world building to be clear. There is nothing worse than being thrown into a world and not understanding anything that is going on for a good portion of the book. It will lead me to procrastinate the read, which doesn’t help any because the longer it takes to read, the more likely I will forget whatever details I did pick up.

So let’s take a look at some of my faves…

-The Hunger Games series by Suzanne Collins

It is hard to imagine that there would be anyone who is not familiar with this series, thanks in part to the very successful movie which was recently a huge hit at the box office. A somewhat disturbing world where children are forced to fight to the death can make a few uncomfortable. But it is not written in a way to make light of the situation. A rebellion is formed to end this terrible government in this particular world. The Hunger Games was my first Dystopian read! I was totally afraid to step into this genre until I read these books. I’ve been in love ever since! While I did not love the last book in the trilogy, the first 2 more than make up for it to make it one of my favorite Dystopian reads.

-Divergent series by Veronica Roth

This series is becoming my all-time favorite set of books. Love love love the world Veronica Roth has created in this one. People are sorted into factions with each one contributing to their society in a way specific to their ‘strengths’. The characters are amazing, the writing beautiful, and a remarkably gripping plot that leaves you on the edge of your seats. Oh and of course there is a certain swoony boy named FOUR! Really looking forward to the last book to see what becomes of this Dystopian society. (I borrowed this pic from Veronica’s tumblr. The Detergent title joke still cracks me up!)

-Delirium series by Lauren Oliver

A society that treats love as a disease. Right away the premise is intriguing. And you know that a love story is going to be prominent, one that is heartbreaking due to the way they treat love as a society. Total win for me. Both books in this series completely blew me away. The final book, Requiem, is one of my most anticipated reads of 2013!

Above I mentioned how intertwined other genres/sub-genres can be with Dystopian. It is quite common for these novels to also have a touch of Paranormal, Fantasy and Science Fiction elements. Some great examples of these are:

-Shatter Me by Tahereh Mafi dabbles in the supernatural but I believe the next book in the series will have even more of it present in the story.
-The Pledge by Kimberly Derting has an interesting world with a psychotic Queen. It has a fantasy and paranormal feel to it.
-Under the Never Sky by Veronica Rossi was stronger on the sci-fi. There are two very different worlds we see in this one.
-Incarceron by Catherine Fisher has such a unique world where there is a high-tech prison. Nothing is what it seems. Lots of fantasy.

Other Dystopian books I have read and loved:

-The Chemical Garden series by Lauren DeStefano
-Matched series by Ally Condie

-Article 5 by Kristen Simmons
-Legend by Marie Lu
-Blood Red Road by Moira Young

-The Maze Runner series by James Dashner (still need to read the last one though)

Future Dystopian reads on my TBR… A couple of these I have a copy of already and most are not yet released. If you have read any of these, I would love to hear your thoughts. Perhaps leave a link to your review if you are a blogger and posted one on your blog?

-False Memory by Dan Krokos
-Larkstorm by Dawn Rae Miller
-The Chosen Ones by Tiffany Truitt
-Glitch by Heather Anastasiu
-The Way We Fall by Megan Crewe
-Coda by Emma Trevayne
-Breathe by Sarah Crossan
-The Last Princess by Galaxy Craze
-The Knife of Never Letting Go by Patrick Ness
-Slated by Teri Terry
-Insignia by S.J. Kincaid

Dystopian Reviews on the blog… In case you want to check out what I had to say about a few of these books!

-Fever by Lauren DeStefano
-Shatter Me by Tahereh Mafi
-Pandemonium by Lauren Oliver
-Under the Never Sky by Veronica Rossi
-Insurgent by Veronica Roth

**I would love to hear what your thoughts are on this genre! Please leave a comment below! Or if you have any book recommendations, that would be great! I would also love to hear if you have any suggestions in what else you would like for me to include in these genre breakdown posts. 🙂 **

Sara @ Forever 17 Books

15 Responses to “Genre Breakdown: Dystopian”

  1. Giselle

    I’m the same way I love dystopians it’s easily my favorite genre! I also love how you can do so much with the genre. Be very creative! And I’m almost ashamed to say I haven’t read the Maze Runner!

  2. Stephanie

    Dystopian is one if my favorite because while it still
    Stays realistic, anything could happen. I can’t wait for Veronica Roth’s Detergent!!!

  3. Mimi Valentine

    Sara, THIS POST IS SO AWESOME! <3 Ever since I picked up the Hunger Games, dystopian has always been one of my favourite genres too so I loved your breakdown of it! One of my favourite things about dystopian is how real and how oh-my-gosh-this-could-actually-happen-one-day it is too! And you can see how similar we are because almost every single dystopian series on your list is on mine too -- especially Divergent! But maybe that's just because I got Insurgent in the mail and will be finishing it up soon :')

    Amazing post, Sara! I hope you do a breakdown of every single genre — this one was so much fun to read! <3

    P.S. That detergent picture for the final book in Veronica Roth’s series made me laugh out loud — so darn funny!!!! x)

    • sarabara081

      Thank you Mimi!!! Insurgent was crazy good! Gah, I could read those two books over and over and never get bored. I do plan to do a breakdown of a whole bunch of genres. This one was easy since I had read so many. Hopefully the next will be up in a few weeks! 🙂

  4. Jen Ryland/YA Romantics

    Love your post — just tweeted it so others can enjoy it too.

    I’ve read a lot of your favorites, except Blood Red Road, Incarceron and the Pledge.

    Off your to-read list, I’ve read The Way We Fall. I’d call that more a YA virus thriller — the government doesn’t really come into it much. I’ve also read Last Princess, which to me read more like fantasy/fairy tale with just a touch of dystopian.

    It seems like there are a ton of new dystopians coming in the summer and fall, probably due to the Hunger Games movie — so you’ll be a very happy reader 😉

    • sarabara081

      Thank you thank you thank you!! I loved Blood Red Road. Saba is one of those kick ass girls that I love so much! The Way We Fall is one of the books I own but haven’t gotten to yet. Virus thriller sounds interesting. Dystopian has blown up! And I love that!! 🙂

  5. lipca

    I loved this post. My favorite dystopian book is Divergent/Insurgent but I’ve read some of the others you mentioned and have loved them as well – Legend, THG, Pandemonium, The Pledge.

  6. Amynic1

    Great great post and I definitely share your love for dystopian novels. Im not sure if its the concept that I find so interesting or just the swoony characters (just kidding) but this is my favorite genre. I mean, who can’t love a genre that has Four in it 🙂

  7. Amanda

    Did you do anymore of these breakdowns, I found this on Pinterest and would be interested in seeing others

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