Right now, the dystopian genre is hugely popular in books and movies, in large part because of the success of the Hunger Games franchise. While the movie adaptations of the Hunger Games were mostly true to the books and were highly emotional, well-made films, most book-to-movie adaptations are not so good. For example, the latest movie of this genre to come out, “Allegiant,” which was based on the first half of the final novel in the Divergent book series, was awful. It didn’t follow the book at all, it made most of the characters look ridiculous, and it basically lost all meaning.
To make up for this travesty, here are three dystopian books that will make readers restore their faith in the genre.
“Reboot” by Amy Tintera
In this novel, a disease causes some people to come back to life after they die. No, not as zombies, but rather as Reboots. The longer Reboots are dead, the less human they are when they return. The story centers on Wren 178, who is the deadliest Reboot in the Republic of Texas, because she was dead for only 178 minutes before she came back. Wren, who is 17 years old, serves as a soldier for the Human Advancement and Repopulation Corporation (HARC). As a part of her job with HARC, she is a bounty hunter and a trainer for new Reboots. She usually enjoys the training, but her newest Reboot, Callum 22, is making her job difficult because he’s basically still human since he was only dead for 22 minutes. Wren becomes attached to Callum throughout the novel, and she eventually has to decide if she will follow him and question HARC and all she’s ever known or if she will stick with the status quo. “Reboot” is a unique, fast-paced, sci-fi action novel with a strong female character. The romance isn’t over-the-top or fake. However, there is quite a bit of gore, so those who are queasy may want to steer clear of the novel.
“The Program” by Suzanne Young
In “The Program,” suicide is a teen epidemic. All teens become depressed and then kill themselves if they are not taken to The Program first. Once in The Program, they are treated, and then they are put back in society as blank slates because their memories have been erased along with their depression. The story is primarily about Sloane and James, a couple in their teens. They try to stay happy, and they try to hide their emotions from everyone but each other. They know if anyone saw them breakdown, or even cry, they would be sent to The Program, where they would forget they are in love and even that they know each other. Sometimes, or actually most of the time, the romance in young adult books is the result of insta-love, where the protagonist falls in love with his or her significant other after seeing him or her for the first time ever. Sloane and James’ romance is not like that at all. They’re in an established relationship when the novel starts, and their relationship is just so real. That’s part of what makes “The Program” so effective. With the threat of The Program looming over their heads and the crazy world that they live in where parents are eager to turn their children over to it to save them from their depression and suicide, readers become infuriated and incredibly sad as they watch the events of the novel unfold. Although “The Program” is absolutely maddening and heart wrenching, it’s a great read.
“Pines” by Blake Crouch
“Pines” is about Secret Service Agent Ethan Burke, who goes to Wayward Pines, Idaho, to look for two other agents who went missing there a month earlier. Before he can begin investigating their disappearances, however, he is involved in a terrible car accident. One day, he wakes up lying in the grass, with no recollection of how he got there. He doesn’t have his ID, his briefcase or his cell phone. He has only the clothes on his back. Badly injured, he wanders around town before stumbling into the hospital in Wayward Pines. He is wary of the hospital, the nurses, the doctors and the town in general because, while everyone is nice, something just seems wrong. “Pines” is well written, weirdly wonderful and, at times, quite violent. It’s eerie and leaves readers feeling utterly disturbed. The only possible negative is that its science is a little too far-fetched at times. Also, there is a FOX TV series based on “Pines” and its two sequels “Wayward” and “The Last Town.” The first season aired last summer, and the second season premieres on May 25.
**Originally published on April 27, 2016 in The Falcon, Volume 88, Issue 3
PDF of original version:Dystopian books
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