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Witch Finder
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Sunday, April 6, 2014

Sunday Funday List: Top 10 Dystopian/End of the World Novels

Hey everyone! It's Sunday again! So the trend now-a-days for books is dystopian and end of the world scenarios. Here are some of my top favorite novels that fit the bill!

In no particular order (all summaries from

1. The Hunger Games (The Hunger Games #1) by Suzanne Collins
5 out of 5 stars
"Winning will make you famous.
Losing means certain death.

In a dark vision of the near future, a terrifying reality TV show is taking place. Twelve boys and twelve girls are forced to appear in a live event called the Hunger Games. There is only one rule: kill or be killed.

When sixteen-year-old Katniss Everdeen steps forward to take her sister's place in the games, she sees it as a death sentence. But Katniss has been close to death before. For her, survival is second nature."

IMO one of the finest examples of a dystopian society and the novel catches you right away and doesn't let you go. The thought of this happening is terrifying. The writing and storytelling is fantastic. Also read the second and third in the series, Catching Fire and Mockingjay.

2. Divergent (Divergent #1) by Veronica Roth
4 out of 5 stars
"In Beatrice Prior's dystopian Chicago world, society is divided into five factions, each dedicated to the cultivation of a particular virtue--Candor (the honest), Abnegation (the selfless), Dauntless (the brave), Amity (the peaceful), and Erudite (the intelligent). On an appointed day of every year, all sixteen-year-olds must select the faction to which they will devote the rest of their lives. For Beatrice, the decision is between staying with her family and being who she really is--she can't have both. So she makes a choice that surprises everyone, including herself.

During the highly competitive initiation that follows, Beatrice renames herself Tris and struggles alongside her fellow initiates to live out the choice they have made. Together they must undergo extreme physical tests of endurance and intense psychological simulations, some with devastating consequences. As initiation transforms them all, Tris must determine who her friends really are--and where, exactly, a romance with a sometimes fascinating, sometimes exasperating boy fits into the life she's chosen. But Tris also has a secret, one she's kept hidden from everyone because she's been warned it can mean death. And as she discovers unrest and growing conflict that threaten to unravel her seemingly perfect society, Tris also learns that her secret might help her save the ones she loves...or it might destroy her."

While it didn't grab me quite like The Hunger Games, I am still a huge fan of Divergent. Seeing Ms. Roth's version of dystopian Chicago in my mind is fascinating. It's hard to imagine not knowing what's beyond your city, beyond a wall. And having to fit a stereotype perfectly or be ousted from society is scary. I'm currently reading Insurgent (and Allegiant to follow), but I'm sure you won't want to miss them either!

3. The Passage (The Passage #1) by Justin Cronin

5 out of 5 stars
"An epic and gripping tale of catastrophe and survival, The Passage is the story of Amy—abandoned by her mother at the age of six, pursued and then imprisoned by the shadowy figures behind a government experiment of apocalyptic proportions. But Special Agent Brad Wolgast, the lawman sent to track her down, is disarmed by the curiously quiet girl and risks everything to save her. As the experiment goes nightmarishly wrong, Wolgast secures her escape—but he can’t stop society’s collapse. And as Amy walks alone, across miles and decades, into a future dark with violence and despair, she is filled with the mysterious and terrifying knowledge that only she has the power to save the ruined world."

Absolutely LOVED this novel. It's 800+ pages, but it flies by so quickly you feel like you just started it. I love Mr. Cronin's take on the apocalypse. He's taken vampires to a whole new level, a terrifying and scary premise. The origins are scary and where the story goes is even scarier. The second novel, The Twelve, is just as great and I can't wait to read the third!

4. The Walking Dead (#1 - 12) by Robert Kirkman 
5 out of 5 stars
"This hardcover features the first 12 issues of the hit series along with the covers for the issues in one oversized hardcover volume. Perfect for long time fans, new readers and anyone needing a slightly heavy object with which to fend off the walking dead."

What more can I say about this series that hasn't already been said? Fan-freaking-tastic. Great storytelling and plot lines. The zombies aren't even the scariest part. I'm behind in these, but cannot wait to catch up! Read them all!

5. The 5th Wave (The 5th Wave #1) by Rick Yancey
5 out of 5 stars
"The Passage meets Ender’s Game in an epic new series from award-winning author Rick Yancey.

After the 1st wave, only darkness remains. After the 2nd, only the lucky escape. And after the 3rd, only the unlucky survive. After the 4th wave, only one rule applies: trust no one.

Now, it’s the dawn of the 5th wave, and on a lonely stretch of highway, Cassie runs from Them. The beings who only look human, who roam the countryside killing anyone they see. Who have scattered Earth’s last survivors. To stay alone is to stay alive, Cassie believes, until she meets Evan Walker. Beguiling and mysterious, Evan Walker may be Cassie’s only hope for rescuing her brother—or even saving herself. But Cassie must choose: between trust and despair, between defiance and surrender, between life and death. To give up or to get up."

I loved the novel so much more than I expected to. It blew my mind. Not your typical YA novel, a great crossover novel, anyone can read this! Finally a new take on the end of the world, no zombies, no vampires, no crumbling society. What is it then you ask? Aliens ladies and gentlemen, aliens. I can't wait for the second one to be released!!

6. Uglies (Uglies #1) by Scott Westerfeld
4 out of 5 stars
"Everybody gets to be supermodel gorgeous. What could be wrong with that?

Tally is about to turn sixteen, and she can't wait. Not for her license - for turning pretty. In Tally's world, your sixteenth birthday brings an operation that turns you from a repellent ugly into a stunningly attractive pretty and catapults you into a high-tech paradise where your only job is to have a really great time. In just a few weeks Tally will be there.

But Tally's new friend Shay isn't sure she wants to be pretty. She'd rather risk life on the outside. When Shay runs away, Tally learns about a whole new side of the pretty world and it isn't very pretty. The authorities offer Tally the worst choice she can imagine: find her friend and turn her in, or never turn pretty at all.

The choice Tally makes changes her world forever..."
One of my first dystopian society series and what a great way to be introduced to it!! The premise is intriguing and you have to know what's going to happen to the characters. Definitely read this if you haven't, as well as the 3 that come after: Pretties, Specials and Extras.
4 out of 5 stars
"Incapable. Awkward. Artless.
That’s what the other girls whisper behind her back. But sixteen-year-old Adelice Lewys has a secret: She wants to fail.

Gifted with the ability to weave time with matter, she’s exactly what the Guild is looking for, and in the world of Arras, being chosen to work the looms is everything a girl could want. It means privilege, eternal beauty, and being something other than a secretary. It also means the power to manipulate the very fabric of reality. But if controlling what people eat, where they live, and how many children they have is the price of having it all, Adelice isn’t interested.

Not that her feelings matter, because she slipped and used her hidden talent for a moment. Now she has one hour to eat her mom’s overcooked pot roast. One hour to listen to her sister’s academy gossip and laugh at her dad’s jokes. One hour to pretend everything’s okay. And one hour to escape.

Because tonight, they’ll come for her."

Awesome world building. An entirely new concept on a dystopian society. Really creepy to see the manipulation on society. Definitely looking forward to reading the second one!
5 out of 5 stars
"Jonas' world is perfect. Everything is under control. There is no war or fear or pain. There are no choices. Every person is assigned a role in the Community. When Jonas turns twelve, he is singled out to receive special training from The Giver. The Giver alone holds the memories of the true pain and pleasure of life. Now, it is time for Jonas to receive the truth. There is no turning back."

Another fantastic example of early dystopian society novels. Can't say enough about this. I'm worried about the movie coming out though, because they're making it more like dystopian novels today, rather than how I pictured it. Check out the last three: Gathering Blue, Messenger and Son.

9. The Forest of Hands and Teeth (The Forest of Hands and Teeth #1) by Carrie Ryan
5 out of 5 stars
"In Mary's world there are simple truths. The Sisterhood always knows best. The Guardians will protect and serve. The Unconsecrated will never relent. And you must always mind the fence that surrounds the village; the fence that protects the village from the Forest of Hands and Teeth. But, slowly, Mary’s truths are failing her. She’s learning things she never wanted to know about the Sisterhood and its secrets, and the Guardians and their power, and about the Unconsecrated and their relentlessness. When the fence is breached and her world is thrown into chaos, she must choose between her village and her future—between the one she loves and the one who loves her. And she must face the truth about the Forest of Hands and Teeth. Could there be life outside a world surrounded in so much death?"

Holy crap. I couldn't stop thinking about this novel once I finished it. All I wanted to do was pick it up and read it again. I wrote a review on here about it, read it. Read the book. Just do it. Quite a different dystopian society, tied in with zombies. Perfect. But the second two? Your stereotypical, cookie cutter dystopian books, with some zombie spice thrown in. I prefer to pretend this is a standalone.

10. Under the Dome by Stephen King
5 out of 5 stars
"On an entirely normal, beautiful fall day in Chester's Mill, Maine, the town is inexplicably and suddenly sealed off from the rest of the world by an invisible force field. Planes crash into it and fall from the sky in flaming wreckage, a gardener's hand is severed as "the dome" comes down on it, people running errands in the neighboring town are divided from their families, and cars explode on impact. No one can fathom what this barrier is, where it came from, and when -- or if -- it will go away.
Dale Barbara, Iraq vet and now a short-order cook, finds himself teamed with a few intrepid citizens -- town newspaper owner Julia Shumway, a physician's assistant at the hospital, a select-woman, and three brave kids. Against them stands Big Jim Rennie, a politician who will stop at nothing -- even murder -- to hold the reins of power, and his son, who is keeping a horrible secret in a dark pantry. But their main adversary is the Dome itself. Because time isn't just short. It's running out."

SO good! 1074 pages of awesomeness. I never got tired of it! Who knew so much could happen in a town stuck under a dome. Damn. And the ending? I never would've guessed! And please don't compare the show to this, they ruined the show. Just read the book.

Honorable Mentions:
Wither (The Chemical Chronicles #1) by Lauren DeStefano (as well as the second and third, Fever and Sever).
Perfect Ruin (The Internment Chronicles #1) by Lauren DeStefano (anxiously awaiting the second one, Burning Kingdoms!)
Buffy the Vampire Slayer (Season 8) by Joss Whedon, et al. (as well as season 9!)

What do you all think? Anything you'd add?