My Top Three Dystopian Novels

If the release of the latest instalment of the Hunger Games franchise has left you thirsty for some more dystopian fiction, then there are countless novels to whet your appetite. From other dystopian novels aimed at a teenage audience to those targeted towards a more adult audience, the dystopian genre is one increasing in popularity and with good reason.

Scott Westerfeld’s Uglies

Uglies is the first novel in Westerfeld’s dystopian trilogy. Set in a world in which every teenager undergoes an operation to render them ‘pretty’ when they turn sixteen, Tally Youngblood is chomping at the bit  to come of age. Just like the Hunger Games, Uglies features a world of oppression and misery for its protagonist, a misery heightened and complicated when Tally falls in love.

Anyone who enjoyed the Hunger Games will love Uglies, with its similarly badass heroine. However, unlike Katniss’ unfaltering dedication to defying the oppressive regime she is faced with, Tally’s loyalties are far more easily swayed, making the novel an intriguing read.


Philip Reeve’s Mortal Engines

Mortal Engines is a fantastic young adult dystopian novel, the first in Reeve’s series of four instalments. Set in a post-apocalyptic future, London and the majority of other cities are now traction cities. Mobilised by wheels and raised from the barren ground, traction cities fuel their travels by hunting and devouring prey in the form of smaller, slower towns and dwellings.

In a brutal town-eat-town world, the teenagers of Reeve’s novel learn to question and challenge the status-quo of their society, whilst simultaneously manoeuvring and defying the norms of love and romance. However, unlike the romances of The Hunger Games and Uglies, the character’s love stories are relatively marginal throughout the novels, with concern focussed on assassination and terrorism attempts, as well as avoiding capture by pirates and Frankenstein-esque half-human, half-machine soldiers.


Margaret Atwood’s A Handmaid’s Tale

Set in an unspecified but near future, Atwood’s novel depicts a world ruled by an oppressive military dictatorship which has reduced many women to vehicles of sexual reproduction, due to declining birth rates. Offred is one of these women, her name indicating the man who

m she must produce of child for; she is literally ‘Of Fred’. 

Unlike The Hunger Games, Uglies and Mortal Engines, A Handmaid’s Tale is far less light hearted, with Offred’s tale exploring serious issues on the abuse and subjugation of women. Thought-provoking and filled with suspense, the novel is a must-read for any fan of dystopian fiction.

Image: Scott Westerfeld series: Flickr/SilverSumire

The Handmaid’s Tale: Flickr/Chris Drumm