What are the things that you like/dislike about Y/A Dystopian novels?

July 18, 2013 Let's Discuss 4

If you know Chrys from Oh!Chrys, you must have stopped by one of her Let’s Discuss installment during Thursdays. I know I was hooked the first time I saw it. I was even more impressed upon reading all the witty, sarcastic, and praise worthy discussions that the participants have come up with that I was inspired to join the fun. Hence, this post.

And because Y/A dystopian novels have been the trend nowadays selling like pancakes among bookstores, I decided to discuss a topic that revolves around this particular book genre. More than ten years ago when I was young, innocent and naive, I haven’t known that such genre exists. It was only when a close of friend of mine introduced me to The Giver Series by Lois Lowry that I’ve started to tread on dystopian landscape. And even then, I did not immediately categorize it as it is and mistakenly classified it as Utopian. But I did enjoy the book. It was an eye opener helping me explore real life cultures that exhibit either dystopian or utopian qualities. The book is also the one factor that made me enjoy the usually boring Social Studies subject.

And then came one of the most beloved dystopian series in the reading world, The Hunger Games Series by Suzanne Collins. It was at that time that I was able to differentiate between dytopian and utopian (if there’s ever such a thing) novels. And just like The Giver, The Hunger Games left a remarkable impression on me as an average (average compared to you, guys because I’ve never met such book addicts in my whole life) reader. The Hunger Games series made a kind of impact that yearns me to keep searching for that another perfect dystopian novel.

Today, dystopian novels are being published everywhere, populating bookstores like rats to sewers. Some of them are good, some of them are poor rip-offs of THG, some of them are just crazy that you don’t what to say. But whether they are poor rip-offs or not, I think people are still buying them because they are either hooked to the series or heard good reviews about it or they’re searching for the perfect one only to be disappointed at the end.

As for me, I have these reasons to justify my spending for Y/A dystopian novels:

  • The Plot & the setting- Yes! Yes! I always look forward to the setting and the plot whenever I buy a dystopian. There’s no question about it. I want to know, to read on how will the author deliver the plot and describe a totalitarian setting. How he or she will convey the extremity of everything.
  • The adrenaline rush- THIS! That gripping and panting experience whenever you read a good dystopian book, it’s incomparable.
  • The culture of the society- It is fun and scary at the same time imagining the culture of dystopian societies. What if it happens to us in the near future? How will you arm yourself?
  • Tough heroes and heroines- Jeez! The HOPE that our heroes and heroines display is simply praise worthy. Their passion and emotional depth is contagious.
  • It’s a mirror of our society- Many dystopians are in one way a reflection of the dangers in our real world that we only see in patches. And it does help us realize to value the things that we are enjoying right now because it might not be available in the future.

And now, for my regrets…

  • The endless love triangle- Why oh why? Many dystopian novels are always leaning to suffer from this syndrome. Can’t the authors just get on with the story without sidetracking the readers with this cliche of an angle? Some authors think that it’s the only way to sell their books.
  • Loss of firepower- Have you ever read very good dystopian novels that suffered not only the second book but the 3rd syndrome as well? I hope someone can relate but I did experience this one. It ended but it just failed to reach its climax like the succeeding sequels are just fillers to sell more books. If you want to experience this, go ahead and read Ally Condie’s Matched Series.
  • Epic Beginning, Lackluster ending- Almost synonymous with bullet number 2. But this one pretty much wrapped up everything. And every book has another story to tell but the ending isn’t as explosive as the start. I did feel this one with James Dashner’s The Maze Runner Series.

How about you? What are things that you like or dislike about dystopian novels?

4 Responses to “What are the things that you like/dislike about Y/A Dystopian novels?”

  1. Reem Ibrahim

    I think I can agree with most of the points you made here! A lot of dystopias would be good if they didn't follow the strict rule of being a trilogy. Sometimes ridiculous plot devices are added to keep the story going, which makes me the the series all in all. And the love triangles?! I hate them! I have recently come across one that was done well, but that was the end of it.

    The thing I like the most about dystopias is the pacing. They are full of action and something is always happening. The thing I hate the most however is how all of them sound the same after a way. I once read a blurb for a book that was basically The Hunger Games with a different title. Not cool.

  2. Christine D.

    That 'loss of firepower' is so true. Like it begins with such a bang and excellent world-building and then it just slacks off. I do look forward to how they reflect our society though! Thanks for linking via Let's Discuss!

  3. Charlotte Fiel

    @Christine D.

    Thanks, Chrys. It's also one of the reasons why I have this habit of waiting for all the books in the series to come out because I'm afraid to get disappointed if the succeeding books turned out to be horrible.

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