Posts Tagged ‘dystopian fiction’

Moneyland by Michael Botur

February 9, 2018 Comments off

MoneylandMoneyland by Michael Botur. Pub. 2017. 

This book for high school students and young adults will give you a bit of a jolt. The language is choice in places and it is about some of the most loathsome teenagers I have ever read about.

The scenario is a good one though. Take a group of teenagers, give them a million dollars each and put them under a glass dome world for a year to fend for themselves. Can they do it without imploding?

The novel starts with the words being spat out like the author was in a fit of pique and it keeps up a torrid pace. Eden is a teenager who wants to lose her virginity and get the million bucks and have a cushy life. She may very well get the first option but the cushy life is way off the mark.

All the characters are shockers. They bully, talk badly to each other, have no sense of direction, have no clues of how to organise themselves, have no loyalty and basically deserve what is coming to them. Did they have a choice? Well it is set in 2037 in a World dominated by robots and mechanical Artificial Intelligence beings. Most humans have no work and no future and divided into two camps – Mech lovers or luddites. Perhaps this is a dystopian future.

Ideas in this novel seem to be drawn from Stephen kings TV series The Dome and William Goldings Lord of the Flies with the language spoken by the characters much like Anthony Burgess’s A Clockwork Orange.

I did like the novel but English teachers are probably going to throw their arms in the air in horror. Check it out some will love it. It is totally irreverent.

Arc of the Scythe Book 1. Scythe by Neal Shusterman.

January 8, 2018 Comments off

shalt killArc of the Scythe Book 1. Scythe by Neal Shusterman. Pub. Walker books, 2018

This first novel in a new series for readers who enjoyed the Hunger Games will mesmerise you. You will have to keep reading long after your eyes are telling you to go to sleep.

The Age of Mortality is over. Humankind has defeated death, all economic inequalities have been levelled and government is by an entity known as Thunderhead. The population still expands by the usual process and so the level needs to be controlled by putting people at random to death. The process is called Gleaning.

The selection process and the gleaning is done by specially selected humans called Scythes whose first commandment is Thou Shalt kill. The Scythes are both feared and revered in society and a visit from one means usually someone in your family has to die. To resist or to hurt a Scythe is punishable by death to your whole family. While Thunderhead controls and sees everything, Scythes are outside this control

People accept that this must be the way and between chapters of the book are excerpts from the Gleaning Journal by H.S. Curie and other Scythes who make comments about the process and philosophical arguments, for and against, are made throughout the novel.

The action revolves around a decent man Scythe Faraday, who takes no pleasure in the selection and gleaning of people. As a result of two gleanings Scythe Faraday selects two 16 year olds to be his apprentices, Citra and Rowan. The two like each other but such relationships are banned.

At the end of a years apprenticeship only one of them is to become a scythe. Which one? But there are rumblings and growing corruption within the Scythes. A decision at the first Conclave of Scythes is to increase the tensions between Scythe Faraday’s two apprentices.

Brilliantly conceived idea from Neal Shusterman and superbly written in short chapters with the background to the Scythe and their roles between chapters. I believe the film rights have already been picked up so get in early before the film ruins the books.

Compulsive reading.

This Mortal Coil by Emily Suvada.

November 4, 2017 Comments off

mortal coilThis Mortal Coil by Emily Suvada. Pub. Penguin Random House, 2017.

This Young Adult novel can be described as science meets literature and indeed literature meets science. Mortal Coil from Shakespeare and the double helix coil that is the shape of human DNA. Very clever from a very intelligent and literate writer.

It is set in a dystopian world in which gene technology and software rule the planet through a conglomerate called Cartaxus. The World is swimming in toxins and Cartaxus seized control by offering people implantable panels in which are embedded gene control codes that allow them to survive. These panels respond to electronic pulses sent from outside and actually grow inside the body. Most Cartaxus people live underground.

Human gene editing is at the heart of everything until a virus called Hydra begins to infect the planet with clouds of explosive toxins for which there is no cure. Humanity is threatened with extinction.

Dr Lachlan Agatta who reluctantly worked for Cartaxus was a genius who wrote codes to protect people through their implanted panels. Before his death he wrote a code for a vaccine that could nullify Hydra. Cunningly he hid the code inside his 17 year old daughter Catarina without her knowledge and told her to hide outside the Cartaxus World. Catarina is a genius just like her father.

Catarina who narrates this novel, survives in the wild for a couple of years  with help from the underground resistance called Skies. Then one day a superbly wired up Cartaxus soldier comes looking for Catarina asking for help to write the code to destroy Hydra before it is too late. His name is Cole and there is chemistry between him and Catarina which both are trying to avoid. This brings a romantic side to this astonishing story. Together they find out some extraordinary information and have crises and adventures that will blow your mind. The World is at stake.

Superbly written as the science is complicated yet plausible and the reader must be able to understand what is going on to enjoy the story. Emily Suvada achieves this with some panache and keeps the drama up from start to finish.

If you like Rick Yancey’s series The 5th Wave you will love this. The best scifi novel I have read in years.

The White Rose by Amy Ewing

August 30, 2016 Comments off

white roseThe White Rose by Amy Ewing. Pub. Walker books, 2015.

This book has been with me for a while now and I have finally got around to reading it and I am so glad I did. It is the second part of a trilogy the first of which is reviewed on my blog below. At the start all hell has broken loose inside the Jewel after Violet and Ash were found in bed together. The Duchess of the Lake, a cruel nasty bitch, is after blood. Lucien the male Lady -in -waiting orchestrates the escape of Ash and Violet with the help of The Duchess’s rebellious son Garnet. There are victims but you will need to read the novel to find out who they are. Where is Raven the girl who entered Surrogacy with Violet?

The escapees are headed for the fourth outer ring of Lone City known as The Farm but first they must escape The Bank and The Smoke with the Duchess and her Regimentals in hot pursuit. It is nail biting action with the presence of The Black Key a crucial link.

Finally they arrive at The White Rose but what is it all about? Well Royalty have taken and used whoever and whatever they like. There are huge disparities between the rich inside the Jewel and the people outside and they have had enough. The city has rotted for too long and there is a sense of utter hopelessness from the workers in the Smoke. A Revolution is in the air but part 3 will be where it is told.

Violet has a crucial role to play because of her Augury or talent of Growth.

Masterfully told by Amy Ewing, great dystopian fiction mixed with fantasy and a modern realism. For high school students and young adults. The link to part 1 Jewel is here:-

Flawed by Cecelia Ahern.

April 5, 2016 Comments off

flawedFlawed by Cecelia Ahern. Pub. HarperCollins, 2016.

This is one of the most stunning dystopian fiction novels for young adults that I have ever read.

Set in a country much like Scotland, in a city much like Edinburgh, with a population that are led and infected by the most extreme and cruelest Knoxian ethics and values. This is one of the most cruel yet brilliant novels I have read.

The main character is 17 year old Celestine who is a near perfect teenager, doesn’t rock the boat and goes along with society’s rules without question. Before she was born there was a great recession in which the banks folded, the Government collapsed and the economy ravaged. The nation responded by rooting out all the bad decision makers and every person who made an error of judgement whether it be ethical or otherwise.

These people were judged to be flawed and were branded on a part of their bodies that reflect the flaw. Daily trials were held presided by three power judges. The events were televised like reality TV and became the source of the nations entertainment and celebrities but were mainly used  to root out undesirables. The judges were very powerful and the most powerful was Crevan father of Celestine’s boyfriend, Art.

Those  branded flawed have a terrible life, much worse than under Apartheid and treated as outcasts by those who considered themselves more worthy. Celestine is about to find out what this all means and so are you the reader.

In an incident on a bus Celestine shows humanity towards a Flawed old man. This is illegal and she appears before the court and suffers the most cruel treatment of any character I have read about. It will stun you but you will strongly empathise with Celestine and feel her pain.

The novel not only shows man’s inhumanity to man but it asks the question Can you breed perfection  and can imperfection be bred out? Is anybody perfect? and it shows how power must always be checked.

Beautifully written without a word out of place. It amazed me that Cecelia Ahern wrote it in 6 weeks and then tuned it up. This woman can write. The chapters are short and you can’t stop reading. I read it long into the night and at times had to put it down and walk around while digesting what I was reading. Hell I hope Celestine is alright.

There is going to be a sequel to this novel out in 2017. If there is a 10 out of 10 novel this year this is it.

Unworthy by Joanne Armstrong

July 3, 2015 Comments off

unworthyUnworthy by Joanne Armstrong. Self published, 2014.

This is one of the best dystopian fiction novels by a New Zealand author that I have read. It demands a sequel and I expect one is already underway.

Arcadia is 17 years old and deemed “unworthy” by the ruthless and controlling Polis who rule the island population that is remarkably like the South island of New Zealand.

On Arcadia’s arm is a cross that signifies her unworthiness. At birth she was weak and sickly and like all similar babies is left outside at night in a ritualistic circle and is expected to die. She doesn’t and is brought up by a man she knows as grandfather, in a hub where she has no rights and is treated as a pariah. Her life is about to change big time.

The Polis who are strictly regimented took control of the island after an illness swept the World and anarchy reigned over their island reducing the population  from 4 million to just over 1 million. Now the Polis rule from a big City and the population live in small hubs that are strictly controlled. The Polis say they want to strengthen the human species by looking after the strong and whittling out the weak. Every child is subjected to the same test.

Captain Alexander Hayes is a young soldier who is summoned by the General to locate and escort Arcadia from her hub of Greytown  to the Polis City.  This undercover, action packed and tense journey is stunning but you will have to read the novel to find out all about it.

In line with the subject matter this novel is clinically written with not a word out of place. The novel is narrated by Arcadia and her shifting relationship with Captain Hayes is a highlight, as is the landscape through which they travel.

The journey and the city will provide the stunning answers to Arcadia’s identity, past, survival and family and of the true nature of the Polis.

If you miss this one you will kick yourself. For high school students and Young adults.

This novel can be purchased in digital format at  or in print and kindle format at

The Jewel by Amy Ewing

September 6, 2014 Comments off

jewelThe Jewel by Amy Ewing. Pub. Walker Books, 2014.

This novel totally fascinated me from beginning to end. It is a sort of dystopian fantasy creating a world that is futuristic, fantastic and totally believable. Like the court of Louis XIV only modern.

Set on an island protected by a sea wall the society created is in five concentric circles at the heart of which is the Jewel or the Royal Palace and all the ruling Aristocratic families. The life here is totally extravagant. Status is their occupation and gossip their currency.

Outside the Jewel is an area called The Bank. The professional, banking district whose residents fawn on the Jewel and conduct the business of the island. The current Empress of the island is from the Bank and this causes a great deal of resentment amongst the ruling families. Murder is common.

Next layer out is the Smoke. Factories that drive the economy with harsh Dickensian working conditions. outside this layer is the Farm lands. Again harsh working conditions and poverty.

The lowest of the low is the Marsh lands. The heroine of this novel Violet is from this poverty stricken land. The irony of it all is that the families from the Jewel cannot produce babies that live long and the girls from the Marsh are used as surrogate mothers to produce royal heirs.

The girls are tested at age 12 to see if they are suitable, then trained in holding facilities and tested for three qualities called Auguries until they are 16  related to Colour, shape and growth and only special girls can do the business. The girls are known as Surrogates and are auctioned off to the highest bidder.

Violet  is highly  ranked at 197 out of 200 surrogates and  she is expected to carry a child who will inherit all that is royal. She  is bought by The Duchess of the Lake, a vicious bitch who ruthlessly deals to anyone who is in the way. Can Violet survive?

Then she meets Ash.

You have got to get into this one. The detail of the society is impressive as Amy Ewing sets up the the trilogy that this is to become. The clothes, the Balls, the extravagant living, the intrigue and the ritual of testing the Auguries and conceiving a child are just breath taking.

High school and young adult in appeal. You have never read anything like this before. Compulsive.