All Book Reviews by Genre: Dystopian

Red Queen
Aveyard, Victoria
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!
Review:

An amazingly written book Red Queen will keep you on your toes. It is a dystopian book (a relatively new genre of books) and is filled with action and betrayal. It is the first book in a four book series (and the books are huge). Even though it has a lot of action in the book, it does have some lovey-dovey elements since the main character is a teenage girl. Completely unpredictable and does have a cliffhanger at the end. This is one of my favorite books of all time.

Reviewer grade: 8th

Reviewer's Name: Elizabeth C.
The Gender Game
Forrest, Bella
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!
Review:

Powerful women dominate the world...that is at least in the country Matrus. Across the toxic and poisonous Veil River lies Patrus. In contrast to Martrus Partrus is ruled by men. Women may not leave the house without her husband, and are under legal custody of the man. Though Matrus doesn't treat their men much better. The few men in Matrus have no power, but are free.
Violet Bates a Matrian citizen is given an opportunity to cross into Patrus or alternatively sentenced to death. With a rough past Violet must make a hard decision. Her fate lies in The Gender Game. This book is a dystopian romance nothing new on the surface. We have already seen that in Hunger Games and Divergent. What Bella Forrest does is create a complex environment which you can't help but be engulfed by. Not only that but The Gender Game shows perspectives of citizens of both Matrus and Patrus. You should read this book if you are a lover of dystopian books and suspense. Though I must say the first half of the book wasn't all that suspenseful but it perfectly set you up for the rest of the series. I'm sure you will find this two complex societies thrilling and it will be worth the read.

Reviewer's Name: McKenzie Woodhead
The Scorch Trials
Dashner, James
2 stars = Meh
Review:

As I read The Maze Runner , I couldn’t help but shake the feeling that the story was meant for a video game instead of a novel. The Scorch Trials merely confirms my suspicions. I mean, who in their right mind would acronym their organization with WICKED? While the first book in this series had a pretty straightforward goal (escape the maze), the sequel made no sense whatsoever.
OK, these kids escaped the maze, but then what? The idea of traveling to the “safe haven” seemed to come so late in the plot that it almost felt like an afterthought.

Concerning the characters, the main ones are still there, but so many of the ancillary minor characters are so forgettable as to be practically useless.
Brenda was added into the mix merely to elicit a “love triangle” between the two love interests of the first book, but it just felt forced . . . like everything else in The Scorch Trials. Survival doesn’t make for a great motivation unless there’s something to hope for in the long run. I never got much of a sense of any of the characters’ motivations since around every turn the world they found themselves in was trying to kill them in ridiculous and unbelievable ways.

I think what turns me off about this series the most is that the “hand of the author” is obviously visible throughout. Nothing feels natural, and the exposition is spotty and done in huge chunks based off of a lull in the action instead of as a result of it. Each time the characters face a new challenge, there seems to be no weight behind it, since most of the “challenges” are basically to generate a conflict between the characters and the unseen organization while providing no new information as to what any of it means.

A book that should have been a video game, I give The Scorch Trials 2.0 stars out of 5.

Reviewer's Name: Benjamin M. Weilert
The Ask and the Answer
Ness, Patrick
4 stars = Really Good
Review:

The Ask and the Answer is the second book of Patrick Ness's Chaos Walking series. In this continuation, we see the original characters Todd and Viola venture farther from home as they try to outrun the lies of their previous lives. This book is a wonderful mix of brilliant, sad, courageous, and painful. As soon as I finished this book, all I wanted to do was pick up the next one. Ness's writing style is unique, and the characters are relatable and real. The events that transpire throughout The Ask and the Answer provoke a wide range of emotions, which makes it engaging. I strongly recommend this book to anyone who has read the first Chaos Walking book, which is called The Knife of Never Letting Go.
Reviewer Grade: 11

Reviewer's Name: Sabrina J.
The Maze Runner
Dashner, James
3 stars = Pretty Good
Review:

Partly due to the success of The Hunger Games , the Young Adult genre swerved into the survival/sci-fi/dystopian genres that also allowed The Maze Runner to have a ready and willing audience. With this being the case, I’d almost say The Maze Runner has more utopian sensibilities since the narrative encourages teamwork for survival, instead of a “winner take all” emphasis presented in The Hunger Games that valued selfish ambitions over communistic altruism. Plus, if you put 50 teenage boys in a box with no adult supervision, I think the logical conclusion would be more along the lines of Lord of the Flies instead of solving a deadly maze.

While the premise was interesting and allowed for a constant and steady pacing of inciting events, I felt there was not enough explanation in this first part of the trilogy, with very few questions being answered by the end and a lot of hand-waving to push the characters forward to a conclusion. In fact, having seen the movie adaptation, I was hoping the book was better suited to explain the ending, but it was equally as confusing. That being said, there were key elements in the book (like the telepathy) that didn’t make it into the movie.

Overall, the few main characters in The Maze Runner were interesting and unique, even if it took some of them two years to even figure out the simplest parts of the maze. Still, fear can be a huge hindrance toward progress, so I guess I understand their predicament. Additionally, despite using a euphemistic system of swears as part of the characters’ unique jargon, I couldn’t help but think that this book would have been a lot more inappropriate for a young adult audience if the actual swear words were used instead.

An interesting premise with engaging characters, I give The Maze Runner 3.5 stars out of 5.

Reviewer's Name: Benjamin M. Weilert
The Scorch Trials
Dashner, James
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!
Review:

The first installment of James Dashner’s post-apocalyptic trilogy, entitled “The Maze Runner” has been hailed by critics around the globe as a ground-breaking and masterfully crafted novel. Dashner managed to exceed the status quo with his alluring and mysterious story. Now with the second installment to the series having been released, readers are begging the question, “Does ‘The Scorch Trials’
live up to the expectations set by Dashner’s previous novel?” Well, after having read and thoroughly reflected upon the novel, I am pleased to say that this book did a wonderful job of transitioning the narrative forward!

The narrative picks up where the last left off, with Thomas and the rest of the ‘Gladers’ having discovered that they bear participation to a sick experiment, hosted by leaders of a post-apocalyptic world. Thomas must come to terms with this truth, while also trying to discover more information about the strange reality he is now confronted with.

One of the most signature characteristics of Dashner’s novels are the unpredictable plotlines. It always seems that there is information hanging above the reader’s foresight, with twists and turns following each turn of the page. The grand puzzle of the Maze is yet to be solved in its entirety, so as the narrative continues, readers are left to form their own speculations.
However, that’s not to say that Dashner doesn’t leave clues for readers to catch. His use of foreshadowing is masterful, and its application in his writing makes for a wonderful reading experience.

I would certainly recommend continuing onto this read from the last, as the world first introduced by Dashner in the last novel is expanded upon in wonderful and creative ways. Whether you enjoyed the first installment for its enthralling plot, or its mysterious narrative, you’ll be pleased with Dashner’s continuation of the story, as it has brought a whole new level of masterpiece to his trilogy.

Reviewer's Grade Level: 10

Reviewer's Name: Ethan M.
Fish Tails
Tepper, Sheri S.
4 stars = Really Good
Review:

I decided to choose the book because it looked like it would tell a great story and it did. I liked the book due to its great lessons inside about the imperfections of our minds, but the greatness of them too. The part I enjoyed most was the journey f the main characters and how they didn't change their personalities and stayed focused on the topic. The part I didn't really enjoy was that the story went kinda slow. The book was pretty predictable, but the lessons and thoughts behind you need to think more about to get, so it was still entertaining to read. It was an amazing book to read and I definitely recommend it.
Reviewer Grade: 10

Reviewer's Name: Inayah V.
The Giver
Lowry, Lois
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!
Review:

The Giver, written by Lois Lowry, was about a boy named Jonas who is about to turn twelve. Jonas lives in a community where everything is the same and fair, because with any differences it can cause arguments. Because everything is the same, everyone gets bicycles at the same age, gets their job at the Ceremony of Twelve, and is only allowed to have one boy and one girl child in their "family unit". When the Ceremony of Twelve arrives, Jonas has no idea what job he is going to get, but lots of kids his age do. When the day finally comes, he gets told that he has the rarest and highest of honor job there is- he gets to see memories from a long time ago in history. The person training him, or as Jonas calls him, the Giver, gives him memories of a long long time ago when things were way more strange. Everything in his community is the same- that means no colors, animals, and everyone is treated the same.
The Giver shows him some very important memories, and Jonas sets out on a quest to show everyone these memories that he has. I really enjoyed this book, and it was not predictable. A thing that I enjoyed about the book is that it shows how Jonas started to change and act different, for the better, when the Giver gave him more memories.
Reviewer grade: 8

Reviewer's Name: Riley C.
the maze runner
Dashner, James
3 stars = Pretty Good
Review:

In recent years, the "Post-Apocalyptic" book genre has taken the world by
storm- filling book shelves and enthralling readers all around the globe. But with the rising popularity of this market, an influx of new books have followed, and as such, it has become harder and harder for readers to find good post-apocalyptic novels. For the case of "The Maze Runner", one of the most popular novels in the genre, James Dashner has managed to exceed the status quo and produce a tremendous read.

The story is set in a distant future, where a group of teens are mysteriously teleported into a giant, stone maze. Not only has their memory been cleared, but they also have no indication as to why they have ended up in this position and what means they must take to escape.

Their situation complicates even further, given that the maze doors close every evening. During the night, vicious monsters roam free and devour any humans in their way. The teens, who have declared themselves “Grovers”, attempt to map the maze, but doing so poses obvious threats to their safety.

Enter Thomas, a new “Grover” arriving in the maze. As he learns his way about this new reality, the story follows his point of view in first person perspective. Thomas eventually comes to terms with living as a Grover, but one night, as he crosses into the outer layer of the maze, his world is turned inside out.

Over time, Thomas must confront these imminent struggles, while also attempting to solve the grand puzzle of the maze. Readers are kept on edge through the entire novel, with hidden twists and turns on every turn of the chapter.

I would certainly recommend this read for teens and adults alike. While it’s true that the novel is aimed at a young demographic, its plot is engaging for even some of the most mature readers. The ending simply cannot be predicted, leaving readers to make their own speculations about the mysterious origins of the maze.

One complaint I might file is that there is somewhat of a lack of character development. The plot is so action-packed that it would see Dashner decided to leave out some of the more subtle nuances of a good novel.

If you decide to not read this novel, I would suggest as an alternative “The Lord of the Flies” by William Golding. The plot bears some parallels to that of the Maze Runner, but makes up for a majority of its imperfections.

Overall, “The Maze Runner” stands to be a top-quality post-apocalyptic teen-novel, making for an engaging read. The story sheds light on the natural instincts of teens under true isolation. In doing so, it echoes a number of themes which leave readers to draw meaningful questions about life, nature, and the purpose of humanity.

Reviewers Grade: 10

Reviewer's Name: Ethan M.
Awards:
A blue background with a white mockingjay with its wing's spread.
Collins, Suzanne
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!
Review:

How might you survive in a post-apocalyptic world, wherein innocent citizens are pooled off to fight to the death in a violent, reality TV show? The "Hunger Games" trilogy, by Suzanne Collins, raises this question to readers, and through the course of the first two novels, Collins expands readers'
scope on morality and raises meaningful questions about modern society.
"Mockingjay", the last installment to the trilogy, takes this series to new depths, continuing the enthralling tale of Panem.

"Catching Fire", the book's prequel, left off with Katniss escaping the Quarter Quell arena, alongside most of her fellow tributes. While she was able to return safely, Peter and another tribute were taken captive by the Capitol. At this point in the narrative, a full fledged rebellion had begun to take route, and at its helm, is President Coin, from District 13.

District 13 was initially thought of as being in ruins, but secretly, the society still operates underground. Haymitch, along with political figures in District 13, work beside Katniss to inspire the other districts to join in their fight. As the rebellion rages on, Katniss serves her role as a figurehead, while in truth, she would prefer to join the fight head-on.

The battles soon draw nearer to Panem, and as they do, Katniss begins to question the true intent of this new regime. Ultimately, she makes a decision, tearing ties with some of her closest allies and pushing the narrative to new heights.

I began reading this installment to the series immediately after the last, and can say that I'm pleasantly surprised with it. One of the main reasons why I enjoyed the other novels so dearly, was because of the presence of powerful and thought-provoking themes. Under that regard, this novel certainly exceeds expectations.

One complaint I might file is that while the plot is outstanding, Katniss' character development may seem a bit underwhelming. I felt that her story arc never reached its true finish, and for this reason, the book left me a bit unsatisfied. Other than that, there are really only minor imperfections, some of which, you may not even take issue with.

Overall, I would pin my recommendation on this novel. While it was lacking in certain areas, Collins continues to engage readers with a novel that I honestly consider to be timeless. The powerful themes echoed through her writing have truly led me to draw meaningful thoughts about my life, reality, and shifting morals in the 21st century.

Reviewer's Grade Level: 10

Reviewer's Name: Ethan M.
Genres:
Upside down crown dripping red against a sliver background
Aveyard, Victoria
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!
Review:

In the book Red Queen we first meet the main character, Mare. Who lives in a small town nicknamed,The Stilts with her best friend Kilorn. There is a war going on so Mare is frighten because she will drafted. Why?
Strangely because her blood is red; in this world there are two types of people Slivers (with sliver blood) and reds (with red blood). Sliver's have what is well described as supernatural powers, oh and they hate reds. So when Mare finds out that Kilorn lost his job and has to be drafted as well, she runs away to a tavern where she meets someone very interesting; who gets her a job working for the sliver king while there she discovers something very strange about herself. She catches the attention of the king and has to leave her family. What did she find out and will her life change for better or worse? Read Red Queen to find out. Grade: A+

Reviewer's Name: Anna G.
Cinder
Meyer, Marissa
4 stars = Really Good
Review:

The idea of Cinder is nothing new; it is a retelling of a fairytale, Cinderella. I picked up this book expecting a rip-off of Ella Enchanted, but I got a very decent dystopian science fiction story instead. The titular Cinder character is easily the best part of this novel. She is clever, witty, and resourceful. I also enjoyed the new spins the author put on the classic fairytale. Instead of a glass slipper, Cinder wears a cybernetic metal foot.
Peony, one of Cinder’s stepsisters, goes out of her way to be kind to Cinder. The main antagonist reminded me more of the evil queen from Snow White than any Cinderella character, which was a bit of a disappointment.
Despite the fact that Cinder regularly ventures out of her home, none of the settings wowed me the way a dystopian story is supposed to. Additionally, the major plot twist is predictable from the second chapter, and by the time it is revealed, the reader has been banged over the head with so much foreshadowing that the moment loses its power.
Reviewer Grade: 9

Reviewer's Name: Caroline J.
The Crown
Cass, Kiera
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!
Review:

This is the last book in “The Selection” series. However it is just as good as the previous books. “The Crown” is part of a series and so reading the books in order will keep you from being very confused. There really isn't a cliffhanger in the book because it is the last in the series.
But the book is still unpredictable and grabs your attention. If you like romance stories read “The Crown”. It is beautifully written and is one of the best books I have read this year.
Reviewer Grade: 8

Reviewer's Name: Elizabeth C.
The Heir
Cass, Kiera
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!
Review:

The fourth book in “The Selection” series starts a new “Selection”
with the new generation of royalty (don't worry the characters from the previous books are still in the story). Since “The Heir” is part of a series (all of the books) should be read in chronological order for better understanding of the stories. This is another amazing book in an overall amazing series. For any romance book lovers please read “The Heir” (I seriously beg you). Not at all predictable and with a cliffhanger or two this book will steal all your attention. Definitely on my top ten list of best books I have read this year!
Reviewer Grade: 8

Reviewer's Name: Elizabeth C.
The One
Cass, Kiera
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!
Review:

The third book of “The Selection” will keep you on your toes. This book may be the third book in a five book series however, it is the last book about Prince Maxon’s “Selection”. The entire book (until the end, of
course) you will be asking what happens next. If you enjoy romance books READ THIS BOOK!!! Since this book is apart of a series if you read the books in order it will make a lot more sense. This is a completely unpredictable book, you will never know what will happen on the next page. It was definitely one of the best books I have read EVER!
Reviewer Grade: 8

Reviewer's Name: Elizabeth C.
The Elite
Cass, Kiera
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!
Review:

"The Elite" is the second book in "The Selection" series. Since it is part of a five book series it will make a lot more sense if you read the books in order. If you like to read romance books please read "The Elite".
This book is amazing and will have your attention from start to finish. The story and some of the characters are relatable to the reader. The book is unpredictable and there is a cliffhanger or two waitiing at the end. It is one of the best books I have read all year! If you need a good book to read, "The Elite" is waiting for you.
Reviewer Grade: 8

Reviewer's Name: Elizabeth C.
The Selection
Cass, Kiera
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!
Review:

"The Selection" is a beautifully written novel. For anyone who likes romance books "The Selection" is a great book to read. This book is completely unpredictable and contains a cliffhanger. "The Selection" is the first book in a five book series and the books will make much more sense if you read them in order. The main character and some parts of the story is relatable to the reader. This is one of the best books I have read this year.
If you have not yet read "The Selection" please do!
Reviewer Grade: 8th

Reviewer's Name: Elizabeth C.
The Scorch Trials
Dashner, James
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!
Review:

The Scorch Trials, the second book in The Maze Runner series, was very good. I enjoyed the book because it was very interesting, and the book had lots that surprised me. This book is about when Thomas and his friends, or the "gladers," finally find a way to escape the maze, and are led to a place they can sleep in, eat, and relax. The gladers are shocked when, just a while later, they are locked in and can not get out. A strange man arrives a couple days later when they are confused, hungry and have no idea what is going on. The man tells the gladers that they need to go through phase two of something called the Trials. This part of the Trials is when they are forced to walk across a scorching hot desert, with people called "cranks" who are people who have an illness that makes them go crazy. The gladers were all threatened that they have the virus, and they would get the cure when they finish. All of the gladers decided to go, because if they didn't, someone would execute them. The story is told by Thomas's point of view, and what happens to him while he is completing phase two of the Trials. This book wasn't predictable to me, and it definitely surprised me with some things happening in it.
Reviewer grade: 8

Reviewer's Name: Riley C.
Outline of a bird against a yellow orb set on a red background
Collins, Suzanne
4 stars = Really Good
Review:

"Catching Fire" by Suzanne Collins, the sequel to her ever-popular "Hunger Games" novel, certainly bears a heavy burden of doubling-up on the success of her last installment. When I first began reading the novel, I dreaded that my interest in the story might slip away from me. However, as I continued to read, every turn of the page seemed more enjoyable than the last; and eventually, it became clear to me that Collins has done a phenomenal job with sustaining readers' attention and transitioning the story into a new narrative.

When readers left off in the last novel, Katniss and Peeta, in unison, emerged victorious as the winners of the 74th annual Hunger Games. As Katniss returns to district 12 though, she struggles with accepting the realization that her life will never be the same. Her feelings of dread culminate when she shares a conversation with President Snow, who threatens the life of her family if Katniss does not abide by his orders.

Snow, and other leaders in the Capitol, have seen Katniss' acts as rebellious, and will do whatever it takes to suppress uprisings. Namely, they devise a plan to host a special for the 75th hunger games, composed of the victors of previous rounds. This puts Katniss in a convenient position for the Capitol leaders, as she is the only female tribute to have ever won from district 12.

Katniss, Peeta, and the district 12 mentors find out about this news during their victory tour, in which Katniss is paraded over Panem and forced to keep peace amongst the districts. Helpless, Katniss and Peeta eventually come to accept the reality of their situation and prepare for the games. Under the council of Haymitch, they make allies with the other tributes, and as the story continues, their defiance manifests into a full-fledged rebellion.

I started reading this book immediately after the last and can say that I am pleasantly surprised with it. Collin's was able to meet the fans' expectations with this new novel, while also throwing in a number of unforeseen plot twists.

One complaint I might file with this novel is that the story parallels the first book in the trilogy too closely. At times while reading, the plot felt repeated, as if Collins' was reusing many of the same plot points from "The Hunger Games".

If you decide not to continue on with this next novel, I would pin my recommendation on "The Maze Runner". The story is similar to "The Hunger Games", but unique enough to engage your intrigue.

Overall, Catching Fire stands to be an excellent sequel to Collins' first book in the trilogy. While it's true that at times this book feels like a repeat of the last, I can say with near certainty that it will surprise you in ways you will not have expected. In the way that the first novel gave you a glimpse of Panem, Catching Fire truly immerses you in the story.

Grade 10

Reviewer's Name: Ethan M.
The Hunger Games
Collins, Suzanne
4 stars = Really Good
Review:

Ever since the release of Suzanne Collin's dystopian novel "The Hunger Games", her work has garnered international acclaim from some of the world's most reputable critics. Adopted into a series of wildly popular films and having been printed more than 23 million times, the staggering success of her novel begs the question, "Does The Hunger Games truly live up to its notoriety?" Well in fact, after having read it multiple times, I can personally say that it far exceeded my expectations.

After the ruin of North America and the collapse of democracy, an authoritarian government arises. In order to maintain oversight of its people, the capitol divides its dominions into twelve districts, each specializing in a different pursuit. Every year, the capitol hosts "The Hunger Games", in which a boy and girl from each district are randomly pooled into a survival competition. Participants must fight to the death in a futuristic arena, all the while being broadcasted live on TV.

Enter Katniss Everdeen, a 16-year-old teenager from the impoverish District 12. In an effort to protect her sister, she volunteers as a tribute to the game, but as she heads to the capital, she realizes that her life will never be the same. Through the course of the story, Katniss struggles to balance her conflicting emotions, and comes to understand the harsh reality of life in Panem.

As Katniss makes these revelations, the reader has the chance to pick up on a number of powerful themes, examples of which include the dangers of reality shows, the ever-growing obsession with fashion trends, and the consequences of desensitization to violence. Not only is this novel an action-packed and engaging read, but it also leads readers to share meaningful conversations about changing ideologies in the 21st century.

I picked up this read after watching the book-inspired film, and have been pleasantly surprised with it. While the movie makes fair and accurate adaptions to the story, it misses out on many of the themes presented in the books. For this reason, I would certainty recommend continuing on to read the novel after watching the movie, as there is plenty of unique content from the book. If you have not watched the movie, I would advise even stronger to pick up this read. For the reasons previously mentioned and more, I honestly am so glad to have read this book.

One complaint I might bring up is that while a large majority of book readers are young, the novel has some extremely gruesome scenes. If you are to read this book, be forewarned of violence. Furthermore, I found some passages difficult to read, due to the choppy-sentence structure used by Collins. This may just be a personal preference, but I felt that it was of detriment to the story.

Overall, "The Hunger Games" will certainty appeal to teens 13 and up and leave readers with discussion points about government, free-speech, sacrifice, moral desensitization, and other thought-provoking themes. It mixes an enthralling plot with rich and powerful messages- a formula bound for literary success.

Reviewer Grade 10

Reviewer's Name: Ethan M.

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