All Book Reviews by Genre: Dystopian

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.
The Knife of Never Letting Go
Ness, Patrick
4 stars = Really Good
Review:

What a fabulous beginning to a fabulous series. Todd, the 13-year-old main character, has lived in Prentisstown all his life, but he soon discovers he knows nothing about the city at all. In fact, his whole life has been a lie.
As Todd and his dog, Manchee, run from the dangerous truth, more and more of Todd's presumptions about the New World are busted. This book is gripping, enticing, and heartbreaking all at once. I adore all the characters, and after having read the entire trilogy, I feel as if I know the characters like siblings.

However, there is one problem for me with this book. One of the antagonists is extremely exaggerated, to a point that it almost seems goofy. This interrupts the heroic and innocent tone. Despite this, I would absolutely recommend this book; you will be immediately sucked in to Patrick Ness's world.
Reviewer Grade: 11

Reviewer's Name: Sabrina J.
The Maze runner
Dashner, James
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!
Review:

I first picked up this book expecting a lot. I was not disappointed. The Maze Runner is about a group of boys stuck at the middle of a dangerous and foreboding maze in a synthetic world. This has been the same for as long as the oldest ones can remember, but upon Thomas's arrival to the maze, strange things begin to happen. This book is full of twists and turns, and Dashner writes with an amazing aptitude for suspense and surprise. I have not read the following books yet, but I intend to, as this book was more than worth reading. I strongly recommend it, as it is powerful, suspenseful, and just downright intriguing. As of right now, it is one of my all-time favorite dystopians.
Reviewer Grade: 11

Reviewer's Name: Sabrina J.
Awards:
Book Review: The Selection
Cass, Kiera
3 stars = Pretty Good
Review:

I'm an adult and I made the mistake of reading two teen dystopian romances in a row. I'm going to have to take some steel wool to my skin to get the angst off.

This book is okay. Teens that love dystopian romances will love it. To me it was vapid and reminiscent of a teen Bachelor. Once again, I'm not the target audience. It's probably unfair to the book for me to even review it. Oh well.

Reviewer's Name: vfranklyn
Cinder
Meyer, Marissa
3 stars = Pretty Good
Review:

It's not the book's fault that it got 3 stars. I'm just not the target audience. I think that if I read this as a teenager I would give it 4 or 5 stars. That said, it was a good story. It's a dystopian Cinderella story involving a cyborg with a shrouded past, a young emporer, and an evil queen. Not too shabby.

Reviewer's Name: vfranklyn
The Maze Runner
Dashner, James
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!
Review:

I have read this book a total of four times and cannot get enough. The story is of teens being forced into a maze and having to think of a creative way to get out. With grievers which are the monsters that haunt the maze and thrilling action on every page it leaves me wanting more every time I read this book. I picked this book since I have a love for action and adventure movies and after hearing that this movie was coming out I decided to read the book. I enjoyed the action of the story and how much I could relate to the story. The only thing I did not like about the book is that the story line was slow or stuck at certain points during the story. It was overall very exciting and kept me up for hours. The book was moderately predictable although I was not sure whether they would or would not make it out of the maze. It was definitely one of the best books I have ever read and would highly suggest it.
Reviewer: Grade 9

Reviewer's Name: Sarah C.
Awards:
children of eden
Graceffa, Joey
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!
Review:

Joey Graceffa's book, Children of Eden, tells a beauty story of love and wonder. Eden, an artificial "paradise" created after the eco-fail, has a population control of only two kids. Unfortunately for Rowan, she is classified as a second child. She is not allowed outside of her cottage in one of the inner rings of Eden. One night, she is angry with her brother, Ash, for not remembering what Lark, Ash's crush who Rowan knows like a best friend although she's never met her, was wearing that day. In result, she climbs the stone wall isolating her from Eden, and into a world of fascination.

I honestly fell in complete love with this book and read it in 2 hours. You won't be able to put it down! For all the sci-fi readers out there, here's a good one for you!

Reviewer Grade: 8

Reviewer's Name: Kristin V.
Cinder
Meyer, Marissa
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!
Review:

I have read this book multiple times and it never gets old! There are plenty of Cinderella stories out there, but do they have Lunar cyborgs who can manipulate your thoughts at the drop of a hat? Do they have flying cars and a deadly virus set out on killing every human that contracted it? Cinder is a riveting and unique tale that Meyers wrote incredibly well! She managed to take an ordinary story and turn it into something so unique and amazing. I would 100% recommend this book to anyone who enjoys fantasy!

Reviewer's Name: Marina G.
red queen
Aveyard, Victoria
2 stars = Meh
Review:

Red Queen by Victoria Aveyard reminds the reader that anyone can betray anyone. At the beginning of the book, Mare meets Farley, the leader of a group called the Scarlet Guard, a group that strives for equality between those with silver blood and those with red. Later, Mare, a red, gets a job at the royal palace because she talks to the prince, who decides to hire her. On her first day of the job, a freak accident causes her to get the power to create and control lightning. Because only silvers are supposed to have powers, the royal family decides to lie about her backstory and have her become the new princess. Mare and her new fiancé, Mavis, join the Scarlet Guard in order to give reds and silvers equal rights. In the end, Mavis reveals to Mare that he had been using her all along and attempts to kill her, but fails.

Red Queen was a total disappointment. I have heard so many people saying that it is a great book, and I know it was nominated for the Blue Spruce awards, but I don’t see why. It’s like the author combined the plots of Hunger Games, The Selection, and Divergent. I love all those books, but I was hoping for something more unique. It was the most like Hunger Games, with the people in the districts like the reds, and the people in the Capital are like the Silvers. Also, most of the main characters were annoying, unlikable, and impossible to grow attached to. I thought it was fine at the beginning, but it lost my interest as it went on. I thought that the parts with the Scarlet Guard were very boring. The book in my opinion would have been much better without the Scarlet Guard. Also, the book does not provide any information of how their society came to be that way, something that should be included in any dystopian novel. I want to know how the Silvers came to be, and how they got their powers. I didn’t like how they wanted to fight against the silvers because of inequality between reds and silvers, holding all the silvers responsible for what only a few government officials did. Red Queen was hugely overrated, and I will not be finishing the series.

Reviewer in Grade 8

Reviewer's Name: Nicole B.
Unwind
Shusterman, Neal
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!
Review:

Unwind, a novel written by Neal Shusterman, is a fiction book that is about the adventures of three teenagers that have been chosen to be unwound by their parents. Unwinding is basically the process of cutting apart an individual in order to have each parts of their body to be used to save others. In the book, it is something that parents may decide to do to their child. When a child is no longer such, and becomes an early teen or a teen, the parents may decide to have their children go through this process.
Overall, this book provides a great amount of entertainment, as it is full of thrills and excitement. While reading this novel, one gets to feel like they are going through the struggles and adventures with the main characters.
Despite the book being very adventurous and entertaining, it would not be a good novel for someone younger than middle school to read, as it has very graphic details and contains some gruesome scenes. Overall, this novel is one that I would highly recommend for someone looking to have a fun and fairly short read.
Reviewer Grade: 11

Reviewer's Name: Alex K.
Scythe
Neal Shusterman
4 stars = Really Good
Review:

In 2041, what we currently call "the cloud" morphed into a version of AI called "the Thundercloud" that was able to solve all of the world's problems. Death has been basically eliminated - all manner of illness and injury can be cured, and pain is a thing of the past. Thundercloud stops the effects of global warming, and calculates how to best use the world's resources so that no one goes hungry. It's also made government completely irrelevant. However, to stop overpopulation, people called Scythes have to glean, or permanently kill, random members of the population. Scythe follows two teens, Citra and Rowan, as they reluctantly apprentice to become a Scythe.

I think Shusterman has another "Unwind" type of hit on his hands. As the book develops, the seemingly Utopian society gets darker and darker and more dystopian - but really only because of the gleaning. The Scythes have a rich history, and it was interesting to learn about them and their different approaches to gleaning. The book is absolutely at its best when examining humanity and the moral obligations and quandaries that come along with being a scythe - I ended up reading the occasional sentence out loud to my partner, which is something to which I rarely subject him. The ethical implications of gleaning are pretty huge, and the examination of killing and its purpose are what really makes the book a fun read. Also, no surprises here, Shusterman, a National Book Award winner, can WRITE.

I did feel that the book had some premise issues. As the book explains it, your chances of being gleaned, or even knowing someone who has been gleaned, are pretty rare. So why is gleaning even necessary? The book addresses this, but the answer was not satisfactory. I can also easily think of solutions to this problem that don't involve random killing. For example, why not impose some sort of birth limit (people have dozens of children in this version of the future)? Or maybe only those that have children are eligible for gleaning? Or maybe you only get "9 lives". The tenth time you die, it's for real. There wouldn't have been a book without the gleaning, but the book also never managed to convince me that gleaning was a thing that actually needed to happen. I also found it terribly convenient/nonsensical that the Scythes were the only group of people that operated outside of Thundercloud. Like, why? Thundercloud literally solved ALL of humanity's/the earth's problems, but this, life and death, one of the arguably most important problems, we're going to leave up to humans? Mmmmmmmmmmk. Oh, and then Citra and Rowan are eventually pitted against each other, and the rationale as to why makes absolutely no sense. Especially after a certain event transpires, and they STILL are in a fight to the death. It doesn't seem consistent with the rest of the world-building; it felt like a contrived (and unsuccessful) plot device.

Premise problems aside, I really did enjoy the book. If you like near future books, dystopians or ethics, it's definitely worth a read. 3.5 stars.

Reviewer's Name: Britt
Awards:

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