The next installment in the theatrical adaptation of The Hunger Games series doesn’t open in theaters until this November, leaving loyal fans hungry for similar plots. Luckily, dystopian novels have risen in popularity in recent years and there are plenty of other options to tide fans over until the next movie.
Dystopians are commonly defined as stories that take place in a future gone wrong, usually due to an overbearing government or environmental crisis. They first rose to popularity in the 1950s with the release of Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury and 1984 by George Orwell. In film they have been represented by movies like Total Recall, Gattica and I Am Legend.
The genre was brought back to the forefront of literature in 2008 with the release of The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins. The trilogy has become one of the most popular series in the world and inspired an extremely successful film series. In the wake of Collins’ success, many other writers have come forward with their own take on what the future might look like.
The most successful of these books is the Divergent series by Veronica Roth. Roth wrote the first book while in her senior year of college and it immediately became a bestseller. Divergent tells the story of a society where people are divided into five factions based on one dominant trait of their personality. Tris, the main character, chooses bravery over selflessness and is inducted into Dauntless, a brutal faction dedicated to the eradication of fear. The movie adaptation, starring Shailene Woodley as Tris, comes out in March.
Other successful series include Delirium, Lauren Oliver’s story of a world where love has been labeled a disease and is surgically removed from the brain during the teenage years and Under the Never Sky by Veronica Rossi which takes place in an environmentally destroyed world where people spend their lives in the realms, perfect simulations of reality.
Many of these books are written by females from a female perspective but James Dashners The Maze Runner is dominated by males. After waking up in an elevator that transports him to a trapped village of boys surrounded by a maze, Thomas becomes a maze runner, the most coveted position in the village, in search of a way out.
Dystopians are great reads because they draw from the reality of our world and paint a picture of what might happen if we do not take care of the future. They allow for extreme use of creativity, lots of adrenaline and big battles. The Hunger Games is a great story and takes a lot of credit for bringing dystopians back into popular literature but there are plenty of other options available for people interested in reading more of this genre.
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