Welcome to the first post in our brand new blog series: Emily Recommends! In case you missed our announcement last month, we will no longer be sharing weekly book deals. Instead, once a month, our founder will be sharing some of her favourite books, focussing on a different genre each month.
Blurb: “Offred is a Handmaid in the Republic of Gilead. She may leave the home of the Commander and his wife once a day to walk to food markets whose signs are now pictures instead of words because women are no longer allowed to read. She must lie on her back once a month and pray that the Commander makes her pregnant, because in an age of declining births, Offred and the other Handmaids are valued only if their ovaries are viable. Offred can remember the years before, when she lived and made love with her husband, Luke; when she played with and protected her daughter; when she had a job, money of her own, and access to knowledge. But all of that is gone now…”
Emily Says: My first dystopian recommendation is The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood. I’m actually working on a bit of an assumption here, as I haven’t finished reading it yet (I’m about two thirds through)! I’m really enjoying it, though, and I know it’s going to be one of my top book recommendations. There’s so much I could say about this book, but, for now, I’ll just say that there’s a reason it is as well known as it is.
2) Animal Farmby George Orwell
Blurb: “All animals are equal, but some animals are more equal than others. A farm is taken over by its overworked, mistreated animals. With flaming idealism and stirring slogans, they set out to create a paradise of progress, justice, and equality. Thus the stage is set for one of the most telling satiric fables ever penned – a razor-edged fairy tale for grown-ups that records the evolution from revolution against tyranny to a totalitarianism just as terrible.”
Emily Says: For some reason, not too many people tend to think of Animal Farm as a dystopian novel, but it definitely is. Although its characters seek to establish a better society, they never achieve this: the society they create is actually worse (and very much dystopian). If you haven’t already read this classic novel, I can definitely recommend it; after all, this isn’t a story to miss out on.
Blurb: “Thou shalt kill. A world with no hunger, no disease, no war, no misery. Humanity has conquered all those things, and has even conquered death. Now scythes are the only ones who can end life – and they are commanded to do so, in order to keep the size of the population under control. Citra and Rowan are chosen to apprentice to a scythe – a role that neither wants. These teens must master the ‘art’ of taking life, knowing that the consequence of failure could mean losing their own.”
Emily Says: This young adult novel is another great addition to the dystopian genre. Set in a futuristic world where death has been “conquered”, Scythe weaves an exciting, action-packed story that should be read by anyone who appreciates a well-written young adult novel.
4) The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins
Blurb: “In the ruins of a place once known as North America lies the nation of Panem, a shining Capitol surrounded by twelve outlying districts. The Capitol is harsh and cruel and keeps the districts in line by forcing them all to send one boy and one girl between the ages of twelve and eighteen to paritcipate in the annual Hunger Games, a fight to the death on live TV. Sixteen-year-old Katniss Everdeen regards it as a death sentence when she steps forward to take her sister’s place in the Games. But Katniss has been close to dead before – and survival, for her, is second nature. Without really meaning to, she becomes a contender. But if she is to win, she will have to start making choices that weight survival against humanity and life against love.”
Emily Says: If you haven’t already read The Hunger Games, you should certainly consider giving it a shot; for me, no book could quite so perfectly sum up what dystopia is all about – a futuristic world that is deeply unsettling partially because of how close to reality it is.
Blurb: “They tell me the country looked different back then. They talk of open borders and flowing rivers. They say the world was green. But drought swept across the globe and the United States of the past disappeared under a burning sky. Enora Byrnes lives in the aftermath, a barren world where water has become the global currency. In a life dominated by duty to family and community, Enora is offered a role within an entity that controls everything from water credits to borders. But it becomes clear that not all is as it seems. From the wasted confines of her small town to the bowels of a hidden city, Enora will uncover buried secrets that hide an unthinkable reality.”
Emily Says: This self-published novel from Kristin Ward came as a surprise when I read it last year. The premise alone is enough to make this book interesting, for this is a world where water has become a rare commodity, and those who do possess water hold all the power. After the Green Withered is an exciting, well-written novel that I can definitely recommend.
Thank you for reading! We’ll be posting more book recommendations next month!
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