Newest Dystopian Fiction Reviews

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Review of

The Loop by Ben Oliver

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Set during the aftermath of a Third World War where methods of punishment for criminal activities have been amped up to a horrific level by machines, The Loop follows the precarious existence of adolescent Luka Kane. In a world of Have and Have Nots where Alts [cyborgs] have power over Regulars, he is trapped inside a living hell with no chance of escape. A detonator has been sewn inside his heart connecting him to a trigger held by the guards who can end his life with one squeeze. Luka is taunted by limited access to his memories and relentlessly drained of energy through a gruelling daily torture ritual. Doomed to Delay [a risky medical trial where he is a guinea pig for Alts in place of execution] after Delay he is in despair. His prison is based on the model of an infinity loop designed to make its inmates suffer. With the only glimmers of hope being the rumours of rebellion outside and the visits of sympathetic Alt guard Wren, can Luka ever be free? Why has he been imprisoned? What waits for him if he can break the loop? Full Review

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Review of

The Testaments by Margaret Atwood

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Finally! Almost forty years on, we have a sequel to The Handmaid's Tale. I don't want to tell you too much about the plot because it's a novel that is entirely plot driven. Suffice it to say that The Testaments takes place fifteen years later, fifteen years after Offred gets into a van, not knowing what will happen next. It's told by three narrators: Aunt Lydia, who is secretly writing her memoirs in Ardua Hall; Agnes, a girl brought up in Gilead with the expectation she will marry a commander; Daisy, a rebellious teenage girl in Canada who knows of Gilead only from school lessons and its Pearl Girl missionaries who occasionally call into the store owned by her parents... Full Review

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Review of

Something to Tell You by David Edwards

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Sam Murray and Bert Leinster had been friends for a long time. Bert was Sam's boss at CERN, but this never seemed to affect the way that the families got on. Bert's wife, Natalia, was Russian and seriously rich. Their twins, fifteen-year-olds Allie and Josh, went to a private boarding school, but at weekends they were great friends with Sam's two children, Liam and Hannah. Sam's wife, Briony, was head of product research at Nestlé. Life was good for all eight of them, until Sam - a particle physicist - spotted that the rate at which Higgs Boson particles were hitting the earth had risen exponentially. It's enough of a problem for Sam and Bert to drag the head of CERN, Prof Ralph Moyeur, out of a family lunch. Then Bert started having conversations with a plant called Lily. Full Review

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Review of

Poster Boy by N J Crosskey

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I first read 1984 in school, in the late seventies when 1984 still seemed like a long time in the future. It came and went quickly enough. Some of us may have breathed a sigh of relief that Orwell's nightmare had not (quite) come to pass. Others, I think, were out there already working on making sure that all he got wrong was the date. Crosskey hasn't put a date on the nightmare. If she had, I suspect it would not be as far in the future are 1984 was when I first read Orwell. If she had, I suspect it might hardly be in the future at all. A lot of what happens in Poster Boy is already happening. Sadly. Frighteningly. In the blurb, Christina Racher says "…but keep it far from anyone who might be tempted to turn its fiction into reality". My only response to that is: too late! Full Review

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Review of

The Last by Hanna Jameson

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Jon Keller is in a hotel in Switzerland in the remote countryside when the world ends. He has no idea if his family is alive, he has no idea what's going on in the nearest city, or if the nearest city has been obliterated. Shocked, amid the mass hysteria and exodus, Jon decides to stay at the hotel rather than attempt to get to the airport and home. He's not alone, twenty other people also stay and gradually form a small community. One day, when helping the hotel manager, Jon finds the body of a girl deemed to have been killed before the world ended. The community descends into a deep mistrust as Jon becomes fixated on finding this girl's killer and finding the truth about what is possibly the last community on earth. Full Review

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Review of

Summerland by Hannu Rajaniemi

4star.jpg Dystopian Fiction

Imagine a world in which death was no longer something to fear but something to aspire to. After the discovery of the afterlife, the British Empire has extended its reach into Summerland, the Big Smoke for the recently deceased. In 1938 the British Empire is caught up in a race against Soviet spies and dealing with a mole buried deep in the heart of Summerland. When Rachel White, an ambitious SIS agent, becomes suspicious about the potential rogue agent, she must decide how far she is willing to go and how much she is willing to risk to uncover the truth. Full Review

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Review of

Garrison Girl (Attack on Titan) by Rachel Aaron

4.5star.jpg Dystopian Fiction

You want me to be like everyone else and spend my life hiding inside the walls where it's safe, but that's an illusion. So long as there are titans out there… no one is safe

In the dystopian world of Attack on Titan, humanity hides behind the safety of high impenetrable walls to keep out the enemies outside. Known as titans, these enemies are impossibly tall human-like creatures, with sharp hungry teeth and regenerative powers. Difficult to kill and innumerable they roam the Earth looking for prey, and whilst the walls have always kept them out, that has begun to change… Full Review

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Review of

The Survival Game by Nicky Singer

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Mhairi Anne Bain is fourteen years old and is on her way home to the Isle of Arran. But Mhairi's world has been ravaged by climate change and the mass movement of people and it is one defined by borders, checkpoints and soldiers with guns. Mhairi has made it across Africa and onto a plane to Heathrow - which is more than can be said for Muma and Papa. She's even made it out of the detention centre at the airport. And during this journey, Mhairi has learned that you can't rely on anyone else and you can't allow anyone else to rely on you... Full Review

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Review of

84K by Claire North

5star.jpg Dystopian Fiction

Theo can, he calculates the worth of each person to the penny. The Company own everything and everyone, including handing out punishments for crime. Theo sleepwalks through life keeping his head down whilst working for the Criminal Audit Office. Doing just enough work to avoid anyone noticing him, he calculates, without emotion, the cost of the crimes filling his inbox. They are variables on a spreadsheet, a simple mathematical equation, the expense of solving the crime added to how much the victim would have contributed to their community. Prisons are uneconomical so criminals in this world pay their debt to society in cold hard cash. Full Review

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Review of

Everything About You by Heather Child

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In the future, your social feed is your entire existence. A.I. is here and it is all around you. It fills your fridge, it keeps up to date with your friends and fulfils your wishes. It is also stealing your jobs and, possibly, loosening your grip on reality. Freya is unexpectedly given a beta testing version of the latest smart specs, glasses which give her all the information she'll ever need, right in front of her eyes by barely thinking about it, complete with a personality to guide her. The problem is that the personality on the glasses is that of her missing and presumed dead sister. Freya is thrown and unsettled by this. Her mum tells her to stop using them or at the very least to reset them to a different personality. But Freya just can't do this. Hearing her sister's voice again is like she's right there, and although she knows this is just Ruby's data, part of Freya can't believe that it can be this accurate, it can't be this Ruby. Is it just possible that something more is feeding this personality than Ruby's data? Full Review

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Review of

The Extinction Trials by SM Wilson

4star.jpg Dystopian Fiction

Storm and Lincoln live on Earthasia, a continent ruined by overpopulation. Space is scarce and energy and food are rationed. Education is minimal and mostly focused around searching for new, efficient food sources. Storm's mother has died and she never knew her father, so she lives in one of Earthasia's overcrowded shelters, goes to school for one day per week and wrestles hay bales for a job. Lincoln's sister is dying from the blistering disease and he has no access to the healthcare that could save her. It's a mean, desperate existence for them both and so they are first to volunteer for the Stipulators' trials for a new mission to the neighbouring continent of Piloria. The aim is to retrieve dinosaur eggs so that a virus to kill them can be engineered and the citizens of Earthasia will have access to the space and abundant food sources Piloria offers... Full Review

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Review of

Water & Glass by Abi Curtis

5star.jpg Dystopian Fiction

Something has happened, something very nasty and on a submarine a pregnant elephant is one of only a handful of animals living below the waves. We follow Nerissa Crane, a vet, as she remembers recent events, looks after the animals and falls into a world of intrigue.

It is difficult to properly review this book without giving too much away. There will be mild spoilers throughout this right from the start but I will try to avoid the main ones. Full Review

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Review of

America City by Chris Beckett

4star.jpg Dystopian Fiction

America City tells the story of Holly, an ambitious publicist who sets aside her own political beliefs in order to help the ambitious Senator Slaymaker with his Presidential campaign. Set in the 22nd century, the novel tells of an incredibly disunited United States, where the effects of climate change have created deep divisions between the affluent Northern States, and the South, which is frequently ravaged by extreme weather. Holly and Slaymaker hope to change this, working together on the plan they believe to be the solution to the problem of where to place the thousands of Americans who have been made homeless by devastating storms. Full Review

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Review of

Paradise Girl by Phill Featherstone

3.5star.jpg Dystopian Fiction

Kerryl lives far away from the urban twenty-first century on a remote Yorkshire farm. The farm is high up on a hill and it's a family endeavour - grandparents, mother, Kerryl. There's a market town below but Kerryl's family is concentrated on the farm and the hard but beautiful living associated with it. Kerryl, though, is a fiercely bright girl - she's won a place at Cambridge University and is looking forward to going. She loves poetry. Full Review

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Review of

We See Everything by William Sutcliffe

5star.jpg Dystopian Fiction

Lex lives in what used to be London. Today, it is a closed-off, bombed-out area known as The Strip. Nobody comes in and nobody can go out. Drones are a constant presence overhead, food is short and life is hard. But there's a girl he likes and she can make him forget almost anything. Alan spends all his time watching The Strip. His talent as a gamer got him the job of drone pilot. He hasn't bombed anyone yet but he's hyped up to do it, whatever his mother thinks. It's fighting terrorism, after all. Alan's observation target is a high-profile target - a man high up in the resistance organisation known as The Corps. Alan calls him #K622. But Lex calls him Dad. Full Review

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Review of

The Real-Town Murders by Adam Roberts

3star.jpg Dystopian Fiction

If you had the choice would you live your life online? In the future, this may be possible, with the development of fully realised virtual reality you may feel that the online world is more real than your own. Even today we spend hours each day looking at phones or checking statuses. The only thing is that with most people online, some of us will have to stay in the real world to deal with unexpected events – such as a real town murder. Full Review

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Review of

Raid by K S Merbeth

4.5star.jpg Dystopian Fiction

A brutal road trip in a blighted landscape that pulls no punches. We travel with Clementine, a bounty hunter, in a world without heroes or hope. Full Review

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Review of

Resistance: A Race Against Time to Save Mankind by Val McDermid

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It began so innocently, at a music festival in Northumberland. There were some stomach upsets, but what do you expect when the weather's bad, there's inadequate sanitation and 150,000 people out to enjoy themselves? Journalist Zoe Meadows is covering the event and she's filing her copy from the back of a food van run by her friends Sam and Lisa. Sam's fussy about the food he serves - he's The Sausage Man - and he regularly checks out his suppliers. In his business, you just can't be too careful. The stomach upsets seem to last for 24 hours, an unpleasant 24 hours, but then it seems to be over. Full Review

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Review of

Walkaway by Cory Doctorow

2.5star.jpg Dystopian Fiction

Science Fiction is not always what it seems. You may think that you are reading an exciting space adventure about many-tentacled aliens, but in fact, it is an allegory for race relations in modern America. The best books are able to balance the hidden meaning of the book, whilst still entertaining the reader with a great story. The worst can feel like an author preaching directly to the reader and leaving their story to struggle in the background. Full Review

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Review of

Contagion: Book 1 (Dark Matter) by Teri Terry

4.5star.jpg Dystopian Fiction

It's not a spoiler if I tell you that bad things happen to Callie because they do. Callie - Calista - disappeared more than a year ago. Her brother Kai is still looking for her, hopeful that she will be found alive and well. But Callie isn't alive and well. She's been taken to a secretive medical facility on the island of Shetland, experimented on, and then, well, turned into something else. How? Full Review

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