With the release of The Hunger Games movie, it has become even more noticeable that one of the trends in YA fiction seems to be toward dystopian novels. There is something about the way the protagonists struggle that is somewhat disturbing but ultimately most of these books bring out universal themes.
One of the most disturbing series I have recently read about a dystopia is the Chaos Walking series by Patrick Ness. The books take place on a planet that has been settled by humans in the future. What the humans did not know is that on this planet men will begin to think out loud, literally. What resulted from this is a little bit of chaos in the sounds of all men thinking. At the beginning of the first book we meet Todd, who has been brought up in a town in which there are no women. His whole life Todd has been told that the same sickness that made men think out loud worked in a different way for women and killed them off. The sickness was a biological weapon used by the native species, the Spackle during the great war that the settlers had when they first landed here. Todd is looking forward to his thirteenth birthday when he will become a man. Then one day while walking through the swamp, Todd hears a hole in the noise and is perplexed by this phenomenon. When he and his dog Manchee arrive home, his caretakers react in a very strange way and send him running. Todd runs from the town without knowing exactly why he is running or what he will find. His adventures include discovering that many of the things he was told are not true and ultimately the books are about a war brought on by the crazy people in power. The books make the reader think about the consequences of yielding power and how it can corrupt men and women. There is also a wonderful message about the power of love to help a person take action. This series is not for the feint of heart. I cried multiple times in the series and felt horrified by the disturbing characters. Ultimately, I felt the message of love's redemption to be uplifting. I would definitely recommend these books to fans of The Hunger Games. Judging from how disturbed I felt, I would say that these books are not for younger children, but more suitable for teens and adults. (On a side note, I love it that the animals in these books also have noise...the ability to think out loud. The thoughts that the author imagines the dog and the horses having make the reader love the animals that much more).
I have really enjoyed the Dead Is series as quick reads that are entertaining. I was happy to see another addition to this series. At first I was confused because I didn't recognize the protagonist, but this quickly gets explained and this protagonist is also fun to read about. Nightshade is a very fictional place but I have come to appreciate the town throughout the series. I was glad to see some of the same characters included in this book. These are great beach reads and make for good, easy reading. Recommended for all those readers out there who are able to suspend disbelief and enjoy supernatural stories.
In the book Eon, Alison Goodman has created a realm in which there are dragons that hold power over the world. Each of the dragons has dominion over part of the spirit of men. Each dragon has a human who is linked to it and is the warrior for that dragon. Every year there is one boy selected to become an apprentice and learn how to wield the dragon's power. In this story Eona is a girl who is posing as Eon, the boy, to have the opportunity to be chosen as the dragon's apprentice. She will become part of the solution for a kingdom that is increasingly under the influence of one of the dragon warriors. Every young woman should read this book and understand the message about the importance of recognizing the power that women have. I can't wait to read the next book to see how things have turned out for this kingdom.