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DYSTOPIA: TO DISS OR NOT TO DISS – OBS SPEAKS OUT

by Caro, May 6, 2014

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Brought to you by OBS reviewer Valerie   

Dystopia: To Diss or Not To Diss

divergent_book_coverAs you can all tell, dystopian novels are the popular genre in YA literature today. From The Hunger Games to Divergent to Legend, the dystopian novel really brings in the cash not just to the book industry but to the movie industry as well. As a seasoned book reviewer, I’ve read my fair share of YA novels, especially dystopian novels. After a while though, the dystopian genre becomes somewhat of a blur.

Let’s talk generalizations here. Dystopian novels go somewhat like this: protagonist (assume it’s a female) introduces the current government and lifestyle, which is so different than 2014. She realizes that corruption in it, and with the help of the love interest, exposes the truth to the world. With some violence and some enemies, protagonist eventually brings order to the world. Note: this is a very general generalization, but you have to admit it’s pretty true.

Although the novels can vary in the details, overall dystopian novels follow that plot structure. Yet why are they so popular? What is it about the dystopian genre that sucks in so many readers? I’ll try to answer these questions in this rant, but first let’s think about the GOOD dystopian books we’ve read lately.

The Hunger Games. One of the first popular books in the genre, Suzanne Collins appealed to the video-game playing generation of teens. Note that she appealed to both genders, which definitely allowed her to sell more books. Female protagonist? Check. Not strictly feminine plot? Check. One thing about the dystopian genre is that it appeals to both genders, which chick-lit really doesn’t accomplish.

Let’s be honest here. Sometimes romance novels get boring, but not when romance is paired with corruption and action and possibly murder. The dystopian genre allows an author to have freedom while still adhering to the unspoken rules of writing. An good author will use a plot that seems to be unique, when in reality, it’s just one of the formulaic formats that has already been created.

However, that’s not to say that there aren’t good dystopian books. Well-written dystopian books do exist, I promise you! I’m just offering a warning about the newest it genre and reasons for why it became the it genre. I respect any writer, in case it wasn’t clear in this article.

I’d love to know what you think. Comment below about your favorite dystopian books and what you liked about them!

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