Each day I will be hosting some amazing authors with special contents and super-awesome giveaways!
So stay tuned and come back each day to have a chance to win some great prizes!
Today's host is Megan Thomason, the author of Daynight,
a dystopian novel. The author has gently accepted to write a guest
post about her top 5 favourite Dystopians and after the post, there
will be also an amazing giveaway for two lucky winners!
Megan Thomason's top 5 dystopians
You are stuck in traffic for ages due to some grisly accident. Your patience went out the window forever ago. Perhaps you are even cursing the idiots who slow down to see the aftermath. Yet when you are finally there—firetruck, ambulances, police cars and the shattered remains of the vehicles in sight—you’re just like every other idiot. You slowly make your way by and look at the carnage. You feel guilty as hell about it, but it’s impossible to turn your head the other way.
Reading dystopias gives you the thrill of the wreck without the aggravation of the traffic or guilt of holding up miles worth of traffic. Dystopias are heart-wrenching, disturbing, and unfair—yet despite the grim circumstances people show strength, resilience and determination.
The dystopia category is pretty broad these days. By definition a dystopian world must have extremely bad living conditions due to deprivation, oppression, or terror. I personally prefer dystopias that explore interesting societal and moral dilemmas to catastrophic conditions/survival stories (though, if the entertainment value is high, I’ll still read the latter).
The very best dystopias make you think—not just about the book, but about how our own society compares (there are often eery parallels). Good dystopias will have a well formed government enforcing extremes. The conditions created are by design and not circumstance (for instance, scarcity caused by an apocalypse isn’t really a dystopia, it’s a setting—however if a Government rations resources in such a way that certain castes have more than others that’s definitely a dystopia). I’m fascinated by dystopian entities, and in particular:
- What events drove them to shift the way they governed?
- What results are they looking to achieve?
- What methods do the governments use to achieve the desired result?
- Equally interesting is how the characters in the novel react to the dystopian government. Do they acquiesce? Do they rebel and in what ways? Outwardly? Inwardly? Each well done dystopia will have characters that question the status quo and their actions will cause us to reflect upon our own, and how we would react in a similar situation.
I had a hard time deciding on my favorites. I have read an obscene number of dystopian novels. Numbers 1-3 were no brainers for me, but there were a lot of contenders for the #4 and 5 slots.
- Brave New World by Aldous Huxley. High entertainment value, great dry sense of humor, and a moral extreme so ridiculous that you can’t help be both disgusted and intrigued by its brilliance. In Brave New World the government desired peaceful coexistence and happiness for its citizens so they created a society where “everyone belongs to everyone.” Deviant thoughts are controlled by drugs. The government breeds and then conditions (through their sleep) citizens to be in (and only desire to be in) a certain caste, to be sexually promiscuous, hate solitude, and to down the drug ‘soma’ if any contrary thought occurs. Those who prefer to be with one person are ostracized. John (the Savage) in Brave New World is so disgusted when he caves to societal immorality that he takes extreme measures to escape.
- The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins. Action, violence, humor, romance and characters with flaws and depth equals perfection in my book. In The Hunger Games the government instituted the games to punish and remind the districts of their former rebellion (and failure to succeed). The capitol in The Hunger Games uses the games to terrorize its citizens into subservience, and tightly controls resources by segregating districts and limiting what each could produce. Katniss in The Hunger Games defies authority by bringing out a handful of berries and in essence, depriving the Capitol of a winner—and ultimately, forcing her desired outcome on them. There are literally more themes in The Hunger Games than there are in an onion and that fascinates me. Even fashion and food are used as forms of political control.
- 1984 by George Orwell. In 1984, the desired result was control over every action and thought. The Inner Party uses surveillance (telescreens, microphones everywhere), controls information (in fact, rewriting history to support claims in the ultimate form of censorship), and all citizens are indoctrinated to be whistle-blowers on those committing “thought crimes” (any thought contrary to the government). Winston and Julia in 1984both commit thought crimes and engage in an illicit affair, but are outed by an informant and tortured into both subservience to Big Brother and ratting out each other. Just think of how many concepts and modern terminology are a result of this book!
- Wool by Hugh Howey. Wool 1 is one of the best short stories I have ever read. The entire omnibus is mesmerizing and I never would have thought I’d be mesmerized by people walking up and down the stairs of a silo. Wool 1 starts with a sheriff trying to solve the mystery behind his wife’s death. Wool is the perfect title as the government does indeed pull the wool over people’s eyes in a very literal sense—and while the “why” of the silos and the government are very slowly revealed over the course of the omnibus, it’s an excellent journey to follow.
- Divergent by Veronica Roth. Ok, so I had a hard time picking #5 and went back and forth between The Giver, The Handmaid’s Tale and Divergent. None are perfect, but given that Divergent had great entertainment value, action and romance on top of being a well thought out dystopia (plus it was good enough that I read it twice in a row), I’m giving it the nod. Divergent’s government is split into five factions—Abnegation (selfless), Amity (peaceful), Candor (honest), Dauntless (brave), and Erudite (intelligent). At sixteen all kids are tested and told what faction they belong to, but are given the choice of which they join. Whatever faction a person joins, they have to live by the “quality” (eg. honesty) of that faction and forsake everything else. Beyond ridiculous—but fascinating to see in action. If a person tests high in more than one faction they are divergent. It has the perfect setup and strong main characters. Tris in Divergent rejects the faction she grew up in (Abnegation) to be part of the daring and brave (Dauntless). The direction it goes at the end is bizarre and my only issue with the book.
Other excellent choices: The Giver by Lois Lowry, The Breeders by Katie French, The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood, The Knife of Never Letting Go by Patrick Ness, The Scourge by A.G. Henley, Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury, Legend by Marie Lu, Cinder by Marissa Mayer, Shatter Me by Taherah Mafi , The Selection by Kiera Cass, Wither by Lauren DeStefano, Under the Never Sky by Veronica Rossi, Human.4 by Mike A. Lancaster, Rebel Heart by Moira Young, A Clockwork Orange by Anthony Burgess.
Meet The Second Chance Institute (SCI): Earth’s benevolent non-profit by day, Thera’s totalitarian regime by night. Their motto: Because Everyone Deserves a Second Chance™. Reality: the SCI subjects Second Chancers to strict controls and politically motivated science experiments like Cleaving—forced lifetime union between two people who have sex. Punishment for disobeying SCI edicts? Immediate Exile or death.
Meet Kira Donovan. Fiercely loyal, overly optimistic, and ensnared by the promise of a full-ride college scholarship, Kira signs the SCI Recruit contract to escape memories of a tragedy that left her boyfriend and friends dead.
Meet Blake Sundry. Bitter about being raised in Exile and his mother’s death, Blake’s been trained to infiltrate and destroy the SCI. Current barrier to success? His Recruit partner—Miss Goody Two Shoes Kira Donovan.
Meet Ethan Darcton. Born with a defective heart and resulting inferiority complex, Ethan’s forced to do his SCI elite family’s bidding. Cleave-worthy Kira Donovan catches his eye, but the presiding powers give defect-free Blake Sundry first dibs.
Full of competing agendas, romantic entanglements, humor, twists and turns, daynight is Megan Thomason’s debut young adult dystopian novel and first in the daynight series.
Megan Thomason lives in paradise aka San Diego, CA with her husband and five children. A former software manager, Megan vastly prefers writing twisted tales to business, product, and marketing plans. When she isn't typing away on her laptop, she's reading books on her phone—over 600 in the last year—or attending to the needs of her family. Megan’s fluent in sarcasm, could potentially benefit from a 12-step program for road rage, struggles with a Hot Tamales addiction, loves world travel & fast cars and hates paperwork & being an insomniac. Daynight is Megan's first published novel, but fourth written one.