On the surface of it, dystopian novels are quite depressing. War. Environmental devastation. Oppression. Death. Yet, I cannot get enough of books like ‘The Testing’ and ‘Divergent’. The dystopian genre has become increasingly popular over recent years, beginning with the success of ‘The Hunger Games’. We can, however, trace this genre back to the likes of ‘A Clockwork Orange’ and ‘1984’, even going as far back as ‘The Last Man’ by Mary Shelley.
My favourite part of a dystopian novel is seeing how the protagonist deals with the challenges set out before them whether it be Cia Vale faced with political corruption or Katniss Everdeen being made to take part in a brutal and deadly ‘game’. I like a main character that I can relate to as it makes the whole situation seem more real. Some themes in dystopian novels such as corrupt politicians certainly seem like an honest and real depiction of the future, given today’s political issues.
It is also interesting to me to see how the side characters deal with the events of a dystopian future. Caleb from ‘Divergent’ had no back bone and was a complete traitor and a coward whereas Tobias and Christina showed true bravery, selflessly helping Tris any way they could. In ‘A Clockwork Orange’ it fascinated me that in the end some of Alex’s ‘droogs’ became members of the police force (totally didn’t see that one coming). Some of the students from Tosu City go against their friends and help Cia in ‘Graduation Day whereas in the first ‘Testing’ novel, people Cia thought she could trust, turned against her in stage four.
Hopefully (maybe I’m wrong but I hope not), the events in dystopian novels can serve as a warning to our society as a whole. Showing our leaders how things might turn out if things don’t change. I’m pretty sure that’s just wishful thinking on my part but I really hope they can give us even the smallest kick up the backside so that we can avoid these scenarios happening in real life. In the mean time, I will continue to enjoy dystopian fantasy novels and maybe pick up a few survival tips in case we are faced with trouble in the future 😉