They have taken over the planet. They have consumed our lives. They have brought us to tears. What else could I be talking about other than dystopian books?
We all know and love them. The Hunger Games was beaten only by Harry Potter in the top 100 teen novels list, sold 65 million copies in the U.S. alone as of 2014, and was named top selling book by Amazon. Divergent and Maze Runner have similar sales-–and it doesn’t stop there.
No one can deny that dystopian books have been flying off the shelves, but it’s about time someone said enough is enough. I had my nose buried in The Hunger Games right alongside the rest of America, but after Divergent, Matched, and Delirium, I was fed up with the pandemic that has turned nearly every teenager into zombies.
Ever since The Hunger Games came out, every novel after that has been a knock-off of a knock-off. Divergent (one of my favorite novels to pick on) is a perfect example of this.
The similarities are endless: a “strong” female lead who finds herself in a situation that she doesn’t want to be in at first but eventually rises to the occasion and shows everyone that she isn’t just someone’s puppet, a sexy as hell man who helps the girl save the world, and different factions of society in which one is evil and the others band together and destroy evil.
Although the first time a novel like this came out it was revolutionary, it has now increasingly become predictable and boring. Veronica Roth, author of Divergent, tried to make her book unique by killing off the lead, Tris Prior. She failed. Miserably.
By killing off a character people spent three books falling in love with, she only caused resentment and anger within her fan base. As we all know, Allegiant came out in theaters and it wasn’t received as warmly as Divergent or Insurgent was. In fact, Allegiant only earned a little bit more than half of what Divergent earned. It has become clear that fans have lost interest in Roth’s franchise, no matter how hot Four is.
Now, the big question is: why do authors continue to write dystopian novels even though we’ve all been there, done that? Apparently, “while dystopian novels are depressing, there’s a certain ‘rightness’ in reading about a future that’s negative. Why? Because we know that politicians, military people and corporate moguls are capable of doing awful things — meaning dystopian novels feel kind of honest,” says The Huffington Post.
We enjoy reading dystopian novels because everyone loves a good conspiracy theory and Suzanne Collins (author of The Hunger Games), Veronica Roth (author of Divergent), and James Dashner (author of The Maze Runner) deliver. “We’re fascinated by the terrible things these characters face, and by how some react bravely and some react cowardly or with resignation,” says The Huffington Post.
These authors create ordinary characters who do extraordinary things which gives readers hope that they can escape their lives and do something extraordinary along with their favorite characters. Although this is the whole reason people read books, to escape from reality, dystopian books are becoming predictable and, dare I say it, boring. Much like that phase where vampires and werewolves were on the walls of every teenage girl, dystopian books are becoming old and unimaginative.
So, I beg all you authors and readers to move onto a genre which will bring to life imagination and mystery and force everyone to stay up all night to finish “just one more page.”