Becoming An Adult

Dystopian novels. Oh, what a beautifully messed up breed of books you are.

For those of you that have been living under a rock for the last 2 or so years, let me explain to you what Dytopian literature actually is.

“Dystopia” is (often not always) a futuristic society that has degraded into a repressive and controlled state, usually under the guise of being utopian.

Got that? Great… we shall now continue.

Over the last 2 years there have been a rash of Dystopian novels, (The Uglies, Matched & in a weird way The Hunger Games) so stumbling into another was not all that far fetched.  Segregation of cultures, extreme governments and oppression are hot topics, and (as an added bonus) fascinating to read, but what really makes these novels the “icing” on the metaphorical cake is the interruption of free will.

Free will is the one thing that makes people who they are; it defines us.  We choose our own paths, and ultimately control our own futures, in Dystopian writing…all of that is threatened. You do what you are told, when you are told, and if you disagree you are reprimanded, jailed, and in some extreme cases “extinguished”

Nina is a product of a Dystopian society.  She lives in her assigned community.  She buys the clothes only her “tier” would buy, and on really good days she DOESN’T have to watch her mother get the snot beat out of her. But none of these things keep her up at night… the thing Nina fears most is turning 16. At 16 she will be branded; a big fat XVI, in jet black ink, on the inside of her wrist announcing that she is ready. Ready for what exactly? Ready for sex.  “XVI” in Nina’s world means she is now fair game to every creep, cretan, and (for a lack of a better term) pervert that crosses her path.  And, as if the pressure of being a “sex-teen” wasn’t bad enough, her mother was just murder.  Is Nina really as alone as she thinks she is? Who is the “Resistance,” and why after everything that has happened, would her mother be so hell bent on her hiding her little sister’s baby book?

I will admit that the first 2 chapters of this book made me cringe.  In author-created societies “establishment” is crucial.  We (as readers) want to know what TIME we are in, and WHERE exactly we are. Without these critical details, it is hard to form the STORY in our heads. The problem comes, however, when the author (in either desperation or excitement) tries to shove a “new” and complicated society (complete with their own slang) into 8 or 9 very long, and very run together paragraphs.  This was the case is Julia Karr’s XVI. Luckily… after Karr’s “flash fiction” the novel leveled off and developed into a well rounded read.  Nina was just 1 personality in a whole cast of very interesting characters and while, yes, this book is slated as YA, I found the “parental” story line outshining the… always predictable, never absent, teen angst.

Is this the BEST Dystopian I have ever read? No, of course not, but an enjoyable read? Yes… absolutely.

My advice? Get it, Live it, Love it… pass it on.

Happy Reading my fellow Kindle-ites and remember: having a GPS implanted in your arm is NOT normal. Question everything!

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About Misty

Your friendly neighborhood narcissist. I'm sarcastic, cynical and a bit cranky. I own a soap box so big that sometimes I have difficulty stepping down off of it, and I'm about 94% certain I have multiple personalities. I don't sleep enough, and I read more than any person should ever consider normal. I have anger management issues, especially when I'm stuck in traffic and I have an unhealthy obsession with my Kindle. I am a vampire lovin', zombie obsessed, book-in-hand, iPod freak. You either love me or hate me. You be the judge.

8 thoughts on “Becoming An Adult

  1. My son is reading the Shadow Children YA (or maybe middle grade) series by Margaret Peterson Haddix. I think those books would fit in this genre as well – but not hard core. Dystopia Lite.


  2. I thought this was a really good book. The society Karr created was believable and thought provoking.

    Where I had problems were in two areas:

    1.) I didn’t think she explained the futuristic technology very well.

    2.) A lot of aspects of the book were explained in conversation instead of descriptive writing.

    What did you think?

    1. Agreed… She automatically assumed that we would understand their communication pads & while yes, most of us are smart enough to fill in the blanks with out own imaginations she should have taken that liberty herself. It is her society after all.

      And as far as the description/dialogue to be honest I don’t remember. I am likely to agree with you though. Most Distopian type literature relies on the characters interaction to describe the situations and world they live in vs. traditional story telling. (which is one thing that definitely frustrates me.

      Glad you liked it though. 🙂

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