Tag Archives: Dystopian Novels

Dystopian Challenge 2010: Wrap-Up & Contest

This year I participated in Parajunkee’s Dystopian 2010 Challenge and I must say it was one of the best challenges I have completed in quite awhile. It was challenging and yet fun since there were so many new books and classics to choose from in the dystopian genre. I found myself constantly enlightened and filling up my book journal with quotes.

For fun as I wrap up to this challenge I thought it might be nice to share some of my favorite quotes from my reading for this challenge. For extra fun…I am going to give the quote but not the book…see how many you can match up to their respective books. My list of books read is below so you have the list to choose from. The person who can match up the most (random generator will choose if there are multiple dystopian geniuses) will win a special little something from Stiletto Storytime! You can also get extra entries by sharing your favorite dystopian quotes that I might not have mentioned! Contest ends at midnight on August 31, 2010. There will be one prize for US/ Canada residents and another (virtual prize) for any international winners. Have fun and please no “googling” for answers! Good luck to all!

My Favorite Quotes from Dystopian Books:

Quote #1:Past events, it is argued, have no objective existence, but survive only in written records and in human memories. The past is whatever the records and the memories agree upon. And since the party is in full control of all records, and in equally full control of the minds of its members, it follows that the past is whatever the party chooses to make it.” -1984

Quote #2: “Last night I thought about all that kerosene I’ve used in the past ten years. And I thought about books. And for the first time I realized that a man was behind each one of the books. A man had to think them up. A man had to take a long time to put them down on paper. And I’d never thought that before.” -Fahrenheit 451

Quote #3: ” The best books, he perceived, are those that tell you what you already know.” -1984

Quote #4: ” A different life. That was what happened, she knew, when a person had a baby. This strange new being grew inside you and by the time it was all over, you were someone different too.” -The Passage

Quote #5: “People were excited when they first came out with the feeds. It was all da da da, this big educational thing, da da da, your child will have the advantage, encyclopedias at their fingertips, closer than their fingertips, etc. That’s the great thing about the feed- that you can be super smart without ever working. Everyone is super smart now. You can look things up automatic, like science and history, like you want to know which battles of the Civil War George Washington fought in and shit.” -Feed

Quote #6: “Everyone belongs to everyone else.” -Brave New World

Quote #7: “An eighth grade girl was taken today.” -The Limit

Quote #8: Images flash through my mind: the spear piercing Rue’s body in the arena, Gale hanging senseless from the whipping post, the corpse littered wasteland of my home. And for what? For what?” -Mockingjay

Quote #9: “Winston stopped reading, chiefly to appreciate the fact that he was reading, in comfort and safety.” -1984

Quote #10: “Mothers and fathers, brothers and sisters. But there were also husbands, wives, lovers. There were also monogamy and romance. Though you probably don’t know what those are, said Mustopha Mond.  They shook their heads.” -Brave New World

Dystopian Challenge 2010

Dates: Jan 1 2010 to Aug 24 2010

  • Level 1 – Experimental – 5 books
  • Level 2 – Addict – 10 books
  • Level 3 – Junkee – 20 books

1.) The Sky Inside by Clare B. Dunkle

2.)The Walls Have Eyes by Clare B. Dunkle

3.)Restoring Harmony by Joelle Anthony

4.) Life As We Knew It by Susan Beth Pfeffer

5.) The Dead and the Gone by Susan Beth Pfeffer

6.) This World We Live In by Susan Beth Pfeffer

7.) The Dead-Tossed Waves by Carrie Ryan

8.) The Passage by Justin Cronin

9.) Birthmarked by Caragh M. O’Brien

10.) Oryx and Crake by Margaret Atwood

11.) Never Let Me Go by Kazuo Ishiguro

12.) Veracity by Laura Bynum

13.) Jennifer Government by Max Barry

14.) Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury

15.) The Time Machine by H.G. Wells

16.) 1984 by George Orwell

17.) The Limit by Kristen Landon

18.) Feed by M.T. Anderson

19.) Brave New World by Aldous Huxley

20.) Mockingjay by Suzanne Collins

Thanks again to Parajunkee for such a wonderful challenge!

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Review: Mockingjay by Suzanne Collins

http://2.bp.blogspot.com/_8nmIT1BI7hg/S3LiIFw1DNI/AAAAAAAAAQ0/3bbLNJL5JyE/s1600/Mockingjay.JPG Seventeen-year-old Katniss Everdeen is a girl who has suffered an incredible loss on her path to what some might consider celebrity of the most distorted kind. Forced to fight in the Capitol’s vicious games where randomly chosen teens are sent “to kill or be killed” for the entertainment of the elite citizen’s viewing pleasure. Katniss has defied many odds in battle and done things that will haunt her the rest of her life. However her very survival and the love between her and a fellow tribute captured the attention of a country, as she became the legendary “girl on fire”.  Now she has become a symbol for rebellion and a beacon of light for those being oppressed by the Capitol and its regime.

Finally free from the Capitol’s control, Katniss finds herself again fighting for her life under the rebellion, as their “Mockingjay”.  As the pawn of the rebellion Katniss must watch, as the boy she loves becomes the unwilling pawn of the Capitol. Peeta still in the hands of President Snow is now the means by which Katniss is manipulated since she and her family have found safety in District 13.  How can she fight when Peeta will suffer for her every action? Who could risk the life of the very person who has saved his or her own?

In the first two books of the Hunger Games series, readers have been with Katniss as she has fought her way through the sadistic games, conquered numerous enemies and lost countless friends. Now they will be by her side as she fights for freedom not just for herself but also for the citizens of all the Districts. With her childhood friend Gale by her side, she must decide what she is willing to risk in order defeat the Capitol and end the President’s vicious reign. Will Katniss and Peeta ever truly be together or will Katniss accept love closer to home in her oldest friend Gale? The love triangle continues in Mockingjay with an answer finally revealed to this long debated question.

The much-anticipated conclusion to the Hunger Games trilogy has finally arrived and readers will find it just as impossible to put down as Hunger Games and Catching Fire.  Without the battle ground of the games and its non-stop action, Suzanne Collins has managed to still keep teen and adult readers enthralled and guessing until the very end of a magnificent journey undertaken by unforgettable characters that will remain with you long after the last page has been turned. A new modern dystopian classic series has ended but readers will rejoice in its well-written and symbolic conclusion that is every bit as satisfying in the end as it was when it began.

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Review: Restoring Harmony

A girl, her fiddle and a quest to save her family at what might be the end of the world in 2041, what more could one ask for in a book? Well love but you know what in Joelle Anthony’s new dystopian work Restoring Harmony; she’s got that too.

Sixteen-year-old Molly McClure has been safe and secure for most of her life on a remote island in Canada used for farming. She has never been hungry despite the destruction of many of the world’s biggest cities and the widespread flood of disease, looting and famine.  Everything in her life has been calm and orderly including her musical training on her beloved fiddle, Jewels.  She lives a quiet life with her parents and siblings, a life almost of the past.

Unfortunately when contact ceases between her grandparents and her family it falls on Molly to travel illegally outside of the country to search for them in the now devastated United States.  It is a United States after the Collapse ruled by crime and The Organization who behave much like the monsters of the past.  Around every corner is danger and devastation. One wrong step could be Molly’s last.

Finally finding her grandparents starving in Portland without the means to return to Canada, the fiesty teen must do the impossible to survive and lead her family back together again. As she searches for the answers to the questions she seeks, she begins to trust her new acquaintance Spill who seems to be able to make anything happen. But is he simply too good to be true? Even more importantly can he help Molly do the impossible or will she have to make the ultimate sacrifice in order to get her family back together safely?

An interesting dystopian novel focusing on familial relationships and a teenager with a heart of gold, Restoring Harmony is very different from what you might expect when you hear the word “dystopian” but as it turns out, this reviewer thinks that’s a good thing.  Exploring the emotions of family, an individual’s connection to a passion such as music and the love of life is simply not done enough in this genre. Restoring Harmony intertwines them all along with a nice dose of the future, advanced technology and dangerous adventure.

Restoring Harmony is available for pre-order and will debut on May 13th.

Joelle is also one of the 2010 Debs so you can also check her out on The Debutante Ball Blog but even better tomorrow we will have Joelle as our Stiletto Sotrytime Special Guest Author as she continues on her Restoring Harmony Blog Tour!

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Review: This World We Live In

Imagine a world with no sunlight, where groceries stores, clean running water and electricity exist almost exclusively in your memories.  Not being hungry on a constant basis or having light to see by is a luxury.  Imagine you must try to survive with what you have in your home right at this moment. How long would you last? How would you cope when canned goods, bottled water and a wood stove become the only means of survival?

Susan Beth Pfeffer has asked us to imagine this exact scenario in her series about the end of civilization, as we know it. In her first book Life As We Knew It, the moon was suddenly knocked out of orbit by an asteroid sending the entire planet into panic and disorder. Earthquakes, floods and famine were widespread and epidemics spread over the next few months killing millions. The ash from widespread earthquakes even blocked most of the light from the sun plunging the temperatures down even in summer and making growing food impossible. In short life itself began to end.

In her third installment This World We Live In things are still dire but there is still hope that one day the world might recover or that at least life might still be possible.  Food deliveries have begun and it seems as though things might look up in the future as communications with the outside world become somewhat available.  There are survivors and the hope of a united future for those left.

Teenager Miranda Evans continues to struggle with her family in Howell, Pennsylvania as part of the only survivors left in her hometown. She spends her time fighting to manage every day tasks and writing in her diary, trying to keep some account of the craziness that abounds in the world around her.  Having not seen her father, stepmother or her newest sibling since the beginning of the end, Miranda is shocked when they show up on the doorstep with strangers in tow.

Readers of the series will remember Alex Morales and his sister Julie from the second book in the series: The Dead & The Gone in which they struggled through the same events as Miranda in frantic New York City.  Now living alongside Miranda’s family, a new group has formed and tensions are high as relationships grow and change.  Will love blossom in this time of death and heartache? Will the food last with so many new mouths to feed? And most importantly will the world ever return to any resemblance of normal?

Fans of the series will delight in this latest installment of Pfeffer’s work. She has found a way to make the end of the world a little too plausible, what she describes not only could happen but makes you think about things in your own life in a whole new light.  While I may feel the need to go hit up Sam’s club for massive cartons of canned goods after reading it, I still must say This World We Live In is worth reading and considering for future thought but readers must be sure to begin at the beginning with book one to truly understand the story being told.

The Author’s Cat Scooter Enjoying Some Reading

Scooter Is A Very Literary Cat

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South Carolina Book Festival

The South Carolina Book Festival is this weekend in Columbia, SC. And I have already begun to enjoy the fruits of literary opportunity it has brought to our city. This morning I enjoyed a Masters Writing Workshop by James O. Born, a Florida based crime writer and author of The Human Disguise which I will be reviewing on Stiletto Storytime in the near future . The workshop was based on the “basics of writing a novel” but we covered much more including the author’s opinion of book blogging (he gave us a thumbs up!) and his love of the IRS…don’t we all (so the hidden listening devices will choose not to audit).  I love being able to attend events like this and how lucky this one was practically in my back yard. Tomorrow I look forward to possible meeting more fantastic authors, great conversation and soaking in the genuine “love of books” feeling you only get at events such as these.  I look forward to tomorrow and the first official day of the festival. On the agenda tomorrow Heidi Durrow ,Lucy Nolan, Mindy Friddle and Dacre Stoker (the great-grandnephew of Bram Stoker and fellow South Carolinian…come on… how can you pass that up!) Will keep all informed and if you are in the area…come join the fun…admission is free!

Until then check out the summary for The Human Disguise and see if it might be a book for you, I know dystopian fans will be interested and I am excited it will count towards my Dystopian Challenge this year:

This near-future page-turner debut amalgamates apocalyptic science fiction, police procedural and thematic dashes of alien invasion and vampire mythos. Fighting wars in Syria, Iraq and the Balkans, the U.S. is on the precipice of anarchy. Manhattan is a radioactive wasteland, sprawling plague quarantine zones are commonplace and lawlessness is rampant. When Tom Wilner, a detective with Florida’s underfunded Unified Police Force, witnesses a bloody shootout at a roadhouse, he becomes entangled in a vast conspiracy involving his estranged wife and her crime lord lover, a terrorist plot to detonate a dirty bomb in Florida and speculation about a race of godlike hominids and a looming alien invasion. O’Neal provides the postapocalyptic genre with few innovations, but his self-assured, hard-edged writing style, solid characters and wildly entertaining thriller plot will keep readers enthralled.

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Clare B. Dunkle Series

I just finished Clare B. Dunkle’s dystopian works The Sky Inside and The Walls Have Eyes. I picked these up through a review I saw for The Walls Have Eyes on Becky’s Book Reviews. I was a little hesitant when I saw SLJ had deemed The Sky Inside “mediocre” but I have to say I completely disagree. I felt the premise while done before was done beautifully and given new insights and ideas. Readers who like science fiction and dystopian settings will be delighted. I really enjoyed both works. While somewhat predictable at times, one has to remind oneself that for this reading level it might not be predictable at all. I highly recommend the series and am hoping that it will be followed with a third installation at some point. It would be a great pick for reluctant readers especially boys. A boy, his dog and robots set in a dangerous future….what more could  boy ask for in a book? Also the characters are extremely well developed and almost everyone can identify with at least one of them whether it be Martin, his Wonder Baby sister Cassie or extreme bot dog Chip. I am also extremely excited about Dunkle’s next book a prelude to Bronte’s Wuthering Heights due out Autumn 2010! Check out sample chapters and lots of other fun stuff on the author’s website.

The House of Dead Maids

“Young Tabby Aykroyd has been brought to the dusty mansion of Seldom House to be nursemaid to a foundling boy. He is a savage little creature, but the Yorkshire moors harbor far worse, as Tabby soon discovers. The ghost of the last maid will not leave Tabby in peace, yet this spirit is only one of many. Why do scores of dead maids and masters haunt Seldom House with a jealous devotion that extends beyond the grave?

As Tabby struggles to escape the evil forces rising out of the land, she watches her young charge choose a different path. He is determined to keep Seldom House as his own. Though Tabby tries to befriend the uncouth urchin, her kindness cannot alter his fate. Long before he reaches the old farmhouse of Wuthering Heights, the boy who will become Heathcliff has doomed himself and any who try to befriend him.”

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The Silenced-Review

“In a world filled with sanctions and restrictions, Marena struggles to remember the past: a time before the Zero Tolerance Party murdered her mother and put her father under house arrest. A time before they installed listening devices in every home and forbade citizens to read or write. A time when she was free. In the spirit of her revolutionary mother, Marena forms her own resistance group—the White Rose.This is a chilling dystopian novel that leads readers to question the very essence of their identities. Who do you think you are?”

I have to admit at first I was really drawn to this book. As I started I really thought it would be similar to the Uglies series that I loved. However as my reading progressed I found that there is very little about this work beyond the plot. There is no real detail, no personalities, no feelings formed for the rather blank characters.  I think this might be intentional, a way to show the blankness and non-identity of this imagined time but it also seemed to disinterest me as a reader.  I enjoyed the premise but I wish there could have just been more….to make me invest myself in the story as a reader. I do see a chance for a sequel but I cannot say that I would read it unless I knew it had changed in some way. However if you are intersted in the dystopian type work….this may be a book for you. There is also a nice tie into history with resistance in World War II and the writer’s inspiration which we learn about in the Author’s Note. I felt more feeling and detail in that than much of the book. I have to say it was enough to keep my reading till the end but not necessarily something I would recommend to a fellow reader. I would love to hear if anyone else has read this and their comments?

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