Dystopian Reviews

The Forest of Hands and Teeth

[openbook booknumber=”9780385736817″][rating:4/5]

In Mary’s world, there are simple truths.

The Sisterhood always knows best.

The Guardians will protect and serve.

The Unconsecrated will never relent.

And you must always mind the fence that surrounds the village. The fence that protects the village from the Forest of Hands and Teeth.

But slowly, Mary’s truths are failing her. She’s learning things she never wanted to know about the Sisterhood and its secrets, and the Guardians and their power. And, when the fence is breached and her world is thrown in to chaos, about the Unconsecrated and their relentlessness.

Now she must choose between her village and her future, between the one she loves and the one who loves her. And she must face the truth about the Forest of Hands and Teeth. Could there be life outside a world surrounded by so much death?

I think that The Forest of Hands and Teeth works out as a fantastic and well written introduction to post-apocalyptic zombie fiction. It was realistic, engaging, horrifying and managed to both keep that realistic and well done horror and be accessible to a young age group. I absolutely loved it.

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Catching Fire

[openbook booknumber=”0439023491″][rating:5/5]

Against all odds, Katniss Everdeen has won the annual Hunger Games with fellow district tribute Peeta Mellark. But it was a victory won by defiance of the Capitol and their harsh rules. Katniss and Peeta should be happy. After all, they have just won for themselves and their families a life of safety and plenty. But there are rumors of rebellion among the subjects, and Katniss and Peeta, to their horror, are the faces of that rebellion. The Capitol is angry. The Capitol wants revenge.

This was a very worthy sequel to The Hunger Games. It was just as action packed as the first, with all of the same favorite characters brought back to vivid life, only this time we get to journey to new places as Katniss and Peeta do their Victory Tour and get to see all of the other districts and the unrest that is stirring in each of them.

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The Hunger Games

[openbook booknumber=”0439023483″][rating:5/5]

In a dystopian future North America as we know it has been destroyed and from its ashes rose the Capital and it’s 13 Districts. The Capital was powerful and greedy and ruled the districts with an iron fist. When the districts rose up against them the Capital completely destroyed District 13 and subjugated the remaining 12. To keep the Districts in check they force each one to give up one girl and one boy between the ages of 12 and 17. The children must participate in The Hunger Games, a live televised fight to the death aired for the enjoyment of the residents of the Capital, the Districts are forced to watch in horror as their children are murdered right in front of them.

Katniss Everdeen is a 16-year-old who lives in District 12. She has been forced to provide for her family all her life as her father passed away in a mining accident when she was young. Her mother went into a catatonic state of depression afterward leaving Katniss to care for herself and her younger sister alone. Feeling abandoned and alone Katniss ends up drawing on the skills her father taught her: using bow and arrow, foraging and hunting in the forest, and surviving and supporting a family. When her younger sister Prim turns twelve and gets entered into the reaping for The Hunger Games the worst happens. Her little sister is chosen. Katniss sacrifices herself and volunteers in her sister’s place. Now she needs to see if her survival skills can transfer from providing for her family to staying alive in the arena as she faces the cruel carnage and inhumanity of The Hunger Games.

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Atlas Shrugged

[openbook booknumber=”0451191145″]


My second attempt at reading an Ayn Rand novel went off even worse than my first. I’m going to basically cover all the things I found wrong with Anthem and include a few more basic problems I have with her philosophy.

Atlas Shrugged is a philosophical novel written by Ayn Rand, and her last before she turned from novel writer to full time philosopher. The novel outlines and supports her basic tenets of Objectivism.

The theory I don’t have a problem with, generally, my problem is mainly how it is applied in this novel and the way people are using this book to support conservative attempts to have the market limitations put in place during this latest recession be repealed as it is “harming market growth”. This novel is also being used as an argument against the new health care initiative and as a way of gainsaying the economic stimulus package and the green jobs it has created. All of these arguments ignore one vital point: in the novel the market failed because of the market limitations that were put in place on a market that was going on just fine before hand, in the real world the market failed because of circumventions to the market limitations in place and because some market limitations that needed to be in place were not there creating an untenable situation that ultimately collapsed. A circumstance most pundits seem to be glossing over for their own reasons.

Anyway, back to the story. In the story a man saw all of these market limitations and, taking it a step further, resulting socialist states in the novel and decided he would show them how their system would not, could not and should not work by “stopping the motor of the world”. And, he did. To keep from spoiling too much of the plot, since it is an interesting piece of literature, I will have it suffice to say that the main character, a woman named Dagny Taggart, learns along with the reader about the philosophy of Objectivism through out the story through a variety of circumstances and an increasingly dire state of living. Meanwhile she attempts to run her brother’s railroad against increasingly insurmountable odds as the government changes around her. Soon her world starts to give up and come to a standstill. The freeloaders and beggars win in a world where all is equal, since the hard workers have to give, and they have but to receive. Dagny gives until she can give no more, and then she learns the truth: Who is John Galt?

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[openbook booknumber=”0452281253″]


I tried my best, but there was so much of this book that I had problems with, and it was such a short book with so little plot it was very hard not to spoil it, so… spoiler ahoy in this review!

Anthem is a novel about a man named Equality 7-2521. Much in the style of other horrific Utopian novels he is one of many is a futuristic society, where everything is utterly controlled from education, to vocation, to sex, to death and (like Brave New World, 1984 and The Giver) the main character is seeking to throw off this yoke and go back to how things were before, though he hasn’t realized it yet.

For the first ten chapters he speaks in the style of Gollum, of Lord of the Rings. When he speaks of himself he says “we” and “us” for the collective is what is important, while individualism in any form breaks divine law. Everything is done for the betterment of all, for the will of many is greater than the will of the individual. The many’s needs are greater as well and therefore the individual must sacrifice himself for the many.

Equality 7-2521 is given a position as street sweeper and in his work finds two things that are his undoing: a beautiful woman, and an old underground sewer left over from the times before. He sneaks off there and writes his own private thoughts and does his own private research. But, the scientific discoveries he make are nothing next to the truth that he uncovers there.

Anthem is supposed to be a novel exemplifying Ayn Rand’s philosophy about individualism and collectivism and the pros and cons thereof. I have to say some of what she believes I don’t really agree with and actually reading the foreword (a fault of mine) kinda prejudiced me against her before I even got to the story.

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