Guilty as charged. Maybe you’re one of those readers who devours books, YA dystopian in particular, and you’ve finally run out of things to read. Fortunately, for every awesome YA dystopian novel, there’s a novel written for an adult audience that’s a perfect match. Wandering away from the YA section of the bookstore and browsing the stacks of the adult fiction and sci-fi/fantasy (SFF), you can find many dystopian novels that fans of YA dystopia will love . Here are a few all-time favorites.
A classic dystopian novel by beloved science fiction novelist Ray Bradbury imagines a world where reading is forbidden and books are burned—at the temperature of 451 degrees Fahrenheit. One of the “firemen” tasked with burning books is Guy Montag, a sort of everyman who doesn’t really question his role until he meets his spirited young teenaged neighbor, Clarisse. Clarisse sparks a fire in him to question his occupation. Eventually, Guy realizes that the dystopian government he’s been a loyal servant of might be dangerously wrong. His quest to reform it anchors this beloved novel in a very human, very emotionally compelling way. The novel scrutinizes censorship, and for any dystopian fan, Bradbury’s novel is simply a must.
This series comprises three novels by Justin Cronin and has rave reviews. These cult classics start off with the titular first novel, The Passage. In this engrossing post-apocalyptic read, vampire-like humans who contract a contagious virus roam the globe. Young Amy was abandoned by her parents as an offering in a government experiment. A Special Agent sent to save her helps her realize that her fate is to walk the land endlessly knowing she has the gift—the gift to save the world. The second and third novels, The Twelve and The City of Mirrors, respectively, conclude this epic trilogy. With a genre bending mix of thriller, horror, and science fiction, this series is perfect for any dystopian fan looking to seek their teeth into a new favorite.
In Atwood’s terrifying Republic of Gilead (a dystopian United States), a Christian-extremist group called the Sons of Jacob seize control of the United States and rig everything so that women must serve men in a terrifying military dictatorship. Women’s rights are almost completely unrecognized, and women are forbidden to read. Our heroine is Offred, a handmaid, or a woman who is kept for reproductive purposes only. As Offred has an awakening, she joins an underground resistance hoping to overrule the dictatorship. Atwood’s dystopian novel won the first Arthur C. Clarke Award in 1987. The novel has been adapted numerous times, and in 2016 it was announced the novel would be adapted into a miniseries starring Elisabeth Moss. For readers wanting to read a feminist interpretation of a dystopian society, look no further.
What started out as a self-published phenomenon quickly gained a cult following, and the Wool series caught fire. In the first collection of the Wool stories, Howey’s detailed world looks at a dystopian society where life is lived underground in silos separated by caste. Civilization has been underground so long that they forget there is anywhere else to live. Every so often, someone has to go outside to clean the equipment. But the government has a hard time getting anyone back alive. It’s the beginning of a revolution.