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Top Dystopian YA Series

It seems I’ve been swept away by that YA book craze. I really enjoy the sci-fi series called “The 100” which is all about teenagers in space and on a post-apocalyptic Earth. So, I read the books that the series was based on, and then I got sucked into more and more teenage books. This is a list of my favorite dystopian YA series.

And as a special bonus, maybe because I’m an adult reading books meant for teenagers, or maybe because I just tend to be annoyed by certain characters, I’ve also made a section for characters who annoyed me.

The 100 by Kass Morgan

Everyone's faces are always covered in paint or dirt. That's a rule on the 100.

Everyone’s faces are always covered in paint, blood and/or dirt. That’s an unbreakable rule on The 100.

The main character is a girl called Clarke, a medical student who lives on a space station along with the rest of the survivors from a post-nuclear holocaust Earth. Clarke becomes privy to some unsavory human experiments, and as a result she is thrown in space jail. However, she and the other juvenile delinquents are let loose on Earth as a kind of test to see whether it’s safe for people to go back to the planet.

Yes, it’s quite a caring and humane society, and it just gets better. The teens actually do a descent job of surviving, until the grownups come along and try to ruin everything.

The books are not as violent and extreme as the TV series that was based on them, so if you’ve seen the series, you might find the books somewhat more boring, but they’re still enjoyable.

Characters who annoyed me: Glass. She has a stupid name, and she is stupid. In the TV show, the writers made a good move by not having her in it at all. Instead, there is a character with a slightly less stupid name, Raven. But Raven is actually kind of cool.

Matched by Ally Condie

In the actual book, the girl is not literally trapped in a crystal ball.

In the actual book, the girl is not literally trapped in a crystal ball.

This is the scariest of all the dystopian books I’ve read because the dystopian world seems like it would be extremely boring to live in, and the way its boredom is described in every detail is… strangely fascinating. Drawing its inspiration from Ray Bradbury’s Farenheit 451, Matched takes place in a society called Society (you can see how fun and creative they are already), where all daily activities are regulated by the government. Its rules are enforced by a combination of science and extreme anal retentiveness. Even in the marriage ceremonies, the candidates are genetically Matched for an optimal outcome. It’s also the only time people are allowed to eat cake. That, and their final banquet on the day they die.

Oh, and there are only 100 official films that people are allowed to watch as well at 100 official poems, paintings, etc. Well, I won’t spoil it by describing how the entire society works, but it is quite amazing.

Cassia is a teenager who is about to find out who she’s Matched with. It turns out, it’s her best friend, who is an all-round great guy! But then for a moment she sees another image pop up on her screen, of Ky, the mysterious “aberration”, who is basically like a second-class citizen. Of course, trying to figure out what Ky was doing in her matching device drives her crazy with the whole mystery of it, so she starts to fall for him instead of Mr. Perfect. Actually, I’m not sure it was a good choice, as Ky doesn’t seem to have much of a personality other than being mysterious and having suffered a lot at the hands of Society. But it is a really interesting series in terms of the political world it portrays and how Cassia and her friends try to rebel against it.

Characters who annoyed me: Indie, a girl Cassia meets while in exile. It seemed like the author worked really hard to make Indie look suspicious. Even though it turned out later that she was one of the good guys, I still didn’t trust her!

Under the Never Sky by Veronica Rossi

under-the-never-sky-veronica-rossi

Alternative title: Spending too Much Time on the Internet Makes You Smell Bad.

This is a lesser-known series, but it’s got a unique world that provides a fun escape. The so-called “civilized” factions live in pods and spend most of their time in virtual reality, but they are slowly going insane. The people who live in the real world are more like medieval hunters. So when Aria, a teenage girl from the pod is exiled into the wild, she is unlikely to survive unless she get she help of Perry, a savage prince who hates the way she smells.

The people in the outside world have mutations that allow them to have extra keen senses, usually sight and hearing and smell. Unfortunately, there were no great touchers, which was odd. Touch is a sense too! Seriously, it could have been interesting to have someone who could know the molecular structure of an object simply by touching it.

Characters who annoyed me: Brooke. She gets the short end of the stick because Perry breaks up with her for no reason. I would feel sorry for her, but she has no personality aside from knowing how to use a bow and being a b*&@%.

Did you read/like some of these books? Have you ever been annoyed by characters in YA books or otherwise? If so, please comment!

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Book Review: Ranger Martin and the Alien Invasion

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Click image to purchase on Amazon

Shotgun-toting hero Ranger Martin returns for more zombie-killing mayhem in this second installment in the Ranger Martin series by Jack Flacco. This novel begins with even more suspense as we find Ranger Martin far outnumbered, his trusty truck destroyed, and his former sidekick and quasi-adopted daughter Mattie, cutting off all ties with him. Oh, and did I mention Ranger is on the run from the army since Randy, the other teen he’s taken under his wing is wanted by the government.

Warning: this review contains some spoilers!

It’s a good thing Ranger does not give up easily. Fortunately, his teenage sidekick Randy is destined to save the human race from the zombies. And of course, we know Matty can’t stay mad at Ranger for long.

There are many perks to living in the Apocalypse. Since the world is mostly taken over by zombies and all businesses have been abandoned, Ranger Martin and friends can waltz into any store and pick out any food they want. Of course, most of the perishable food has rotted away, so they’re down to canned meat and candy bars… Okay, maybe the food is not such a good perk, but they can also drive away in any vehicle they choose, free of charge, and they often do as their last vehicle is usually splattered with zombie brains.

And of course, when the world is invaded by aliens and zombies, you can always count on the government to cut off all lines of communication and round up the citizens like cattle to be zombified by creepy flying saucers.

The second book in Jack Flacco’s action-packed series provides more answers regarding this dubious alliance between the army and the strange alien race that sucks humans’ minerals right out of their bodies, turning them into zombies in the process. We also discover why Randy is so special – and why he is wanted by the government. Some sort of chemical in his blood makes him immune to zombification. However, his pre-apocalypse life still remains a mystery, hopefully to be resolved in future installments.

I liked the way Jack Flacco left the readers guessing as to the characters’ past, and I enjoyed meeting some more characters outside of Ranger’s usual group. There are other people fighting the invasion, a Resistance group hidden away behind a mine field, and a small but determined trio within the prison itself. But these resistance groups are cagey and secretive. Can Ranger Martin get them on his side? If they work together, they may have a small chance to defeat the corrupt US army general and his forces.

This second installment in the Ranger Martin series was even more suspenseful than the first (check out my review of the first book in the series), with many close calls, chases, and battles. My favorite thing about this series is that even in their most dangerous moments Ranger and his team still crack jokes and have fun. These are characters you can really root for!

To find out more about Jack Flacco’s books, check out his site, http://jackflacco.com/.