The 10 Best Dystopian Novels

If you’re looking for a blatant cultural critique, then dystopian novels should provide you with this. You can read about oppressive government regimes and how citizens are fighting against the status quo, even if their rebellion gets quashed at times. We’ve covered the ten best dystopian novels that you can choose from.

The Windup Girl by Paolo Bacigalupi

The 10 Best Dystopian Novels

In The Windup Girl’s ravaged 23rd century, only Thailand maintains a genetically viable crop of seeds. The rest of the world fights over gene hacked produce controlled by a handful of ill-intention massive corporations. The author excels not just in constructing his elaborate, starving world full of kink-springs, but in humanizing everyone from the hardened company-man protagonist to the titular automation.

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The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins

10 Best Dystopian Novels

The YA dystopian novel that launches a bestselling trilogy and an epic film franchise, The Hunger Games is an action-packed ride set in a brutal, totalitarian future. This novel brings readers to Panem, a new nation founded among the ruins of North America and boasting a wealthy Capitol governed by the one percent.

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Red Rising by Pierce Brown

Best Dystopian Novels

From the all-powerful Golds who rule over the universe to the lowly Reds who toil beneath the Martian surface, everyone is born into a specific role in society. Pierce Brown delivers a story that’s as violent as it’s captivating, gradually revealing the Gold’s twisted machinations to perpetuate a dystopian society.

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Cloud Atlas by David Mitchell

Top selling Dystopian Novels

This is a formal masterpiece, a book whose structure is an essential part of its story. The story’s structure contains several interrupted narratives in a nested sequence, with each connected to the next by a single character from the previous tale. The compelling thread in this book is the structural implication that the dystopic future has already been set in motion by the events of the present – and the past.

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The Giver by Lois Lowry

YA Dystopian Novels

This novel by Lois Lowry makes its way into classrooms for good reason. The Giver asks big questions about what people are willing to sacrifice in order to feel safe. Would you give up all feeling for a life without crime or sickness? And what is the value of your individuality?

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V for Vendetta by Alan Moore

Best Dystopian Novels for adults

Following a nuclear conflict in the late ‘80s, a fascist political party has seized control of England, throwing any opposition into concentration camps. This is the fate of 16-year old Evey until a masked figure saves her from her would-be killers. Moore and Lloyd’s dystopian England may feel shockingly possible in the era of the far right, but there’s a glimmer of hope to be found.

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Neuromancer by William Gibson

Best dystopian books to read

William Gibson’s slangy prose and hard-boiled protagonist, a washed-up hacker named Case, paints political exhausting with prophetic conviction. Through a series of intricate crimes, Case and his sidekicks, reach the novel’s endgame, which involves tow AIs in pursuit of inconceivable power. The Neuromancer’s many truths are far more chilling than its fictions in the present world.

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Infinite Jest by David Foster Wallace

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This is a gargantuan, mind-altering comedy about the pursuit of happiness in America. Set in an addicts’ halfway house and a tennis academy it features the most endearingly screwed-up family to come along in recent fiction. This novel explores essential questions about what entertainment is and why it has come to dominate our lives.

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The Man in the High Castle by Philip K. Dick

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What makes this novel so unsettling about this novel is that it could have happened had the 2nd World War turned out differently. The result is a sobering reminder that everything comes with a cost, even in a more alluring timeline. As a bonus, with Kindle Unlimited you can read this book, and many other great ebooks, for free. 

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An Ember in the Ashes by Sabaa Tahir

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This novel follows three characters in a brutal dystopian society resembling ancient Rome. The emotional complexity of the characters and their tribulations are morally compelling and deeply engaging in this novel.

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