Distopian Romances and Apocolypse Oh My…

I just finished several books that share a theme.

Ricky Yancy’s The 5th Wave;  Ally Condie’s Matched; and Veronica Roth’s Divergent

The Earth is Ending, or Ended, and society has been ripped apart and reshaped into something different, often sinister and there has to be a little romance thrown in with all the killing, or mind control preferably with a bad boy who just might be an insane killer, or mystic warrior.

So It might be a genre thing, but I prefer my romances to be fluffy, not involve lots of blood, and generally leave me feeling hopeful.  Though all did provide a welcome distraction for the weekend.

The 5th Wave by Rick Yancy
The 5th Wave by Rick Yancy

The 5th Wave by Rick Yancy is an exhausting novel about alien invasion that manages to pull together in the end but still leaves you feeling like you waded through ash piles of dead bodies.  (Yup, there are a LOT of disturbing scenes and themes so this is strictly for 10th grade and up)  There are several main characters and you jump from perspective to perspective several times jarring you out of the book and throwing you into another person’s narrative.  The perspectives are: Cassie (for Cassiopeia) Sam, her little brother, Ben her first crush, and Evan, the other crush she finds in the wild.

Because I do not want to give too much of the plot away the book gets its title from the “Waves” of alien invasion.  1st wave and EMP, 2nd wave Floods, 3rd Wave pestilence, 4th wave the Silencers, so what is the 5th wave?  What will wipe out the remaining people?  The story does get bogged down at times trying to be both a Science fiction about the alien apocalypse and a quasi romance between Cassie and Evan, and the crazy military training at the Camp.  Like I said earlier, I still liked the ending.  Probably because while not a happy ending, you feel at least satisfied that there is a conclusion of sorts.  I do not plan to read the sequel “The Infinite Sea” since slogging through another Kill or be Killed novel involving alien brainwashed kids does not appeal to me but for the mature teen, this is a book that proves questions about “What would you do if you could trust no one and everyone you knew was dead?”  and “How do you fight an enemy that you can not see?”

visit the Books Website: http://the5thwaveiscoming.com/

 

Matched by Ally Condie
Matched by Ally Condie

The next book is Ally Condie’ Matched for ages 12 and up.

Now the this book takes place after some unknown Apocolypse possibly linked to misuse of resources, or war, or a bomb.  It is unclear what caused society to reshape itself, but in Ally Conde’s Matched everyone lives in a world controlled and regulated by Officials and their sorting.  These officials wear white, and much like the Science Fiction movie it mimics Logan’s Run people are born, matched to their mates, and die at a prearranged time (in this case by poison).  Everyone has rec time where you can select from a small set of activities.  If you mess up an Officer will come and you get “and infraction” and could become “an aberration” or worse an “abomination” and executed.

Now of the three in the series, this is my least favorite.  And it is not because it is poorly written or there are plot holes.  Nope, it is because this one took soooooo long for anything to happen.  It is one giant set up for the real meat of the problem with this society, what happens in a totalitarianism regime, and ultimately how free will can not be controlled.   This series is a Romance (with a capital R) about a girl, Cassia, and which of two love interests she chooses: the “nice guy best friend” Xander or the “bad boy mysterious aberration” Ky.  So get through this book so you can read the other two.

Divergent by Veronica Roth
Divergent by Veronica Roth

Lastly we come to the book that is going to be a movie in March of this year and of the three I am reviewing was my favorite.  Also part of a trilogy, Veronica Roth’s Divergent sets somewhere between worlds like Matched, and Hunger Games.  In this series, our heroine Beatrice must chose which of the five factions she wants to belong to.  Set in another distopian city / world.  In this book the people go through a screening process at 17 to determine which of five factions you are going to live with for the rest of your life.  Just like in Matched we start at the day of choosing where Beatrice is “mapped” to see which faction she is compatible with.  Only Beatrice doesn’t get a match.  No single faction pops up for her (she is a Divergent), and so she decides to become part of the Dauntless, the quasi military ninja police gang of tattooed people that protect the community.  This book is an action  packed romp through a richly envisioned world.    And yes, there is also a romance in this one.  I guess it would be too much to ask for a strong female character that does not have to fall for the first tattooed bad boy she encounters….But that is just me.  The trailer of the movie can be seen on youTube and here:

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1840309/

It is not Hunger Games, it is not quite the all oppressive suffocating sameness of Matched, but it is interesting and obviously this system of profiling people to their group is not flawless and Beatrice’ journey to becoming Tish shows that all is not well in “Wonderland”