Tag Archives: Dystopia

Branded by Kelley Armstrong


Title: Branded
Author: Kelley Armstrong
Rating Out of 5: 5 (I will read this again and again and again)
My Bookshelves: Dystopia, Paranormal romance, Werewolves
Pace: Fast
Format: eBook, Novella
Year: 2013


I loved, loved, loved, loved, loved this novella. Which comes as exactly no surprise considering I love everything I have read by Kelley Armstrong. There is just something that is impossible to put down about all of her stories, and the strength of the women in her works is also completely admirable. Which, obviously, this was no exception.

I like that although this is kind of loosely based in the Otherworld series, it’s not really part of that world. It’s kind of what would happen after generations and generations of people making incredibly bad decisions. And the apocalypse / dystopian future. I love that it is showing just what can happen when prejudice and fear run rampant and destroy lives.

There is a whole lot of plotting and darkness throughout this story, and yet it is a wonderful and adorable teen romance. Even some of the plotting that in hindsight was obviously going on, wasn’t quite as obvious as in hindsight. Some of it actually took me by surprise. Always something I enjoy.

I loved this novella, and it is definitely one I’ll reread again when the urge takes me.

<- More Kelley ArmstrongWomen of the Otherworld series ->

The Fifth Season by N.K. Jemisin


Title: The Fifth Season
Author: N.K. Jemisin
Series: The Broken Earth Trilogy #1
Rating Out of 5: 5 (I will read this again and again and again)
My Bookshelves: Dystopia, High fantasy, Science fiction
Pace: Slow
Format: eBook, Novel
Year: 2015


Wow. Holy moly. This is one of those ridiculously unforgettable, stop my brain, overwhelmingly awesome stories. I’ve heard of N.K. Jemisin a few times in my literary delving, but it’s taken me this long to dive into one of her books. And, as with many of these moments of FINALLY getting around to it – the hype is damn well deserved.

From the very beginning, Jemisin’s writing style was so starkly different to anything else that I’ve ever experienced. It felt like she was reaching through the pages to speak to ME directly, no one else in the whole wide world. And that is just the prologue. Then, you get into the chapters. And you literally experience Essun’s journey as though you were her. I’ve read first person POV before, but nothing quite like this. Some of that attachment may have been because of my own (relatively recent) experience as a mother. But still it was a pretty intense reading simply because of this.

And then we get into the storyline, Jemisin is able to create a stunning multilayered world that is completely impossible to look away from. Not just built throughout Essun’s (your) journey, but also the stories of Damara and Seynite. It does take a little while to see how everything is interconnected. But when you have that lightning bolt moment of realisation… this story is just one one continues to get better and better and better. It’s honestly a little bit surreal and ridiculous.

I knew that this book would be fairly complex, being a high fantasy / Scipio novel. But you don’t actually realise how complex it all truly is until you’re out onto the otherwise. Jemisin is fantastic at leaving Easter eggs throughout that, when reflected on, give you an idea of how the tale will end. But when you’re in the thick of it… just wow. Definitely a suggested read. And I can’t wait to have the brain capacity to read The Obelisk Gate.

<- More N.K. JemisinThe Obelisk Gate ->

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The Swan Book by Alexis Wright


Title: The Swan Book
Author: Alexis Wright
Rating Out of 5: 3 (On the fence about this one)
My Bookshelves: Australian authors, Dystopia
Pace: Slow
Format: Novel
Year: 2013


This is one of those books that I’m going to have to reread in the future. It was filled with intensity and symbolism. And set in a world that felt weirdly familiar. But, being 8 months pregnant I’m not entirely convinced that my brain absorbed all of the amazingness that is this story.

So maybe I’ll wait to reread this to write a far better review in the future…

<- More Australian authorsMore dystopia ->

Image source: Hachette UK

Red Queen by Victoria Aveyard

Red Queen: Red Queen Book 1 eBook : Aveyard, Victoria: Amazon.com.au:  Kindle Store

Title: Red Queen
Author: Victoria Aveyard
Series: Red Queen #1
Rating Out of 5: 4 (Really good read!)
My Bookshelves: Dystopia, Paranormal fantasy, Young adult
Dates read: 5th – 18th September 2021
Pace: Medium
Format: Novel
Publisher: Orion
Year: 2015
5th sentence, 74th page: Just bumbling officers who don’t know you.


This is a world divided by blood – Red or Silver

The Reds are commoners, ruled by a Silver elite in possession of god-like superpowers. And to seventeen-year-old Mare, a Red girl from the poverty-stricken Stilts, it seems like nothing will ever change.

But Mare possesses a deadly talent of her own. One that threatens to destroy the balance of power.

Fearful of her potential, the Silvers hide Mare in plain view, declaring her a long-lost Silver princess. Knowing that one false move will mean her death, Mare must use her new position to bring down the regime – from the inside.

Now Mare has entered a game of betrayal and lies.

This is Reds against Silvers, prince against prince, and Mare against her own heart…


This was one of those books that I felt really unsure of at the beginning. For starters, I’ve read a LOT of mixed reviews about this on the many online book clubs I’m a member of. And there was also the fact that at the beginning it all felt a little same same for YA dystopia stories. Having said that, once I got past the first 50 or so pages it stopped feeling so same same and really started to draw me in.

Mare wasn’t a painful protagonist, which, considering some of the YA books I’ve read, was a pleasant surprise. She wasn’t whiney and childish. Yet, she also wasn’t perfect. I like that she had all the insecurities of a fairly typical teenager – felt like a failure, the black sheep. And that all of this was underlined by an overwhelming love for family and Kilorn.

I knew that this story featured betrayal, but I wasn’t expecting the betrayal that actually happened. I kept flicking back and forth as to whom I thought the “bad” guy was. But I was still kind of seriously surprised when it all came out. Probably part of the reason that I ended up enjoying this book so much.

All in all this was a fantastic book. And the perfect beginning to a series. Now I’m intrigued as to where the story line is going to take me. There’s a sense of wonder and confusion in it all that I just can’t get away from.

<- Steel ScarsGlass Sword ->

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The Glory Days by Isobelle Carmody

Image result for green monkey dreams isobelle carmody book cover

Title: The Glory Days
Author: Isobelle Carmody
In: Green Monkey Dreams (Isobelle Carmody)
Rating Out of 5: 4 (Really good read!)
My Bookshelves: Dystopia, Fantasy
Dates read: 31st March 2021
Pace: Medium
Format: Short story
Publisher: Allen & Unwin
Year: 1996
5th sentence, 74th page: She touched the pencil with the tip of her finger.


The Glory Days are long gone. But some people still remember them…


I always love the post-apocalyptic feeling of Isobelle Carmody’s writing. There is just something so poignant about it all. And she always points out the things that are horribly wrong with our society. And honestly, this short story was no exception.

Ultimately, I finished this short story with a hurt-heart feeling. It was just… intense. There is something about looking at our society and reflecting that can really and seriously pull on the heart strings.

The key words that jumped out at me with this story – sorrow, anguish, betrayal, pain and love…

<- Green Monkey Dreams CollectionRoaches ->

Image source: Allen & Unwin

The Belles by Dhonielle Clayton

The Belles (The Belles, #1) by Dhonielle Clayton

Title: The Belles
Author: Dhonielle Clayton
Series: The Belles #1
Rating Out of 5: 4.5 (Amazing, but not quite perfect)
My Bookshelves: Dystopia, Fantasy, Magic, Young adult
Dates read: 8th – 10th October 2020
Pace: Fast
Format: Novel
Publisher: Gollancz
Year: 2018
5th sentence, 74th page: She touches the textured pattern of my gown.

Buy The Book Now at The Book Depository, Free Delivery World Wide


I am a Belle. I control Beauty.

In the opulent world of Orléans, the people are born grey and damned, and only a Belle’s powers can make them beautiful.

Camellia Beauregard wants to be the favourite Belle – the one chosen by the queen to tend to the royal family.

But once Camellia and her Belle sisters arrive at court, it becomes clear that being the favourite is not everything she always dreamed it would be. Behind the gilded palace walls live dark secrets, and Camellia soon learns that her powers may be far greater – and far darker – than she ever imagined.

When the queen asks Camellia to break the rules she lives by to save the ailing princess, she faces an impossible decision: protect herself and the way of the Belles, or risk her own life, and change the world forever.


I read this as part of a “underrated book” prompt for a reading challenge. It’s just one of those books that has been sitting on my shelf for a little while, and I figured I’d eventually get to it. And then I did… and WOW. This was really good. And fun. And just… wow. Most DEFINITELY underrated. One of the best young adult books I feel I’ve read in a while… there was just something wonderful, intense and seriously positive about this whole experience.

One of the aspects of this book that I absolutely loved was show much it really made you stop and think about how we define beauty. And, ultimately, the emphasis that we place upon it. The risks that some people take, and the lengths that people will go to be the “most beautiful”. Every moment of horror in this story are completely recognisable and it ultimately comes down to the premium that is placed on looks. There is also the whole idea that beauty is just “skin deep”. It’s when you start drilling down to the person underneath… that, well, in this story makes you seriously shudder in revulsion to be completely frank.

I didn’t pick the villain of this story at first (which was AWESOME). In fact, it took a little while to click as to just who the villain was and what their drivers were. To be fair, I’m still not completely confident on the motivations… I’ve put it all down to “that bitch is crazy”. But she was an amazing villain. Subtle, secretive and with a lot of power. These are the kinds of villains that I find truly terrifying, because it’s hard to imagine how anyone could beat them. I suppose I’ll just have to pick up the next Belle book to find out…

There are a multitude of unexpected twists and turns throughout this novel. They are captivating, make your heart skip a beat, and just downright pluck all of your emotions. It turned this book into not only a fantastic idea with beautiful and poignant themes, but also one which I seriously couldn’t look away from and forget about. It’s going to take all of my self control (again) to finish some of my currently reading books before diving into the sequel…

<- More Dhonielle ClaytonThe Everlasting Rose ->

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Ink and Bone by Rachel Caine

Ink and Bone, Novels of the Great Library : Book 1 by Rachel Caine |  9780749017224 | Booktopia

Title: Ink and Bone
Author: Rachel Caine
Series: The Great Library #1
Rating Out of 5: 4 (Really good read!)
My Bookshelves: Dystopia, Historical fiction, Steampunk
Dates read: 19th August – 5th September 2020
Pace: Medium
Format: Novel
Publisher: Allison & Busby
Year: 2015
5th sentence, 74th page: You’d do well to spot the danger quickly.

Buy The Book Now at The Book Depository, Free Delivery World Wide


Knowledge is power. Power corrupts.

In a world where the ancient Great Library of Alexandria was never destroyed, knowledge now rules the world: freely available, but strictly controlled. Owning private books is a crime.

Jess Brightwell is the son of a black market book smuggler, sent to the Library to compete for a position as a scholar . . . but even as he forms friendships and finds his true gifts, he begins to unearth the dark secrets of the greatest, most revered institution in the world.

Those who control the Great Library believe that knowledge is more valuable than any human life—and soon both heretics and books will burn. . . .


I absolutely loved the foundational idea of this story – that knowledge is power. But, it takes it that little bit further – power always corrupts. So, in the instance of the world of The Great Library, knowledge and books = power = corruption. It’s a fantastic idea for a series and an idea which drew me in from the very beginning of the story. It was powerful, brilliant and just all around wonderful.

I didn’t connect to Jess as a lead character immediately, which sometimes happens when I read a book series. But I did eventually get there. And then all I could do was hope for the best for him. And I spent the whole time trying to figure out who was going to do the poor boy the most damage – his family, the library, his mentors, his peers…. The whole story was filled with potential pitfalls and warrens for Jess and once I felt a little in love with him, I was completely immersed in making sure he didn’t fall flat on his face.

I love how each chapter had a short excerpt from letters or correspondences written – it added a whole heap of context to the story that I would have missed otherwise. Not only with the corruption and secrets, but these excerpts helped me see into Wolfe’s history. It’s amazing, complex and beautifully intense. I absolutely adored that not only are you constantly worried about Jess, but you are also wondering what is happening with Wolfe and who is out to get him too… it was a wonderful and beautiful way to tell a story that has so many glorious twists and turns…

The plight of the Obscurists and Morgan completely broke my heart. It was seriously twisted and tragic. And this, more than anything else, makes me want to read the next book in the series as soon as I feasibly can. (Feasibly here means as soon as I have money). I loved this novel and can’t wait to read the rest of the series.

<- More Rachel CainePaper and Fire ->

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Tomorrow, When the War Began by John Marsden

Tomorrow, When the War Began, John Marsden - Shop Online for Books ...

Title: Tomorrow, When the War Began
Author: John Marsden
Series: Tomorrow #1
Rating Out of 5: 4 (Really good read!)
My Bookshelves: Australian authors, Dystopia, War
Dates read: 6th – 11th August 2020
Pace: Fast
Format: Novel
Publisher: Pan Macmillan Australia
Year: 1993
5th sentence, 74th page: We agreed on total silence, and we left Kevin’s old corgi, Flip, chained up at the Mackenzies’.

Buy The Book Now at The Book Depository, Free Delivery World Wide


The astonishing adventure begins

Ellie and her friends leave home one quiet morning, wave goodbye to their parents, and head up into the hills to camp out for a while; seven teenagers filling in time during school holidays.

The world is about to change forever. Their lives will never be the same again.

Would you fight? Would you give up everything? Would you sacrifice even life itself?

Tomorrow, When the War Began asks the biggest questions you will ever have to answer.


I first read this book when I was about ten years old. My mum probably didn’t quite realise what an intense story she was buying me. But it was certainly a great read, even back then. But, now? As an adult? Wow. I had actually forgotten just how damn good this book actually is! It’s brilliantly written, has a seriously intense storyline, manages to somehow be relatable in unrelatable circumstances, and, the part that I probably like the most… it has a great and strong character development / arc that makes you want to pick up the next book immediately and without reservation.

As with my first reading through of this when I was younger – it makes me incredibly grateful for the life I lead. Especially with the global climate right now. It just makes me more and more grateful for what I have in my own life. It’s definitely charmed living in Australia, and I just can’t imagine my life being torn apart in one moment as it is in this novel. It’s so lovely to read a book that highlights the good things in our lives by showing just how quickly things can go drastically wrong.

As I mentioned in my first paragraph, one of my favourite things about this novel is the way in which Ellie evolves as a person. At the beginning she’s a fairly typical teenager. Worried about boys, her friends and slightly rebelling against her parents. Even the first moments of the war are a little disjointed to her. But, as the story evolves, so does she. Quite drastically, but in a way that is entirely plausible. I love that her self-awareness and understanding of her own motives grows as she becomes a stronger, more independent woman. It means that I can’t wait to see how she further evolves as things get darker and darker…

I love novels that, when you’ve turned that final page, you constantly think about them. Either because of the emotions that they impart, or, as is the case with this book – a question that you ask yourself. In this case, I am constantly wondering what I would have done / would do in this situation. And whether I would even survive (I strongly suspect I wouldn’t… but it’s an interesting thought exercise). Now I have to weigh up the pros and cons of whether or not I want to read the next book just now… and whether my heart can bear the intensity of the storyline…

<- More John MarsdenThe Dead of the Night ->

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Stormlines by Alison Evans

Image result for kindred 12 queer book cover

Title: Stormlines
Author: Alison Evans
In: Kindred (Michael Earp)
Rating Out of 5: 4 (Really good read!)
My Bookshelves: Dystopia, LGBTQI
Dates read: 29th June 2020
Pace: Slow
Format: Short story
Publisher: Walker Books
Year: 2019
5th sentence, 74th page: New touches my arm.

Buy The Book Now at The Book Depository, Free Delivery World Wide


Marling has been swept way, way, way out to see. To a mangrove forest where New lives and life is completely different to what they expected.


I really loved the use of gender-neutral language used throughout this story. It’s interesting, because I constantly wondered what gender both Marling and New identified as. Yet, it really isn’t important. It had absolutely no bearing on the story and had no interest points for the greater storyline. Yet, that use of gender-neutral language was something that both drew me in and completely intrigued me. It was an interesting point that was made.

There was a great post-apocalyptic feel to this story. Unlike many of the other stories I’ve read which feature a nuclear apocalypse, or disease, or even magic, as the vector to the end of the world as we know it… this one used the rising waters and climate change. Something that is, scarily, not completely out of bounds of imagination. Yet, somehow, this world was really pretty and somehow intriguing.

I love that even though this is set in a post-apocalyptic world, it is still set in Australia. In a bit of a round-about way. The use of the coast of Queensland and Mangroves helped to make this even more familiar and eerie. In the most beautiful of ways. All in all, I really have no words for how fun and enjoyable I found this story.

<- An Arab Werewolf in LiverpoolQuestions to Ask Straight Relatives ->

Image source: Bookdepository

Magic Triumphs by Ilona Andrews

Magic Triumphs (Kate Daniels, #10) by Ilona Andrews

Title: Magic Triumphs
Author: Ilona Andrews
Series: Kate Daniels #10
Rating Out of 5: 5 (I will read this again and again and again)
My Bookshelves: Dystopia, Paranormal fantasy, ShapeshiftersStrong women
Dates read: 17th – 18th June 2020
Pace: Fast
Format: Novel
Publisher: Ace Fantasy
Year: 2018
5th sentence, 74th page: So, what triggered it?


Kate Daniels has come a long way from her origins as a loner taking care of a paranormal problems in post-Shift Atlanta. She’s found love and started a family with Curran Lennart, the former Beast Lord, and has made an uneasy truce with her father, Roland. But her magic is too strong for the power players of the world to ignore.

The Witch Oracle has begun seeing visions of blood, fire, and human bones. And when a mysterious box is delivered to Kate’s doorstep, a threat of war from the ancient enemy who nearly destroyed her family, she has no choice but to combine forces with the unlikeliest of allies.

She knows betrayal is inevitable and survival uncertain, but she has to try.

For her child.

For Atlanta.

For the world.


I have been putting off and putting off reading this. Simply because it is the last book in the series, and I really, really didn’t want the Kate Daniels adventure to be over! After all, this has been one of my favourite series since I first picked it up a few years ago and it’s one that I have absolutely adored. That final read is so bittersweet… and I really dreaded knowing what the ending was going to be like.

Sometimes when a series ends, one of two things happens. The first, the series doesn’t really end, and it just drags on and on until you kind of lose interest. Or two, it ties things up in a neat bow and just doesn’t really work with the rest of the storyline. This story was one of the rare third option – a closing of novel that is both brilliantly tying up ends, but leaving the future open-ended. There will be more battles and  monsters in the future, but the great challenge of Roland that has been building up throughout this entire series… that is solved. It leaves future stories open, but you don’t need to know them. Because there is this great sense of completion to the whole storyline.

The whole way through this novel, I had my heart in my throat. I think partly because I knew that this was the conclusion to the series. But, there was also no gradual build up like all of the other books in the series. This started at a crest and just kept on rising. I almost didn’t talk to my partner for a twenty-four hour period because I was so desperate just to finish off this book. There are NO GOOD places to put this down and take a breath. No crests and troughs, just rise after rise after rise. It’s not the kind of novel I always want to read… but when it’s the conclusion to such an amazing series… yeah, that’s the kind of novel I want to finish everything off.

After finishing this novel, I got straight onto the phone to my sister to tell her how much she needed to read this. Now, I’m hoping that she catches up soon so we can discuss it… in depth. Not only did I feel the mad need to discuss this with everyone and anyone… I also now have an insane urge to go right back to the beginning and reread all of the books in this series. Regardless of the fact that I have a TBR pile that towers over my head…

<- Iron and MagicCurran’s POV ->

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