I love reading YA novels about what happens after the end of society because these are books of rebirth, survival, first-time experiences and hope.
With so many new dystopian novels coming out, it’s interesting to notice differences and similarities. Three YA novels I read recently have unique similarities yet are surprisingly different.
The novels are:
INCARCERON by Catherine Fisher
INSIDE OUT by Maria V. Snyder
BIRTHMARKED by Caraugh M. O’Brien
Some similarities in these 3 novels:
* Set in the distant future after world societies have failed.
* Main characters are trapped in a grim society with no obvious way out.
* Each heroine/hero seeks a way out despite horrific dangers.
* The main character(s) struggle to change society and break the rules.
* All have sequels, although not published yet (I ordered #2 INCARCERON, titled SAPPHIQUE, from England. It’s out in the US in December).
* Each of these novels has a theme involving childbirth/DNA. Very intriguing how each is worlds apart in differences and equally clever.
* INCARCERON is the most different from the other two since the heroine is raised in wealth, so it’s the hero who lives the grim existence trapped inside a mysterious prison. Part of the society is living as if in historical England with royalty; while another part of society barely survives in the prison “Incarceron.”
* INSIDE OUT turns out to be more science fiction. The heroine is poor and forced to work in grueling conditions, with no rights or privileges.
* BIRTHMARKED’s futuristic society feels historical but is closer to science fiction. The heroine is poor but happy until her family is threatened.
* Settings. Brilliant world-building skills for each book with detailed societies built on the past with original good intentions that twisted into brutal new societies.
Another thing each book had in common – they are all page-turners. I could NOT put them down. They intrigued me while hooking me emotionally, too. All had romance, although less-so for INCARCERON, but it could come in a later book.
INCARCERON and INSIDE OUT bear the most similarities at first glance. They are both closed “prison” societies. Both have a boy and girl who live in opposite worlds in their societies; but all are in a form of prison as the story progresses. Only INCARCERON is told from two points of view (Finn and Claudia) so you really get to know each of them and I personally found them both fascinating. In each story, suspense builds as the characters strive to find “a way out” of their confined world. Without revealing any spoilers, I’ll just say that both endings were shocking, unique and brilliant.
BIRTHMARKED has a feel of a historical novel, except for the storyline of DNA and other more modern technologies. The story kept me reading late. I just had to know how (or if!) Gaia would escape. I went to the author’s website and found out there will be two more books, although she originally planned BIRTHMARKED as a single title. The ending left off in a way that screams for more books. I can’t wait to read them.
I also can’t wait to read OUTSIDE IN, the sequel to INSIDE OUT (not sure if there will be a 3rd book or if 2 books will tell the whole story). I’ve loved Maria V. Snyder’s books since POISON STUDY which is brilliant and thrilling.
I totally recommend all three of these authors and their books.
If you’ve read them jump in with your thoughts (no spoilers!).
What similarities and differences did you notice?
Are there other books that you feel are similar, too?
Linda Joy Singleton, who doesn’t write about the future but writes about psychic Sabine in THE SEER who can see into the future. Sabine’s story continues three years from the last book on October 1st when #6 THE SEER, MAGICIAN’S MUSE, comes out from Flux.