Like many people, The Hunger Games series introduced me to a new genre of books — young adult dystopian — and left me hungry for more (no pun intended!). Since then, I’ve read many series recommended by fans of the genre, and the Divergent series quickly became one of my favorite. In fact, I finished the final book in the series in the hospital after Jackson was born, and I’m looking forward to the Divergent movie next month.
With that in mind, I thought I’d share seven more series for fans of Divergent. And because I’m always on the lookout for more books to add to my reading pile, I’d love to hear what other series you’d add to the list!
Under the Never Sky, Through the Ever Night & Into the Still Blue by Veronica Rossi
I stumbled across this series in 2012, and I loved the first book so much that I immediately started recommending it to the people I knew also enjoyed this genre. I picked up books #2 and #3 as soon as they came out — the final one just this month — and I actually loved the ending of this trilogy — something I can’t say for many of them!
From Amazon: “Exiled from her home, the enclosed city of Reverie, Aria knows her chances of surviving in the outer wasteland—known as The Death Shop—are slim. Then Aria meets an Outsider named Perry. He’s wild—a savage—and her only hope of staying alive. A hunter for his tribe in a merciless landscape, Perry views Aria as sheltered and fragile—everything he would expect from a Dweller. But he needs Aria’s help too; she alone holds the key to his redemption.
In alternating chapters told in Aria’s and Perry’s voices, Under the Never Sky subtly and powerfully captures the evolving relationship between these characters and sweeps readers away to a harsh but often beautiful world.”
Graceling, Fire & Bitterblue by Kristin Cashore
Although this series is more fantasy than dystopian, it’s a great segue between the two genres. Featuring a strong female protagonist who sets out to save the world gone bad — even if that world is not quite earth-like — it’s easy to see the appeal for fans of dystopian. I truly loved the first book in this series, but it’s a somewhat disjointed trilogy — moving between two unrelated storylines in the first two books before tying them together in the third — and I didn’t really love that format.
From Amazon: “Graceling takes readers inside the world of Katsa, a warrior-girl in her late teens with one blue eye and one green eye. This gives her haunting beauty, but also marks her as a Graceling. Gracelings are beings with special talents—swimming, storytelling, dancing. Katsa’s Grace is considered more useful: her ability to fight (and kill, if she wanted to) is unequaled in the seven kingdoms. Forced to act as a henchman for a manipulative king, Katsa channels her guilt by forming a secret council of like-minded citizens who carry out secret missions to promote justice over cruelty and abuses of power.”
Eve, Once & Rise by Anna Carey
When I finished Under the Never Sky, I was desperate for another quick, light read, and that’s when I discovered the Eve Trilogy. The thing about these books is I enjoyed them while I was reading them, but I always forget about them because they weren’t particularly remarkable. That said, if you’re just looking for something to read, these are definitely a good choice!
From Amazon: “Sixteen years after a deadly virus wiped out most of Earth’s population, the world is a perilous place. Eighteen-year-old Eve has never been beyond the heavily guarded perimeter of her school, where she and two hundred other orphaned girls have been promised a future as the teachers and artists of the New America. But the night before graduation, Eve learns the shocking truth about her school’s real purpose—and the horrifying fate that awaits her.
Fleeing the only home she’s ever known, Eve sets off on a long, treacherous journey, searching for a place she can survive. Along the way she encounters Arden, her former rival from school, and Caleb, a rough, rebellious boy living in the wild. Separated from men her whole life, Eve has been taught to fear them, but Caleb slowly wins her trust . . . and her heart. He promises to protect her, but when soldiers begin hunting them, Eve must choose between true love and her life.”
Delirium, Pandemonium & Requiem by Lauren Oliver
Is love dangerous? As it turns out, love may be the greatest threat to any dystopian society, and this trilogy tackles that idea head on. I’m a sucker for a good overcoming-the-odds love story, but the twists and turns in this series — while skillfully done — took away some of that magic for me.
From Amazon: “In an alternate United States, love has been declared a dangerous disease, and the government forces everyone who reaches eighteen to have a procedure called the Cure. Living with her aunt, uncle, and cousins in Portland, Maine, Lena Haloway is very much looking forward to being cured and living a safe, predictable life. She watched love destroy her mother and isn’t about to make the same mistakes.
But with ninety-five days left until her treatment, Lena meets enigmatic Alex, a boy from the Wilds who lives under the government’s radar. What will happen if they do the unthinkable and fall in love?”
Matched, Crossed & Reached by Ally Condie
I pushed for the name Xander for our baby boy after reading this series, but Sean wasn’t interested. However, Xander was easily my favorite character in this series, and although it moved to the dreaded back-and-forth narration in the second book, which I found weak anyway, I enjoyed the third book and the closure it offered.
From Amazon: “Cassia has always trusted the Society to make the right choices for her: what to read, what to watch, what to believe. So when Xander’s face appears on-screen at her Matching ceremony, Cassia knows he is her ideal mate . . . until she sees Ky Markham’s face flash for an instant before the screen fades to black. The Society tells her it’s a glitch, a rare malfunction, and that she should focus on the happy life she’s destined to lead with Xander. But Cassia can’t stop thinking about Ky, and as they slowly fall in love, Cassia begins to doubt the Society’s infallibility and is faced with an impossible choice: between Xander and Ky, between the only life she’s known and a path that no one else has dared to follow.”
Wither, Fever & Sever by Lauren DeStefano
The Chemical Garden series is a particularly depressing trilogy, and it wasn’t until I reached the end of the third book that I really appreciated the series as a whole. While I could see myself rereading many of the other series on this list, I don’t think I’ll ever reread this one.
From Amazon: “By age sixteen, Rhine Ellery has four years left to live. A botched effort to create a perfect race has left all males born with a lifespan of 25 years, and females a lifespan of 20 years–leaving the world in a state of panic. Geneticists seek a miracle antidote to restore the human race, desperate orphans crowd the population, crime and poverty have skyrocketed, and young girls are being kidnapped and sold as polygamous brides to bear more children.
When Rhine is sold as a bride, she vows to do all she can to escape. Yet her husband, Linden, is hopelessly in love with her, and Rhine can’t bring herself to hate him as much as she’d like to. He opens her to a magical world of wealth and illusion she never thought existed, and it almost makes it possible to ignore the clock ticking away her short life. But Rhine quickly learns that not everything in her new husband’s strange world is what it seems. Her father-in-law, an eccentric doctor bent on finding the antidote, is hoarding corpses in the basement; her fellow sister wives are to be trusted one day and feared the next; and Rhine has no way to communicate to her twin brother that she is safe and alive.
Together with one of Linden’s servants, Gabriel, Rhine attempts to escape just before her seventeenth birthday. But in a world that continues to spiral into anarchy, is there any hope for freedom?”
The Giver, Gathering Blue, Messenger & Son by Lois Lowry
Lois Lowry is an incredibly talented writer, and I picked up The Giver after reading Number the Stars, reading the first three books fairly quickly. I hadn’t realized that a fourth book was coming — or that it had been released — until just a few months ago when a friend recommended Son on Facebook. I picked it up because I didn’t have anything else to read at the time, and it ended up being my favorite book in the series. Son is definitely the book that ties the rest together, and I have a new appreciation for the rest of the books now that I have the full picture!
From Amazon: “Jonas’s world is perfect. Everything is under control. There is no war or fear of pain. There are no choices. Every person is assigned a role in the community. Jonas lives in a seemingly ideal world.
When Jonas turns 12 he is singled out to receive special training from The Giver. The Giver alone holds the memories of the true pain and pleasure of life. Not until he is given his life assignment as the Receiver does Jonas begin to understand the dark secrets behind this fragile community. Now, it is time for Jonas to receive the truth. There is no turning back.”
Open Minds, Closer Hearts & Free Souls by Susan Kaye Quinn
Occasionally a Kindle freebie will turn out to be a diamond in the rough, and this series is one of those examples. I stumbled across Open Minds and blew through the first book before picking up the rest of the books in the series. I’ll be honest that the books themselves aren’t the world’s best writing, but the stories are exciting and make you think. And the first book is still free on Amazon!
From Amazon: “Sixteen-year-old Kira Moore is a zero, someone who can’t read thoughts or be read by others. Zeros are outcasts who can’t be trusted, leaving her no chance with Raf, a regular mindreader and the best friend she secretly loves. When she accidentally controls Raf’s mind and nearly kills him, Kira tries to hide her frightening new ability from her family and an increasingly suspicious Raf. But lies tangle around her, and she’s dragged deep into a hidden underworld of mindjackers, where having to mind control everyone she loves is just the beginning of the deadly choices before her.”
What other dystopian series would you add to this list?