For the past two years I have been reading tons of dystopia. After reading Hunger Games I have been grabbing any book I can that has dystopic elements and voraciously tear through them. However lately while there have been some real Hunger Games style gems. I am mostly inundated with the same plot different characters over and over again.
The case of the mistaken branding
When I read Matched I realized immediately it was not dystopia it just played one on TV. Many of the negative reviews I read for Matched stated all the things that made it not a dystopia as their reason for not liking the book. (Not that Matched wasn’t a success, just an example of wrong branding)
Matched is a negative utopia. I am thinking Crossed will be more of a dystopia but I haven’t read it yet. You see the citizens in Matched including your protagonist are happy. They are fed, given everything they need and they are content with what they have. Cassia is excited about being Matched and is contented with who it is until she sees a flash of another boy. Only then does she begin to question her world and even then she does so reluctantly.
Which brings me to:
Kick ass girls only kick ass after meeting the boy:
In a lot of the books I have been reading lately the girls are content or scared or reluctant but they hold one thing in common. They generally don’t break the rules, or only break them a tiny bit. What’s allowed without getting in trouble. It isn’t until they meet the boy that they can’t live without are they willing to risk everything.
Why do the protagonists need a boy in order to kick ass? Or not even a boy why does it have to be ‘true love’ that inspires them? Is there nothing else to bring these girls out of their shell enough to fight for what they believe in?
I am the first to admit I don’t embody feminism completely. I don’t know enough about feminism to say that but I don’t like the fight for the boy, for love, I do however like fight for the freedom to love but can the girls not do that without first finding the boy?
YA dystopia is starting to feel like formula fiction:
I don’t know if it is still like this because I haven’t been reading but do you remember when Romance was formula? Things had different settings, different names but the main plot motivators stayed the same with a slice of HEA at the end for good measure.
I feel like I am reading the same plot over and over again with different faces and different Fascists. Is this due to the genre or are the plots unimaginative? It can’t be that I tire of the genre itself. For years I have read dystopic fiction by the masters of the field and have loved every minute of it. Orwell, Atwood, and Huxley.
There are dystopian YA books I am waiting on with bated breath that I think will breathe new life for me into the genre. Lenore’s Level Two sounds riveting and I want to see if Crossed is more of a dystopia and how Cassia evolves.
So I am asking you dear reader, am I just over indulged in the genre and need to take a break or are you also seeing formula and less imaginative worlds?