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10 Thrilling Dystopian Books Like Divergent

These must-reads are full of rebellions in ravaged worlds.

If you can’t get enough of all the heart-pounding dystopian thrills and rousing rebellions in Veronica Roth's young adult Divergent Trilogy, these ten books like Divergent also feature crumbling worlds and unlikely heroes. 

The Divergent trilogy is set in post-apocalyptic Chicago. The city, now surrounded by a fence, houses five factions: the honest Candor, the selfless Abnegation, the brave Dauntless, the peaceful Amity, and the intelligent Erudite. 

But when Beatrice goes through her Choosing Ceremony to find that she is Divergent—an initiate with inconclusive test results—she chooses to live among the daring Dauntless faction. Beatrice doesn't know she’s about to become a part of an uprising that will change everything about the world she thought she knew.

Buy An Inheritance of Ashes at Amazon

An Inheritance of Ashes

By Leah Bobet

In this spectacularly crafted dystopian dark fantasy, sixteen-year-old Hallie is front and center in the aftermath of a catastrophic supernatural war. Doing her best to maintain the family farm alongside her sister, Marthe, Hallie anxiously awaits the return of soldiers from the far-off battlefields rumored to be full of gods and monsters. 

But when Hallie employs a veteran to help with tasks throughout the farm, Hallie learns dangerous secrets about the war, the men who fought it, and her own family. As she takes deadly risks to keep the truth hidden, monsters and soldiers make their way to the farm—yet Hallie may find she’s the biggest threat to her homeland.

If the buried truths and sibling tension of the Divergent series had you hooked, then this book dials it up ten notches. For those comfortable making the switch from science fiction to fantasy, An Inheritance of Ashes promises an emergence from a simple life into a conflict set against the backdrop of a broken world. 

RELATED: 18 Fantasy Books for Teens: Magical Tales of Adventure and Adolescence

An Inheritance of Ashes

By Leah Bobet

Buy A Gift Upon the Shore at Amazon

A Gift Upon the Shore

By M.K. Wren

After the world is decimated by overpopulation, rampant disease, economic devastation, and global war in the late 21st century, two women work preserve knowledge for any future generations which may rise out of the turbulent nuclear winter. 

Mary Hope—a writer—and Rachel Morrow—a painter—set out on the Oregon coast to collect any surviving books that they can. After years of this determined cultivation, Mary and Rachel encounter a survivor from the south. The young man comes from a community called the Ark—a community which may mean there’s a future for civilization, after all.

However, Mary and Rachel are quick to find that their work collecting the world’s writing might have been in vain. The Arkites only believe in the truth of one book: the Judeo-Christian bible. They feel all other books are blasphemy, and are determined to wipe the blasphemous from God’s Earth.

RELATED: 15 of the Best Science Fiction Books Ever 

A Gift Upon the Shore

By M.K. Wren

Buy Ethos at Amazon

Ethos

By Aaron Dworkin

Five hundred years in the future, the planet Ethos is a world full of contradictions. While incredible biotechnology has advanced civilization, other species have devolved into the likes of pterodactyls. Meanwhile, humanity has at last found peace from the divisive strains of racism and religious intolerance, only to have found itself in the midst of a singular and polarizing issue. The Immortals believe that individuals each have one purpose throughout their life, and earn eternal life once they discover it, while the Bereft live and die by natural means, discontent with limiting themselves to one role.

When David and his son Malcolm find themselves pulled through a virtual reality game into this strange future, they become entangled in a war that could mean either the end of civilization as they know it, or a peace that humanity has sought for millennia. But who will David fight for? Does the middle-aged, rootless, and divorced accountant truly have a purpose to discover? Or will he find meaning in the power of change?

RELATED: Shocking Dystopian Fiction Books 

Buy Skeen's Leap at Amazon

Skeen's Leap

By Jo Clayton

If you love the gritty world of the Dauntless, then this novel’s protagonist is a dream come true. A dark past haunts the roguish space bandit, Skeen, a woman who has made a living thieving ancient artifacts from various alien civilizations. After a string of terrible luck leaves her desperate, Skeen must chase whispers of a legendary fortune amid an alien ruin. What she finds instead is a portal to another world.

Locked on the other side of the interdimensional gateway, Skeen is in a whole new reality full of trouble. In order to reopen the portal, she must seek help from the strange aliens who created it in the first place. Unfortunately, the Ykx have been gone for eons—either extinct or deep in hiding—and an outlaw like Skeen isn’t going to have an easy time gaining access to their secrets. As she gathers an increasing crowd of unwanted hangers-on, her chances at getting home look more and more abysmal.

RELATED: 9 Space Opera Books Featuring Powerful Heroines

Skeen's Leap

By Jo Clayton

Buy The Gender Game at Amazon

The Gender Game

By Bella Forrest

The Gender Game is the first of seven novels in its eponymous series, centered around a rebellious 19-year-old, Violet, in a world that has two kingdoms split by a toxic river. The kingdom of Matrus is ruled by women, while the kingdom of Patrus is ruled by men. After Violet’s younger brother disappears, her anger spirals out of control until she ends up sentenced to death. But there may be hope for her life yet if she escapes to Patrus.

Life under patriarchal rule is especially dangerous for the rule-breaking girl—one step out of line and she’ll find herself right back on the chopping block. But when an unexpected danger finds her despite her best efforts, Violet will have to learn how much she’s willing to sacrifice—especially when it comes to a forbidden love.

RELATED: Big Brother is Watching: 16 Unsettling Dystopian Books Like 1984

The Gender Game

By Bella Forrest

Buy Matched at Amazon

Matched

By Ally Condie

The Society has always made choices for Cassia, from what to read to what to believe. Cassia has never had anything but trust for the Society’s abilities, so why should she start to question them when it’s time to find an ideal mate? She’s happy to accept it when the screen at her Matching ceremony displays Xander’s face. But when the screen flickers to Ky Markham—just for one quick moment—she feels the first stirrings of doubt.

The Society assures her it was a glitch, and she should move forward with her perfectly planned life with Xander. But Cassia finds herself slowly developing feelings for Ky. Is she making a mistake going after the man she shouldn’t want, or is the Society far more fallible than it lets on? No one has ever dared to follow a path not set by the Society. Could Cassia be the first?

RELATED: 10 Books Like Black Mirror

Matched

By Ally Condie

Buy The Hunger Games at Amazon

The Hunger Games

By Suzanne Collins

If you’re late to the program reading The Hunger Games series, rest assured that it’s the perfect dystopian companion to Divergent. Panem stands on the ruins of North America, divided into twelve districts surrounding the pristine and lavish Capitol. To maintain control of the districts, the Capitol demands one boy and one girl between 12 and 18 to fight to the death on TV every year.

When District 12’s young Primrose Everdeen is selected from the lottery, her sister Katniss volunteers to take her place. Will she survive the games after fighting so hard for survival in her everyday life? And amidst love, death, and friendship, will she rise as the catalyst for something more?

RELATED: 10 Books Like The Hunger Games to Keep the Odds Ever in Your Favor

The Hunger Games

By Suzanne Collins

Buy The Testing at Amazon

The Testing

By Joelle Charbonneau

In the Five Lakes Colony—the location of the Great Lakes, or what remains of it after civilization was ravaged by war—16-year-old Malencia Vale has just graduated. She hopes to be one of the brilliant graduates selected by the United Commonwealth program, The Testing. Her selection could mean rising as a new leader of the struggling civilization, but her father speaks up about his own traumatizing experiences in the program. When Cia is chosen, she must head off to Tosu City with the warning to trust no one, all while facing a new life full of danger and romance

The Testing

By Joelle Charbonneau

Buy Under the Never Sky at Amazon

Under the Never Sky

By Veronica Rossi

After Aria is exiled from the enclosed city of Reverie, she must fight for her life in the wasteland known as The Death Shop. However, a spark of hope arises when she meets the savage Outsider, Perry. The two of them couldn’t be more different: Aria is delicate and naive, while Perry is ruthless and wild. But while Perry is Aria’s only hope for survival, Aria may be Perry’s only hope for redemption.

This novel is a captivating read for those who were especially excited by the forgotten world beyond the fence of Divergent’s five factions.

RELATED: Young Adult Fantasy Books to Cast a Spell on Readers of All Ages 

Under the Never Sky

By Veronica Rossi

Buy Uglies at Amazon

Uglies

By Scott Westerfeld

In this first book from Scott Westerfeld’s Uglies series, teenage Tally eagerly awaits the day where she’ll receive the operation that will take her from an ugly to a pretty. The pretties live in a high-tech haven, and spend their days doing nothing but that which pleases them. It sounds perfect. But not to everyone.

Tally’s friend Shay doesn’t find the draw of a life as a pretty all that compelling. When Shay runs away, Tally finds herself in the middle of all the most vile parts of the pretty world. She’s given a choice: either locate Shay and turn her in, or lose the chance to be a pretty forever.

RELATED: How Dystopian YA Continues to Evolve with the Times

Uglies

By Scott Westerfeld

Featured promotional photo of "Divergent" via Summit Entertainment

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Published on 12 Mar 2020

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