The best dystopian books to binge read

Who am I?

As a teenager, back when I still had some traces of childhood imagination left lurking about, I started envisioning scenarios and events which would later come together as a dystopian novel. Walks in the nearby park became areas of great skirmishes between neighboring militias; road trips out west became routes to safety; the dusty lot of a rundown gas station became the setting for a life-altering showdown. Flashforward twenty years or so, and all these fantasies came together in my first post-apocalyptic tale. Yet, my eagerness to explore other authors’ narratives in the same genre remains unquenched.  


I wrote...

The After War

By Brandon Zenner,

Book cover of The After War

What is my book about?

Two years have passed since humankind faced extinction: Two cousins are leaving the protection of their underground bunker for the first time, after a cataclysmic war and unrelenting disease ravaged the earth. On the other side of North America, a young survivalist is leaving the seclusion of his cabin deep in the woods. For individual reasons, these men are traveling east, where the fragmented lives of a small number of survivors will soon be decided by the choices of a corrupt few. The strength that resides inside them will be tested, and destiny will call for their fates to be forever intertwined.

"A fierce post-apocalyptic story of war and loss, of nature's vengeance, of survival in the face of overwhelming odds." - Manhattan Book Reviews

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The books I picked & why

Book cover of The Road

Brandon Zenner Why did I love this book?

Be prepared for the darkest, most depressing, and thoroughly engrossing end of the world novel out there. Follow the footsteps of a father and son as they traverse the wilds of what was once America, evading psychopathic cannibals, desperate wanderers, and a dying landscape. The heartfelt exchanges between the two, in the most desperate of times, are almost too relatable. And terrifying. 

By Cormac McCarthy,

Why should I read it?

28 authors picked The Road as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

NATIONAL BESTSELLER • WINNER OF THE PULITZER PRIZE • A searing, post-apocalyptic novel about a father and son's fight to survive, this "tale of survival and the miracle of goodness only adds to McCarthy's stature as a living master. It's gripping, frightening and, ultimately, beautiful" (San Francisco Chronicle).

A father and his son walk alone through burned America. Nothing moves in the ravaged landscape save the ash on the wind. It is cold enough to crack stones, and when the snow falls it is gray. The sky is dark. Their destination is the coast, although they don't know what, if…


Book cover of Wool

Brandon Zenner Why did I love this book?

Wool took the world by storm, as one of the first ultra-successful independently published novels available on Kindle. And for good reason. In the first few chapters, the scene is quickly set for a harrowing tale. Humanity has suffered a terrible blow, and the few survivors left on earth are herded into a massive underground silo-type structure. The air outside has turned poisonous, and right off the bat, we see just how lethal it can be. This entire trilogy is awe-inspiring, and gives credence that Hugh Howey is a master at his craft. Smooth sailings to you, sir.

By Hugh Howey,

Why should I read it?

7 authors picked Wool as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

SOON TO BE A MAJOR APPLE TV SERIES
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'Thrilling, thought-provoking and memorable ... one of dystopian fiction's masterpieces alongside the likes of 1984 and Brave New World.' DAILY EXPRESS

In a ruined and hostile landscape, in a future few have been unlucky enough to survive, a community exists in a giant underground silo.

Inside, men and women live an enclosed life full of rules and regulations, of secrets and lies.

To live, you must follow the rules. But some don't. These are the dangerous ones; these are the people who dare to hope and dream, and who infect others…


Book cover of Red Rising

Brandon Zenner Why did I love this book?

Red Rising, the first book in the series, sets up monumental scenarios, as large as the universe the story takes place in. This first installment, as futuristic as it is, has a Game of Thrones meets space opera feel, which is entirely unique to the author. The twists and turns kept me guessing and happily surprised. I couldn't put this book down until I got to the last lines... then I ordered the next book in the series, which I'm sure you'll do too.

By Pierce Brown,

Why should I read it?

12 authors picked Red Rising as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER NAMED ONE OF THE BEST BOOKS OF THE YEAR BY ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY, BUZZFEED, GOODREADS AND SHELF AWARENESS

Pierce Brown's heart-pounding debut is the first book in a spectacular series that combines the drama of Game of Thrones with the epic scope of Star Wars.

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'Pierce Brown's empire-crushing debut is a sprawling vision . . . Ender, Katniss, and now Darrow' - Scott Sigler, New York Times bestselling author of Pandemic

'[A] top-notch debut novel . . . Red Rising ascends above a crowded dystopian field' - USA Today

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Darrow is a Helldiver. A pioneer…


Book cover of The Passage

Brandon Zenner Why did I love this book?

It's difficult to place The Passage in a singular genre. Part dystopian, part horror, but far from the typical vampire or monster fare. The timeline spans for generations, and I can't fathom where the other books will lead the story. The author states that the inspiration for this story came from walks with his young daughter, who gave him the basis of the characters and plot. How cool is that?

By Justin Cronin,

Why should I read it?

6 authors picked The Passage as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Amy Harper Bellafonte is six years old and her mother thinks she's the most important person in the whole world. She is. Anthony Carter doesn't think he could ever be in a worse place than Death Row. He's wrong. FBI agent Brad Wolgast thinks something beyond imagination is coming. It is. THE PASSAGE. Deep in the jungles of eastern Colombia, Professor Jonas Lear has finally found what he's been searching for - and wishes to God he hadn't. In Memphis, Tennessee, a six-year-old girl called Amy is left at the convent of the Sisters of Mercy and wonders why her…


Book cover of Blindness

Brandon Zenner Why did I love this book?

This book blew me away. As the title indicates, the root cause of society coming to its knees is spontaneous blindness. Spread like a disease, people suddenly lose their vision without indication. To qualm the spread, the first reported cases are placed together in an empty asylum, and kept caged like wild animals. As you might guess, it gets ugly in there quick, as the quarantined are left on their own, blind, as society outside slowly collapses. Jose Saramago's writing style is unmatched and wholly original. A quarter into the novel, I realized none of the main characters have names, but go by monikers like the Doctor, or the girl with glasses. This book is highly recommended.

By José Saramago,

Why should I read it?

6 authors picked Blindness as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it. This book is for kids age 14, 15, 16, and 17.

What is this book about?

No food, no water, no government, no obligation, no order.

Discover a chillingly powerful and prescient dystopian vision from one of Europe's greatest writers.

A driver waiting at the traffic lights goes blind. An ophthalmologist tries to diagnose his distinctive white blindness, but is affected before he can read the textbooks.
It becomes a contagion, spreading throughout the city. Trying to stem the epidemic, the authorities herd the afflicted into a mental asylum where the wards are terrorised by blind thugs. And when fire destroys the asylum, the inmates burst forth and the last links with a supposedly civilised society…


You might also like...

Traumatization and Its Aftermath: A Systemic Approach to Understanding and Treating Trauma Disorders

By Antonieta Contreras,

Book cover of Traumatization and Its Aftermath: A Systemic Approach to Understanding and Treating Trauma Disorders

Antonieta Contreras Author Of Traumatization and Its Aftermath: A Systemic Approach to Understanding and Treating Trauma Disorders

New book alert!

Who am I?

As a trauma therapist and dedicated researcher, I love uncovering valuable insights within lesser-known books. There are hidden gems, free from the pressure of commercial success, crafted by authors deeply committed to research, understanding, and the art of writing itself. Their dedication resonates with me, as I believe in the profound value of information and the power of critical thinking. Through my own book, Traumatization and Its Aftermath, I aim to emphasize that psychological concepts often lose their depth in translation and my mission is spreading awareness and fostering a deeper understanding of trauma and its intricate facets. With that idea in mind, I chose these five titles. 

Antonieta's book list on uncovering the human experience and exploring the depths of trauma

What is my book about?

A fresh take on the difference between trauma and hardship in order to help accurately spot the difference and avoid over-generalizations.

The book integrates the latest findings in brain science, child development, psycho-social context, theory, and clinical experiences to make the case that trauma is much more than a cluster of symptoms to be tamed, but instead best understood as development gone off course, away from growth and towards (only) survival.

This book prompts a profound shift in perception, inviting to view trauma as an intricate and diverse experience, a point of view that ultimately leads to sharper treatment and, hopefully, more healing. It encourages a transition from asking, "What happened to you?" to the deeper question, "What is your relationship with what happened to you?"

Traumatization and Its Aftermath: A Systemic Approach to Understanding and Treating Trauma Disorders

By Antonieta Contreras,

What is this book about?

The book is comprehensive, bold, and practical-a much-needed resource for the assessment and treatment of trauma. Instead of the traditional focus on the overall importance of healing, Traumatization and its Aftermath decodes why some people don't heal as easily as others, analyzes the various failures of diagnosis, and explains how to make therapeutic interventions truly effective.

This book offers a systemic deep dive into traumatization that clarifies myths and misinformation about the entire spectrum of trauma and provides both clinicians and non-clinicians with the right level of validation, preventive measures, conceptualization methodology, assessment tools, and healing facts that have not…


5 book lists we think you will like!

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