The best books to help you escape reality

Why am I passionate about this?

I have loved reading since I was very young, and would bring home an armful of books from the library. I first discovered the dystopian genre while in junior high, and it quickly became my favorite genre. My favorite aspect of dystopias is the new world created within each book. When I began writing my own stories, I spent several hours building the world within my book. Even today, nearly 20 years after I first began writing, I spend hours drawing and designing everything within each book, whether or not it’s dystopian. My hope is that my readers find my worlds as fascinating as I found the worlds of the stories on my list!


I wrote...

Peak of the Panthers

By Cassandra Lynn King,

Book cover of Peak of the Panthers

What is my book about?

The Great Nine nations govern what remains of the earth, led by the Bakarrum, men and women who are stronger, smarter, and possess powers unlike the rest of the human population. When the Ursus decide they want more, the Ianvo Georliam invades the other nations and slaughters the Bakarrum. With the other leaders gone, Georliam takes over the continent and calls the singular nation URSA.

There is one thing that Georliam did not take into account: the children of the Bakarrum he slaughtered. Among them is eighteen-year-old Pacie, the heiress of the Pantheras. Young Pacie, having grown up sheltered from her true identity, is about to discover a legion of powers that no Bakarrum has ever seen before, and may be the deciding force behind the rebellion against the Ursus.

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The books I picked & why

Book cover of To Sleep in a Sea of Stars

Cassandra Lynn King Why did I love this book?

To Sleep in a Sea of Stars is a bold, futuristic epic that immediately sucked me in and wouldn’t let me go. Starting on the far-off world of Adrasteia, the story follows Kira across the galaxy after she mistakenly walks into an interstellar war. Paolini perfectly paints this fantastical story, leaving you desperate for more. Having read Eragon at a young age, I wasn’t expecting Paolini to write this genre, but I am so impressed by his work. While I’d recommend any of his books, To Sleep in a Sea of Stars is my new favorite. His world-building is amazing and wildly entertaining!

By Christopher Paolini,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked To Sleep in a Sea of Stars as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Now a New York Times and USA Today bestseller!

Winner of Best Science Fiction in the 2020 Goodreads Choice Awards!

To Sleep in a Sea of Stars is a brand new epic novel from #1 New York Times bestselling author of Eragon, Christopher Paolini.

Kira Navárez dreamed of life on new worlds.

Now she's awakened a nightmare.

During a routine survey mission on an uncolonized planet, Kira finds an alien relic. At first she's delighted, but elation turns to terror when the ancient dust around her begins to move.

As war erupts among the stars, Kira is launched into a…


Book cover of Delirium

Cassandra Lynn King Why did I love this book?

In a world where love is forbidden, witness the blossoming of an epic love story. As someone who rarely enjoys romance novels, Lauren Oliver’s Delirium hooked me in and had me finish in less than two days. Oliver has a way with words that left me feeling every emotion the main character felt, and had me diving into the second book the moment I finished the first. It’s a beautiful dystopian, and was the first book I read that got me hooked on the genre. If you are a fan of The Hunger Games, then you’ll love Delirium!

By Lauren Oliver,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked Delirium 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?

'A dystopian Romeo and Juliet story that deserves to be as massive as Twilight' Stylist

They say that the cure for love will make me happy and safe forever. And I've always believed them. Until now.

There was a time when love was the most important thing in the world. People would go to the end of the earth to find it. They would tell lies for it. Even kill for it.

But now love has been declared a dangerous disease.

Everyone who turns eighteen must be immunised with a procedure called the Cure. Lena Haloway is looking forward to…


Book cover of The Stand

Cassandra Lynn King Why did I love this book?

Though it is extremely long, The Stand is one of my all-time favorite books. Stephen King makes mankind’s destruction feel more real than any other dystopian I have ever read. His description and brutal realism left my heart pounding with hope for humanity’s salvation, and had me reading long hours each day to discover where King was leading me. For those of you looking for a book that will pull you into a different world for a long time, you will definitely love The Stand!

By Stephen King,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Stephen King's apocalyptic vision of a world blasted by virus and tangled in an elemental struggle between good and evil remains as riveting and eerily plausible as when it was first published.

Soon to be a television series.

'THE STAND is a masterpiece' (Guardian). Set in a virus-decimated US, King's thrilling American fantasy epic, is a Classic.

First come the days of the virus. Then come the dreams.

Dark dreams that warn of the coming of the dark man. The apostate of death, his worn-down boot heels tramping the night roads. The warlord of the charnel house and Prince of…


Book cover of The Passage

Cassandra Lynn King Why did I love this book?

I don’t think I’ve ever read a book that had me experiencing as many emotions as The Passage. Starting in present day and bouncing between now and 100 years in the future, this story navigates the humanity (and lack thereof) of survivors of a vampiric apocalypse. The Passage was tugging at my heartstrings from the first chapter, and the dystopian world Cronin built around the book’s epidemic completely sucked me in. I was dealing with major anxiety when I first read this book, and the gripping story was some of the only relief I could find. I couldn’t put this book down and couldn’t wait for the next two to come out.

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 Who Fears Death

Cassandra Lynn King Why did I love this book?

Who Fears Death was a book assigned to me in a college course, and it was the most enjoyable piece of course work I ever had to read. Centered in post-apocalyptic Africa, Who Fears Death follows a biracial girl living in a segregated society that rejects “mixed blood.” I was endlessly cheering for the main character—Onyesonwu—and her stubborn pursuit of her own magical path. I pushed off reading most of my other coursework in order to finish this story and discover where Onye’s path would take her. Okorafor’s society-building was not only convincing, but also heartbreaking, and contained mirrors to present-day society. This book had me excited to do my homework, and is one I would recommend to anyone—in school or not.

By Nnedi Okorafor,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked Who Fears Death as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

An award-winning literary author enters the world of magical realism with her World Fantasy Award-winning novel of a remarkable woman in post-apocalyptic Africa.

Now optioned as a TV series for HBO, with executive producer George R.R. Martin!

In a post-apocalyptic Africa, the world has changed in many ways; yet in one region genocide between tribes still bloodies the land. A woman who has survived the annihilation of her village and a terrible rape by an enemy general wanders into the desert, hoping to die. Instead, she gives birth to an angry baby girl with hair and skin the colour of…


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Empire in the Sand

By Shane Joseph,

Book cover of Empire in the Sand

Shane Joseph Author Of Empire in the Sand

New book alert!

Why am I passionate about this?

I have been a writer for more than twenty years and have favored pursuing “truth in fiction” rather than “money in formula.” I also spent over thirty years in the corporate world and was exposed to many situations reminiscent of those described in my fiction and in these recommended books. While I support enterprise, “enlightened capitalism” is preferable to the bare-knuckle type we have today, and which seems to resurface whenever regulation weakens. I also find writing novels closer to my lived experience connects me intimately with readers who are looking for socio-political, realist literature.

Shane's book list on exposing corporate, political, and personal corruption

What is my book about?

Avery Mann, a retired pharmaceuticals executive, is in crisis.

His wife dies of cancer, his son’s marriage is on the rocks, his grandson is having a meltdown, and his good friend is a victim of the robocalls scandal that invades the Canadian federal election. Throw in a reckless fling with a former colleague, a fire that destroys his retirement property, and a rumour emerging that the drug he helped bring to market years ago may have been responsible for the death of his wife, and Avery’s life goes into freefall.

Does an octogenarian beekeeper living on Vancouver Island hold the key to Avery’s recovery, a man holding secrets that put lives in jeopardy? Avery races across the country to find out, with crooked bosses, politicians, and assassins on his tail. Joseph spins a cautionary tale of corporate and political greed that is endemic to our times.

Empire in the Sand

By Shane Joseph,

What is this book about?

Avery Mann, a retired pharmaceuticals executive, is in crisis. His wife dies of cancer, his son’s marriage is on the rocks, his grandson is having a meltdown, and his good friend is a victim of the robocalls scandal that invades the Canadian federal election.

Throw in a reckless fling with a former colleague, a fire that destroys his retirement property, and a rumour emerging that the drug he helped bring to market years ago may have been responsible for the death of his wife, and Avery’s life goes into freefall.

Does an octogenarian bee keeper living on Vancouver Island hold…


5 book lists we think you will like!

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