A Beginner’s Guide to the Dystopian Genre

A Guide for Beginners in the Dystopian Genre

While fictional dystopian-themed novels may not be the most wholesome and delightful literature, but it is, without a doubt, one of the most significant literary genres for all ages to read.

Dystopian books establish a staggering warning and striking reminder to mankind as each of these literary works addresses powerful, critical issues concerning things that can immensely affect people, such as destructive conflict or war, environmental disasters, and oppressive government authorities.

So, what’s the primary goal of these dystopian novels?

It is, as much as possible, to prevent and avoid the occurrence again of previous mistakes and the possibilities of creating new ones. With these reasons and the undeniable thrills that dystopian books offer, there’s an increasing surge of these novels everywhere.

Hence, I made a few lists of some of these greatest dystopian fiction literature novels, which are essential guides for beginners out there. I provided five for every age range.

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As I’m fully aware of the ages of my fellow passionate and enthusiastic readers, I’m going to start my beginner’s guide list to the dystopian fiction literature genre for the teens.

Harry Potter Series

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The book chronicles the life of a young wizard, who is about to change the magical world of Hogwarts.

Harry Potter Series

Along with his journey are life lessons about how good prevails from the bad and that every struggle comes with a promising and better tomorrow. Most of all, it is finding real true friends who become your family in the end.

Harry’s adventure became more worthwhile, fulfilling, and breathtaking due to two closest friends, Hermione and Ron.

Genre– Dystopian Genre

Pages – 4, 100 pages (7 books)

Goodreads’ average total rating 4.53/5

My average total rating 9.93/10

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The Hunger Games Trilogy

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Another top runner in the dystopian genre is “The Hunger Games” trilogy” of Suzanne Collins, which recently released the prequel book.

This trilogy tells us about how one’s love for her sister can bring out strength and courage in every hard road, as the main character bravely takes the place of her younger sister in a gruelling game executed by the totalitarian government.

It also shows how once an innocent girl can turn into a complete warrior yet with a gentle heart for others. That is why teens who are beginners in the dystopian genre shouldn’t miss out on this beautiful story.

Genre– Dystopian Genre

Pages – 1, 155 pages (3 books)

Goodreads’ average total rating – 4.22/5

My average total rating – 9.58/10

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Divergent Trilogy

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Veronica Roth’s own share of dystopian fiction success, “Divergent Trilogy,” is another personal favourite on my list.

Divergent Trilogy

Roth’s trilogy showcased the real essence of how understanding your own strength and accepting who you are can lead you to complete freedom, and thus, new discoveries of how many great things you can do by embracing every flaw and good in you.      

Genre– Dystopian Genre

Pages – 1, 538 pages (3 books)

Goodreads’ average total rating3.95/5

My average total rating9.15/10

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The Giver

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Lois Lowry’s first book of his quartet, “The Giver,” is also worth reading, especially for teen readers who just started reading dystopian genre novels.                                                                

The Giver

One distinct feature or attribute of the movie is letting you understand that not everything you see is what it is, and not everything beautiful is beautiful. It’s a perfect fit for today’s world where social media networks are the new trend.

Hence, this novel by Lowry should be part of a beginner’s guide for teens to the world of the dystopian genre.

Genre Dystopian Genre

Pages – 208 pages

Goodreads rating4.13/5

My rating 9.15/10

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For The Latest Price: Uglies

Adding to my list of beginner’s guides to the dystopian genre is Scott Westerfeld’s “Uglies,” which is the first novel of his three-book series.


It’s among my favourite dystopian books for teens because of the underlying lessons that the story shares.

Just as the title says, Westerfeld’s created a fictional world where younger generations conformed to the belief instilled by the autocratic government that they were born ugly and that the only way they can be beautiful is when they’ll undergo a procedure to become “Pretty.”

In today’s age, where consumerism and social media are on their peak, most women, especially teens and young ladies, have been exposed to wrong information about beauty or what is beautiful.

Genre – Dystopian Genre

Pages – 425 pages

Goodreads rating3.86/5

My rating8.45/10

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Next on my beginner’s guide to the dystopian genre literature is those novels that are suitably ideal for young adults.

The Twilight Saga

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For my first, for young adults’ beginner’s guide to the dystopian literature is Stephenie Meyer’s series, “The Twilight Saga.

The Twilight Saga

The four-book series of Meyer has swoon the world over its feet with its marvellous plot, giving us the suspense down through our spine, and at the same time, let us fall in love again with the beauty of loving someone for they are, and as they are, without any prejudice.

Genre– Dystopian Genre

Pages – 2, 449 pages (4 books)

Goodreads’ average total rating 3.62/5

My average total rating9.96/10

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For The Latest Price: Cinder

This first novel of the five-book series of Marissa Meyer is another must-read for beginner’s guide for young adults who just touch the dystopian fiction genre literature.


It tells us a story of a cyborg inspired by the classic Disney princess “Cinderella,” who has received unfair treatment from the society and her stepmom due to her nature. Yet, despite that, she’s way better than everyone else with her incredible skills to fix almost everything. Along with her life’s struggles, she meets a prince.

One striking trait about the novel is understanding how self-acceptance, recognising your self- worth, believing in yourself, and being innately good can bring good things to you. Every struggle awaits sweet success.

Genre- Dystopian Genre

Pages – 390 pages

Goodreads rating4.15/5

My rating 9.85/10

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For The Latest Price: Matched

“Matched” is Ally Condie’s first release from her three-book series, which has the same name as of this novel. It’s another personal favourite, due to the unbelievable reality of the dystopian society the author made.


Citizens are living their life, according to what the government has designed for them. From their life partners to their work, everything is under the control of autocracy. As the majority of the citizens religiously follow and observe the rules, one woman realises that something is not quite right when she spotted a mistake in the system.

The story tells you the consequences of controlling people and the reality that you can’t direct anyone or your heart who to love.

Genre– Dystopian Genre

Pages – 369 pages

Goodreads rating3.66/5

My rating8.75/10

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The Host

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Another highly talked-about book from Stephen Meyer is also on my list for beginner’s guide to the world of the dystopian genre.

The Host

What is striking about this novel is that it allows you to see how someone can fight for her identity and refuse to be silent when it comes to the people who matter to her and that love and kindness always win.

Genre – Young Adult (YA) Dystopian Fiction Literature

Pages – 619 pages

Goodreads rating 3.84/5

My rating 8.85/10 

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Red Queen Series

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Victoria Aveyard’s debut novel, “Red Queen,” is among my favourite picks because of the overpowering courage and power the story narrates.

Red Queen

It tracks down the life and journey of a young woman, who is fighting her way out in a world controlled by the rich and super powerful, and in the process, unravels her own strength and ultimate superpowers.

“Red Queen Series,” proves that adversities and rampant discrimination, reveal one’s strength and power.

Genre – Dystopian Genre

Pages – 2, 017 pages (4 books)

Goodreads’ average total rating 3.96/5

My average total rating9.16/10

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Now, here are a few of the dystopian-themed books for adults that should be part of any beginner’s guide to the genre.

V for Vendetta

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One of the most gripping and ever thought-provoking dystopian books that should be on the list of the beginner’s guide for adult readers is “V for Vendetta” by Alan Moore.

You have probably seen the movie, but the novel is the best way to truly get the comprehensive and intellectually stimulating plot of Moore’s literary masterpiece. That moment where light tries to beam out from darkness is how I would like to put it.

It’s a fight between the good and the wicked.

When men have had so much, there’s no way out, but to fight, and bring justice upfront. It’s about how mankind’s unwavering spirit and bravery in uncovering the truth rekindles the society’s courage and hope.

Genre – Dystopian Fiction Literature for Adults

Pages – 296 pages

Goodreads rating4.25/5

My rating 9.85/10 

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The Long Walk

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One of Stephen King’s most highlighted and highly acclaimed novels is “The Long Walk,” which shows us how destructive and evil is an autocratic-militaristic government.

The Long Walk

You couldn’t fathom the idea of one hundred young men walking miles away without any stop or rest, and whoever defies or violates the rules will get shot, leaving one man alive, if one is lucky enough.

Nevertheless, what makes this novel more interesting than disturbing is the lesson that it is trying to inflict, and that is how one’s love for family prevails. It’s also a fight of fighting for one’s right to get acknowledged and accepted by his autocratic father.

Genre – Dystopian Literature

Pages – 245 pages

Goodreads rating4.11/5

My rating8.82/10  

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Fahrenheit 451

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Ray Bradbury’s dreadful plot about how a totalitarian government can revoke people’s right to literature or literary works and books found get confiscated and burned to “Fahrenheit 451” degrees. With this, people turned out to be indifferent or uncaring and illiterate.

Fahrenheit 451

The novel teaches us the importance of literacy and being well aware of other people’s feelings and struggles through reading books, among many others.

Even the main character of the story, who is a “fireman,” one of the firemen responsible for burning the confiscated books, came to a turning point in his life, realisations, questioning the government he is faithfully serving.

It’s a revelation when he learns how wonderful and fun life is when you have the freedom to live it freely.

Genre – Dystopian Fiction Literature for Adults

Pages – 194 pages

Goodreads rating3.99/5

 My rating 9.25/10

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 The Handmaid’s Tale

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This provocative plot written by Margaret Atwood is worth reading, and that is why it’s on my list again for the beginner’s guide to the dystopian literature genre.

The Handmaid's Tale

It chronicles the life of a handmaid forced to become a mistress or concubine by “The Commander.” Through her journey, she narrates how she objects and abhor the despotic government of Gilead.

You can’t help but feel ridiculous with how a woman who is legally married can become a mistress due to the new law passed by the autocratic regime, ruling their land. As Offred narrates the story to the readers, she’s giving full access to her thoughts and soul.                                                            

Genre – Dystopian Fiction Literature with Romance

Pages – 314 pages

Goodreads rating 4.11/5

 My rating 9.95/10

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Nineteen Eighty-Four: A Novel (1984)

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What could be worse in a totalitarian world? It’s when even your most innocent thoughts can put you in danger. That’s basically how George Orwell’s classic portrays.


Could there be any worse than that? Hence, this masterpiece of Orwell gained worldwide attention due to its incredibly provoking and unbelievable narratives that will keep you thinking about how anyone could agree to that?

But what if it can happen?

 Genre – Dystopian Fiction Literature with Romance

 Pages – 328 pages

Goodreads rating 4.18/5

My rating 9.98/10

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Final Say

There you go! These are my top list beginner’s guide for every age range of readers who are just exploring the world of dystopian fiction literature genre. Some of these books can pass through all ages.

So, while you are at home and can’t go out yet, you can start reading one of the novels I listed above, and I’ll guarantee you that you will have an absolutely fantastic, mind-blowing, and spine-chilling time reading them.

Also Enjoy:

Why Are Dystopian Novels So Popular?

Kelly W
Kelly W
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