Must Read Dystopian Books For Fans of The Maze Runner

How Similar Are These Dystopian Books to The Maze Runner!

If you are a fan of books such as James Dashner’s The Maze Runner series, you are not alone. There is something about young men and women fighting against survival in a dystopian world where danger can present itself from anywhere or anyone.

Dystopian Books Like The Maze Runner
Image by FSM-Team from Pixabay

Young adult dystopian novels are all the rage these days, and many great ones have come out in the past years, with some of them perhaps even better than The Maze Runner. Taking a look at some of the entries below will definitely make you feel that same level thrill and mystery as your favourite novels.

The Maze Runner

If you loved The Maze Runner, then here are some books that you should definitely be on the lookout for. These are novels similar to the series of books, with great plots, settings, and tons of action to keep you on your toes with every turn of the page.

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Dystopian Novels like “The Giver”

Uglies

Uglies by Scott Westerfield is the first in a series of books depicting a world where everyone, once they reach sixteen, is subjected to cosmetic surgery so that they can be turned “Pretty”. There are secrets in the community, however, as the government forces conformity through brainwashing procedures during the conversion process as well.

Uglies

Uglies follows Tally, almost sixteen herself, as she discovers the conspiracy and aims to help the rebels, called Smokies, as well as her friends. She also finds love in David, a fellow runaway, as well as an antagonist in Dr Cable and the Special Circumstances division.

A classic example of a coming of age story set in a dystopian reality, Uglies reflects the dangers of forced conformity, the loss of identity, and discrimination based on physical beauty. The novel also utilizes the “rebel against authority” trope that is the norm in these young dystopian novels featuring teens.

Genre:  Dystopian Literature

Pages:  425

Goodreads Rating:  3.86/5.00

My Rating:  8.75 /10.00 

Uglies

The City of Ember

You can think of The City of Ember by Jeanne DuPrau as The Goonies in reverse. Instead of going down into the caves, however, the protagonists in the novel are racing towards the surface. Both use ancient instructions as a way to reach their destination and, ultimately, towards salvation.

The City of Ember

The City of Ember takes place in a city that is built underground. However, resources such as food and electricity are dwindling. In near collapse, the heroes must uncover the clues that can lead them to the surface while also escaping those who would like to maintain the status quo.

Jeanne DuPrau’s The City of Ember is a masterful take on humanity’s resistance to change and adapt, even though current situations do more harm than good. It is also a depiction of growing up and of leaving your comfort zone to find something better, all the while finding adventure and trials along the way.

Genre:  Dystopian Literature

Pages:  288

Goodreads Rating:  3.86/5.00

My Rating:  9.00 /10.00 

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The City of Ember

Tunnel in the Sky

If you love the survivalist theme of The Maze Runner, then you will adore Tunnel in the Sky by Robert Heinlein. Set in the future, Tunnel in the Sky tells the story of boys that are put to the test by placing them in an unfamiliar planet to survive on their own.

A few days turn to years, however, and the children are forced to live with each other and form a community based on their limited experience and knowledge. Upon their return, however, the tale shifts in tone as it narrates the shock of becoming a child again in society despite living as men ruling themselves.

Basic human nature and how people will react differently in similar situations are rampant themes in Tunnel in the Sky. It shows how young people will band together or implode given volatile and desperate situations. Written shortly after Lord of the Flies, Tunnel in the Sky has a similar plot but puts several twists and turns that make it a truly engaging and unique book.

Genre:  Dystopian Literature

Pages:  262

Goodreads Rating:  3.94/5.00

My Rating:  8.75 /10.00 

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Tunnel In The Sky

Divergent

Divergent can be compared quite a bit to Harry Potter if Harry lived in a future dystopian Chicago. Divergent is the first series of a book trilogy by Veronica Roth that tells the story of a city where people are classified into factions that best represent them. However, there are plans to disrupt the system, and this is the conflict that the main character Tris must discover and stop.

Divergent

Tris is also a Divergent, a special type of person that does not belong in any particular faction and gives her an advantage over others. Divergent follows Tris as she hides her true identity while also earning her position in the faction of her choosing.

Themes such as segregation, social structure, and totalitarianism are just some of the concepts touched upon by the book. However, Divergent is also an allegory of teenagers trying to belong and find their place in the world filled with rules and complications that they do not quite understand.

Genre:  Dystopian Literature

Pages:  487

Goodreads Rating:  4.20/5.00

My Rating:  9.00 /10.00 

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Divergent

Red Rising

Red Rising, the first in the series of books by Pierce Brown, tells the story of Darrow, a worker in a world where other planets have been conquered and a caste system based on colour is in place. After the death of her wife, Darrow vows to take down the ruling party through deception and infiltration.

Red Rising

The novel follows Darrow as he participates in a test where the chosen are tasked to kill each other. What follows is a tale of war, betrayal, and shifting allegiances as he makes both friends and enemies in his quest to burrow deeper into the society that he has sworn to destroy.

Racism and segregation are the main themes of the book. There is also a lot of action involved within the story and readers would love how the power struggles and conspiracies begin to unravel one by one. Red Rising is a cautionary tale of what would happen if racial inequality and oppression worsen, a reality that we can fully relate to in this day and age.

Genre: Dystopian Literature

Pages:  382

Goodreads Rating:  4.26/5.00

My Rating:  9.00 /10.00 

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Red Rising

Ready Player One

Ready Player One by Ernest Cline takes place in the near future. The environment has pretty much been destroyed and the population’s means of escape is through a virtual simulation program called OASIS. It’s not only fun and games, though, as OASIS carries an Easter Egg that grants the discover wealth as well as control over the virtual world.

Ready Player One

The story follows Wade Watts as he races to discover the ultimate Easter Egg through clues found within the 1980s and 1990s nostalgia. Alliances and rivalries will be formed during the quest, and the hero will also be pursued by evil corporations who want to take the prize for themselves.

Aside from satisfying a lot of pop culture nerds, Ready Player One is also filled with action, adventure, and even romance. It also emphasises on the effects of the environment’s destruction on the world as well as the over-reliance of people on technology.

Genre:  Dystopian Literature

Pages:  374

Goodreads Rating:  4.26/5.00

My Rating:  9.00 /10.00 

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Ready Player One

The Hunger Games

The Hunger Games series by Suzanne Collins is one of the most popular books similar to The Maze Runner. It has action, mystery, conspiracy, and romance – all of the ingredients needed for a young adult dystopian novel to really take off.

The Hunger Games

The first book of the series follows Katniss Everdeen as she participates in a battle royale to the death. The annual event that serves not only as a form of entertainment in Panem but also as a reminder for the districts to comply with the Capitol’s rule.

The Hungers Games is an exciting tale of survival. It is also a story about teens, with topics relevant to young adults such as courage, sacrifice, friendship, and love being prevalent in the series. A huge hit among readers, The Hunger Games serves as one of the best The Maze Runnier-like books as well.

Genre:  Dystopian Literature

Pages:  374

Goodreads Rating:   4.33/5.00

My Rating:   9.50 /10.00 

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The Hunger Games

Ender’s Game

Ender’s Game by Orson Scott Card is a dystopian novel set in the future. The Earth is at war with an alien race, and children are being trained to combat against the creatures. The novel’s protagonist, Ender, is one such child, and he has shown great potential to be one of the best warriors the Earth has ever known.

Ender's Game

The story follows Ender, as well as his siblings, as their actions impact the fate of the world. In particular, Ender goes through harsh training as a soldier and is inevitably put into the battle to wipe the aliens out of existence.

Ender’s Game is a classic coming of age story, and it also depicts the effects of war and violence on children. It also shows how there are two sides to every conflict, as Ender would discover a secret that would alter his perception as to on which side of the war he should be.

Genre:  Dystopian Literature

Pages:  324

Goodreads Rating:  4.30/5.00

My Rating:  9.25 /10.00

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Ender's Game

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Main Feature Credits: Pixabay

Dave Peterson

Dave Peterson Passion for adventure and sharing his life long journey with as many others as possible. "What lies behind us and what lies before us are tiny matters compared to what lies within us." HENRY S. HASKINS

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