25 Dystopian Fiction Books Everyone Should Read: Explore The Darker Side of Possible Worlds and Alternative Futures

Dystopian literature is a form of speculative fiction that began as a response to utopian literature. A dystopia is an imagined community or society that is dehumanizing and frightening. I first read George Orwell's 1984 when I was 16, and I've been hooked on dystopian fiction ever since. Originally published  in 1949, the book horrified and haunted me in its depiction of a hypothetical future totalitarian society. A compelling, striking nightmarish vision of a dystopian world, this remains one of the most chilling yet favourite books I've ever read and one of the best openings of a book ever: "It was a bright cold day in April, and the clocks were striking thirteen." 

So much of it has entered our language, becoming an integrated part of our common cultural inheritance, that I'm sure many people don't even realise their beginnings.

It was followed shortly after by Margaret Atwood's The Handmaid's Tale, a book which I read a few years after it was published in 1985, a book introduced to our class of English A-Level students by the most wonderful teacher anyone could wish for, Mrs Barnes. From then on, dystopian fiction was in my heart.

Recently brought to the masses through the TV series starring Elisabeth Moss, this is the story about a terrifying dystopian world, ruled by a military and religious dictatorship. Infertility is rife, and the handmaid’s role is to bear children for the ruling class. The Republic of Gilead offers Offred only one function: to breed. Dissenters will be hanged at the wall or sent out to die slowly of radiation sickness. This chilling book imagines what a backlash to feminism might lead to and though it is horrifying there is also humanity, wit and humour in the writing.

More recently I have enjoyed the books of Christina Dalcher who I am increasingly dubbing the Queen of speculative fiction. Her 2019 debut VOX tells the story of an alternative world and is a searing dystopian debut explores a dissolute puritanical society in which women are silenced and wholly subjected to male control. Limited to just one hundred words a day, seventy million women lose their jobs overnight, young girls are no longer taught to read or write. For herself, her daughter, and for every woman silenced, Jean tries to reclaim her voice.

And keeping with the focus on debuts I must mention two more recently published dystopian gems. In The End of Men by Christina Sweeney-Baird, women get even. Written before the current pandemic, this is a powerful, thought-provoking blast of speculative fiction, where a virus that only kills men hits the world.

And this July another dash into dystopia hits the shelves from debut author Nikki Erlick with The Measure. Every adult on earth suddenly shares the same surreal experience, when overnight a box arrives on the doorstep of everyone aged 22 and older across the world. The measure of your life lies within. Each person is presented with a string of a different length, and the string determines how long you have left on Earth. Would you open the box?

It's a brilliant concept, brilliantly written, brilliantly realised dystopian world which pits Long Stringers against Short Stringers, fear drives the divides in society as people struggle to come to terms with the new reality. And I loved it!

Find below a full selection of speculative fiction we have adored here at LoveReading. We hope you do too. Let us know what would be on your list of must-reads?

1984

1984

Author: George Orwell Format: Hardback Release Date: 01/12/2017

One of the most renowned classics of all time was brought to us by George Orwell in 1949. A compelling, striking nightmarish vision of a dystopian world, this remains one of the most chilling yet favourite books I've ever read and one of the best openings of a book ever: "It was a bright cold day in April, and the clocks were striking thirteen" So much of it has entered our language, becoming an integrated part of our common cultural inheritance, that I'm sure many people don't even realise their beginnings. It is the year 1984 and the world is divided into three superstates each at war with eachother. Britain is Airstrip One ruled by the Party and led by Big Brother, the symbolic face of totalitarianism. Even love is considered subversive and we follow the story of Winston Smith who works in the Ministry of Truth where his job is to rewrite the past to fit the present. Depicting everyman, Winston begins to subtlely rebel by writing a secret diary, a deadly thought crime in a society where the actions and thoughts of the people are strictly controlled through propaganda, secrecy, constant surveillance, and harsh punishment.  Where will it end? This book will stay with you, and will never be forgotten. Visit our '50 Classics Everyone Should Read' collection to discover more classic titles.

The Handmaid's Tale

The Handmaid's Tale

Author: Margaret Atwood Format: Paperback Release Date: 25/05/2017

The Republic of Gilead offers Offred only one function: to breed. If she deviates, she will, like dissenters, be hanged at the wall or sent out to die slowly of radiation sickness. But even a repressive state cannot obliterate desire - neither Offred's nor that of the two men on which her future hangs...

Audiobooks of the Month
Vox

Vox

Author: Christina Dalcher Format: Hardback Release Date: 23/08/2018

Jean lives in an America in which women have been forced to surrender all freedoms and are restricted to speaking 100 words a day, for the new government has decreed that women need to be Pure. They need to learn a lesson, as do gays and lesbians, who’ve been herded into camps. As to how this happened, the novel is sharp on collective collusion, and also shows the consequences of the coward’s sidestepping “I was only following orders” excuse. Indeed, the excruciating personal repercussions of the new regime are piercingly portrayed. Jean doesn’t have enough words to read bedtime stories to her daughter. One of her sons spouts patriarchal propaganda he’s picked up in class. Quite simply, it’s hard for her not to hate her male kin at times.  Then, Jean’s constraints in this censorious new world loosen a little when she’s told that the President’s brother has sustained a brain injury and her seminal aphasia research means she’s called on to cure him. As this powerful debut unfolds, undulating with personal conflicts and the discovery of sinister political programs, it also explores the essentialness of speech. It serves as a potent reminder to speak out when you’re able, for speech deprivation, whether due to force or illness, is a painful state of existence. Shocking, suspenseful and compulsive, this is a formidable cautionary tale for our time.

eBooks of the Month
Station Eleven

Station Eleven

Author: Emily St. John Mandel Format: Hardback Release Date: 10/09/2014

Winner of the Arthur C Clarke Award for Science Fiction 2015. Longlisted for the Baileys Women's Prize for Fiction 2015. Following four wonderful literary crime novels (to be issued in the UK later), Canadian author Mandel breaks through with a beautifully modulated post-apocalypse tale, where a virus has decimated the world and a troupe of musicians and Shakespearean actors tour the Great Lakes area and hold up the flame of culture and civilisation. Through the prism of a variety of interlinked characters before and after the fall of society, Mandel offers a melancholy and poetic lullaby for the power of art and the succour of relationships. Full of striking images and strands: the rise and fall of a Falstaffian actor, the coming of age of a young girl in a brand new world, an airport that becomes a museum for humanity, the stark realities of a land now at war with itself and full of feral survivors, a comic strip whose provenance is prophetic, Mandel weaves a clever and moving web that will stay with you for a very long time.   Chair of the Arthur C. Clarke Award judges, Andrew M Butler, said: “While many post-apocalypse novels focus on the survival of humanity, Station Eleven focuses instead on the survival of our culture, with the novel becoming an elegy for the hyper-globalised present.”   Maxim Jakubowski October 2014 Highly Recommended.   Sarah Broadhurst's view.. Not another plague apocalyptic book you cry!  Oh yes, only this one is a bit special.  It describes the ‘end of civilisation as we know it’ and the accompanying death of most of the world’s population in a highly effective, gentle way.  Short snippets tell of gigantic events.  We get lives before and after the ‘Georgia flu’ concentrating on an actor, a comic graphic artist and a group of travelling performers.  The comic, starring one Dr Eleven, links both sections in a poignant manner.  This is a very impressive work, a thrilling tale, a must read.

eBooks of the Month
The Measure

The Measure

Author: Nikki Erlick Format: Hardback Release Date: 07/07/2022

Every adult on earth suddenly shares the same surreal experience, when overnight a box arrives on the doorstep of everyone aged 22 and older across the world. The measure of your life lies within. Each person is presented with a string of a different length, and the string determines how long you have left on Earth. Would you open the box? It's a brilliant concept, brilliantly written, brilliantly realised dystopian world which pits "long-stringers" against "short-tringers", fear drives the divides in society as people struggle to come to terms with the new reality. By a debut author who we are sure will be one to watch, The Measure is a fantastic first outing for Nikki Erlick. As the world comes to terms with their fates, we follow the lives of eight ordinary people finding and fighting their way through the fear. We meet the unforgettable cast of characters and as the months fly by we come to root for them, care for them and understand their interconnectedness. A beautiful story about family, friendship, hope, fate and destiny that encourages us to live life to the fullest. We care for the couple who are deeply in love: long-stringer Nina and short-stringer Maura. We mourn for architect Ben whose girlfriend left him when she found out about his short-string, for Hank, the doctor who saves everyone apart from himself. For Javier and Jack the best friends, the soldiers who have been through everything together. The lives of the main characters are all set against the backdrop of Anthony Rollins the blue blooded congressman from Virginia who sees the arrival of the strings as a blessing from God and uses them to create fear and uncertainty to bolster his campaign. It's a timely, page-turning triumph and I can't recommend it enough.

Q

Q

Author: Christina Dalcher Format: Hardback Release Date: 30/04/2020

IN THIS WORLD, PERFECTION IS EVERYTHING 'Terrifyingly plausible' Louise Candlish 'Devastating and brilliant' Woman & Home 'Thought-provoking' Alice Feeney 'Shocking . . . A powerful tale' Cosmopolitan 'Timely' Kia Abdullah Elena Fairchild is a teacher at one of the state's new elite schools. Her daughters are exactly like her: beautiful, ambitious, and perfect. A good thing, since the recent mandate that's swept the country is all about perfection. Now everyone must undergo routine tests for their quotient, Q, and any children who don't measure up are placed into new government schools. Instead, teachers can focus on the gifted. Elena tells herself it's not about eugenics, not really, but when one of her daughters scores lower than expected and is taken away, she intentionally fails her own test to go with her. But what Elena discovers is far more terrifying than she ever imagined... What readers are saying about Q 'To everyone that loved Vox and wants to read another like it this is just for you!!' 'I love Dalcher's books, they grip me from the beginning and I find them impossible to put down' 'I read this book in 24 hours! I loved it.' 'An amazing read . . . thought provoking and made me eager to know what is coming next from this brilliant author.' 'This book had me hooked from start to finish. 'Both timely and chilling. Q is a thrilling read'

The End of Men

The End of Men

Author: Christina Sweeney-Baird Format: Hardback Release Date: 29/04/2021

An exquisitely unsettling and fabulous blast of speculative fiction awaits in this provocative, hard-hitting debut novel. An unknown virus that only kills men hits Glasgow in 2025, as it spreads, confusion, lies, and heartbreak follows. As Christina Sweeney-Baird explains in her author’s note, she wrote The End of Men before Covid 19 affected the world. While the current pandemic remained tucked away in my thoughts as I read, this is very much a work of fiction and the focus lies with a female lead society coping with life during and after a pandemic. This is told on a world scale over five years and is set as a gathering of memories, as though this event has already come to pass and you are reading a piercing slice of history. This novel contains a huge number of characters, and I felt as though I was observing them at a distance. Having said that, some characters return throughout the book, and I formed more of a bond, felt more of a connection with them. Short chapters, headed by the day after the outbreak and name of the character ensured my focus remained sharp and on point. There are bubbles of humour to be found along the way, as well as the more obvious emotions. Yes this is so very close to what is happening right now, but it is different enough to make this novel more readable as a result. Joining our LoveReading Star Book collection, The End of Men is a powerful, thought-provoking read that is both epic in scale and intimate in memories. The LoveReading LitFest invited Christina to the festival to talk about The End of Men. The digitally native, all year round, online literature and books festival, with new content released every week is a free-for-all-users festival. What are you waiting for? Check out a preview of the event and sign up to become a member. 

Star Books
The Hunger Games

The Hunger Games

Author: Suzanne Collins Format: Paperback Release Date: 01/10/2015

***Limited Foiled Collector's Edition of The Hunger Games. The Hunger Games is a searing novel set in a future with unsettling parallels to our present. In a dark vision of the near future, The Hunger Games is set in the ruins of a place once known as North America. The cruel Capitol keeps order in its twelve outlying districts by forcing them each to send one boy and girl to participate in the annual Hunger Games, a terrifying reality TV show broadcasting a live fight to the death. Without really meaning to, 16 year old Katniss becomes a contender. But if she is to win, she will have to start making choices that weigh survival against humanity and life against love. Welcome to the deadliest reality TV show ever.  ***Are you the Ultimate fan of The Hunger Games? Take this a quiz & find out! The first book in the ground-breaking Hunger Games trilogy. The Hunger Games Catching Fire Mockingjay Jacqueline Wilson, February 2012 Guest Editor: "I don't usually go for blockbuster dystopian stories - but this trilogy is imaginatively conceived and well written and a genuine page-turner. Sixteen year old Katniss takes part in a terrifying annual televised game where teenagers fight for their lives.  In our current climate of reality television shows like The X-Factor and I'm a Celebrity, Get me out of Here, this starts to ring horribly true. It's often disturbing, but it certainly will hold the attention of even the most reluctant reader.  It's about to be a much-hyped film, so should attract even more attention."

eBooks of the Month
Brave New World

Brave New World

Author: Aldous Huxley Format: Paperback Release Date: 06/12/2007

Written in 1932, this is an amazing dystopian fiction is set in a futuristic world state where everyone has been conditioned to be content and perform according to a social and intelligence-based hierarchy. In a world where there have been scientific advancements in reproductive technology, sleep-learning and behaviour conditioning the question is posed through Bernard Marx, Helmholtz Watson and John, is it better to be manipulated and happy or to be free? A must-read for all science-fiction fans. Visit our '50 Classics Everyone Should Read' collection to discover more classic titles.

eBooks of the Month
Fahrenheit 451

Fahrenheit 451

Author: Ray Bradbury Format: Paperback Release Date: 16/08/1993

Guy Montag is a fireman. His job is to burn books, which are forbidden, being the source of all discord and unhappiness. Even so, Montag is unhappy; there is discord in his marriage. Are books hidden in his house? The Mechanical Hound of the Fire Department, armed with a lethal hypodermic, escorted by helicopters, is ready to track down those dissidents who defy society to preserve and read books. The classic novel of a post-literate future, 'Fahrenheit 451' stands alongside Orwell's '1984' and Huxley's 'Brave New World' as a prophetic account of Western civilization's enslavement by the media, drugs and conformity. Bradbury's powerful and poetic prose combines with uncanny insight into the potential of technology to create a novel which over fifty years from first publication, still has the power to dazzle and shock.

eBooks of the Month
The Testaments

The Testaments

Author: Margaret Atwood Format: Paperback Release Date: 01/06/2020

And so I step up, into the darkness within; or else the light. When the van door slammed on Offred's future at the end of The Handmaid's Tale, readers had no way of telling what lay ahead. With The Testaments, the wait is over. Margaret Atwood's sequel picks up the story 15 years after Offred stepped into the unknown, with the explosive testaments of three female narrators from Gilead. 'Dear Readers: Everything you've ever asked me about Gilead and its inner workings is the inspiration for this book. Well, almost everything! The other inspiration is the world we've been living in.' Margaret Atwood.

Audiobooks of the Month
When Women Were Dragons

When Women Were Dragons

Format: Hardback Release Date: 03/05/2022

Otherworldly, yet rooted in patriarchal realities, Kelly Barnhill‘s When Women Were Dragons is a storytelling masterwork. Set from the 1950s, it presents a magnificent maelstrom of fire-breathing women who refuse to keep quiet, exposing the trauma of enforced silence, and shining a blazing light on how vital it is to transcend imposed shame and live your own way. “I was four years old when I first saw a dragon. I was four years old when I first learned to be silent about dragons. Perhaps this is how we learn silence — an absence of words, an absence of context, a hole in the universe where the truth should be”. So shares Alex, the narrator of this brilliant novel, who lives at a time when adults remember the “mass dragoning” of women that occurred on 25th April 1955, but never mention it. Alex’s aunt Marla was among those who rose up and transformed into a dragon, but it’s as if she never existed. Marla is never spoken of again - not by Alex’s sick mother, and not by Alex’s father, who leaves her to raise Marla’s daughter Beatrice. Before her transformation and vanishing, Marla told Alex that, “All women are magic. Literally all of us. It’s in our nature. It’s best you learn that now”. Fearing little Beatrice won’t be able to resist her powerful urges to dragon, Alex shuns any such notions, and silences Beatrice’s talk of dragons. But librarian Mrs Gyzinska, who supports Alex’s plan to become a mathematician, shares her learned insights, and frames the phenomenon of dragoning in the context of patriarchy: “There are people who have problems with women, and alas, many of them are also women. That is because of something called the patriarchy… an unnecessary and oppressive obstacle, and best disposed of as soon as possible.” As Alex grapples with tremendous conflicts and prejudice, we’re presented with a spectacular prom scene, a tense but glorious reunion, a beautiful love of a lifetime, and glorious sisterhood. What a story.

Star Books
The Road

The Road

Author: Cormac Mccarthy Format: Paperback Release Date: 01/01/2010

January 2012 Guest Editor Simon Lelic selects The Road...   Technically and philosophically, this is probably not McCarthy’s best book. His masterpiece, probably, is Blood Meridian – although I also love Child of God. And Outer Dark. And . . . Well, everything else McCarthy has produced. But The Road, I would say, is my favourite of his novels, if only for the devastating portrait he paints of a father’s love for his son. I must have read this novel four or five times now (I’ve seen the film, too, but only once and never again). Devastatingly simple, yet dazzling in so many ways, this is the book I wish I had written.   A 2012 World Book Night selection.   Winner of The Pulitzer Prize for Fiction 2007.Once in a while a book comes along that is so powerful, so terrible and so beautiful that you are left staggered at its close.  This is one such.  A journey through a devastated, post-apocalyptic America that is both frightening and strangely hopeful.  It’s not an easy read but once embarked upon, it’s hard to draw away.  Father and son share their dreadful experiences and their love.  It has just won the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction and been chosen by Oprah Winfrey for her Book Club so it’s going to sell bucket-loads in America and deserves to do the same over here.Similar this month: None.Comparison: J G Ballard, J D Salinger.

eBooks of the Month
The Children of Men

The Children of Men

Author: P. D. James Format: Paperback Release Date: 05/08/2010

The Children of Men by P. D. James

eBooks of the Month
The Liberation's Child

The Liberation's Child

Author: Lucy Cruickshanks Format: Paperback Release Date: 07/04/2022

This is Britain – but not as we know it. The country is reeling in the aftermath of the Free and Equal Britain (FEB) movement, a political regime that dismantled the structures of society and brought about the unjust killing of millions of citizens. Dom and Thea, two survivors trying to move on with their lives, face a race against time to discover the truth behind a child trafficking ring somehow connected to FEB-era politicians. Their desperation is present at every turn of this haunting fiction. Every move they make is riddled with tension; who is watching over them? Who can really be trusted? Cruickshanks' prose is beautifully taut – not a word is wasted – and her short, punchy paragraphs add pace to the thriller when it’s most needed. The narrative shifts between Thea’s and Dom’s stories with ease, both characters and their tragic pasts treated with emotional sensitivity rather than pity. Their resilience and integrity shine in an otherwise corrupt world – it’s impossible to not get swept along with them and their cause. The Liberation’s Child is dystopian fiction at its finest…but don’t be fooled. Although this version of London may be far removed from any modern reality, the unnerving themes that lie at the heart of this harrowing story - human trafficking, political unrest and genocide – will undoubtedly strike a chord with many.

The Wall

The Wall

Author: John Lanchester Format: Hardback Release Date: 17/01/2019

Narrated by BAFTA-winning actor Will Poulter. Kavanagh begins his life patrolling the Wall. If he's lucky, if nothing goes wrong, he only has two years of this, 729 more nights. The best thing that can happen is that he survives and gets off the Wall and never has to spend another day of his life anywhere near it. He longs for this to be over; longs to be somewhere else. He will soon find out what Defenders do and who the Others are. Along with the rest of his squad, he will endure cold and fear day after day, night after night. But somewhere, in the dark cave of his mind, he thinks: wouldn't it be interesting if something did happen, if they came, if you had to fight for your life?    John Lanchester's thrilling, hypnotic new novel is about why the young are right to hate the old. It's about a broken world you will recognise as your own-and about what might be found when all is lost.

Audiobooks of the Month
The Chosen Twelve

The Chosen Twelve

Author: James Breakwell Format: Paperback Release Date: 20/01/2022

Welcome to an entertaining wild ride, stuffed full of action and spiky humour. 22 humans remain on a ship set to colonise a planet, the robots have to decide which of the humans will fill the 12 seats to the surface. The publishers have declared this as The Hunger Games meets The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, and while I could most definitely sense the connection, for me this had a sentient Robot Wars (but with the robots in the driving seat) come Lord of the Flies vibe. And yet, even with these four comparisons rushing around this is a resoundingly individual novel. The dedication is entirely fabulous, and aims its own kick. The mix of robots and age old children makes for an intruiging dystopian premise. It took a little while for me to settle in, and to actually engage with all of the characters as the focus of each is so narrow. Spenser was by far my favourite though, adored him! James Breakwell is known for his humour and that definitely makes itself known here with a decided edge. If you’re looking for something a little different, then head this way. The Chosen Twelve is a quirky, high-energy, surprisingly thoughtful novel and I’ve chosen it as one of my Liz Picks of the Month.  

Liz Robinson's Picks of the Month
Femlandia

Femlandia

Author: Christina Dalcher Format: Hardback Release Date: 28/10/2021

In this her third dystopian thriller, Dalcher gives another chilling look into an alternative future where a woman and her daughter seek refuge in a women-only colony after the country sinks into total economic collapse. Darker than her other reads, but still female-centric and speculative, this tells the tale of widowed Miranda Reynolds and her sixteen-year-old Emma whose only hope for survival is Femlandia, a male-free colony set up decades earlier by Miranda's estranged mother.  It's another twisty turny rollercoaster ride of emotion and thought-provoking themes. It's raw, it's disturbing in places, the characters are incredibly flawed and I flew through it at pace. Pulled in from the very first few pages and hooked until the end, for me Dalcher is firmly becoming the queen of speculative fiction.

Books of the Month
The Power

The Power

Author: Naomi Alderman Format: Paperback Release Date: 06/04/2017

Visit our 'Women's Words - 60+ works of feminist-minded fiction' to explore our collection of feminist-minded fiction from around the world, and across centuries.

eBooks of the Month
Circles a Clover

Circles a Clover

Author: Michael Egan Format: Hardback Release Date: 26/08/2021

Egan’s finely tuned skill as a storyteller seduces you. Right from the opening chapter he sets up a delicious, nerve-tingling sense of foreboding, with references that range from Game of Thrones and mushroom clouds to Afghanistan, Iraq and the impending end of the world. He doesn’t so much hook you into his imagined world, as gently caress a net around you, coaxing you onto each page after the next. And what a story he tells.  Plucky, thoughtful Kyle Halfpenny, year 11,  lives with her Dad who is either a mad drunk or prescient seer. She sees bigger pictures and small details and has views, thoughts and fears that all speak of a profound understanding and compassion for the lot of those in her world.  She communes with foxes, mourns for a lasagne that had ”shrunk in on itself, like it was trying to hide from it’s own failings” and through the absence of her mother and missing her brother, she cares for her Dad, a lasagne made mortal, who seeks sanctuary with Kyle on a island imbued with history, overrun by rabbits and the home of hope. This is a one hell of a read, for YA readers as much as for the intended adult audience. It is a cautionary tale of the corrosive effect on life of unfettered fear, the acid that eats joy. It is a sad and lyrical hymn to our responsibilities to ourselves and to each other. And, with its exquisite, magical, story-within-a story, it is an enchanting fable about the gritty beauty of life and of all lives. Unless you’re a rabbit.

My Name Is Monster

My Name Is Monster

Author: Katie Hale Format: Paperback Release Date: 07/01/2021

Katie Hale is our January 2020 Debut Author of the Month. Click to find out more about Katie on our blog. Oh… my… word, this is one fabulous debut! I found a deceptively simple, and stark dystopian foray into a world blighted by bombs and sickness. Monster is completely alone until one day she finds a child. She becomes mother and passes on her knowledge, but are her mothering skills being received in the way she is expecting them to be? Told in the first person, Katie Hale has created short chapters where thoughts scatter, bounce, zigzag. I filed away feelings and emotions as I read, each within touching distance, lying in wait to prod and provoke. This feels honest, as though looking at a future just within grasp, or back to a history that has already happened. The feelings are raw, sometimes painful, yet relatable and believable. I found the premise of this novel absolutely fascinating, I explored interpretation of meaning, motherhood, and thoughts on the basic cycle of life. ‘My Name is Monster’ is poignant, moving and wonderfully different, it is also incredibly intimate, readable and surprisingly beautiful, I adored it. Visit our 'Women's Words - 60+ works of feminist-minded fiction' to explore our collection of feminist-minded fiction from around the world, and across centuries.

Debut Books of the Month
Of Ants and Dinosaurs

Of Ants and Dinosaurs

Author: Cixin Liu Format: Paperback Release Date: 07/01/2021

So, so readable, Of Ants and Dinosaurs with the lightest and brightest of touches, made my brain itch with its creativity and klaxon alarm. Perfect for readers from young adult on, this sets itself as a “satirical fable, a political allegory and ecological warning”. In a time long long ago ants and dinosaurs joined forces to build a magnificent civilisation, when doom threatens will the dinosaurs listen to the ants? Cixin Liu is China’s number one science-fiction writer and his The Three-Body Problem was the first translated novel to win a Hugo award. I just love the cover, and the ants marching across the chapter pages had me smiling. As soon as I started to read my attention was well and truly caught. The prologue sets the scene with wonder and I read and believed without a moment's doubt. While portraying the ant and dinosaur alliance, there is very much a warning to the human race here. Deceptively simple and brilliantly clever, Of Ants and Dinosaurs just has to sit as a Liz Pick of the Month and a LoveReading Star Book, I simply adored it. 

Star Books
Leave the World Behind

Leave the World Behind

Author: Rumaan Alam Format: Hardback Release Date: 12/11/2020

Our December 2020 Book Club Recommendation Set in a future that feels as though it really could be just around the corner, this eloquent, intense, and chilling novel merges literary psychological thriller with dystopian apocalyptic fiction. A family from New York rent a luxurious and peaceful getaway, when the owners of the house return in a panic due to a power outage in the city which has also knocked out the TV and internet at the home, an uneasy truce settles. Whilst huge in scope, this is actually an achingly intimate novel and it creates an atmosphere that slid into my thoughts and thoroughly ruffled my equilibrium. Rumaan Alam sets the scene with a thoroughness that is almost poetic as he points out the ridiculous and highlights the irrelevant. The characters are almost touchable, awkward moments hum with intensity, points are made, thoughts shuffle. This LoveReading Star Book doesn’t shriek or clamour, answers lie hidden, which somehow makes the story even more unnerving. Touching family, race, and human nature in the most precarious of moments, Leave The World Behind is an incredibly penetrating and surprising read. 

Star Books
The One

The One

Author: John Marrs Format: Paperback Release Date: 04/05/2017

A Maxim Jakubowski selected title. An ingenious and quite gripping psychological thriller based on the use of DNA matching for a new style of dating, this was originally self-published and we must be grateful it came to the attention of a larger publisher. You would think the chances of a relationship based on the affinities of DNA would be perfect but what if your match, your 'One' is psychopathic, already married to another, deranged? The breezy tale unfolds at lightning pace through the eyes and words of five sometimes hapless characters who've gone to the website and availed themselves of its seemingly perfect, foolproof dating opportunities, only to find that the path to true love or fortune is inevitably littered with thorns and problematic. Fast-paced and breathless, strewn with unforeseen twists in the tail, this is an unusual thriller that hooks you from page one and never lets go. Addictive, amusing and sinister in equal ways but a perfect, entertaining read. ~ Maxim Jakubowski

eBooks of the Month
They Both Die at the End

They Both Die at the End

Author: Adam Silvera Format: Paperback Release Date: 07/09/2017

Teenagers Rufus and Mateo meet on their last day on earth. Via an app called the Last Friend they select each other and embark upon one final adventure together. They're very different, in very different places and looking to make a friend for very different reasons but they connect and they have one day to cram it all in. Adam Silvera so brilliantly captures the highs, the lows, the trials and tribulations of young people, young love and friendships in this story of interconnectedness. It's absolutely brilliant and you won't be able to put it down as you journey with them to find out what happens as they try to make their final day count.

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