Saturday, March 29, 2014

Why I’m Burnt Out From Dystopia


This is a topic I’ve been dwelling on for a while. The last dystopian novel I read was Allegiant back in October of 2013. That sounds like just yesterday, but that’s 5 whole months! I generally love dystopia. I love discovering a broken universe and meeting fierce heroes and heroines who rise and take control of their situation. When I saw Divergent, I was instantly brought back to the memories of reading it back in 2011. The feelings of fear, and excitement, and empowerment. I think the theme of empowerment and the power of choice is really universal in most fiction, but most prevalently in dystopia. It challenges our beliefs about human society and makes us think. I think that’s why I’ve found it so appealing.

allegiant-book-cover-high-resBut, I’m getting sick of it. Something I realized when I read Allegiant was that deep down I like happy endings. I’m not spoiling anything, so don’t worry! I love when there is pain and conflict through the series, but by the end I want that to stop. The problem I’ve noticed in other dystopian series closers as well is the fact that there just can’t be a completely satisfying ending. I find myself hoping, praying that somebody will find a reset button and erase the results of whatever apocalyptic event lead to the formation of a dystopian society. That hasn’t happened yet in anything I’ve read. That would feel like too much of a cop-out anyway. I’m a pretty calm person, but I get mad at the end of a series like that, not because I don’t want to say goodbye to everything, but because I don’t feel the satisfaction of closure, and it will continue to nag at me for months to come.

That being said, I still hugely appreciate the impact of dystopian literature, especially in the troubled world we live in now. And I appreciate series enders. Yes, they leave me frustrated and unsettled and mad, but most that I’ve read end with an air of hope through them. Throughout the series the characters have grown and not just become aware of the world they live in, but made the choice to try to transform, change their world for the better. I guess that’s all anybody can hope for, because one person may be able to change the world, but it takes more than 3 books to see the full impact. I still don’t like to read dystopian series, because they’re emotionally draining and frustrating by nature, but I guess if I’m to feed this desire I’ll just have to learn to cope with the dissatisfaction of it all.

How do you feel about dystopian series enders?
Any series you recommend that have more closure?


  1. I've been reading dystopians for over 6 years now and I still welcome the ones that try something new. I do like to balance that gloom reading with happy ever afters and lighter fare.

  2. I have no problems with depressing books . I'm burned out because dystopia is not really my fav genre . I like dark fantasy more . I'm slowly but surely finishing YA dystopian series I've started and not started new ones. If i do begin with one it has to intrigue me to that point that I do read it

    Lovely discussion

  3. I totally understand! However, I have to admit, though I’m always game for a happy ending if the book calls for it (and it isn’t a cop out), I like realistic endings, even if they aren’t exactly happy. However, at the same time, looking back, I’ve started a lot of awesome dystopian series and haven’t finished them :/ Not because I don’t like the series, but because I really hate ending a good series! But I plan on remedying that over the summer ☺ So who knows? Maybe my mind will change after that.

    All the best,
    Mackenzie @ Oh, For the Love of Books!

  4. I tend to like some originality to my dystopians, like add in more space elements, or a unique setting. Something... I feel it's becoming a bit formulaic with YA literature. I just finally read Divergent and I liked it but I wasn't blown away. I will read the other two, but will take my sweet time probably.

  5. I was JUST thinking the same thing! Dystopia is one of my favorite genres but now the new releases of them just make me cringe. Not because of the happy ending thing (but that's good too!) but because they have been getting so repetitive. I already know the ending of Allegiant and totally get where you are coming from.


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