If You Liked “The Hunger Games”, You’ll LOVE…

This week’s pick for “Alike But Indie” is The Hunger Games.

Written by Suzanne Collins and first published in 2008, the book is a YA science fiction fantasy set in a post-apocalyptic world where, every year, two children are made to participate in a televised fight to the death.

If you haven’t read it–and its two sequels, Catching Fire and Mockingjay, you should (and seeing the movie definitely does not count).  If you have read them, and are looking for something similar, try one (or all!) of these and let us know what you think.

If you liked The Hunger Games, You’ll Love:

Half Way Home by Hugh Howey

Five hundred of us were sent to colonize this planet. Only fifty or so survived.

We woke up fifteen years too early, we had only half our training, and they expected us to not only survive … they expected us to conquer this place.

The problem is: it isn’t safe here.

We aren’t even safe from each other.

The Old Man and the Wasteland by Nick Cole

A “List Where Indies Count” best seller

Forty years after the destruction of civilization…Man is reduced to salvaging the ruins of a broken world. One man’s most prized possession is Hemingway’s classic ‘The Old Man and the Sea.’ With the words of the novel echoing across the wasteland, a survivor of the Nuclear Holocaust journeys into the unknown to break a curse.

What follows is an incredible tale of survival and endurance.
One man must survive the desert wilderness and mankind gone savage to discover the truth of Hemingway’s classic tale of man versus nature.

Part Hemingway, part Cormac McCarthy’s The Road, a suspenseful odyssey into the dark heart of the Post-Apocalyptic American southwest.

Renewal by JF Perkins

Renewal is a novella and the first part in a series.

In a post-collapse America, a young Reclamation Engineer is tasked with seeking and restoring farmland from dead suburban sprawl. On his first solo assignment, he encounters something that threatens to change everything he knows about the America of his generation.

The Remaining by D.J. Molles

The Remaining is the first book in a gritty tale of survival, perseverance and fighting to get back what has been lost. The story will continue Summer 2012.

In a steel-and-lead-encased bunker 20 feet below the basement level of his house, a soldier waits for his final orders. On the surface, a plague ravages the planet, infecting over 90% of the populace. The bacterium burrows through the brain, destroying all signs of humanity and leaving behind little more than base, prehistoric instincts. The infected turn into hyper-aggressive predators, with an insatiable desire to kill and feed. Some day soon, the soldier will have to open the hatch to his bunker, and step out into this new wasteland, to complete his mission: SUBVENIRE REFECTUS. TO RESCUE AND REBUILD.

Into the Badlands by Brian J. Jarrett

It’s been three years since a devastating pandemic transformed most of the world’s human population into vicious, wild animals. Ed Brady and his two sons rely solely on each other in order to survive in a world completely devoid of stability and structure. Their goal: reach the city by the river, where they may have some chance of finding salvation.

As they travel across the wasteland that was once the Midwestern United States, they encounter other survivors along the way. As their paths inevitably intertwine, Ed must remain steadfast that his sworn mission to see that his boys know safety and happiness is not compromised. Surrounded by the constant threat of attack by infected humans, can Ed and his sons make it to the city before their luck runs out? And, if they can, what will be waiting for them there when they arrive?

Into The Badlands is a fast-paced, post-apocalyptic thriller that will take readers on a desperate journey for salvation through the wasted remains of a land overrun with the stuff of nightmares.

Taken by Zia Marie

All Jackson Smith wanted to do was take his little sister, Aubrey, to a county fair, but they ended up in the town of Wicker Farm, a place that doesn’t even exist on Earth as he knows it. Run by the ambitious and diabolical Governor Richards, Wicker Farm is in the process of rebuilding following a disease that wiped out most of the population. Anyone who ends up there is expected to stay forever.

With the governor’s forces everywhere, escape seems impossible– not that Jackson can even begin to figure out how to escape. That is, until he forms an uneasy alliance with Russell Tremell, the young leader of The Resistance, the rebel group that opposes the governor.

If Jackson can lead two lives, moving up the ranks as the perfect Wicker Farm resident while working for The Resistance, he may be the key to getting everyone out. This means bringing the danger even closer, from Richards’ security officers and from the temptations that Wicker Farm offers: the type of life he never would have had access to in his world.

But after finding himself torn between Charlie, the Resistance wild child, and Sasha, Governor Richards’ daughter, the real danger could come from the unlikeliest source– from falling in love.

Spire by Aaron Safronoff

**** 4 stars

The End War is over.  The Collective has taken control, running their operation from a towering building known simply as The Spire.

“Maladjusted” people are given “plug and scrub treatment”, a genetic enhancement using designer drugs to make them conform.  But other more dangerous drugs are being tested on unknowing subjects, who are being chosen based on certain characteristics and life histories.

The central conflict of the story—which include strong fantasy elements cooking side-by-side with the sci-fi–exists between The Collective’s police state, the ‘samples’ or persons exposed to their drug experiments, and those making and distributing illegal drugs for profit.

The fantasy part of the story includes characters that grow fangs, talons and one who turns into a dragon. Is it real or hallucination? Apparently real, based on the damage done by the drugs.  Dragon, aside, many of Safronoff concepts—loosely based on recent developments in our own world—are merely elevated to extreme levels.

The main characters include Joshua Falken, who survives his drug experience but is baffled by his ‘bad trip’, and Sara, with whom Falken falls in love, who is also being sought.  Chemist Gabriel Beaumont is being hunted for his knowledge along with Eve, originally an “enhanced” Collector who has turned is being sought for termination for not carrying out orders.

The writing style is at times almost poetic and very descriptive during the drug haze sections, as well as the one-on-one battles.  A beautifully composed section about ladybugs could easily fit into a literary work.  There are many original vocabulary words, but most readers will work out what they mean without too much trouble.

Safronoff creates a riveting story, beautifully written, which–though it borrows from other sources–achieves a high level of tension.  Reviewed for IndieReader by Joe DelPriore

Farsighted by Emlyn Chand

**** 4 stars

High school sophomore Alex Kosmitoras is blind. And just when he thinks his loser life isn’t hard enough, he can see – into the future. As he becomes aware of this new sight, he must decipher the mysterious and disturbing visions that he is seeing. Simmi, the new girl from India, is sweet to Alex, smells great but she is making his sight much stronger and more unnerving. When Alex seeks help from the psychic who has moved next door, he finds friendships, unearths hidden secrets and unleashes powers that must be united in order to defeat the increasing evil presence that awaits Alex and his friends.

Author Emlyn Chand masterfully builds suspense and ingeniously weaves the visions of the future into the present life with clear transitions. Chand’s characters are convincing and complex and she effectively portrays Alex’s difficulties in being blind, as well as his role as the reluctant and unlikely hero. Chand’s villain is also threatening, but more so in the visions that Alex has of him, and his suspenseful and eerie buildup than in the final conflict. Alex’s friends, Simmi and Shapri are strong, inspiring, female characters: gentle and sympathetic yet confident, purposeful and forces to be reckoned with.

Farsighted is a suspenseful and spellbinding mystery that grips you from the very start. A terrific read for every teen intrigued by ESP or the sixth sense.  Reviewed by Maya Fleischmann for IndieReader

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