I’ve been a fan of Westworld since the show’s first season. It combines the twisty goodness of LOST with a fun, western backdrop, and the concept of a theme park where robots become conscious is intriguing. While Westworld’s setting has shifted from a high-tech amusement park to the real world, the show continues to inspire viewers to question the nature of their reality.
Westworld is more than saloons and shoot outs. Like a good book, Westworld allows viewers to step inside a story and think about the story we are telling with our lives.
It explores artificial intelligence, morality, and the line between fantasy and reality. Whatever the reason you were hooked by Westworld, there are plenty of books that explore similar themes. Here are six Dystopian books like Westworld.
Books like Westworld
The Good Luck Girls
The country of Arketta calls them The Good Luck Girls—they know their luck is anything but. Sold to a “welcome house” as children and branded with cursed markings. Trapped in a life they would never have chosen.
When Clementine accidentally kills a man, the girls risk a dangerous escape and harrowing journey to find freedom, justice, and revenge in a country that wants them to have none of those things. Pursued by Arketta’s most vicious and powerful forces, both human and inhuman, their only hope lies in a bedtime story passed from one Good Luck Girl to another, a story that only the youngest or most desperate would ever believe.
It’s going to take more than luck for them all to survive.
Why Westword fans might enjoy it: This story takes place in a setting inspired by the American west. However, this book is more fantasy than science-fiction. Like Westword, this is a story of oppressed people rising above their oppression. However, the girls in this story are completely human.
No list of books like Westworld would be complete without Scythe.
A world with no hunger, no disease, no war, no misery: humanity has conquered all those things, and has even conquered death. Now Scythes are the only ones who can end life—and they are commanded to do so, in order to keep the size of the population under control.
Citra and Rowan are chosen to apprentice to a scythe—a role that neither wants. These teens must master the “art” of taking life, knowing that the consequence of failure could mean losing their own.
Why Westword fans might enjoy it: In season three of Westworld we are introduced to Rehoboam, a supercomputer that can predict the path humanity will follow. We learn humans are just as predictable as robots, maybe even more. It couldn’t help but remind me of the Thunderhead, a supercomputer in the Scythe series that serves a similar purpose.
Girl of Flesh and Metal
It was supposed to help her—not turn her into a monster. Now, Lena’s stuck with this cybernetic arm, and her friends are terrified of her.
And maybe they should be.
The arm’s artificial intelligence takes Lena’s thoughts to the extreme. It acts when she doesn’t tell it to, even when she’s asleep.
Ever since she got the new limb, she’s been sleepwalking and waking in odd places. To Lena, this is just another example of how CyberCorp—her parents’ company and the manufacturer of the arm—screws up everything.
As the rollout of CyberCorp’s new android approaches, a murderer targets children of the company’s employees. And thanks to her sleepwalking, Lena doesn’t know what she was doing during the murders.
When the evidence points to her, Lena decides to prove her innocence—or her guilt.
Why Westword fans might enjoy it: This story deals with artificial intelligence and the merging of humans and machines.
Girls with Sharp Sticks
The Girls of Innovations Academy are beautiful and well-behaved—it says so on their report cards. Under the watchful gaze of their Guardians, the all-girl boarding school offers an array of studies and activities, from “Growing a Beautiful and Prosperous Garden” to “Art Appreciation” and “Interior Design.”
The girls learn to be the best society has to offer. Absent is the difficult math coursework, or the unnecessary sciences or current events. They are obedient young ladies, free from arrogance or defiance. Until Mena starts to realize that their carefully controlled existence may not be quite as it appears.
As Mena and her friends begin to uncover the dark secrets of what’s actually happening there—and who they really are—the girls of Innovations will find out what they are truly capable of. Because some of the prettiest flowers have the sharpest thorns.
Why Westword fans might enjoy it: Like Westword, this book takes place in a setting where nothing is what it appears on the surface. Our protagonist learns even her own memories should be questioned.
Revenge and the Wild
The two-bit town of Rogue City is a lawless place, full of dark magic and saloon brawls, monsters and six-shooters. But it’s perfect for seventeen-year-old Westie, the notorious adopted daughter of local inventor Nigel Butler.
Westie was only a child when she lost her arm and her family to cannibals on the wagon trail. Nine years later, Westie may seem fearsome with her foul-mouthed tough exterior and the powerful mechanical arm built for her by Nigel, but the memory of her past still haunts her. She’s determined to make the killers pay for their crimes—and there’s nothing to stop her except her own reckless ways.
But Westie’s search ceases when a wealthy family comes to town looking to invest in Nigel’s latest invention, a machine that can harvest magic from gold—which Rogue City desperately needs as the magic wards that surround the city start to fail.
There’s only one problem: the investors look exactly like the family who murdered Westie’s kin.
With the help of Nigel’s handsome but scarred young assistant, Alistair, Westie sets out to prove their guilt. But if she’s not careful, her desire for revenge could cost her the family she has now.
Why Westword fans might enjoy it: This YA fantasy book – with vampires, zomies, and werewolves – takes place in a mythical Westren setting. If the park in season one was your favorite part of Westworld, this might be the book for you.
Ready Player One
In 2045 the planet is on the brink of chaos and collapse, but people find salvation in the OASIS: an expansive virtual reality universe created by eccentric James Halliday.
When Halliday dies, he promises his immense fortune to the first person to discover a digital Easter egg that’s hidden somewhere in the OASIS. When young Wade Watts joins the contest, he finds himself becoming an unlikely hero in a reality-bending treasure hunt through a fantastical world of mystery, discovery and danger.
Why Westword fans might enjoy it: One of my favorite aspects of the first season of Westworld was that it felt like a real-life video game. Ready Player One is another story that gamers might enjoy.
That’s it for my list of six books like Westworld. Which one are you going to read first?
Looking for more book lists?
Check out our list of 7 YA Fantasy books that sparked a phenomenon.