Book Review: Variant by Robinson Wells

Variant by Robinson Wells
Young adult, dystopia, science fiction


Benson Fisher has moved between different foster parents and public schools his entire life, so when he receives a scholarship to attend the private Maxfield Academy school, he wastes no time in accepting the offer. Benson arrives at the school and quickly realises that Maxfield Academy is very different from normal schools: no one ever leaves. The school grounds is surrounded by a wall and escape attempts are punishable. There are no teachers but instead, every move is monitored by hundreds of cameras. Benson is determined to find out why the students are there and, most importantly, how to escape.

I love good ol’ rebellion and Benson is certainly a rebellious character. He is instantly vigilant and determined to leave Maxfield Academy. He is also frustrated because he cannot understand why there are students that do not feel the same way. The dystopian themes arise in Variant because the school is essentially a mini society. The students’ freedom is controlled and restricted through rules and constant surveillance. Although, who is actually doing the controlling (and why) is a mystery. I love this sort of dystopian society. I love seeing how people choose to survive in a world without freedom. Wells explores the things that make people stick to the rules and stay where they are rather than fight. I also love rooting for the characters to overthrow the government heads of school.

The problem I had with Variant was that I constantly wanted more – I wanted more twists, more action, more back story. I was so enthralled by storyline that I just could not get enough of it. The story ends with a dramatic and unexpected cliffhanger, so I have a feeling that there are many more exciting things to come.

Variant is perfect for fans of The Maze Runner as there are many similarities between the two. I found myself comparing certain survival and dystopian ideas to those I read about in The Maze Runner. It has the same ‘feel’ to it and James Dashner is even quoted on the front cover. Overall, I really enjoyed Variant. It has everything I love in a dystopian book, but I do hope that the sequels will explain everything sufficiently as I would’ve liked a few more things to be revealed.

Thank you HarperTeen for sending me this book to review!

My Rating: ★★★★