Book List

Bringing Down an Oppressive Society: 10 Tales of Infiltrating the Enemy

June 22, 2017
Amy Beaudoin
Riveted Editorial Board

Have you ever found yourself on the losing side of a political civil war? Does your team need a bit of a leg-up on the competition in an actual war? Are you a princess, in need of redeeming your conquered kingdom? Or perhaps you’re a poverty-stricken citizen being oppressed by a selfish and volatile ruling class?

It sounds like you might benefit from a little espionage, deploying a spy or two behind enemy lines to relay useful and possibly war-ending (or starting!) information to your allies. Maybe you can be that spy! Or at least you can live vicariously through some fictional spy characters! Want by Cindy Pon is a perfect example AND you can even read an extended excerpt right now (but only until July 3rd)!

Whether you’re actually looking into becoming a spy or need to shake up your life, here are some real fictional YA heroes who have infiltrated the enemy and lived to tell the tale (maybe).

Beware, though—some of these short book descriptions may include spoilers!

Wantby Cindy Pon

As part of the poverty-stricken class of a dystopian Taipei, Jason Zhou gets a job with Jin Corp, the manufacturer creating the incredibly expensive suits that block out the overbearing pollution in the air, in the hopes of finding a way expose the crooked business for being the main factor creating the pollution killing half the population.

Ruinedby Amy Tintera

Em, the princess of Ruina, a kingdom of deadly gifted people, is now an orphan, her parents killed, her sister kidnapped, and her people turned against her for her lack of Ruined marks or power. Determined to do good by her country and family’s name, Em does what anyone would do to exact revenge on their enemy kingdom - kill the crown prince’s fiance, take her identity, and marry him in order to be perfectly placed for an invasion of the royal city. Wait, what do you mean that’s not your Plan A?

Red Queenby Victoria Aveyard

Mare didn’t know she had lightning powers like a Silver blood royal until it was too late. Now, trying to fake it ‘til she makes it in the palace surrounded by deadly enemies, she’s approached by a resistance society, knowing she’s not what the elite Silver class says she is - a red-blooded peasant. The resistance, called The Red Guard, wants Mare’s help to target prominent Silver figures responsible for strengthening the oppression on powerless red-bloods.

The Wrath and The Dawnby Renée Ahdieh

Shahrzad has watched too many friends marry the boy-king Khalid, and again watched too many of them be buried the next day. It’s time she does something about it. She volunteers to be the Caliph’s next bride, but every time he comes to kill her, she tells a story and leaves him hanging, saying he will get the end of the story the next night, thus prolonging her own life and gaining his trust. The real question is, when the time comes will she have the nerve to do to the king what he’s done to Shahrzad’s friends?

Ugliesby Scott Westerfeld

Tally’s friend Shay runs away before she can have the surgery that will turn her from Ugly to Pretty, and the authorities present Tally with a deal - find the hidden society of Pretty-resisters that Shay ran off to and turn them in, and they won’t withhold Tally’s Pretty surgery. Once Tally finds this society, all of their warnings about the Pretties and the authorities make sense, but can she turn against the one thing she’s always wanted?

An Ember in the Ashesby Sabaa Tahir

To help convince a rebel group that her brother deserves to be freed from prison, Laia agrees to become a slave to spy on the violent and volatile headmistress of the Empire’s greatest military academy, as well as the future martial soldiers.

The Diabolicby S. J. Kincaid

Nemesis is a Diabolic, a genetically engineered body guard for the elite children of the galaxy. When her protectee’s father angers the Emperor, he summons Sidonia and a number of other senators’ children to court to keep all the rebellious senators in line, lest “something happen” to their heirs. Born and made to protect Sidonia, Nemesis takes her place at court, and soon finds herself at the center of a lot of rebellious whispers. Will furthering this conversation help keep the real Sidonia alive? Or will it put a greater target on her back?

The Winner’s Curseby Marie Rutkoski

-SPOILER ALERT- Swayed by the promise of his singing voice, the general’s strategy-minded daughter Kestrel wins the auction for the slave Arin, exactly how the rebel slaves of Harran planned. There Arin can sneak peeks at war maps, hear about the general’s comings and goings, and, most importantly, make and hide away extra weapons to use in an uprising.

The Dark Triumphby Robin LeFevers

The second book in LeFevers’ His Fair Assassin trilogy about a convent of female assassins devoted to the god of Death. As Brittany’s young duchess continues to fight against the tyrannical French oppression, a young and talented assassin, Sybella, is returned to her home, a palace of betrayal to the young duchess, so she may root out the country’s deception and save her country. But doing so means betraying her own flesh and blood.

The Orphan Queenby Jodi Meadows

When an enemy kingdom conquered her homeland, Princess Wilhemina decides the best way to get her throne back and exact revenge for her people is to infiltrate the palace and spy on her foe. But can she hide her magic from everyone around her long enough to discover the best way to take back her kingdom?

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