I’m currently listening to Prodigy, the sequel to Legend. Not liking it as much as the first book — I hate the fact that the ubiquitous love triangle in YA has made me react negatively to teen characters having perfectly normal and developmentally appropriate physical feelings towards more than one person!
But anyway, in the first book I most loved the fact that the heroine, June, is supposed to be brilliant and really is brilliant. In the second book, I’m noticing that this dystopian future — brought about by a natural disaster — seems to have largely discarded sexism and homophobia. I say largely because I wasn’t really looking out for it in the first book and I may have missed stuff, but women are in positions of power in the military and government (which are pretty much the same thing, here.) And June becomes aware that her beloved brother was in love with his male best friend and only thinks about it as problematic because they were both in the same unit.
Races seem largely mixed in this future. (The fact that the hero’s ethnicity is primarily Mongolian is noted as unusual.) Poverty and classism, alas, are alive and well, but that’s a big part of what makes it a dystopia.
I think it’s very cool that someone is writing a dystopia without automatically undoing all social progress that’s been made, and even showing that more may be made in the future.