As an avid reader, I make it my personal responsibility to find all the next literary phenomena. It started with all the Harry Potter novels and it continues with every single Rick Riordan novel currently published. Mostly I can understand why such books gain mass popularity. However, when it comes to The Hunger Games I am completely lost as to why people think it’s a good novel.
I first heard about the series from my mother. She called me one day while I was at college and asked me if I had heard of The Hunger Games series. I shrugged and said I hadn’t. She replied that my brother had gotten her hooked and that she highly recommended it. I tend to trust my brother’s taste in books, especially since he got me hooked on Percy Jackson, so I found a copy at Walmart and gave it a try.
First of all, can I just say that the concept is completely unoriginal? The entire time I could only think of Battle Royale, a Japanese graphic novel that was later adapted into a horror film. I first saw it when I was 13 years old, but it continues to haunt me to this day. And come on, who hasn’t heard of a fight to the death? The idea is entirely overused, so unless the author can breathe life into such an antiquated concept, it’s an idea best left alone. Suffice it to say, Suzanne Collins’ take was completely uninspired and unoriginal.
Second of all, WHO EDITED THE THING? Because quite honestly, he and/or she deserves to be shot. There were so many grammatical and style errors that the amateur copy editor in me wanted to take a red pen to the pages and cross out everything. And after all my journalism-major-induced copy editing classes, I cringed every time Collins:
- Started a sentence with a figure, instead of spelling out the number (which is universally considered proper style for anything, not just AP).
- Screwed up the difference between “lay” and “lie,” in addition to “nauseous” and “nauseated.”
- Used a series of fragmented sentences in a transparent and ineffective attempt to be profound.
Additionally, her personal writing style left much to be desired. Her sentence structures were elementary at best, and my 14-year-old brother has a more varied vocabulary than her. On top of all this, she uses the present tense. Very rarely have I ever seen an author use present tense effectively. It might have helped if she didn’t keep switching tenses, but hey — proper grammar seems to be falling by the wayside nowadays. Why not good literature as well?
Not to mention, the main character pisses me off. Seriously, Katniss is the biggest idiot ever. She pisses me off even more than Bella from the Twilight series. She’s so completely unobservant and she’s flat as a drawing. I half expected a cardboard cutout to be cast in her role for the movie adaptation. Maybe Collins was trying to go for a strong female literary role model, but honestly I felt that Katniss had nothing going for her except for her ability to rock a fire suit without bursting into flame. (Though I wish she had. It would have made the book more interesting and shorter.) For apparently being a “hunter,” she couldn’t observe even the simplest things, such as Peeta’s love for her and the obvious mutual attraction to Gale, which was downright obnoxious. And to top it all off, her characterization was entirely inconsistent. It was like Collins tried to think up all the stereotypical qualities of every literary heroine ever and roll them up into one in the hopes that they might work. And guess what? It didn’t.
All in all, there are much better novels out there that deserve to be books and many more that deserve to be made in to movies. And rest assured, I will definitely NOT be watching that train wreck.
This post still seems to be getting a lot of reads and comments despite the fact that I wrote it a year ago, so just some posting FYIs. If you submit a comment, I have to approve it. I can’t figure out a way to make WordPress accept them automatically. But rest assured, I’m a first amendment purist. I’ll approve basically anything that isn’t spam, even if you’re criticizing my opinion or me. However, if you come at me with flawed logic, I reserve the right to make you look like a dumbass. Just a reminder to think before you hit submit.