Thursday, August 26, 2010

I Stand Alone

True confession time: I did not absolutely love The Hunger Games.

Not to say I didn't like it. But I didn't love it. I don't think it's the best Young Adult book ever written.

And...*taking a deep breath*...I might not read Mockingjay.

Perhaps the problem was that I read HG right after I read Graceling, which I absolutely adored. In comparison between the two, I prefer Graceling across the board. I like Katsa better than Katniss. I got tingles over the Katsa/Po romance whereas I honestly don't care who Katniss ends up with, Peeta or Gale (although I'm leaning towards Gale). I prefer the imaginary world of the Seven Kingdoms over the dystopia of Panem. The villain in Graceling was a thousand times scarier than the anonymous population of The Capitol.

And I found myself sitting on the edge of my seat during most of Graceling whereas I had a hard time accepting the premise as a whole of HG. Somehow the idea of an oppressive, cruel government that actually gets away with making its citizens sacrifice their children to death doesn't inspire enough suspension of disbelief for me. The entire time I was reading HG, I kept thinking of the short story by Shirley Jackson, The Lottery, which more effectively portrayed the concept of random selection of a human sacrifice, IMO.

Perhaps HG was doomed to fail for me because of all of the hype surrounding it. My daughter has read both HG and Catching Fire and loved both. Not to mention all of the internet chatter. My expectations were incredibly high and practically impossible to meet. Like I said, I did like HG. It's well written and compelling. It just didn't send me into a frenzy.

I'm about a third of the way through Catching Fire, and at this point, I just don't see myself finishing it. I'll pick up Mockingjay for my daughter, but I might not read it myself. I feel kind of guilty about this, as if by reading HG I committed to the series as a whole and if I don't see it all the way through, I'm some kind of quitter. Or perhaps I'm holding out hope that once I've finished the entire trilogy, the story as a whole will benefit from some amount of synergy.

On a different topic: I found something quite disturbing in my library the other day - this book: Twilight and History by Nancy Reagin.

Are you kidding me?

Okay, I get that the Twilight saga is a pop culture phenomenon. I get that many people love the books passionately, and I'll even admit to enjoying the first book. The movies are entertaining, and no one should feel guilt in admitting that she (or he) has gotten caught up in the Team Edward/Team Jacob debate. Whatever floats your boat.

But the idea that this series is being treated as some kind of literary classic worthy of serious research and discussion kind of turns my stomach.

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