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24 hours.

That’s how much time it took me to finish Hunger Games.

I was embarrassed about this.  After all Hunger Games gets a lot of shit from the writing community. (Some examples) I’ve seen a few writers lament that their writing gets rejected while “badly written” books like The Hunger Games and Twilight get massively popular.  But it was this “bad writing,” that had me gripped from start to finish.  I was a little ashamed to admit it.  But you know what?  Fuck it.  Readers like Hunger Games, even if writers don’t.  And I’m way more concerned about readers’ opinions.

In fact, I liked this book so much I’m reading it twice.

Yeah, that’s right.

I’m reading it again.  But this time, more slowly.  I barely had time to analyze the writing or story the first time through because I just tore through the pages.  But now I want to know: exactly why did I like this book and what can I take away from it? So for the rest of April, I’ll be posting some more specific commentary from my second read-through.  But before that, some general thoughts…….

Firstly, on the writing.  I can see why people say it’s bad.  The first person present tense is awkward.  People don’t usually describe their motions and thoughts like that.  In all honesty, the writing–at least on the – wasn’t a high point.  It’s weird and unnatural.  So if the writing bothered me, why did I keep turning the pages?

One word: pacing.

I liked it.

A lot.

This book moves fast. Just a few pages in and you’re already confronted by “the reaping” which is where you find out that this is a book about kids killing each other (yeah… if that was a spoiler, you probably need to come out from under that rock!)  For the rest of the book the characters are thrown from place to place to place, just trying to figure it all out–not unlike the reader.  Regardless of the writing on the small scale, the overall movement of the story was extraordinary.  Definitely a talent worth reaching for.  I wish I could write a book that people would finish in one sitting!

Another criticism besides the writing being bad is that the character–specifically the main girl, Katniss–is unlikeable.   That may be true.  To be honest, I didn’t really think much about her.  Granted, that’s not the mark of a compelling protagonist, but it didn’t bother me.  It didn’t bother me because I mostly saw her as a facilitator for the story.  I didn’t care about her, I cared about her world.  Maybe the real main character is Panem.

And now to dive back in!  Will be back to report as I go…

3 Responses to “The Hunger Games: Week 1 Check In”

  1. trjensen

    I don’t think the writing was bad at all. It is far better written than any of the Twilight books. I agree with you that the pacing is what makes the book enjoyable, as is the social commentary.

    • aeliusblythe

      I now find myself now completely shocked and confused by the very common comparison between HG and Twilight. Both the story and the writing are so completely different. In the one link above, the poster said that Katniss was like Bella Swan… HUH?

      I actually had a bunch written about the comparison, but I didn’t want to turn the post into another Twilight bashfest so I deleted it. Honestly I could write an entire post talking about the differences. (And maybe now that I’m thinking about it again, I will!)

      I’m trying to revise my idea of “bad writing.” Not that I want to lowermy standards, but sometimes I think there’s this high-minded literary idea of “good writing” that is somewhat out of touch with what readers actually think is good. It’s something I’m trying to take into account while I’m building stories of my own.

      • Midou

        Love the blog! Very entertaining stuff. Normally I read adult books, thoguh you two have inspired me to unleash my inner tween through books now, as well as through terrible dance moves and cheesey 80 s movies. Thanks, Ladies!


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