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23
March

Why Hunger Games is Better Than Twilight?

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Much like my reading of the Twilight books, I was very hesitant to read The Hunger Games trilogy.  Despite the urging of tons of friends, I already felt guilty about getting sucked into a  young adult, poorly written, vampire trilogy. I thought the last thing I needed was a post-apocalyptic, deathmatch trilogy.

However, I was wrong.  “The Hunger Games” is much better than “Twilight.”  While I haven’t seen the movie yet (I have my tickets to watch with girlfriends on Sunday), I’m actually excited for this one.  Maybe we needed “Twilight” for this type of novel to come out, but it’s interesting how much better “The Hunger Games” really is over “Twilight.”

1. The Heroines

Bella Swan of Twilight, is an awkward new-girl whose only thoughts seem to be about her ridiculous crush on dreamy Edward (and then dealing with the whole ‘shit, he’s a vampire’ situation).  Bella spends a lot of time causing trouble, getting hurt, and while she shows some spirit and is often well-intended, causes a lot of problems.

Katniss Everdeen of The Hunger Games is a strong, cunning girl right off the bat.  An excellent shot with a bow and arrow, and already feeding her family after her father’s death, Katniss volunteers for the Games (a televised deathmatch that takes two young “tributes” from each of the countries “Districts” to fight to the death  to remind the people of the costs of rebellion) to save her younger sister. Katniss is brave, determined and is true to herself, becoming the symbol of rebellion.  Basically Katniss could kick Bella’s ass anytime, anywhere.  And the best part, Katniss doesn’t have time to spend dreamy hours thinking of how she can keep her boyfriend.  It’s refreshing.

2. The Love Story

One of my chief reasons to not read The Hunger Games is that I didn’t want to go down the road of a love triangle again.  I’d spent four books dealing with the Edward/Jacob dilemma (was there ever a question? Jacob never stood a chance – and rightfully so – once I got Taylor Lautner in my head as Jacob, he just seemed like the shortest, whiniest, lamest dude ever), so I wasn’t really prepared to do it again.  However, this time, the love triangle is more of a B story than the driving force.  Katniss has feelings for her longtime, childhood friend Gale, but when paired with Peeta as the two Tributes from their district, she is forced to pretend she has feelings for Peeta to play their story along for the crowd.  Peeta falls for Katniss, but it is Katniss’ confusion over her own feelings and need to suppress any feelings in order to survive her horrific ordeal, that makes Katniss a strong female protagonist.

3. The Message

There is a great quote by Stephen King – who was comparing the Twilight and Harry Potter franchises years ago, “Harry Potter is about confronting fears, finding inner strength and doing
what is right in the face of adversity. Twilight is about how important it is to have a boyfriend.” And this is 100% true.  If you take out the world of vampires and werewolves, Bella just has boyfriend drama.  The love triangle between Katniss, Gale and Peeta isn’t the driving force of the story – it’s survival in the Games and later rebellion.  While Katniss’s confusing feelings for both guys is a compelling part of the story, it is her journey from small town girl, to strong, resilient victor that is the greater story.

4. The Writing

I’ve always had a problem with Stephanie Meyer’s writing in “Twilight.”  It reminded me a lot of my Sweet Valley High days.  And while she can be credited with creating a whole world and rules about vampires, and drawing audiences into her love triangle story, it’s still a very high school book.  Suzanne Collins, author of the “The Hunger Games” is by no means a Pulitzer Prize winning writer, but it feels less young adult, and I appreciated that.  While the first book in The Hunger Games trilogy is by far the best (I think she had to pump out the other three for hungry publishers and by the third book,  I was over the whole thing).

5. The Worlds Created

In “Twilight” Bella and the characters are in modern times, living in Oregon, and Stephanie Meyer created a vampire world – with the rulers of the Vampires – the Volturi (living in Rome), and then there is the history of the werewolf clans.  She changed some of the basic rules, like why the Cullen clan could live outside, just not in direct sunlight, and how they killed animals rather than humans to feed their need for blood. But there has been a lot of vampire stories in the past to draw from.  I’m not saying she didn’t create a unique story, but there is a simplicity to the world she created – that being that vampires could easily live among us.  Suzanne Collin’s dystopic world of “Districts” that are really slaves to the Games and the government in Panem is disturbing.  From the clothes to the creatures (I’m excited to see trackerjackers and all sorts of mutant animals), Collins’ gave the world of young adult, post-apocalyptic visions something new and really interesting.

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