I’m currently half-way through Catching Fire, Suzanne Collins’s second book in “The Hunger Games” trilogy. My boyfriend Dan often sneers at the book, pointing out that someone who likes the books I do wouldn’t be picked to read something as simplistic and childish as Catching Fire and stated it’s similarity to Twilight by Stephanie Meyer. While this is in the most part true, I began to think about what really pulls me to read something like The Hunger Games trilogy which is predominantly Young Adult fiction, and what makes me run screaming from the room (in a sense!) when presented with another book in the same genre, which is Twilight.
First off, these two books are completely different. One is about survival, the other is about hot, young vampires. One has a strong female character whilst the other has a female character who is determined but is also weak-minded and simple (her basic entire goal in the Twilight series is to shack up with Edward and have vampy-babies).
However, it is not necessarily that the two books are different. The Hunger Games trilogy implements ideals and creates a world where its characters, however stereotypical some of them may be, are fully developed and are often conflicted with complex backgrounds and moral standing. The Hunger Games does all of this very well whereas Twilight does not. Characters are not fully developed, or are annoyingly created into caricatures of themselves whereby they are neither interesting nor complex and are instead left to grunt noises at one another in between brooding and smoochy make-out sessions. What the main characters talk about is unrealistic, simplistic and boring. The main reason Edward likes Bella is because her blood smells nice – well, I like a good steak, but I don’t want to marry it, have it turn me into a steak as well and have little steaklet babies with it that then go on to eat out my womb.
But, whatever fans want to read.
I like reading The Hunger Games because Katniss is fierce, determined, passionate and realistic. Meaning her personality and her decisions are realistic for the world in which she derives. Had Katniss grown up in Bella’s world, her decisions and her manner would not be necessary and she would probably come across as a hermit, a little introverted and unpleasant. Bella however, would not last two minutes in Katniss’s world, for one she does not have the will in her to sacrifice herself for anyone other than her lover, so she wouldn’t help out Prim in the Reaping one bit. She’d also just probably lay down and cower under a bush if she was in The Hunger Games arena, no willpower whatsoever.
But that’s not why I think one series is good and the other bad. Both characters are a good fit for the world they live in, which is fine for the most part. The Hunger Games has a glaringly obvious flaw, which is its likeness to the film Battle Royale. The idea is the same, but the worlds created are different and as Catching Fire begins to show, there is a lot more history to the districts and the games than the first book tells you.
Flaws in the Twilight series are numerous. The one I picked up on immediately though is that the relationship between Bella and Edward is not a real relationship, it’s a playground relationship complete with hand-holding vows and Hula-Hoops for wedding rings. They talk about nothing substantial, and everything between them is go, go, go. You could read the entire series of Twilight and never know why Bella is attracted to Edward (apart from his shiny hair and pale, dark looks) or vise-versa (well, her blood is a big clue).
Sure, both books are Young Adult, so there is going to be some element of “swooning teenage girl” syndrome and sickly naïve romance between some young beauty-and-brains stud who also “saves” the girl a load and declares his undying love for her (because teenage boys in this genre only love and have time for the “awkward” not-model-looks girl). If you look closely, there is this element in The Hunger Games series, but it also sort of makes sense because the teenagers in the books are anything but young – what they have experienced allows them to fully explore relationships, and not only explore, but question too. To question what makes you attracted to this guy or this girl and realising it’s more than blood and looks and an interesting quirk (um, yeah I’m technically dead, being a vampire and all – but don’t worry, sex is still definitely doable….somehow) are what real, adult relationships are like.
So I get it. I get why 15 years old girls fall over themselves when a new Twilight film shows (please god, no more), I get why they want to be Bella and I get what attracts them to the series.
But once you grow out of this phase and begin to read real stuff and experience real life, it’s time to put the Robert Pattinson life-sized cutouts away. That includes all you 30+ mum’s out there, what’s wrong with you? Want to know the trick to ridding the male-fancied Twilight-addiction? I’ll give you a hint…
Vampires aren’t real.
Happy Holidays ^_^
P.S. I did change my signature back to my old one because the change didn’t matter anyway at keeping stalkers away and I like it better than Lunix!