Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Why I Found "Mockingjay" Disappointing *SPOILERS*

!!WARNING: If you haven't read "The Hunger Games" trilogy or are waiting to see the movies, SPOILERS!!

     I really enjoyed the first book. Collins is a good writer, better than Meyer, and I love a female heroine who is brave and self-sufficient. Katniss was maybe a little too clueless in some ways for my taste, but I liked her, and Collins' imagery was sometimes poignant enough to make me cry.
     The second book was good, again, excellent imagery. But Cinna, one of my favorite characters, dies, which pissed me off. And I kind of got the feeling that the books weren't going the way I anticipated, which is rather egotistical I know, but I like happy endings. There's enough tragedy in real life, I don't want it in my entertainment too.
     "Mockingjay" just continued in the same vein. Great imagery, but too realistic. Prim DIES! The center of the inciting incident for the whole goddamned story, and Collins kills her off! This made me a touch irrational. I understand the whole "girl-as-pawn-of-powerful-competing-forces" thing, but FUCK THAT. Finnick dies, and Katniss ends up with Peeta, which is great for him, but frankly, I wanted her to end up with hot hunter Gale. In my mind, the only redeeming things were Kat's shooting of Coin and the death of Snow, but neither of them made up for my general disappointment. Also, I was glad that Buttercup survived, but he's just a cat.
     I dunno, maybe I'm too sensitive, maybe I take things too personally. I understand that Collins was writing for a young adult audience, and she felt the need to add some realism to her escapist fantasy. Life isn't all sunshine and daffodils and children need to know that, as if they don't already. I wanted more romance and less cold reality, more the way things should be, and less the way they are. Oh well. I do wonder if and what the movies will change, though. After all, Hollywood does share my love of happy endings.

Friday, October 11, 2013

In Defense Of My Love Of "Twilight"

     I don't know why I feel the need to defend my current borderline obsession with Stephenie Meyer's young adult novels. Maybe because they're young adult, or maybe because she's been criticized for not being a particularly good writer, or maybe because I'm a contrarian at heart and I often reject things I'll probably like just because they're popular. I haven't read any fiction in a while, like a long while, and maybe that plays into it. Or maybe it's just because they make me feel all gushy and fourteen again, which isn't a bad feeling, but a bit disconcerting at my age. And I have to agree, Meyer isn't particularly gifted. She writes about the level of a competent romance novelist, readable, but a little shallow. Stephen King's criticism of her might be valid, but there is one big difference between King and Meyer. He's a better writer, undoubtedly, but having read both of them, I'd like to inhabit the world that Meyer creates, whereas Mr. King's worlds, ummmm, NO.
      Meyer had a good idea, it came to her in a dream apparently, and she wasn't afraid to go with it. She, as much as I hate the phrase, thought outside the box, taking the well known lore about vampires and altering it, making it her own. I find this a gutsy move, admirable, and I'm jealous I didn't think of it. So her vampires sparkle in the sunlight, so what? That's the nice thing about mythical creatures, they're mythical, they can be anything you want. She made them more real, emotional creatures instead of just monsters. Coppola did this a bit in "Dracula" too, making the immortal Count somewhat sympathetic (casting Gary Oldman helped.) I also like how, in the last book, she starts to explore the scientific possibilities behind werewolves and vampires, like maybe they're not strictly supernatural, but preternatural.
     I started with the movies, more accessible I guess, I read the books because I wanted more. I like everyone's back stories, stuff that's not included in the movies because of time constraints. And I enjoyed seeing how the screenwriter, Melissa Rosenberg, chose to adapt the books, since a lot of the action takes place in character's heads. If I had been a dedicated fan of the books before I saw the movies, I probably would have been greatly disappointed. They're not great films, just like they're not great books, but I gave up long ago up hoping the movie will be better, or even as good as, the book, because it's just not possible. Unless you have a really lousy imagination.
      I find myself wishing Meyer would've done something like making the series open-ended, allowing other writers to continue with new books. It's not like her writing style is hard to copy. There's certainly enough material and storylines to work with, and she probably would've made another boatload of cash. But that's just the fangirl in me, not wanting the fantasy to end.