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» Hatrack River Forum » Active Forums » Books, Films, Food and Culture » Hunger Games (or The Topic Formerly Known As Hunter Games) (Page 1)

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Author Topic: Hunger Games (or The Topic Formerly Known As Hunter Games)
Jeff C.
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Two questions about these books....

1. Is it worth reading?

2. Is it as good as the Ender/Shadow series?

I rarely get into new series because I tend to be very reserved about overly popular fiction (Twilight, Harry Potter, whatever), but I've been told this one's pretty good.

Thanks guys (and gals)!

[ January 14, 2012, 08:53 PM: Message edited by: Jeff C. ]

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Kwea
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HUNGER?
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Stone_Wolf_
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Jeff...as Kwea pointed out the title is HunGer Games, not HunTer Games...I'm reading the third book right now. I got the trilogy in hardback in a boxed set for Christmas. ($31 with free shipping on Amazon.com)

The first book is awesome, the second is good, and ask me about the third next week.

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Lyrhawn
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I've heard it really trails off at the third book, but that the first is awesome, and the second is pretty good.

Sounds a lot like my reaction to His Dark Materials. The Amber Spyglass was nigh unreadable, but I'm still glad I tackled the series.

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Dan_Frank
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Tangent: Yeah I never finished Amber Spyglass.

On Topic: I've heard the second two are both really middling, but most accounts confirm the first one is good. It's on my list.

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Shanna
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The first is good. Somehow the author managed to end nearly every chapter with a cliffhanger so I knocked it in two sleepless nights.

The second is very similar to the first plot-wise so there's a sense of "haven't we already done this?" while still being entertaining. The third was just bad. I understand the point the author was trying to make about war, but it barely resembles the storytelling style of the first two books. Its like a book from a completely different series.

I wouldn't rate it above Ender's Game. I'd probably rank it higher than the Ender's Shadows series, but that's mostly because I didn't like the subject matter of that series.

Its enjoyable. Not the revelation that you'd think based on the sales numbers. But its satisfying in the way that eating an entire pint of ice cream is satisfying. Even compared to other futuristic teen novels, its not my favorite (that honor goes to Dashner's "Maze Runner" series.) But the first book was still a very enjoyable reading experience and I'm looking forward to the movie.

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Jeff C.
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Sorry about the typo.

Anyway, it sounds like only the first book is any good. That's a bit disheartening. Since that's the view, I might just read the first book and then stop, unless I really, really enjoy it.

Are there any plans to continue the series, or is the trilogy the end?

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katdog42
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quote:
Originally posted by Jeff C.:


Anyway, it sounds like only the first book is any good. That's a bit disheartening. Since that's the view, I might just read the first book and then stop, unless I really, really enjoy it.


The good news is that the first is more than good enough on its own. It closes quite nicely and I never really felt a NEED to read the next one to "find out what happened."

I guess I'm saying, don't let others' disparaging remarks about the trilogy keep you from enjoying the first, amazing book.

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Belle
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For me, they were pretty much unreadable. The author writes in present tense, and it really grated on me.

I know the idea behind using present tense to make things more immediate and exciting...but it felt put on, and forced, and too much like a gimmick. All I could do is notice the tense while I read, so I couldn't enjoy the books at all.

My daughters (19 and 14) really like them. They give me a hard time for not finishing them. I did make it through the first. I found it all right. *shrug* Of course, my bias toward the tense thing may have influenced that opinion.

I don't want to discourage you from reading the first one - my issue with the tense may be unique and say more about me than the book. [Razz]

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Jake
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quote:
Originally posted by Jeff C.: Sorry about the typo.
If only there were some way to correct mistakes like that.


quote:
Originally posted by Belle:
For me, they were pretty much unreadable. The author writes in present tense, and it really grated on me.

You mentioned that last time the book came up as a topic of conversation here. I'm not a huge fan of first person narratives either, and knowing that these books use it has been enough to bump them to the bottom of my "to read" pile more than once.

I had a room mate in college who when through a phase where he would only read fiction written in the second person, or so he claimed. He was a man of many affectations.

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Stone_Wolf_
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Nice double post Jake, if only there was some way to correct mistakes like that *wink*.

I saw Winter's Bone starring Jennifer Lawrence as she's starring in the Hunger Games movie.

Her character in Winter's Bone: Has to support her siblings (partially with hunting) because her father is gone (missing vs dead in a mine explosion) and her mother is catatonic from the loss. She has to navigate dangerous, adult waters and deal with people who might help or might hurt her with little to no aid.

I can see why she got the role in the HG movie.

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Raymond Arnold
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I didn't feel the second two were *bad*, and I actually liked a lot of the stuff they said about media, as a double-edged tool.
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Jake
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quote:
Originally posted by Stone_Wolf_:
Nice double post Jake, if only there was some way to correct mistakes like that *wink*.

:: grin :: Duplicate deleted.
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advice for robots
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I thought the first one was great, the second OK, and the third dreadful. Just as was said above. The present tense was a little off-putting, and I thought the author had a tin ear for both romance and world-building, but the pacing and tension were perfect in the first book.

It was a really good idea that just didn't have the legs for more than one book.

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Dr Strangelove
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I just finished them the third one last night actually. I will definitely agree that the first one was the best, but I don't quite get the hate on the third. I actually liked the third better than the second, mostly because I definitely felt the second to be a bit too repetitious of the first. But to each their own I suppose. I will agree about the present tense being a bit jarring at times.

My recommendation would be to read them if you have the time (they aren't that long. I am a pretty fast reader, but I doubt I spent more than 3 or 4 hours on any of them). They certainly won't assault the very fiber of your literary being, like Twilight has the potential to do. But you don't necessarily need to make a priority about reading them. Worth reading, yes. But they certainly are nowhere near Ender's Game level.

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BlackBlade
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quote:
Originally posted by Lyrhawn:
I've heard it really trails off at the third book, but that the first is awesome, and the second is pretty good.

Sounds a lot like my reaction to His Dark Materials. The Amber Spyglass was nigh unreadable, but I'm still glad I tackled the series.

I'm glad I'm not the only one. I mean there was always an undercurrent of anti-religiosity, but man by the end of the third book it was like I was being beaten over the head with it.
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Jake
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I liked The Amber Spyglass better than The Subtle Knife, but that isn't saying a whole lot. Neither book was worth much in comparison to the first, I thought.
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Traceria
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I'm going to echo Dr Stranglove here and say I actually enjoyed the whole series, though I agree that the first book is the best and that I liked the third better than the second. There was a point in the second book when I was wondering what was going to happen, if anything at all, and then that changed to wondering why we were getting much the same thing as in the first book. Fortunately, you could tell there was more going on that wasn't in plain view, and that fed my interest and desire to read book three.
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millernumber1
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I feel they perfectly acceptable trendy books - fun to have community around and discuss. There's a lot of interesting ideas floating around, but I found the execution and conclusion very unsatisfying.

Additionally, aside from the annoying overuse of present tense (I like how Tolkien uses it sparingly, like in ancient epics, to highlight, not beat you over the head with "look how immediate everything is"), there's a major disconnect for me in the narrator's voice and the conception of Katniss's character. Katniss's main emotional trait is her profound insensitivity and inability to grasp things about how other people are feeling - and yet, she consistently gives seemingly accurate descriptions of other characters' emotional maturity and states. By the third book, where she actually empathizes with another character so much that their emotional history flashes before her eyes at death, I was thoroughly unconvinced. Not to mention the amount of emotional lyricism in description. I mean, Dickens pulled a similar trick with Esther Summerson in Bleak House, but I don't think anyone can honestly say Collins is a Dickens-level writer. I think the whole series would have benefited from a tight third-person narration, rather than the forced, first-person present tense that was used.

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BlackBlade
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quote:
Originally posted by Jake:
I liked The Amber Spyglass better than The Subtle Knife, but that isn't saying a whole lot. Neither book was worth much in comparison to the first, I thought.

I thought The Subtle Knife was just as good as The Golden Compass. There was plenty of Spyglass I enjoyed just fine as well. It's about 50% in that the whole thing just turned sour so fast.
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Dan_Frank
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quote:
Originally posted by BlackBlade:
quote:
Originally posted by Lyrhawn:
I've heard it really trails off at the third book, but that the first is awesome, and the second is pretty good.

Sounds a lot like my reaction to His Dark Materials. The Amber Spyglass was nigh unreadable, but I'm still glad I tackled the series.

I'm glad I'm not the only one. I mean there was always an undercurrent of anti-religiosity, but man by the end of the third book it was like I was being beaten over the head with it.
A lot of times when a book takes an opposing philosophical/political/religious stand as a given reader, that reader will say "Oh I don't have any objection to reading stuff from an opposing viewpoint, it just has to be good!"

I think that, at least 50% of the time, this is BS, and just a way of excusing the fact that if a work is unapologetically opposed to their philosophy they will find it hard to enjoy.

It's sort of like saying "I can enjoy a conversation with someone who calls me an idiot every ten minutes as long as he's making good points!" And while some people enjoy conversations with KoM... [Wink]

All of that is just pointless random thoughts in preamble to the fact that Amber Spyglass really is bad, even to an an atheist, and I don't think the intense anti-religiosity would improve the experience any for a theist.

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BlackBlade
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quote:
Originally posted by Dan_Frank:
quote:
Originally posted by BlackBlade:
quote:
Originally posted by Lyrhawn:
[qb] I've heard it really trails off at the third book, but that the first is awesome, and the second is pretty good.

Sounds a lot like my reaction to His Dark Materials. The Amber Spyglass was nigh unreadable, but I'm still glad I tackled the series.

I'm glad I'm not the only one. I mean there was always an undercurrent of anti-religiosity, but man by the end of the third book it was like I was being beaten over the head with it.

A lot of times when a book takes an opposing philosophical/political/religious stand as a given reader, that reader will say "Oh I don't have any objection to reading stuff from an opposing viewpoint, it just has to be good!"

I think that, at least 50% of the time, this is BS, and just a way of excusing the fact that if a work is unapologetically opposed to their philosophy they will find it hard to enjoy.
QB]

I'm sure that's true much of the time. The anti-religiosity in of itself was not what bothered me. It was more how lopsidedly black and white it was. Sorta like watching an old Chinese propagandist movie where the Imperial Japanese Armies are monsters, the Kuo Min Tan (Nationalists) are all lazy exploiters of the Chinese, practically in cahoots with the Japs, and the Chinese communists volunteers are all heroically blowing up like 5-10 Japanese soldiers with each grenade toss.

Warning Spoilers*
If the story was flipped and the kids were champions of religion, while all the organizations oppressing them were a-religious, and it turns out evolution was an elaborate hoax designed by a powerful alien (now dying) to undermine religion and put us under the control of "science thought" I'd roll my eyes just as much. I certainly did when I heard the premise of the "Left Behind" series. But I guess I never agreed with that philosophy either.

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Dobbie
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Unger Games.
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Jeff C.
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The fact that this series is in present tense troubles me greatly. I've never enjoyed books that use this technique and I really don't understand why any author would choose it over past tense. It pulls me out of the story and makes the book sound like fanfiction.

Of course, that's my experience talking. Maybe this book will be different.

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Aros
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Hmm. I rather enjoyed The Amber Spyglass. I thought it was better than the first book.

The Subtle Knife was probably my favorite. I got some sort of Empire Strikes Back vibe off of it. Maybe it was because the second book in many trilogies tend to have less of a plot.

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Dan_Frank
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quote:
Originally posted by Jeff C.:
The fact that this series is in present tense troubles me greatly. I've never enjoyed books that use this technique and I really don't understand why any author would choose it over past tense. It pulls me out of the story and makes the book sound like fanfiction.

Of course, that's my experience talking. Maybe this book will be different.

Neal Stephenson uses this affectation in Snow Crash, and I found it worked pretty well. It's all in the implementation.
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SteveRogers
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quote:
Originally posted by Jeff C.:
I rarely get into new series because I tend to be very reserved about overly popular fiction (Twilight, Harry Potter, whatever), but I've been told this one's pretty good.

I would just like to say out right that I haven't actually read The Hunger Games, but I imagine the series and its popularity is similar to the Percy Jackson and the Olympians series. Light, somewhat mindless, mostly harmless young adult. I read the Percy Jackson books to see if they'd be appropriate gifts for a younger cousin of mine, and I ultimately found them be a fun fluff series.

Similarly, a friend of mine just read The Hunger Games and had a view of it similar to my view of Percy Jackson. He thought it was moderately entertaining yet unrefined and ultimately immature. However, one of my roommates read all three books in a single evening and enjoyed them quite a bit.

As with a variety of young adult franchises, I think whether or not you'll enjoy it ultimately hinges on your ability to switch your brain from literature to pop-lit. It'd be more enjoyable if you go into it expecting not to be terribly stimulated mentally or philosophically.

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Aros
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I'd actually say that the first Hunger Games book (I haven't read the others) was closer to The Giver than it was to Percy Jackson. Percy is light, fun fluff. Hunger Games is more visceral than fun, and it is quite a bit more serious and is a rather scathing critique on society and culture.

The only thing it has in common with Jackson is that it's popular with the tween crowd.

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SteveRogers
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Well, as I said, I haven't actually read The Hunger Games. I was only reporting the experiences of some of the other people I know who've read them.
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Samprimary
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Hunter Games, Thrilight, Harry Pitter, Perky Jackson, Hander's Game, Ulgies
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Itsame
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The quality of the books definitely went down with each one. Even so, they were still enjoyable enough by the end to finish, if only for the sake of completion. I think I finished all three in about as many days.

Also nice was the numerous classical allusions. e.g., the name of the nation is Panem, referring to http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bread_and_circuses (which was made explicit in the final book because the author has a tendency to beat things to death in that one).

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Lyrhawn
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quote:
Originally posted by SteveRogers:
quote:
Originally posted by Jeff C.:
I rarely get into new series because I tend to be very reserved about overly popular fiction (Twilight, Harry Potter, whatever), but I've been told this one's pretty good.

I would just like to say out right that I haven't actually read The Hunger Games, but I imagine the series and its popularity is similar to the Percy Jackson and the Olympians series. Light, somewhat mindless, mostly harmless young adult. I read the Percy Jackson books to see if they'd be appropriate gifts for a younger cousin of mine, and I ultimately found them be a fun fluff series.

Similarly, a friend of mine just read The Hunger Games and had a view of it similar to my view of Percy Jackson. He thought it was moderately entertaining yet unrefined and ultimately immature. However, one of my roommates read all three books in a single evening and enjoyed them quite a bit.

As with a variety of young adult franchises, I think whether or not you'll enjoy it ultimately hinges on your ability to switch your brain from literature to pop-lit. It'd be more enjoyable if you go into it expecting not to be terribly stimulated mentally or philosophically.

There seems to be a hell of a lot more hype behind The Hunger Games than Percy Jackson. I'd only barely heard of Percy Jackson, and bought the first four books sort of on a whim because there was a sale on Amazon. I've yet to meet someone who has said "hey, have you read the Percy Jackson books? They're great!" But I've met a LOT of people who, especially knowing I read a lot, have asked me if I've read the Hunger Games, either looking for a recommendation, or urging me to read it. Several of them tend to not read a whole lot too, which means the Hunger Games has escaped the lab to a degree.

And it's not just because of the movie coming out. Percy Jackson had a movie, and it still didn't bump it as high as The Hunger Games have been in the last year. It's certainly not the next Twilight, at least I don't think it is (curious to see what IS the next Twilight), but it's bigger than the average young adult lit, I think.

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TomDavidson
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Yeah, I don't get the Hunger Games fandom. It's a pretty mediocre series; even the first book isn't all that decent, and the others go downhill fast. But some people -- especially people who don't read much -- seem to love them.
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Samprimary
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quote:
It's certainly not the next Twilight, at least I don't think it is (curious to see what IS the next Twilight)
You mean like The Next Twilight as in a new book that is also wildly popular, badly written, and is filled with depressingly hung up attitudes about virginity, sex, and sexuality for women? I think the next breakout hit book won't be considered New Twilight if it avoids the associative flaws of the series.

I want maybe an Anti-Twilight where, say, bella isn't a paper-thin pastiche, edward is a werewolf, nobody imprints on fetuses, and they all just have a comfortable, healthy attitude to sex that doesn't scream obvious sexual hangups and pathology on the part of the author. And is also written in english. Any takers?

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SteveRogers
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quote:
Originally posted by Lyrhawn:
There seems to be a hell of a lot more hype behind The Hunger Games than Percy Jackson. I'd only barely heard of Percy Jackson. . . I've yet to meet someone who has said "hey, have you read the Percy Jackson books? They're great!" But I've met a LOT of people who, especially knowing I read a lot, have asked me if I've read the Hunger Games

I think that seems pretty regional. In my hometown (before I moved away to my four-year school after community college), the Percy Jackson books were a really big deal whereas The Hunger Games wasn't. Either way, I don't think their popularity really distills my point about their quality.

I also agree with Tom. Most of the people I've talked to who have really loved The Hunger Games weren't terribly well-read otherwise (EX: my girlfriend's sister read them, and she listed Are You There Vodka, It's Me Chelsea as her favorite book prior to that). Whereas a friend of mine read them after reading Catch-22 and The Similarion, and he felt that The Hunger Games was mind-numbingly dull and very poorly written.

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Lyrhawn
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I hadn't considered regional differences. Interesting. I sort of figured it was one of those things that transcended geography and was just big everywhere via word of mouth and the internet.

Sam -

Wildly popular, anyway. I've never read Twilight, but I've heard so much about it both critically and adoringly that I could probably recite the plot by now. It seems like Song of Ice and Fire is perhaps in the midst of being the next big thing since so many people are reading it because of the TV show, but I'm not sure that counts. Books like Harry Potter and Twilight became popular, for better or for worse, via word of mouth and a sort of grass roots build. Something will rise from the muck in the next few months or in the next year to take Twilight's place. Hopefully it'll be as good as Harry Potter or Song of Ice and Fire, but those series don't come along too often, so it'll probably be some hyped up young adult drivel.

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SteveRogers
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I think it depends on age group too. I know when my younger brother was still in high school last year then Percy Jackson was more popular. But in just a year's time, The Hunger Games has supplanted it (and both series had been finished prior to that time).

And among the less literary students at my college then The Hunger Games is more popular. I think it would be safe to say (even if both series aren't exactly at the cusp of advanced writing) that Percy Jackson is probably more popular among a younger crowd because they're easier to read (irregardless of The Hunger Games's similar simplicity).

Edit:

Also, for what it's worth, I read the first Twilight novel last year at the behest of my girlfriend, and I have absolutely nothing but loathing for it. It's a sociological atrocity.

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Jeff C.
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Edited the name of the topic for clarification.

And Steve, that last line of yours about Twilight made me laugh [Razz]

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SteveRogers
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It's a very serious comment. I have a prepared rant about it which periodically makes appearances if I'm discussing literature with any of my friends. I shudder to think of the sociological or social psychological impact of the Twilight novels/films which could potentially emerge in the next few years.
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Samprimary
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Please rant about twilight. Rant about its ugly psychosexual underbelly. My assassination protocols glow with a warmth that could even be considered joy when I read someone dissect the monstrosity that is Twilight's message to young girls about themselves and their sexuality.
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SteveRogers
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It's far too easy a target for such ranting these days. There's no fun in it anymore.
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Stone_Wolf_
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A friend asked me to a movie and I said "Sure." not knowing which movie she was taking me to. Turns out it was Twilight. I have never read the books, or seen any of the other movies because when it comes down to it, the first one was boring and stupid.

Shiny virgin vamps playing baseball? ZZzzzZzzZ!

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SteveRogers
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As popular as The Hunger Games has become, I feel compelled to read it. As a pop culture junkie, I like to try to keep myself knowledgeable of the things about which people are putting up a big fuss these days. There must be some redeeming quality because I know some high schools have already begun assigning it in class; though, that's more likely as a ploy to get students to read in the first place more so than it is a statement about the series's quality in an academic setting.
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Dan_Frank
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quote:
Originally posted by Samprimary:
Please rant about twilight. Rant about its ugly psychosexual underbelly. My assassination protocols glow with a warmth that could even be considered joy when I read someone dissect the monstrosity that is Twilight's message to young girls about themselves and their sexuality.

I would rant about Twilight, but I'm too busy watching you sleep, threatening to kill you, and freaking out when anyone else gets close to you.

Because I love you.

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Samprimary
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quote:
Originally posted by SteveRogers:
It's far too easy a target for such ranting these days. There's no fun in it anymore.

Says you. Should I show you some twilight movie box office returns to get the hate rolling?
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rivka
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quote:
Originally posted by SteveRogers:
I think it depends on age group too.

I think this is more of an issue than geography. A fair number of adults I know have read and enjoyed one or more of the Hunger Games books. I cannot think of a single person over the age of 16 (probably even 14) that I know has read and enjoyed the Percy Jackson books.
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King of Men
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quote:
Originally posted by Jeff C.:
Edited the name of the topic for clarification.

Formally: In accordance with rules or ritual; following a prescribed procedure. "Formally asking for his daughter's hand"; "the president formally opened the ball".

Formerly: Previously, earlier. "The angel formerly known as Lucifer".

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Shanna
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quote:
I cannot think of a single person over the age of 16 (probably even 14) that I know has read and enjoyed the Percy Jackson books.
*raises hand*

However, I enjoy them while my friend the librarian LOVES them. Tried to explain once why she preferred them to Harry Potter but everyone in the room quickly stuck our fingers in our ears and started humming.

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BlackBlade
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quote:
Originally posted by rivka:
quote:
Originally posted by SteveRogers:
I think it depends on age group too.

I think this is more of an issue than geography. A fair number of adults I know have read and enjoyed one or more of the Hunger Games books. I cannot think of a single person over the age of 16 (probably even 14) that I know has read and enjoyed the Percy Jackson books.
My brother enjoyed them. He's in his mid-20s. But he also has a Greek mythology fascination/fetish.
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SteveRogers
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I think an interest in mythology is another confounding variable in looking at this issue. There are a variety of demographics issues. It seems likely that males would prefer Percy Jackson since the protagonist as male whereas the protagonist of The Hunger Games is female. However, there are undoubtedly exceptions to this rule.
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