Thursday, December 08, 2011

What keeps me up at night:

Suzanne Collins' Hunger Games Trilogy. I had to try the first book twice. The first time, I gave up after a few pages of the simple, mediocre prose; the second time, I made it to the plot and couldn't stop until it was done. Collins is not a word-smith, but she's a fantastic story-teller. What made the books for me was the smart blend of Greek mythology and reality TV, plus an intriguing post-apocalypse setting. Not a masterpiece, but definitely worth reading. Recommended.


Lore Ferguson said...

ME TOO. I was like "this is awful writing...not bothering..." But when I finally just let myself stop judging, wow, what a great story. Really.

A Circle of Quiet said...

Claire just mentioned she wants to read the first book. I will look forward to reading it when I can pull it away from her (-:

Auntie Di

The Autumn Rain said...

I'm curious to know what you think of them, Auntie Di. I thought the second book was even more poorly written than the first, but the plotting was still pretty good!

Lore, it's definitely one of those books where you have let go of the inner editor. But the inner story-lover definitely benefits in the end. :)

Miss Rackl said...

These books keep me up at night too! I finished the 2nd and 3rd ones all in one go, staying up until 7:30am. (in one of those experiences that is both completely satisfying and completely tiring.)

However, I don't agree that her prose is super-horrible. I think it's utilitarian, doing the job of getting you to the plot, story, and characters. What did you dislike about it?

The Autumn Rain said...

Hey Rachel! So fun to find you in the comments! I don't think Collins' prose is super-horrible either. But I also don't think it's good--just mediocre. My main complaints were word choice and the lack of sentence variety.

Re: word choice. Collins uses lots of strong verbs and some interesting nouns/adverbs/adjectives. But she consistently weakens them with qualifiers like "pretty" (as in "pretty much") or "too much" or "awful" or "special." We talk like this, for sure! But it gets repetitive on paper and detracts from both the quality of the prose and the plot.

Re: sentence variety. Generally speaking, Collins' paragraphs are composed of short, direct sentences, sometimes with brief starter phrases or appositives, and fragments. I don't mind either of these kinds of sentence structure (fragments can be effective, when used sparingly), but sometimes ill-placed fragments are confusing and the lack of variety is boring.

This was probably way more than you wanted to know! But there it is. Thanks for commenting! :)