Comparison: The Hunger Games vs. Divergent

The first thing that strikes most people (myself included) about these two series is their similarities. Let’s take a look at a couple:

1.) Both series are dystopian literature.

2.) In both, the population is divided into districts/ factions.

3.) Both have a 16 year-old female protagonist.

4.) Both are written from the first-person POV in the present tense. (SIDE NOTE: Not many books are written in the present tense, which makes these stand out in my mind. It does seem to be a new trend though, which as an avid reader, I think could be quite fun.)

Whilst the books have many similarities, in my opinion The Hunger Games stands far ahead in literary quality. Let me explain.

Suzanne Collins is a better writer. She simply  has more experience and a richer understanding of life. And while I am all for cheering on young people, her age and understanding give her a leg up that shows itself immensely.  Collins is way less wordy than Veronica Roth, who distracts from the point she is trying to make by tripping over herself with excessive explanation. Numerous times the character Tris says  “I’m too short to…” and I lost focus from the story because all I could do was internally count how many times she’d already clarified her stature for us.

When it comes to poignant statements about life,  Mrs. Collins is able to deftly say in one sentence what Ms. Roth takes 10 to do.

Also, Tris’ friends don’t make me feel much. I found myself simply not caring about their sorrows, unlike THG characters of Finnick, Effie, Mrs. Everdeen, and even Katniss’ prep team, who really endeared themselves throughout the books.

As for the romance storylines, I found THG’s to be much more powerful that Divergent’s. THG is focused on the relational side of romance. Katniss and Gale are drawn to each other because they have been friends since childhood and have worked side-by-side accomplishing tasks for years.

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Peeta has to work very hard and patiently to become her friend in order to win Katniss’ heart. She is not one to fall for someone merely because of physical appearances.  In the end, her choice about which man to marry has little to do with physical attraction.  Collins does not ignore that aspect completely; Katniss does talk about kissing Peeta a little bit,  but overall  I feel Collins  steered the romance in a much better direction.

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In Divergent, while Four and Tris  made a cute couple, it seemed as though their entire relationship from the beginning was focused on the physical nature of things. To me it feels like one of them walked up to the other and said  “You’re divergent and you’re hot, so obviously we should be together.” NO, that is NOT a good reason to start a relationship. And beyond that, it seemed to be one of the only things that kept them together. There were moments when I in fact skipped over a page here and there because of the way in which their lust was being described. Please Ms. Roth, give me something more substantial.

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And lastly, the dystopian set up of THG is more interesting and believable to me. While the twist in Divergent was fascinating, (although all of the twists with Four/Tobias were fairly obvious)  THG stills wins out, especially when it comes to how the series ended. with THG I felt satisfied. In fact, the epilogue might be my favorite part of the entire thing.

I was fine with how Tris and Four’s stories finished, but I felt extremely cheated and dissatisfied  by the way the political parts of Divergent ended.  (I would say more, but I don’t want to give any spoilers.)

 

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So there you have it, my little rant as to why I think the The Hunger Games  is superior to Divergent.  What is YOUR opinion? Post your thoughts in the comments.

 

 

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Character Friday – The Hunger Games Edition

I saw The Hunger Games movie back in April, and then read the books about two weeks ago.

{Note: This is NOT a book/movie review, it is merely some simple character sketches.}

This did not happen. Ahem. Well at least not exactly.

But seriously, my mom was gone, and I took good care of the family in her absence. (I hope.)

I am a firm believer that children need a love of reading modeled for them. 😉

So here ya’ have it, my little character sketches for the main characters.

[Just as a heads-up, there are a lot of spoilers in here, so if you haven’t read the books, and either want to, or want to wait and be surprised when the next two movies come out, proceed with caution.]

Katniss Everdeen

Katniss and I are very different I discovered as I read the books. But I love her devotion to her family and her self sacrifice that she makes on behalf of her little sister.  (A picture of true love.)

I learned a lot about humanity and mortality as Katniss processed the brutality of The Hunger Games. Seriously folks, murder is a treacherous thing that should never be treated lightly. The Post-traumatic stress that Katniss endured really drove that home for me. (Not that I didn’t think that before, but when you read about the nightmares she suffered almost every night for the rest of her life, it becomes very, very real.)

Katniss is a feminine girl. This I appreciated very much. However she does seem to become a little feministic towards the end of the series, but maybe that’s just me. She had been through a lot after all.

Peeta Mellark

Peeta represents hope.

He did not want the Capitol to own him. It’s the same for Christians, we must not let the world think that they own us. This theme/worldview I greatly liked, especially since it was carried throughout all three books as Peeta hangs onto this and Katniss learns it.

Peeta’s manliness truly came out in his devotion to Katniss. I love Peeta’s gentleness.

He might come off as bit soft to some, but it was simply the way he led. Not by pushing his agenda forward, (unless it had to do with protecting Katniss) but through his own way of gently (but effectively) swaying the crowd.

I really, really had a hard time after he’d been tortured and lost his mind for most of a book.

Gale Hawthorne

Gale. I quite liked Gale. It’s always hard in a love-triangle to decide which “hero” to choose to root for.

I knew before I started the books that he did not end up with Katniss. Liam Hemsworth’s performance of him in the movie makes you really feel sad for dear Gale as Katniss is led away to death, and then as she feigns love for Peeta. 

Sometimes I think he was a little unfair to her when her feelings weren’t exactly like his, or when she acted as though she liked Peeta for survival’s sake. But then again, he was just trying to sort through his thoughts.

Gale represented strength and safety to me. Katniss could always trust him.  He was a great friend to her.

I viewed him as a choleric as I read, not completely sure that he was, but he’s definitely an in-charge kind of guy. He’s more of an “We’re-doing-this-my-way” than Peeta. I’m looking forward to seeing how Liam continues to portray him in the upcoming movies.

Other Characters:

Haymitch – I wish he could have dealt with his PTSD differently than always turning to alcohol.  However, I liked him okay. He’s a good guy.

Cinna – I liked him a lot, especially after having a mental picture of him from the movie. I’m glad he turned out to be part of the underground.

Fennick– At first I was disgusted with him, gradually grew to trust him, and then completely liked him once the rest of his story was told and he married Annie.

Effie – So shallow, but so endearing.