July 15th 2012
So, I recently finished The Hunger Games. There was some good stuff in it, a couple of good emotional scenes early on, and the idea itself is brilliant. What’s not to like about a reality show where the contestants actually kill each other? I expect Bravo to premier a show that does exactly that sometime in the next couple of years, unless our political system here in the US beats them to it.
But I didn’t really like the book. Deep in my heart, I can never like a book, or a movie, that doesn’t get the details right. Most everyone else I know, including the writers, laughs at my complaining. “Who cares if Suzanne Collins knows nothing about archery? She’s sold ten million books!”
I know, I know. If I want to sell ten million books, I shouldn’t sweat the details so much, especially if I have a killer idea. But I do. And I always will.
Specifically, there are two scenes in the book that drove me absolutely insane. The first (I don’t remember where this happens) occurs when Katniss is described as lying down with her loaded bow close to hand. ??? A crossbow, maybe. But you can’t load a bow. The language Collins uses isn’t even right. You nock an arrow. Conceivably you could keep a nocked arrow close at hand, but I doubt doing so would be much faster than just drawing an arrow from a nearby quiver. You still have to draw back the arrow, aim, and fire.
This kind of basic mistake drives me insane. Half an hour of research would have fixed it. Then again, I’m the kind of person who can’t watch Chariots of Fire because the actors look like actors pretending to run, rather than actual runners.
There’s another scene later on when Katniss knocks aside an expertly thrown knife as it flies toward her through the air, the sort of thing that only superheroes can do, and Katniss is definitely not a super hero. It probably wouldn’t have bugged me had I not already gone ballistic about the ‘loaded’ bow, but two examples of lazy writing in the same book only drove me to greater heights of perfectionist fury.
I won’t even go into the fact that, once Katniss gets the only ranged weapon in the Games, she could have hunted everyone else down in a couple of days. (I know, I know, Katniss is probably too decent a character to do that, but the idea should at least cross her mind.)
Does this kind of sloppy writing bother anyone else out there, or is it just me?
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Butler is the author of The Stoneways Trilogy from Tor Books: Reiffen's Choice, Queen Ferris, and The Magician's Daughter. Find out what Reiffen does with magic, and what magic does with him... Visit site.
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