Thursday, August 27, 2009

Reading the book is, like, so 2008

I'd like to thank Entertainment Weekly for undoing the work of lots of great book reviewers out there in their review of Catching Fire. Concerning this review, EW's incompetency is simply astounding.

Honestly, I don't care that EW gave the book a "C." The letter grades that EW assigns books, movies, and music are really more a ballpark estimate to me than anything else. What ticks me off is that the reviewer doesn't appear to have read The Hunger Games OR Catching Fire, yet complains that the book lacks "the erotic energy that makes Twilight, for instance, so creepily alluring." (I wish I could make that up. I'm a little skeeved out just reading it.)

Really, EW? That was low. It's a comparison of apples and pineapples. Catching Fire isn't meant to have erotic energy. It's a post-apocalyptic adventure. It's not meant to be "creepily alluring." I'm willing to bet that the reviewer, Jennifer Reese, has never read a YA novel other than TSVB. Of course, she doesnt need to, because TSVB is representative of the entire genre, right? I mean, according to her review standards, I can give Julie and Julia the same letter grade/review that I give Methland because they're both memoirs, right? And I can say that Methland is an inferior book because it's not happy and about food, yes?

I'm all for comparing similar books in a review. That's good reader's advisory and it's an essential part of developing a book's marketing plan. What brings down the quality of a review is expecting one book to be representative of an entire genre, as EW has done, and complaining when books in that genre aren't all the same. It's not fair for to give Catching Fire a bad review because it's not what Ms Reese wanted it to be. You might as well get mad at a pair of pumps for not being a pair of Wellington boots.

Now I need to go shoe shopping.

8 comments:

marypearson said...

Good grief. Makes me wonder if she is trying to one up Steven King. I seem to recall he loved Hunger Games and hated Twilight.

marypearson said...

oops. StePHen King.

* said...

The costumes are... not that important

Abby said...

I just... don't understand why someone who doesn't seem to like YA books is reviewing Catching Fire. I mean that crack about "this being a teen novel" so of course Katniss has "boyfriend troubles"?

I guess the real question is if JR doesn't enjoy YA books and knows nothing about them, why exactly do we want her opinion? EW Fail.

Emily said...

thats redonkulous

Miranda said...

Okay...I haven't read any of these books, so maybe I shouldn't have a say. However, it seems to me that when Ms. Reese is referring to Twilight's "erotic energy" she is specifically focusing on the romantic triangle in Catching Fire vs. the triangle in Twilight. In that respect, I think her comparison could be seen as a valid one. *shrugs* Just my two cents...

Cynthia Karabush said...

Yes, but... "creepily alluring" eroticism is what the appeal of the YA Vampire genre is all about. Hunger Games, on the other hand, is in the Adventure genre, so it's meant to be heavy on adventure, with little eroticism. And thus, very successful with my YA readers who are looking for just that. Perhaps it's no coincidence that I have more boys than girls on the waiting list for Catching Fire.

Carlie Webber said...

@Abby I can't figure it out either. Of all the people EW picked to review CF, they picked one who doesn't even read YA?

@Miranda I can see where you're coming from, but there's a more fundamental problem with the review: All YA gets compared to Twilight. That the reviewer makes this comparison in the first place leads to her wanting CF to be something it isn't. The bad review stems from that.