Introducing my new original monthly feature:
Since the beginning of time, similar things have always been compared to each other: Pepsi or Coke? Lemon or Lime? Boxers or Briefs? And books are no exception!
Throwdown Thursdays: On the first Thursday of every month I play the ultimate game of “Would You Rather” with books that are inevitably compared to each other. After 3 rounds, I pick my winner. Feel free to join in by commenting, making your own response (just link back) or vote in my poll! Here is this month’s match:
Round 1: The Dystopian World
Personality Factions vs Resource Districts
What I love about dystopian novels is that they take a regular, everyday trait of society and exploit them to the extreme–and as readers, we get to see how everything unfolds.
Divergent goes the personality type route, dividing people into four groups: the honest, the selfless, the brave and the peaceful plus the one group that encompasses all four, the divergent. While you can argue that there are more than these 4 types of personalities, at the core these are the ones that exist and influence everything else. It makes for an interesting social project: but it isn’t a world that I would want to live in. You know how sometimes, the people who think exactly like you are the ones you can’t get along with. Like, I am a stubborn person when it comes to certain things so when I meet someone who is as equally stubborn we butt heads. I could see why, in a post-apocalyptic world, society might try this route but I think it would be a disaster! So this isn’t the world that I would want to live in–not like Pan Am is a golden world either.
However, Pan Am in the Hunger Games is more realistic to me. We live in a material world and The Hunger Games chooses to exploit this by dividing the people based on each district and their economic contributions. I could easily see this happening in our world–and to a certain extent we already live in a world where a select few have power and money while the vast majority do not. Do I think our current way of life will lead to a battle to the death game every year? Definitely not! But if you remove the game aspect from the Hunger Games, the world seems much more probable than Divergent’s.
Winner: The Hunger Games. I prefer its underlying themes of greed and the corruption that follows it to divisions based on personalities.
Divergent: 0 | Hunger Games: 1
Round 2: The Romance
Four/Tobias vs Gale and Peeta
All is fair in love and…rebellion?
I really loved Divergent when I read it for two reasons: the suspense of Tris undergoing Dauntless’ initiation process and Tobias/Four. I loved their chemistry in the first book, even if it wasn’t a huge focus; but when we did get to see them interact, I absorbed every moment. And in the subsequent books, I loved watching their relationship develop. They make great partners in everything they do and I could see how much they loved and cared for each other. They brought out the best in their partner and it was so sweet to watch.
In the Hunger Games, I was Team Peeta all the way. I detest love triangles; especially the ones where the female lead’s male BFF is obviously in love with her and she is oblivious. So it really is nothing against Gale as a person (though I came to detest him by the end of Mockingjay) it’s just that he played a generic role and it didn’t do anything for me. However, I always felt like Peeta cared more than Katniss. But, to be fair, that is part of Katniss’ character flaw: she is too independent and guards her feelings. It definitely improves and in Mockingjay I think Katniss shows her true feelings for Peeta more. But sometimes I got the impression is was just guilt on Katniss’ part for using Peeta in the first book because Peeta does everything he can to save Katniss because he loves her and she just uses him in the first book to save herself.
Winner: Divergent. I loved the relationship between Tobias and Tris–it is a true partnership that is more than just physical chemistry and need.
Divergent: 1 | Hunger Games: 1
Round 3: The Action
Breaking the Factions vs The Hunger Games
While both rebel against their respective governments, the each do so in a different way: but which way is best to read?
To me, Divergent’s action packed appeal slowly goes away in the next two books of the series. It becomes a lot more talking and trying to figure out what they are going to do next: which is fine and dandy but not all the thrilling to read. Especially when Divergent had so much action when you take into account the inner faction fights during the initiation, the fear simulations and the eventual rebellion. It took me a long time to get through Allegiant (Book 3) because it was so dry. But once the action was there (the last little bit of the book) I was hooked and it was over. I’m hoping the movies will focus more on the action than they do on the talking when they are finally released.
I found the Hunger Games always had action because of the nature of the Games itself. Katniss is quickly thrown into a life and death situation and the way Suzanne Collins describes things makes you feel like you are right there with her. And while I found the second and third books didn’t have as much intensity, they had more action and just the right amount of talking. Well, maybe not Mockingjay so much, but I felt like it picked up much quicker than Allegiant did.
Winner: The Hunger Games. I preferred the high intensity fighting and background rebellion to the plotting rebellion and followup action that we get in Divergent.
Divergent: 1 | Hunger Games: 2
Ultimate Winner: The Hunger Games
Final Comments: While I really enjoyed each series, The Hunger Games is one of my favourite series hands down. Divergent was great (and definitely had some things I loved more than the Hunger Games), but I was really disappointed in the subsequent books. If you could combine those two series into one, you would have an amazing series. Hmmm, maybe that’s why I love Legend by Marie Lu so much…