I'd already seen The Hunger Games, though being a YA film it took some coaxing for me to see it, but I loved it so much I wanted to read the book.
My local library isn't the greatest, in fact I'm pretty sure the person who runs it doesn't even read. I was secretly excited by the suspense of wondering if the book was actually available for borrowing like it said on their catalogue. I trotted over and as luck would have it (though I suspected) the book couldn't be located. I placed my name on a waiting list and decided to borrow another YA novel. When I picked up James Dashner's The Maze Runner, which had the cover quote ' ... A MUST FOR FANS OF THE HUNGER GAMES', I thought what luck - the next best thing.
Well, first I should say something nice about this book because there is so much wrong with it. Okay, nice, nice, nice, hmmmmm. Clearly I'm struggling, which is how I felt when I reading this book. Dashner clearly doesn't have the gift of suspense or intrigue so we end up with a story that merely tries to be as interesting as The Hunger Games, and fails!
A chapter in I also notice that the entire female gender has been excluded from the story world. Interesting, I think, surely Dashner will explain this exclusion further in. He doesn't, in fact, all he does is further insult females. He tells us that the people in the Maze i.e. all the young boys, are the smartest in the world. Females, obviously, are not because this is clearly a male trait. Dashner does eventually introduce a female to his world but she also happens to be in a coma - for most of the story. Oh, come on!
Why is it that some writers think that excluding the female gender will somehow make reading books more interesting to young male readers? I'm assuming that was Dashner's position because one couldn't be writing for female readers by excluding them entirely, could they? Or do these writers just not view females to be as interesting characters as males? Either way these exclusions and stereotypes toward gender are not only wrong but are damaging to our children's perception of the world. How can teenage boys view their female counterparts, and likewise how can teenage girls see themselves as valid when the adults who write the books they read don't?
I did eventually get the call from my library to pick up The Hunger Games. Thankfully Collins didn't succumb to this ridiculous notion because she knows that reading will always be enticing and engaging when the characters are interesting, honest and real.
The Hunger Games presents both genders in a non stereotypical ways and allows all the characters to be simply that, unique and diverse. Hoorah!
Additonal info: I later has a Twitter conversation, albiet not a very nice one, with Dashner and his fans, who informed me that the second book is all about females. I haven't read it, as I was instructed to do by Dashner and his fans, because, as I told him, if I don't like the first book of a series why would I bother reading the second or third or forth - a fair point, I think. In any case, I want my readers to know that Dashner does include females in the series but you'll have to read the second book to read about them - I, of course, will not.