Friday, August 28, 2009

Did You See that EW Article?

Entertainment Weekly has a review of Catching Fire.

Don't read this, or that, if you want to be spoiler free.

First, let me point out that this proves my point that a blog review can be more professional than a professional review. Tho, some blog reviews can be like this Catching Fire review. It's not about the method of publication; it's about the writer.

What is wrong about the EW review? First, in trying to be pithy it is inaccurate.

"In between romantic daydreams, Katniss shot strange beasts, dodged force fields, and battled murderous zombie werewolves — usually while wearing fabulous glitzy outfits."

I'd say most of Katniss's daydreams in the Hunger Games before the Games were about food, and after were about survival. Much as I'll argue for Team Peeta, these books are not romances. Plus, um, werewolves? How does this reviewer define werewolves? And the glitzy outfits were BEFORE the Games.

". . . — this being a teen novel — she also has boyfriend problems. For PR purposes, Katniss pretends to be in love with her sweet-natured Games teammate Peeta Mellark, but she secretly pines for brooding Gale, a childhood friend. . . . Collins conjures none of the erotic energy that makes Twilight, for instance, so creepily alluring." OK. So no adult novel has boy/girlfriend problems? Oh, right, if its adult then it's just chicklit. Eye roll. And, as a firm member of Team Peeta, "sweet natured"? Um, no. That's the POINT. He appears to be sweet but is quite clever and cutthroat. And Gale as "brooding"? OK, I'm not Team Gale but there are ton of better ways to describe Gale than brooding. What, she's trying to turn him into Heathcliff? But the final sentence shows what this is about -- not Peeta, not Gale, but the reviewer wanted to read a romance like Twilight. And saw Gale as Edward...huh? I

Let's all say it together to her at once, because she may then hear and get it. In the words of the brilliant Carlie at Librarilly Blonde, "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."

You want to read a romance? Fine; but when the book isn't a romance, DON'T BLAME THE BOOK. Man, why is EW paying this person when there are a dozen bloggers out there (including me and Carlie and you) who could do a better job with half a keyboard. Jeesh.

The author describes [Katniss] wearing a series of Cher-worthy costumes in which she confronts poisonous mists, deranged monkeys, and a flock of ''candy pink'' birds equipped with long beaks used to skewer human necks.

Readers, raise your hand if at this point you're convinced the reviewer did not read the book. The "Cher worthy costumes" end BEFORE THE "CONFRONTING."

I'm not pissed about the review. Seriously.

I'm pissed EW paid someone MONEY to write this.

Edited to add: PS: Time shows you how it's done. A review (but SPOILERS) of CF.

© Elizabeth Burns of A Chair, A Fireplace & A Tea Cozy


Natasha @ Maw Books said...

Great post! I agree with it all.

Catherine (On The Nightstand) said...

And this is one more example where a book gets a less than positive review from EW for the crime of not being Twilight.

Once again, EW, well done there!


Deborah said...

the reviewer at EW seems to compare all books with Twilight. they've done the exact same thing to other books to them it's the standard of what everything should be. i think it was them who criticized harry potter movie of not having sex like twilight did? who are these people?

Angiegirl said...

It's mind boggling. Honestly. I'm glad bloggers are calling them on it because it's a disgraceful review.

Janssen said...

What a horrific and stupid review.

Thanks for your wise comments.

tanita✿davis said...

*sigh* Liz. Don't you understand anything? ALL YA novels are frothy romances. All include boyfriends and Cher-worthy outfits, and zombies. DUH!!

Man, what would it take for them to pay one of US, or at least one of us who has actually READ THE BOOK?

Melissa said...

LOL. I really need to read the book. Now. (Only three more days. Only three more days.)

Anonymous said...

It's ridiculous that this woman not only got paid to write a review of a book she'd obviously not read, but that she got to read it AT ALL! There are so many people out there literally gagging for a copy of this book and she blew it by comparing it to Twilight and Cher. Ugh. Great post! =)

Michelle said...

I find myself wondering why all things must in some way tie back to Twilight. Sure it may be a good series (though I've not read it myself) but really not every book needs to BE Twilight. Some are good in their own right.

What a monsterous fail on the part of the EW reviewer. It seems you are right that this person didn't likely read the book which is even more of a failure because honestly she's missing out.

Liked the Time review much better at least there was some recognition of overall themes and clearly the reviewer read the book.

Alison (Alison's Book Marks) said...

...a blog review can be more professional than a professional review.

YES. I couldn't agree more! Great post. Thank you for writing it!

Anonymous said...

When I first read the review the day it was published, it was clear to me the reviewer had, if anything, only skimmed The Hunger Games. Finally being able to read Catching Fire today made it equally clear that she has no idea what she was supposed talking about.

EW is just making fools of themselves by alowing bs like that to be published.

Anna said...

I stopped taking as much stock in what EW says when in their list of the Top 20 Vampires, or whatever it was, they did not include Spike. Enough said on what they know about good characters.

Anonymous said...

Sorry, but I'm with Gail Gauthier on this. I think the reviewer read the book, and I think she didn't see in Hunger Games what you did, and she's entitled to her opinion, and I'm delighted she has a venue to express it. I really don't like the pressure to "agree" in evaluations of books. I think the return of the dead combatants in Hunger Games as wolf-like attackers is perfectly described as "Zombie Werewolves."

I read The Hunger Games and reviewed it. I liked it. Stephen King reviewed it and he liked it, but I thought his review was a master level example of saying without saying -- this is trashy, but fun. That has morphed into BEST BOOK EVER somehow.

I also think he was reviewing it as a book for children whereas Reese is an adult book reviewer writing for other adults. Some books written for Young Adults are every bit as engaging to adults. Catching Fire isn't one of them. It's a book for twelve year olds. A neat book for twelve year olds.

If she compares it to Twilight, I think she is saying that it isn't the kind of book grown-up women like to wallow in, reliving their teenage lovelorn days. Which is accurate. Given EW's readership, I think that I big slice of their audience is people looking for the next Twilight, and it is reasonable to tell those people that Catching Fire isn't it.

notemily said...

I'm late to the party, but did you send this to EW? I'd love to see it in their Letters section.