Apocalyptic / dystopian fiction is really popular now in the young adult fiction world. A discussion of why that might be is better left for another post. But what makes something like The Hunger Games catch on and something like Weyn’s Empty fail so miserably? I think it’s the writing. Though it’s been a bit of time since I read the first part of Collins’ trilogy (I’m not reading the other two until they come out in paperback), but I recall being caught up in the creation of her world and the people who populate it. Weyn fails miserably on both counts. Rather than creating a world, she tries to take the specifics of our current one (a generic ’10 Years in the Future’) and say that because of our over-reliance on oil, that things will, as Yeats says much more eloquently, “fall apart / the centre cannot hold.” But her prose is didactic, and the dialogue is clunky. This is movie of the week stuff. And the female characters are especially poorly drawn. In the end, despite all that’s going on, what they really want is their man.

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