“What’s your book about?”
My most common response: “It’s like Hunger Games, only Christian.”
This is rather ironic since half the inspiration behind A Time to Die came from wanting to write a book unlike Hunger Games. Don’t get me wrong — I devoured the Hunger Games series. I’ve watched both movies multiple times, I obsess over every released picture, trailer, or tidbit from the upcoming Mockingjay films, and I even have a mockingjay pin.
But, I threw book three, Mockingjay, against the wall when I finished it. Hey, I know several others who did this same thing. Maybe even you.
Because the story lacked hope. Those books progressed into a darker and darker place, ultimate ending despair with a sprinkle of bittersweet-ever-after.
That wasn’t enough for me. I needed to know that standing up for my beliefs, that striving for more, that fighting for justice was worth it. That humans could make a difference and that goodness could be found in the world.
I know Christ. I know it’s possible. So I wrote about it. Here are some similarities and differences between The Hunger Games and my own dystopian novel, A Time to Die.
- They are both dystopian (duh)
- Both Katniss and Parvin are striving against an unjust society for the purpose of protecting the people they love.
- Both books examine the struggles that minority people groups face against a controlling government.
- The government in both books has a special power that can control the decisions and cooperation of the people. In Hunger Games it’s the Hunger Games, in A Time to Die it’s the Clocks.
- The Hunger Games is about Katniss’s external fight against her government (and her impending doom) to survive and make a change.
- A Time to Die is about Parvin interally seeking the meaning of life, trying to understand the purpose of her existence.
- The Hunger Games – Katniss draws her hope from her sister, Prim, and from her love interests, Gale and Peeta. Her hope is completely tied up in these people and of course, because they’re human, they can’t uphold that weight.
- A Time to Die – Parvin learns to draw her hope from faith in God. And, despite tragedy and the failure of humans, His power withstands the weight of human sorrow.
- In The Hunger Games, Katniss is a survivor. She’s been raised hunting, shooting and making bows and arrows. She never cries, she’s the leader of her family. This is a common trait in female dystopian protagonists, but a not-so-common trait in real teenage girls reading.
- In A Time to Die, Parvin is as human as they get. She has doubts about life, about God, about her purpose. She’s afraid, she’s never even gone camping, and she’s been raised in the comfort of home with a solid family. While she tries to be strong emotionally, she’s human and she breaks when she’s alone.
Not only is this difference in the books, but it’s a difference in our lives – in our thinking – as believers in Christ. Because Christ is my hope, it forms the stories I write. This is the beauty behind Christian fiction. I’m honored to be part of it.
What books have left you hopeful? What books have left you hopeless?
To find out more about Nadine or her book, visit her at one of these places: