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Overrated is a misunderstood term. I feel as if it should occasionally get more slack than it does. Overrated is defined by the Oxford English Dictionary as: “(v) have a higher opinion of (someone or something) than is deserved.” Which means, as I understand it, something (a book, a movie, a television series, my brother) can be amazing and extraordinary and still get more praise and standing than it should.

Overrated also tends to get lumped in with opinions. And, those ALWAYS go over well with people. So, that brings up something harsh: books I think are overrated.

Can we clarify that I don’t necessarily think these are bad books or horribly told stories, only that perhaps they don’t deserve the praise heaped upon them. So, this might get ugly.

  1. The Hunger Games: I’d say don’t get me started but that’s a little late inherently. This book is amazingly bad. It’s written at a competent enough level I guess, but it’s so formulaic. I knew what each character was going to do before they even did it. The Hunger Games is a book that’s been written before. Which isn’t a problem, normally, but virtually every plot twist was taken from other sources. The plot, dystopian future with a game show of death for entertainment of the masses has been done way to many times and by better authors. I read this book a few summers ago because of all the hype surrounding it and was sorely disappointed. In this sense, it’s much like Wal-E. A movie that many tout as being dramatic and with far reaching consequences that anyone who’s every bothered reading much or studying the genre knows have been done before. On the other hand, it grabs the attention of the masses.
  2. Lord of the Rings. Yeah, I don’t have much of an argument for this one. Sure, it seems to stand as a founding point of much of modern fantasy but really, if you’re going to say a book is amazing and perfect, than poor plotting and pacing can’t be a weakness. That’s a major mark of a book. And saying that overly describing things is okay because he’s Tolkien isn’t a great excuse either. That’s what apologists do.
  3. Wheel of Time: This series was supposed to be six books originally, not the 14 it turned out to be. And yeah, when you read the series you can see where it just sort of ballooned out of his control. That’s book 4. And then he died before finishing it, and the last three books are… not up to standards. Of course, that’s if you even got past books 6-9 which are just a slog and could really have been one book, with one story and climax. Yes, before you complain, I read every book and enjoyed the series, I’m just not sure why it seems to be at the top of a lot of fantasy lists.
  4. His Dark Materials. You know, for a series a few people have personally praised to me as better than Harry Potter and my college philosophy professor claims it’s a better read than Narnia, I’m not impressed. The potential of the first two goes to waste in the third book. Again, it’s the “I enjoyed it but I think it didn’t deserve the hype.”

Which brings up an interesting point. Is overrated the post effect of hype? I mean, if something is hyped, then it’s a massive build up, which inevitably fails, even if the event is impressive.  Interesting thought.