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James Verniere’s “Smoke but No ‘Fire’” a Plea for Help?

In response to James Verniere’s 286‑word review of The Hunger Games: Catching Fire on Boston Herald

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Less is less in the utterly incoherent “Smoke but no ‘Fire’ in ‘Hunger Games’ sequel” by James Verniere—an inconsistent tomb that lacks substance to boot.

It’s easy to dismiss a work as brief as this as lazy, but one is advised never to judge a book by its girth. Judge it by its content instead. Or in this case, lack of it. There is little here, and in such a short passage, that’s saying a lot. Nary a shred of concrete evidence or tangible subtext to be found within its trite package. The author instead prefers to focus on embellishments and wax incoherently about elements that have little bearing on… well, anything… much less the subject.

To add to the malaise, Verniere tends to break off on tangents that would boggle Copernicus. None of them lead anywhere, other than away from a point that appeared to be leading somewhere. But the reader should interpret this as an attempt by the author to find his way through the labyrinth of his own making. It will not redeem the text, but it will make it infinitely more enjoyable to traverse.

Reader be warned: One should not enter without a well-calibrated compass… possibly even a map. But above all, one should refrain from asking directions from the author, lest they become even more lost.    

Quality of Writing Quality of Argument Spoiler Avoidance Presentation