Sep 14, 2010

The Long Awaited Review

Well, I finally read The Hunger Games series. I know some people who I talked to were interested to know of what I thought of it, so here is my review.

To be honest, I don't know if I liked them. That's not to say that I didn't like them--I read them in a week and probably would have gotten done with them faster, but I had to wait five days to get the second and third books--but I can't see myself ever reading them again. Why? Because they present such a horrible world, full of people finding entertainment in children killing each other, and while I am glad that I read them once, reading them again would mean getting back into that world, and I just don't think I want to.

That isn't to say that Collins didn't present and intriguing story, because she definitely did. I read Mockingjay in a day. Here are some of the things I liked about the books, and Collins' writing:
*All my predictions were wrong. I like that. I don't want a story to be easy to guess. Her curve balls were amazing! Never would have guessed.
*She was able to use the present tense very effectively. I don't think it would have been as intriguing to read if we weren't learning and being exposed to everything right along with Katniss.
*That leads me to the next thing I liked--the first person narrator. Katniss was a complex character who had a general distrust of people, but at the same time has a great love for a few select. She is exactly how I think a person growing up in that kind of society, and having gone through those kinds of things would behave. And yet, she was aware of her faults and wanted to be different in some ways. She was able to learn and change.
*The books aren't necessarily dark, but they do deal with some serious issues which I think are handled in a such a way that adolescents will be able to read without getting too disturbed, but they will also come away with a new way of looking at life.

Collins is a great storyteller, which lets me know that she deserves everything that she is getting from the writing of these books. Fame, New York Times bestselling author, and probably quite a bit of money. But, that's not to say that there weren't things I didn't like about the books.

*My biggest thing was the Capitol people. This is kind of a silly little complaint, but every time I was given a description of someone with dyed skin and hair and ridiculous tattoos, I felt like it gave the story a little flippant air. The only time I didn't was in Mockingjay when they meet Tigris, because that was just sad. I understand that it was an exaggeration of shallow, appearance obsessed people who never really grew past adolescence and it was effective in showing how different they were from the rest of the districts. But still, every time I read a description about someone's green skin and purple hair, I just rolled my eyes.
*There wasn't any good place to stop. Just about every chapter ending with a small cliffhanger, making it almost impossible to take a break. That might have been her intent, but chapter breaks are meant to be able to give even a slight break for the reader, even if they intend to go on reading right then. It bothered me that I was feeling manipulated into keep reading, even when it was getting late at night and I just wanted to go to bed.
*Sometimes I didn't understand the characters motivations. The biggest example I can see of this was


in Catching Fire when they were at the Quarter Quell with all the other victors. After the shows of unity that the victors showed during training, their interviews, and after the interviews when they all held hands, I didn't understand how they still were going to fight each other in the arena. I would have thought (and again, this just goes to show that my predictions were always wrong, though it would have been okay if this one were right) that they would have banded together and refused to fight each other. All the victors seemed willing to defy the Capitol, but they still fought each other. I think it would have still made an interesting story of the victors having to deal with the gamekeepers trying to kill them or make them fight each other. It would have been a different story yes, but I would have liked the characters a bit better I guess.
*Speaking of characters, sometimes Katniss did bother me, though I liked her voice. She was defiant, and that was necessary, but she completely refused almost all advice and help given to her. She alienated her family and friends. She seemed almost completely self-centered, never seeing the other persons point of view and struggles if it didn't coincide with how she thought things should be.

Despite my few qualms, I'm glad I read them. I haven't been so intrigued by a book in a long time. Interesting, though horrific, story, and a satisfying but not all "happily ever after" ending. Like I said, I don't think I'll read them again, and they probably won't be on my bookshelf in the near future. I would recommend that people read them, even though my feelings for them are unsure. A good story, a good read, and a good lesson.

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