Saturday, February 11, 2012

Book Review: The Hunger Games

So I finished the Hunger Games the other day. I'll start by acknowledging that the main characters names are Katniss and Peeta... which make Cat and Peter very nervous. They're different people though, so hopefully the similarities don't start any problems. Other than that the stories aren't very much alike, I hope that works to my advantage.

my interpretation of the two main characters

As for the book itself; it was alright, I really enjoyed the middle part where it was exciting adventure all the time... the rest just turned my stomach. I feel bad enjoying something as wholly off-putting and disgusting as blood sport between children. I mean kids as young as twelve years old were killed in those games! The thought of it and watching the audience accept it as something to be celebrated just grossed me out. It was barbaric. Good job Suzanne Collins for getting me in your world and stirring those emotions but it leads me to my big kinda complaint about the book and why I didn't love it as much as others did.

Spoilers btw.

I wanted more revolution by the end; more action or at least more reaction. I didn't feel like Katniss was ever really emoting the whole time - oh she talked about her thoughts on the subject but very rarely did those thoughts translate to emotional or physical reactions. There were a couple shining moments when she did: Rue for example. And when she and Peeta were separated at the end in the hovercraft; those two moments were great because she behaved like a real person would in those instances. The rest was more of her trying to pick apart other people's gameplay and not trusting people - which is the kind of girl she is, so I guess I can't fault her, but that kind of protagonist kept me from fully enjoying the book. For instance, I couldn't really get invested in the romance between Katniss and Peeta because Katniss wouldn't get invested in it. I was riding her like a vehicle and since she was stubbornly refusing to fall for the guy even though blind people could see he was being honest, I couldn't really fall for him either. I was waiting for Katniss to go first I guess.

That's the thing about first-person stories, when the tale is told by the point of view of one person we as readers are left to accept their opinions as our truths. We can disagree if we want, but in the end it's HER story and we're living in HER shoes. I guess what I really wanted from the Hunger Games was a more dynamic protagonist, because by the end Katniss felt so stagnant and stoic, I wasn't sure if she'd had an arc at all, and that ruined it for me.

That said I do recommend it for people to read. I enjoyed the ride, just not as much as everyone else in the world seemed to, and that's okay. I'm still going to see the movie when it comes out but I don't think I'll be reading books 2 and 3.

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