Friday, August 14, 2009

Book review of "The Hunger Games"

I've been reading a lot of books these past few months, but apparently, I haven't posted any reviews since my review of Feed. Bad! Also, I haven't posted any original content for a while, and I miss doing that. You guys don't even know about my new book yet! Double bad. In an effort to change this, I'm posting one review today and planning to post more as the month(s) go on. I also hope to talk some about what's been going on with me as well. I've also got some more author interviews lined up that I'm really looking forward to posting.

So there's the scoop, and here's my review.

The Hunger Games, by Suzanne Collins 

SUMMARY: Despite the death of Katniss's father years ago, she's somehow managed to create a livelihood for herself, her younger sister Prim, and her mother in the harsh coal settlement of District 12. But every year looms the threat of the Hunger Games - a national event where teenagers from each district are randomly selected to fight each other to the death. The Games are punishment for a rebellion committed by the Districts years ago. Katniss doesn't condone the Games, but as long as Prim is taken care off, that's all that matters to Katniss. 

Until Prim's name is entered for the first time in the Hunger Games drawing. Until against all odds, she's as chosen one of twenty four "tributes" to fight to the death. 

In desperation, Katniss volunteers to go in Prim's place. But how can she possibly beat the other tributes, some who have trained all their lives to win the games? She's not strong like some of the others, and she's not big; her mentor is a drunkard; and one of the other tributes just so happens to be a boy who saved her life years ago. Does Peeta really love her the way he claims, or is it all part of his strategy? Does Katniss love him back? And what does it matter when in the end, only one person will remain alive? 

REVIEW: I ruled this book out after hearing it was dystopian, and also because I thought it was another one of those ones books where the civilization is falling apart, a strict government is about to destroy everything good, and a small group of rebels is determined to fight. The Hunger Games is not that kind of book. It could be a dystopian, or a rebellion uprising, but it's not. It's about the individual struggling through a certain way of life, and this awful thing that happens to them, and how they deal with it. Katniss' confused and rough emotions are completely understandable. Even at the end with Peeta, you feel she's done the best she can with something she didn't ask for - his unconditional love. 

Part of what's so great about this story is that everyone stays true to themselves. Katniss doesn't just hand Peeta her heart in little wrapped box; he doesn't stop loving her even when she totally misunderstands his advances. And at the same time, while everyone's staying true to themselves, they also grow in some really surprising yet natural ways. For example, at the beginning of the games, Peeta tells Katniss that he hopes he stay true to himself throughout the games. And she has no idea what he means. But later on, after a fellow tribute dies, Katksa decorates the body with flowers because she refuses to let them all be reduced to a savage. It's exactly what Peeta was talking about, but Katsa learns it in her own way. I guess my point is, I love the depth of these characters, especially the minor characters. Cinna. Effie. Even Thresh. I found myself really thinking about these people and being pleased with their brief moments in the spotlight. Cinna especially I think/hope will play a larger part in book 2. 

My only issue is the ending. I felt the last chapters were...not rushed exactly...but somehow eased over. It might have been that my brain was foggy from reading at 1:30 am. But I felt the climax on the cornucopia could have been choreographed better. Then there was the sudden conflict introduced at the end, and we weren't given a chance to digest it. I know it's supposed to be a hook so that I'll want to read book 2, but the problem is that I'm not sure where to go from here, what it's supposed to mean. I closed the book feeling confused and uncertain. So. That drops my rating down from a solid 5 to 4.5 

But overall, it was definitely worth the time. From the first page on I was drawn into Katniss' world and the story. The writing is solid and meaningful, if a little less than extrodinary. Suzanne Collins has the ability to take a rather unbelievable premise and make it real, to engulf you so completely in Katniss' world that you could honestly imagine it happening in the world you know yourself.

Truly and always,

-Creative A 

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Hey -- discovered your blog through the AW Forums. I like how you picked up on the staying true to yourself theme and linked it to the flower scene. I hadn't made that connection myself. Nice, insightful review! I also feel the ending felt a little rushed, and I'm definitely looking forward to the next book.

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