Sunday, February 13, 2011

The Hunger Games (trilogy)

 by Suzanne Collins

The Hunger Games: Book 1Catching Fire (The Second Book of the Hunger Games)    Mockingjay (The Final Book of The Hunger Games) 

I've come to two conclusions. The first is that I don't really see a need to write three separate reviews on this series because, well, I just don't. The second is that Suzanne Collins kicks Stephenie Meyer's ass. I may (or may not) have been on a Young Adult kick of late, so I think that gives me full authority to make this claim. What can I say, I'm reliving my youth. But for as much as I enjoyed the Twilight series, The Hunger Games trilogy betters Edward and Bella in so many ways. Collins' writing is intelligent and inspired. Meyer is a proofreader's worst nightmare. While Meyer told each account to death, making sections drag on entirely too long, Collins gets to the point quickly and that point is spot-on.

I must admit that when I first learned of these books, I wasn't the least bit intrigued by the subject. Plus, while I was reading and describing the story line to others, I would end up explaining that the books are way better than the plot sounds. I think I felt the same way about Water for Elephants (although circus freaks and fights to the death never live in the same world) and yet it ended up earning a spot on my favorites list. To say that I was wrong would be a huge understatement. I was immediately wrapped up in the lives of Katniss, her family, Peeta and Gale. I was stressed out at points and even became misty a few times. The character development was superb, and unlike Bella, the whiny martyr who I ended up wanting to punch, Katniss is a superstar.

I'm sure by now everyone who is remotely interested in reading The Hunger Games knows the premise. But in a nutshell, Panem is a postapocalyptic United States consisting of 12 districts. Every year the Capitol of these districts, in order to keep its citizens complacent, hosts a Hunger Games in which one boy and one girl from each district is pitted against one another in a fight to the death. Only one child survives. These victors, past and present, are rewarded by living slightly less difficult lives than before their participation in the Games. Throughout the course of the trilogy, the reader meets several past tributes and comes to find how truly effected the Games made these survivors. And while Katniss at heart is cold-blooded and calculated, you still find yourself rooting for her.

After the last lines of The Hunger Games and Catching Fire, I absolutely couldn't wait to start the next book. Collins has a way with cliffhangers. And in the end, the series wraps up nicely. Not in the tied-in-a-pretty-bow way that I hate, but with a definite, satisfying end. In my opinion, there is only one part that I wish she would have paid a little more attention to. But by no means did this detail ruin the books for me. The finale had a poignancy that made it all worth it.

"Because something is significantly wrong with a creature that sacrifices its children's lives to settle its differences. You can spin it any way you like. Snow thought the Hunger Games were an efficient means of control... But in the end, who does it benefit? No one. The truth is, it benefits no one to live in a world where these things happen."

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