Sunday, February 26, 2012

The Hunger Games

Spoiler Alert!! If you don't want to know what happens in any of the Hunger Games books I would highly recommend coming back another day. You have been warned!!

image(source – and in my mind a great review of the books)

This book review is looong overdue! I read the Hunger Games Trilogy in about a week back in early January and loved it. In fact, I could not put the books down.

I think most fans would agree that the first book The Hunger Games is by far the best book. It can easily stand alone and grabs your attention from the beginning. Collins immediately portrays Katniss as a strong individual who has been fighting diligently for her family since her father's unexpected death in the coal mines a few years prior. Collins also does a great job of setting up the disparity in District 12 and the importance of the games to a citizen from the first page. It is quite evident that Katniss will be one of the tributes from her district (each year one boy and one girl from each district compete to the death in the annual Hunger Games). The way Collins actually makes Katniss a tribute sets up her fantastic story telling skills from the beginning.

For the sake of brevity I won't outline the entire novel or trilogy. I will say that I think Collins does a great job of showing how different the games appear to a tribute vs. a citizen vs. a victor. As I began each section I was amazed how Collins continued to develop the characters and their settings. I don't think I have ever been as shocked as I have been when reading this book. I don't know why but I found each death to be very thought-provoking. Collins do not let her characters die without some sort of statement or point to develop another character.

As for the second and third book, I found each one was weaker than the last. In the second book, Katniss still has some strength to her, but I found this completely dissolves by the third book. As many others have said, the strongest thing Katniss does in the final book is kill Coin. My favorite comment about the third book is from Lunarbovine saying once you get through book one and two, you might as well read the third to find out what happens.

Regardless the world Collins creates is fantastic! I found Collins portrayal of the post-apocalyptic United Sates interesting. As Collins gave hints about each of the 12 districts controlled by the Capitol, I loved trying to place the current region with the one Collins created. I think this fan did a great job of placing each district.

I also want to say a few things about a few characters. The book opens highlighting the friendship between Katniss and Gale, her hunting partner. From the first book, I always assumed Gale was a big brother type. Maybe I am naive, but I really liked the platonic relationship they had and did not really like how the movie and later books play up the romantic triangle. I understand that Katniss becomes conflicted about her feelings while in the arena, but was surprised by how much the media has played up this relationship pre-movie. I guess I never really saw Gale as a romantic threat until the second book and even then I feel like she was destined to be with Peeta.


As for Katniss's family, from the beginning Primrose (Prim) is depicted as an innocent little girl and her mother as weak. When Katniss's father died, Katniss had to keep the family going while her mother retreated into her self. While Katniss does acknowledge her mother's knowledge of healing power later in the trilogy, it is obvious that she has little respect for her mom. As the books progress, Katniss also acknowledges her sister's growth, maturity and age, as Prim becomes the head of their household demanding Katniss to let her into what she is going through. Unfortunately, I feel Katniss never really accepts her sisters maturity. Katniss instead continues to harp on the fact that Primrose was once so innocent even to her death.

I know many people had a problem with Prim's death so close to the end of the war. Yes, I found it ironic, but I also saw it as almost necessary. Collins never leads us on to believe that we would get a fairy tale, and I think in Katniss's world, it would be fairy tale ending if Prim alive and well.

As for the epilogue, I was genuinely curious what would happened to the characters and liked that Collins included both the positive and negative of the character's life post war. Normally, I am not a fan of epilogues, in fact I hated the Harry Potter epilogue because I found it way too positive and happy ending.

Wow, I think that details the main points I wanted to hit. The last characters that I think is worth including is of course, Peeta. I think Peeta and Katniss were destined to be together from the moment they were both selected to be in the games. This became evident to me while they were in the area together fighting and as they began comforting each other on their way back to District 12 (regardless of Katniss's feelings at the time).


I know there are many many Hunger Games reviews out there. If you have written one, link it up so I can see what you thought or please comment below.