In the past week and a half there were many times when I was reading when I should have been doing homework, the reason being Suzanne Collins’ trilogy is a set of very addictive books. The Hunger Games is HUGE, as I’m sure you’ve noticed and even though they’re considered young adult books they’re very enjoyable to read. I don’t recall highlighting a word of my kindle to bring up a definition very often (if ever for these books) so while I wouldn’t really consider the quality of the books as literature to be very high the story is excellent and certainly makes up for it. All three books are very enjoyable reads and are quick but plan out when you’re going to start reading them because you might just find yourself unable to peel your eyes away from the pages until you’re finished.
So without further ado, here’s my review:
The Hunger Games (book 1)
I enjoyed this book the most out of the three. It reminded me a lot of the dystopian world of the Giver and I loved it. The basis of the story in the first book was sound and well thought out. Character were kind of meh but the plot made up for it in most cases. I was kind of disappointed that I was able to guess so easily the plot twist when it was announced there could be a district pair of victors for the 74th Hunger Games (Katniss and Peeta) but then I was very surprised when the rules were changed again so it all evened out. The moment Katniss had with berries seemed to me like an unreasonable thing for her character to do even if she had to consider what the rest of her district would do to her if she killed Peeta.
This is probably an incredibly sexist thing to say, but Katniss struck me as being a total bitch who had some kindhearted moments. That being said if she was perfect she wouldn’t have been anywhere near as entertaining a character. I did liked the way Katniss was an archer/hunter. The only other book I can recall recently having read with a female main character was Rhapsody for whom I have much more respect. Gale was the character I felt that I associated the most with myself and that could be why I viewed him in the most favorable light. Peeta seemed pretty whiny but I feel bad for him since he was dealing with Katniss the whole time. Cinna was easily my favorite character and continued to be through the second book. Surprisingly I grew to like Haymitch and continued to like him for the most part through the next two books. President Snow was a very hate-able character but I find it odd that nearly everybody else in the capitol was portrayed as being naive and not thinking about the situation with the districts. Then again, constant propaganda can have astounding effects on populations lacking diversity and scarcity like the capitol population.
Some last thoughts – the names in the book were wonderfully original and I love the way the styles of the people in the capitol were described. For some reason the descriptions of most of the costumes seemed Matrix Reloaded-esque to me with all the extravagant costumes. I liked the term muttation for the animals designed by the capitol to fight but I doubt they would ever be a very effective means of control the rebelling districts.
I didn’t enjoy the second book as much as the first because a lot of the plot seemed forced and predictable to me. The clock face of the arena wasn’t a very original idea and the fact that Katniss learned from Peeta who learned from Beete about how to detect the forcefield. I did not predict the existence of district 13 in advance or the organized plot to escape the arena but neither surprised me so much.
Cinna’s death right before Katniss entered the arena sucked since he was my favorite character but it was pretty effective in generating hate for Snow. I really disliked Finnick at first but he grew on me to become a replacement favorite character. This is really random but the section of the arena clock face in which the jabberjays imitated Prim, etc. didn’t really seem that bad compared to the others sections. Overall, the clock was not very cool in my opinion. The rescue also seemed incredibly botched to me. The fact that Peeta and some of the other victors were not saved seemed pretty forced. I think the gamemaker could have saved whoever he wanted and made a more effective plan.
I want to say first off that this book really disappointed me. I hated the way that Prim was killed by the bombs that Gale helped design. I hated the ending in which Katniss decided to shoot President Coin instead of President Snow and in a lot of ways it neutralized my hate of President Snow that had persisted since the first book. Finally, I hated the fact that the epilogue had Katniss marrying Peeta and Gale just disappearing off into the other districts to live his life apart from both of them.
The capitol defense system designed like an arena is an incredibly inefficient way to defend anything and seemed like a forced point of the plot. Muttations are cool in the actual hunger games competition but like I said before are not very useful – the even were killing the capitol peacekeepers. The fact that President Snow didn’t leave the capitol was also unrealistic and made him seem a lot less evil in the end.
I don’t really have much else to say about this book. I wish it had ended differently.