When I looked over my performance based on the Amazon’s 100 Books to Read Before You Die, I noticed one easy way to knock three titles from the list was to read the Hunger Games series. I think Amazon messed up by making each book a separate entry, but you know, whatever.
The Hunger Games
Author: Suzanne Collins
I have never read this series because I’ve always found the premise of televised child murder to be an unlikely future for pretty much any current society, much less the future of America. I guess other people would disagree with me, but that’s the way my dice rolled.
Even so, it’s critically acclaimed, there are movies (which I haven’t seen), and I suppose it’s relevant to a modern audience. Let’s see what’s inside!
I will admit that this was a fun read. I’m not sure I liked the juxtaposition of clearly YA-characters beside brutally murdered 12-year-olds, but I can also see myself finding the book edgy and “real” if I were a teen. So it probably fits a YA audience well, but parents might want to think about letting an advanced 9 year old read it without guidance or discussion.
Anyway, I thought the pacing was excellent. The chapters left me hanging perfectly such that I wanted to keep going and find out what happened. I thought Katniss’s struggles were compelling, even if naggingly contrived.
I even think the touches of romance were well done. While I will say more in the spoilers, just know for now that I am VERY picky about my romance in books.
Lastly, my beefs with the book. I still think the premise is crazy, but if I could put that behind me, it was worth the time I spent reading. Collins also used a lot of weird word choices repeatedly, like ‘roast,’ and I kept getting drawn out of the immersion because of this. Finally, some of the plot points felt contrived, and the final solution felt too easy.
4/5 Discoball Snowcones
I’m going to shock some of you: I thought the romance subplot in this book was good.
Honestly, I kind of want to know how things go with Katniss and Gale when she gets back home. Her experience with Peeta was harrowing, and now they share a bond which can’t be simulated otherwise. Katniss pretended to love Peeta in order to eke gifts from sponsors and viewers, so the entire nation thinks they’re in love, further complicating matters. However, Gale has much more history with Katniss, and he’s shown a long-term devotion. I actually liked this subplot, which is very unusual for me.
Lastly, I’d like to complain about the contrivance concerning the ‘rule change.’ During the middle of the games, the announcer declared 2 people could win the Hunger Games if they were from the same district. Then, right at the end, when Katniss and Peeta had won, they revoked this rule change. Katniss and Peeta decided to commit suicide simultaneously.
Honestly, what did the game makers expect? Force the competitors to work together, then suddenly pull the rug out from under them? I felt like this change right at the end was such fake BS, invented just so Katniss could ‘insult’ the capitol.
Still, overall, I’d say my complaints are weak sauce. I definitely intend to finish this series, now.
I’m reading the second book in this series, Catching Fire.