March 2, 2012

The Hunger Games

I picked up the “Hunger Games” for about 6 dollars at a Walmart around Christmas time.  I’ve never been a fan of reading something because it’s a fad, but for the price, and the fact I had heard nothing but good things about it from friends of mine, I was compelled to read it.

That’s the key word for this review.  Compelling.  “having a powerful and irresistible effect; requiring acute admiration, attention, or respect.”

I found “The Hunger Games” compelling.  Let me just say that I have a distaste for things that become fads.  However, it has to be noted that sometimes there is a good reason it becomes a fad.  Agree or not, I believe this is what has happened with the Hunger Games. Is Suzanne Collins the best author I’ve ever read?  No.   Is this the best fiction book I’ve ever read?  No.  However, Collin’s can tell a story, and tell it with suspense, there’s no question about that.  For me, this was a page turner.  I love a good story, and this is a good story.  Although I had an idea of how it would end, how Collins arrived there was, in a word, again, compelling.  She did a masterful job ending every chapter in such a way that I really wanted to know what was going to happen next. 

The three main Characters, Katniss, Peeta & Haymitch are crafted well, and it’s a proven fact that if no investment is made in character, then it doesn’t matter how good the story is, you simply won’t care.  Inner turmoil and character clashes abound in this book and thus makes this what I would call a heavy – not hard, but heavy – read.  Especially for young adult fiction, which this book classifies itself as.  Be forewarned, there is a lot of death, but that’s to be expected based on the premise of the book.  Set in what the perhaps not-so distant future,  the Capitol, or controlling city, selects one boy and one girl from the surrounding towns, or “districts” as they are called, to compete for their lives and their district.  This happens in the book’s namesake, the Hunger Games.  Where only one competitor, or “tribute” can survive.

The story keeps moving, and as I mentioned, it’s quite a ride to the end, with unexpected twists and the theme of desperation carrying you along.  I think what makes part of it so compelling, is that while the premise is crazy – it’s not THAT crazy.  Knowing the depravity of man and just how fallen this world is, the world of the “Hunger Games” is certainly within the realm of possibility.

Overall, I enjoyed reading the “Hunger Games”, and recommend it.  What didn’t I like about it?  I will only tell you if you’ve read the book, I don’t want to ruin it for anyone.

****SPOILER ALERT****  Do NOT scroll down if you have yet to read this book and plan on doing so.  I reveal the ending and don’t want to ruin it.  I’m serious.  Don’t scroll if you don’t want to know.  I won’t be held responsible for it.  I’m not kidding.  Oh no no no, you aren’t going to blame me buddy, it’s on your head if you scroll down and ruin it for yourself.

Okay, so what didn’t I like about it?  The ending.  Oy vey!  The ending!!  After this compelling story, after reading chapter after chapter as a race to the end, I get to the end and I think… WHAT?!?  Now, before I continue, I will say the ending is most likely a setup for the next book in the series, “Catching Fire”, so I’m hoping that book cleans up the mess that this book left.  After all the build-up of the idea that only 1 out of 24 can win.  After all the time built into the suspense on who will it be, Katniss or Peeta, …  the book ends with BOTH of them winning?  It makes no sense and really takes away from the rest of the book if you ask me.  Especially because of WHY they both ended up surviving.  Because if they both died, the Capitol would be embarrassed??  Really?  Since when would the Capitol care?  All the audience wanted was a show, they got one, and because the two last survivors would have rather died together than decide who would live, then the Capitol decides to develop a conscience?  I mean, this is the same Capitol that CONTROLS the districts right?  The same Capitol that FORCES the tributes to compete in the games right?  The ending just didn’t make sense after all the buildup and suspense.  The Capitol really shouldn’t have cared and changed the rule like that if they weren’t going to go through with it.  If they said only one can win, then only one should have won.
But, overall, great book. 

1 comment:

  1. Spoilers continued:
    The Capitol let them both live because of the public relations, not a conscience. The victory tour the winning tribute goes on is another tool of oppression and the good show is also for the citizens on the Capitol who the leaders and the game planners do need to impress.