The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins
Katniss Everdeen is a terrific creation, although I won’t call her a hero (because of what she does throughout the book), just a survivor.
Spoiler alert! It doesn’t take a genius to figure out pretty early on that she is going to win the competition i.e. first person perspective means she is the only one who can take the story to its eventual conclusion.
The narrative is stomach-churning at times, the idea of these children being forced to hunt and kill each other, although perhaps it is a realistic narrative – this must be what happens when brainwashing and submission is so thorough that rebellion never even occurs to any of the competitors.
The romance aspect of the story bothered me. Just a touch too much Mills & Boon, especially for a pair of 16 year olds. The ending wasn’t really an ending, just the set up to the next book, but I suppose it did its job as I’m interested to know what happens next.
The Hunger Games competitors must be at least 12 years old and I think that is the youngest anyone should be reading this book – the themes are just too much for anyone younger.
*First published on Goodreads 5 January 2013
Catching Fire by Suzanne Collins
This book would make no sense if you haven’t read The Hunger Games. Just putting that out there right from the start.
The Hunger Games set up a terrifically dystopian society and I was eager to see where it went after Katniss and Peeta won as dual victors but when they were chosen to go back into the Hunger Games competition, I thought, ‘Not again!’ We’ve been there, seen that already. And I think it was fairly obvious – to everyone but Katniss and Peeta apparently – that there was something else going on behind the scenes. That is part of the problem with this book. So much is going on behind the scenes.
Again the romance stuff bothered me, as it did in The Hunger Games, and again it seem almost Mills and Boonish (fake pregnancy and everything), but I know of other readers who were fascinated by that aspect of the story. Perhaps it only bothers me because it seems to be leading to an obvious conclusion. I will have to finish reading the trilogy to find out if I’m right or not.
It’s a decent follow up but not as good as the original, mostly because so much of it seemed like a repeat.
*First published on Goodreads 7 January 2013
Mockingjay by Suzanne Collins
After I finished reading the whole series, I realised that Katniss Everdeen is not a hero but an anti-hero.
I enjoyed the first book the most and this book the least, probably because once it became all about the politics and not about one girl’s attempts at survival, it seemed very muddled and confused. I’m not sure the author really understood that when you weave all these complexities into the storyline, the reader expects for them to make sense and be concluded by the end of the story, which they weren’t. The simplicity and the innocence of the first book is long gone by the third instalment.
Katniss wanders around for a lot of this story drugged or injured or not doing very much and there are few characters you truly genuinely like.
I understand that war often feels like it is meaningless destruction and that for those of us who live in the real world it is a valuable lesson to learn, but that doesn’t mean it makes for great drama. The plot needed some more thought.
*First published on Goodreads 14 January 2013