Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Book Review: The Hunger Games Trilogy by Suzanne Collins: "An Easy Read Which Poses Serious Questions"

Tonight. After the reaping, everyone is supposed to celebrate. And a lot of people do, out of relief that their children have been spared for another year. But at least two families will pull their shutters, lock their doors, and try to figure out how they will survive the painful weeks to come.

Series: The Hunger Games Trilogy: The Hunger Games/Catching Fire/Mockingjay
Genre: Dystopian, Science Fiction
Pages: 374/391/390
Publisher: Scholastic Press
Publication Date: Sep 14, 2008/Sep 1, 2009/Aug 24, 2010
Website: Suzanne Collins | The Hunger Games Series on GoodReads

Where I got these books: Bought the boxed set from Tiki (a local online bookstore)
How I started reading: My friends in the Harry Potter fandom were all gushing over the series. Then a friend of mine started reading it for one of her class' assignment, so I joined her.

Synopsis: In Panem, a country rising from the ruins of North America, 16-year-old Katniss Everdeen’s life was completely turned upside down when she volunteered in her sister’s place to enter a televised “game”, which would lead to either victory or death. Her decisions were now entwined with the fate of all the people who knew her, and ultimately, with Panem itself.

First off, can I just start by saying that I absolutely adore this series? These books are probably the first ones since ever to keep me up reading until 2a.m. The plot is fast-paced, with cliffhangers almost every chapter. The language is simple and adds to the pacing. The books are written in first-person POV, so we can really get in the head of Katniss and thus everything she does become much more relatable...

But the one thing that The Hunger Games Trilogy has done exceptionally well is that it can evoke raw emotions. A lot. The theme it chooses is nothing new, but especially on the first read, the actions and the intensity and the thrill and the shock-value were overwhelming. I remember, as I flipped through the pages, thoughts racing through my head (just like Katniss racing through the forest – bad comparison, I know, but just had to throw that out there!) “Would I have done the same thing?” “Would I have felt the same way?”

That said, the series is not without flaws. Some characters come across as shallow. There is a certain lack of minor details and plot twists which would probably have added a bit of depth and spiced up the books more. (Hint: If you’re finished with the series, search for “The Pearl Plot of The Hunger Games. You'll be interested.) I’m a huge fan of books with foreshadowing to future plot points and all that, and The Hunger Games Trilogy seemed to be the kind of books that would be perfect for that, so I was disappointed to find that there was none.

In addition, the qualities of the books seem to deteriorate: MILD SPOILER In the last book, Collins seem to be killing everybody just to get Katniss to the physical and mental state she wanted! I understand this is war, and it is supposed to be harsh, but it could still have resonated better with me if their deaths are described with more attention and emotions. I mean, on my first read I didn't even noticed that MY FAVORITE CHARACTER has died! END SPOILER The fast-pacing of the series, while suitable for the story it is telling, was continued to the end, creating an abrupt feel and non-closure (and spawning a lot of fanfictions.)

Still, I would highly recommend the series to – practically anyone who can understand the theme of the books! It’s an easy read, yet the questions it poses are as serious as any book can be.

Ratings: 5 stars for the whole series. 5 for The Hunger Games, 4 for Catching Fire, and 3 for Mockingjay.

Want to get the books? Find them on these websites:

The Hunger Games: Amazon | Amazon Kindle | Book DepositoryBarnes and Noble Nook
Catching Fire: Amazon | Amazon Kindle | Book DepositoryBarnes and Noble Nook
Mockingjay: Amazon | Amazon Kindle | Book DepositoryBarnes and Noble Nook

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