I almost resisted The Hunger Games trilogy, but…

Woods

Woods image courtesy of Bobby, Morguefile.

Sometimes, I hear about a book so much that I grow weary of having it mentioned at all. It seemed like every other day in the blogging world, somebody wrote a blog post about Suzanne Collins’ young adult book, The Hunger Games. Plus, there was the movie based on the book and then the movie was regularly mentioned on websites and in magazines. I got turned off by all the hype.

(WARNING!!! SPOILERS AHEAD!!!)

I confess that the premise behind the book — kids killing other kids in a televised tournament to the death — was also a turnoff. So I was determined to resist reading the book. But then a young relative of mine had to go and show me The Hunger Games movie, and it was good. The premise made more sense when you know the tournament is intended to punish the people of a conquered country for a previous uprising. (The ultimate game of “Survivor”? Except for the voting-them-off-the-island bit.) So I read the book to see how it lived up to the movie.

I like how Suzanne Collins chose to tell the story using a first-person narrative, so we readers experience the story from the heroine’s point of view. I don’t think it would create the same impression if the story was told using another narrator; we form impressions of Katniss Everdeen and the people she meets through her observations and we have a more direct link to her thoughts and character this way.

I also appreciate how strong a character Katniss is, even though she’s only 16. She’s brave, intelligent, resourceful, affectionate and talented. She had to become a mother to her family at an early age, after her father’s death in a mining accident and her mother’s intense grief which caused the mother’s withdrawal from the world for a long time.

Katniss also has the ability to see through the hypocrisy of the Capitol’s game and people. She’s got enough self-control to avoid expressing out loud what she’s feeling, but it isn’t always easy for her.

I see why The Hunger Games became so popular. It has something for everybody: danger, intrigue, romance, friendship, family affection and a touch of irony now and then. There’s even hints of Roman-style gladiator games for the history buffs.

After reading The Hunger Games, I went through¬†Catching Fire and Mockingjay. Suzanne Collins avoided the mistake that many book and movie sequels have — she added new characters to the story and expanded the plot line rather than repeating the exact same formula that created a success of the first book.¬†I constantly thought, “Okay, what happens next?” while reading the sequels.

Mockingjay was graphic, but there was a war going on, after all. There are constant plot twists that you don’t expect to keep you engaged in the action and characters.

And the two sequels are also going to be made into movies, according to the Internet Movie Database. Catching Fire is already being filmed. Mockingjay will be split into two separate movies to be released at different points in time. I guess I’ll have to go see those movies, too.

Overall, all three books are a good read. I’m hoping the movies live up to them.

Have a good weekend, people. And may the odds be ever in your favor.

About these ads

20 Comments

Filed under Writing

20 responses to “I almost resisted The Hunger Games trilogy, but…

  1. Thanks for this, I didn’t realize this was a book, an honest-to-goodness book.

  2. I read the books, but haven’t seen the movie. I am reluctant to see the movie as I have my own movie of the books in my head. I don’t want the movies spoiling that picture. The first two books of the series were the best.

    • I hope you might reconsider and see the movies someday. I thought the adaptation was excellent. If the other 3 movies are as well done as the first, they’ll be worth watching. But I understand. Some movie adaptations don’t always live up to their books.

  3. I read them on a recommendation of a friend before I’d really heard much about them. Totally hooked. I avoided reading Harry Potter for ages for the exact same reasons – too much hype. Glad you are on the bandwagon! Haha. :D

  4. Overly-hyped books are always tricky, because it’s hard to know if they’re actually decent, or just … you know, over-hyped. Luckily for we readers, Hunger Games is just plain fantastic. So glad you gave them a shot. :)

    • It amazes me how Suzanne Collins created this entire futuristic society. According to Wikipedia, she got inspired by channel surfing. She saw a reality show, then a news report about an invasion of Iraq, combined both of those, added the Greek myth of Theseus and tossed in Roman gladiator games. I noticed that the Tribute Parade in the movie has definite gladiator elements: the costume, the tributes and the arena. And Donald Sutherland is a perfect President Snow.

      • I loved everything about that movie except the shaky camera. I know it’s a stylistic effect and all, but I just couldn’t stop thinking “Why can’t the cameraman hold the damn camera steady? Did he eat too much sugar? Gah!”

  5. Fortunately I got ahold of the HG trilogy before all the hype. I heard HG as an audio tape on a long drive and nearly went bonkers with all the said tags. I probably would have eye-beeped them when reading. Have you tried the Divergent/Insurgent series? Another strong heroine in a dystopian setting.

    I beta-carotened my weight to two pounds. A lovely means of doing so, though. ;)

  6. Servetus

    I haven’t seen the films, but a friend of mine is a big YA maven and got me to read them well ahead of their huge popularity. I am not a big fan of dystopian fiction but these were so well done — they really transcended that genre for me. I so identified with Katniss.

  7. I also avoided them because of the hype – and I got busy. So left that one behind. But with a little more time now that days are shorter, maybe …I like ones with good character development and ones that make you keep wanting to read faster to see what’s going to happen next.
    Hype and books does sound like a good topic to explore – titles need to stand out in the crowd – but when it is too much detrimental?

  8. I read in an interview that Suzanne Collins wrote the original Hunger Games manuscript in past tense. Together, she and her editor made the decision to change it to present tense to make the action more immediate. Good call! I loved the first book of the trilogy but found it lost its heart along the way. Mockingjay left me cold. It was all clinical war strategy with not enough inspiring redemption.

  9. I’m the same way. I put up a resistance when people get really excited about a certain book because generally they’re a letdown. I really enjoyed this series though, particularly the first book.

  10. Triple E – I got the same feeling about the Shades of Grey trilogy. Luckily I did not pass up on The Hunger Games. In truth I got interested due to a friend of my daughter from church who came to a birthday sleepover the year before the movie came out and proclaimed repeatedly there was 432 days until the movie starts.

    I was so intrigued that I got the first book on my Kindle fire through the Amazon Lending Program. I was immediately hooked by the rich story. It may never be included with literary classics, but who cares. If I can identify with the characters and care what happens it is enough for me.

SPEAK!!!

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s