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.