So, I did it. I finished The Hunger Games Trilogy by Suzanne Collins. It’s one of the few times I’ve finished a best selling series relatively on time.
I decided to read The Hunger Games in anticipation for the movie, knowing I wouldn’t be able to read the book if I’d seen the movie first so I willed myself to get through it quickly.
It was a unique idea, not the post-apocolyptic dystopia of course, but the idea that the death of youth was simultaneously a punishment and entertainment, not necessarily original, but unique none the less. The time it took for the book to actually get to the arena was a little bit drawn out. A lot of it just felt like filler to make the book longer. But it ended leaving the reader anticipating more. President Snow became a villain you love to hate.
As I moved on to Catching Fire I had my doubts, because sequels are usually the explanation book, less action more detail. I found myself thinking constantly that I was reading a mesh of A Brave New World with the Capitol as the civilized world and the districts as the god-fearing savage lands, only the “god” they feared was really just the Capitol, and 1984. Only, these too combined were slightly dumbed down and presented in shiny packaging for youth with a relatable character to rally around. I also found Katniss’s character remarkable inconsistent. I realize that she was supposed to be unstable, but she kept jumping back and forth from stable to unstable, to dysfunctional, to highly functional, which I found to be very unrealistic and forced. Either she’s traumatized or she’s handling it like a pro, pick on would you Collins?
And finally, after finishing Mockingjay literally moments ago, I found that the inconsistency of Katniss began to reflect in Gale as well. Gale values life, but then he doesn’t. Over and over. Katniss, although more stable during battle at the end seems to clear up just in to time make a world-altering decision and then retreats back into her traumatized state… convenient. You could argue that Collins kept us up to date on what was going on inside Katniss, but I didn’t feel like her thoughts were enough to motivate the actions that followed. But that could just be me… apparently a lot of people loved the trilogy.
If you disregard these discrepancies then The Hunger Games Trilogy will be a lovely escape into a world far worse than your own.
Apparently this summer I’m delving into the dystopia genre pretty hard. I’m going to attempt The Shadow Children series by Margaret Peterson Haddix. I read the first as a seventh grader for school, but I remember the story always seemed just a little more than I could understand so here I am venturing back into this broken society as an adult, or whatever version of an adult I may represent at this point.