book review: the hunger games
- warning: spoilers! –
i really enjoyed this trilogy. the first two books made for fast-paced, gripping reads, and the cliffhangers at the end of each chapter kept me hooked. the writing worked well, with good turns of phrases, and it was easy to picture all the scenes. i was initially annoyed by the present tense narrative, but i got used to it quickly enough.
the third book, however, i felt wasn’t as good. the writing didn’t feel as tight and clean, and there were some areas that i thought could have used more detail and been handled with more care. for example, finnick’s death is huge! but it was dealt with in pretty much only a sentence or two. and then, katniss is sad and the plot moves on. that’s it. this was definitely an area that could have used some more development and focus. there were also a lot of extraneous characters that the reader doesn’t really care about, following katniss around – like the camera people and boggs (i think that’s his name). these characters weren’t really developed but you’re made to feel like you should care about them, but you don’t really – boggs might be a nice guy, but he was never a big player in the narrative until his graphic death scene.
katniss marrying peeta at the end also rubbed me the wrong way. it’s just an odd match and not quite convincing. i’m not a big believer of opposites attracting – differences seem to inevitably lead to ‘irreconcilable differences’ – and no two characters could have been more different than katniss and peeta. gale was a much better match for her – they’ve known each other for longer, he understands her more, and they have a lot in common, having similar personalities, interests, etc. i never understood why katniss blamed him for prim’s death. maybe i’m missing something here, but it’s not like he intended to kill prim.
and finally, even though this series was an entertaining read, with some very fine moments, it still lacked that extra dimension required for a 5-star rating. it doesn’t bring anything strikingly new to the genre; it doesn’t illuminate a crucial aspect of our lives; nor does it make us feel for our own human existence. instead, the reader is like a Capitol citizen, watching the gory spectacles unfold and sadistically delighting in the gladiatorial scenes. but after the blood is spilt, so what? you go home, and that’s it. there’s no greater meaning that makes you see life differently once you’ve come away from the pages. it is an engaging story, but nothing more.
this is a series that’s very similar to battle royale – having the same premise – but there are enough differences to make the hunger games a worthy read, rather than a dull derivative. plus, the characters and the story development in the hunger games are much more interesting and memorable. i hardly remember anything about battle royale, after having watched it several years ago – but i’m sure that i’ll remember katniss, gale, and peeta for many more years to come.
- please share your own thoughts on the hunger games below. be very interested to hear them!