Sunday, May 15

The Hunger Games Phenomenon

Yes, I finally read The Hunger Games trilogy. I read the first one for my Adolescent Reading class, and frantically read the other two, Catching Fire and Mockingjay during my whirlwind of a semester.

From the School Library Journal-

"In a not-too-distant future, the United States of America has collapsed, weakened by drought, fire, famine, and war, to be replaced by Panem, a country divided into the Capitol and 12 districts. Each year, two young representatives from each district are selected by lottery to participate in The Hunger Games. Part entertainment, part brutal intimidation of the subjugated districts, the televised games are broadcasted throughout Panem as the 24 participants are forced to eliminate their competitors, literally, with all citizens required to watch. When 16-year-old Katniss's young sister, Prim, is selected as the mining district's female representative, Katniss volunteers to take her place. She and her male counterpart, Peeta, the son of the town baker who seems to have all the fighting skills of a lump of bread dough, will be pitted against bigger, stronger representatives who have trained for this their whole lives."

Honestly, I wish that I had had the time to write this post directly after reading the first book because I initially compared this series to Harry Potter. Then after reading the second and third books, I became thoroughly disappointed. The Hunger Games started off with strong characters and an exciting plot. Suzanne Collins created a dismal but endlessly fascinating world of Panem that made readers want to learn more and more about the brutal Hunger Games. This society reflects our own world-gone-bad: the obsession with appearances, the overload of reality TV in our lives (this actually reminded me of life vs. death version of Survivor), and the presence of war. This makes the story believable, even though it is a science fiction setting. Katniss is a powerful protagonist who excels at everything, yet suffers emotionally, though she does not realize it. Her determination and strength made her highly relatable. I devoured this first book of the series, and it was one of the best teen novels that I had read in a while.

I wish that I had just stopped there. But of course, I was super anxious to discover what happened next, so I read the second and third books. The disappointment that followed these reads slightly tainted my enjoyment of the first one. I felt that The Hunger Games began to become repetitive, that the Katniss-Peeta-Gale love triangle annoyingly mirrored that of Twilight, and that Katniss's indecisiveness and youthful ignorance began to bug. In the third book, when we began to lose characters and enter even more tragic situations, I found myself not sad or even phased by these depressing events. I felt as if I did NOT know these characters. And that is a problem. It could not even compete with the pure sorrow following Rue's demise. So, Suzanne, I think you should have let it be- The Hunger Games would have been better as just one book, but that's just my opinion. I know a lot of people that enjoyed all three, so one would have to try them out to see.

And of course, they are making a movie. Errr... Katniss is blonde. Not okay. Click here to see the cast. This article explains their casting choices, and I have to say, I will definitely be seeing this in theatres in 2012!

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