The Hunger Games Trilogy by Suzanne Collins

i do not own this imageI had to find out why this series received such massive fame. I don’t think I did…

The Hunger Games

We are introduced to a sulky Katniss Everdeen. She has terrible inner monologue — it felt to me as if she was stating the obvious, as if Collins wanted to clarify the readers understood what just happened. Katniss slowly grows into a better developed and more likable character, but I never connected with her or saw her as a role model.

I enjoyed the nature of the novel. I barely have any criticism for the plot. Read it in three days, kept turning the pages. Collins does a good job of ending her chapters at a cliffhanger so that the reader has to keep on pushing through chapters. So yeah, great read in terms of plot. Although, I do have some issues with the way it is written.

Suzanne Collins seems to underestimate her readers’ ability to pay attention to the story. As soon as she introduces something interesting or important, she takes it away after a paragraph. I kept thinking, “Elaborate on this, please!” but she kept introducing and snatching away. For example, when Katniss volunteers as tribute, I expected Collins to dwell on that a little bit to show its significance. Instead, this event is a mere segue, not a testament to Katniss’s morale.

The build up of relationships was too quick. Katniss bonded with Rue a little too fast, and the latter was killed off way too quickly for Katniss (or me!) to have the expected reaction [of grief]. The relationship with Peeta also developed at an amplified pace. I get that this is supposed to be a romantic subplot, but I’d prefer some sophistication.

The stars are for plot, guys.

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Catching Fire

This felt like the first book rewritten.

When I finished the first instalment, I vocalized my confusion about what the next book would be about because The Hunger Games left me with a sense of completion.

This book was just as enjoyable as the first one with its whirlwind of action, especially towards the end. The beginning was slow, however, and made a weak attempt at establishing a love triangle between Katniss, Peeta and Gale. The overplayed love triangle fails because it cannot exist if Katniss does not reciprocate feelings for either of the boys. And she doesn’t. She even says that she has practically no idea what she feels. (But of course, she continues toying with Peeta/Gale, Peeta still faithfully loves her, and Gale is suddenly very assertive about his feelings. Humbug.)

The the Quarter Quell is introduced. At first, I felt like that’s a really cheap trick to conjure up some plot where plot was scarce. Also, too close to The Hunger Games, as mentioned above. I had to swallow that pill and get into the arena. It was fun to read because Collins is good at fast-paced action, but I still felt a little cheated. During the Quarter Quell, Collins keeps throwing in deus ex machina solutions which only reveals poor plot structure…

On the positive side in this stream of negativity: we get some great new characters and a nice twist at the end.

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Mockingjay

Not that impressive and very disappointing towards the end.

Deus ex machina. Again. This tells me that Suzanne Collins just doesn’t know how to resolve a conflict she’s built up. In Mockingjay there is barely any actions, especially compared to its two predecessors. Even when there is action, we are not in it, we are told of it because Katniss it constantly on the sidelines, knocked out, drugged, and practically spends three quarters of the novel in a sickbed.

Katniss agrees to be the Mockingjay, but she doesn’t care for it at all. She is involved in shooting promos (whilst nursing her physical and mental injuries). In fact, that is all she does. By choice or not, in this book Katniss is more of a piece in someone else’s games than in the first two. The bold and rebellious girl is gone and is replaced by a whiny and gloomy person. Reading becomes torture when your protagonist isn’t interested in their own story.

I really didn’t like the end. Prim’s death produced no effect on me, beyond surprise. That was partially due to Katniss’s reaction, which was not believable. For someone who volunteered to be a tribute instead of her sister, Katniss doesn’t seem to grieve that much. She just goes back to ordinary sulkiness.
Everything spirals downwards after she shoots Coin. When the event happened, I was excited and curious about what would happen next. I brainstormed all these possibilities, and then … Collins seemed to know know how to resolve this conflict (again!), so she just sent Katniss away. The reader is left not knowing what happened to the Capitol or Panem, and is forced into Katniss’s weak mind.

The epilogue bewildered me because Katniss becomes an empty shell. She talks about her children in a very distant manner. It seems as if she didn’t choose to have them. “…but Peeta wanted them so badly.” Yuck. Not good enough. And when you’d think she should be hopeful for the future which she somehow helped create, she is still this bleak, depressed character. Perhaps Collins wanted it to be “realistic”, but what is the point of writing a dystopian novel where the protagonist gives up? Others lost their loved ones but managed to get on with life. I thought dystopias where about grit, about encouraging people to rise up and be strong.

2-stars
These conjoined reviews felt like one long rant. I enjoyed reading the first two books, honestly. But on closer analysis, this is what comes up. The Hunger Games are all about entertainment, but I was looking for something more.

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