Sunday, March 18, 2012
The Hunger Games Trilogy, a review of sorts
Yeah, so I'm a bit late to the party, so sue me. The Hunger Games, the first book in the trilogy was first published in 2008. Though it is written for teenagers, adults can also find enjoyment in the series.
Set in the future, The Hunger Games takes place long after natural disasters, war, disease, and famine destroyed society as we know it. From the ruins of North America rose the nation of Panem, which consisted of a powerful Capitol ruling over thirteen surrounding Districts. The Districts didn’t like the Capitol’s oppressive rule very much and soon rose up together in a rebellion.
The results were disastrous. The Capitol quelled the uprising in twelve Districts and completely annihilated the thirteenth. As punishment, the Capitol created the Hunger Games. Each year, every District must send one boy and one girl between the ages of twelve to eighteen as tributes. The tributes then fight each other to the death in an arena until only one person is left. These are not normal arenas. Armed with immense technology, the Capitol creates natural terrains that are enormous and range from forests to deserts to arctic landscapes. They can control the weather, climate, and even alter the terrain while the Games are in play. All this while the Games are televised across Panem, for the entertainment of the Capitol and for the sorrow of the Districts. This is the Capitol’s ultimate tool of fear, to keep the Districts in check so they can never rise up in rebellion again. It says, “Look at what we can do. We can take your children and make them kill each other while you watch. And you can’t stop us.”
So book one opens on the day of the reaping, which is the ceremony in which the tributes are chosen for the games. Katniss Everdeen, who has been supporting her family since she was young after her father died and her mother couldn't deal with it, ends up volunteering for the games after her younger sister is chosen instead.
The book is predictable in many areas, but still has enough twists and turns to keep it exciting and edge of your seat entertainment throughout, making it a quick read as well.
Catching Fire, the second book in the series starts up not far from where The Hunger Games ended. Katniss is living in the Victors Village with her family. You'd think that she'd finally be able to relax and live the cushy life. Well that wouldn't make a good book. There are rumors of rebellion and since Katniss and Peeta won the Hunger Games in defiance they have become the faces of that rebellion. The Capitol, particularly President Snow, is not happy with them. Now Katniss has to worry about looking as in love with Peeta as possible to quiet down the rebellion, but is that what she really wants?
The major 'early' twist isn't that big of a twist if you ask me, I was expecting it just because that's what I would have done had I been the writer, but it happens much earlier than I had thought it would, probably because this is a trilogy, not a four or five book series.
Overall the second book, while not holding up to the standards of the first, it still a very good read.
The final book in the series, Mockingjay, is a major let down. It's a series of spikes and valleys rather than building up to a natural conclusion like it should. It's almost like a different writer wrote it, the characters are different, the pacing is different, and the plot unfolds differently. In all three aspects it is worse than in the previous two books.
The final chapters are some of the biggest let down of the entire series, I'm not talking about how the uprising concludes, but how characters react after the end of the uprising, it's just totally out of character from what we have come to expect.
Overall the series is still an excellent read, but primarily on the back of the first book, not so much on the sequels. At least they are all quick reads. I read them all in just a couple of hours each.