Thursday, June 7, 2012

Hunger Games Left Me Utterly Unsatisfied

I starting reading the series for book club about a month ago, but saw the movie at midnight with a friend because I need something to replace Potter and Rings.  This was not a great choice. 

The first book is written beautifully, the struggle for Katniss to survive in the brutal Hunger Games is very compelling.  Much like battle-dome, the idea is that twenty four kids enter; only one emerges.  Of course, nothing goes according to plan and our heroine has a painful parting before whittling down the opponents to two.

The second book starts off where the first left off, the two kids from Katniss’ area survive and are forced to enter another Hunger Games as part of a 75th anniversary celebration.  In this round of the Hunger Games, Katniss is befriended by unlikely sources, saved again and again by other victors.  As their time in the Games continue, the victors work together to fight the way the Games are set up, instead of trying to kill one another.  They manage to set up a trap, breaking out of the Games and being whisked away.

Unfortunately, as we see in the third and final book, Katniss was saved, but Peeta was captured by the Capitol.  The third book follows the progression of the Rebel attempt to overthrow the Capitol.  The first-person perspective greatly hampers the story here, as the reader only sees and hears what Katniss herself is privy to, making for a disjointed story.  As she makes her way through various battle zones, she is faced with the death of many of her friends and two love interests, Gale and Peeta.  The final few chapters are surreal and I honestly thought she was dreaming through it.

Sadly she was not imagining it.  What starts off as a very endearing series ends in a triumphant sigh.  Suzanne Collins had the chance to make a meaningful ending, and while she does kill of some endearing characters, the ultimate mental state of Katniss makes her an unsympathetic character.  She herself muses about her indifference for both Peeta and Gale, who are hopelessly in love with her.  Not unlike the oft-maligned Twilight series, Katniss doesn’t want to hurt either of their feelings, but uses them for her own gain.

As the second book progressed, I found my disdain for Katniss to increase, she became an insufferable gnat in what would otherwise be an amazing story.  I think my desire to have Potter or Rings replaced was overstated when I picked this book up.  I’d like to think that the underlying themes of loyalty and friendship, like Potter or Rings, come out in this book, but they don’t.  The story is far darker than I expected despite the obvious backdrop.  I was disappointed with the ending and now wish I hadn’t bothered reading the second or third books.

1 comment:

  1. I was afraid of that - there are very few sequels that are the equal of the original especially in movies but authors and directors can not resist making them. It is famous - go back the Planet of the Apes. the first was fun if not great cinema but the others were almost painful to watch and the trend continues.
    There are a few exceptions - but they are primarily from works written as trilogies not sequels - isn't quite the same when you break the book up into three or sometimes even more parts to keep it from being to long or to maintain story integrity.
    the sequels that become almost painful to read or watch are often made afterwards in an effort to make money from the success of the original. I don't know if that was the case with Hunger Games or not