It’s Monday! What are you reading?

Cover of the novel, showing the title in white text on a black and grey background, above a depiction of a gold pin featuring a bird in flight, its wings spread and an arrow clasped in its beak.

It was a long, difficult week.  But not nearly as difficult as Katniss Everdeen’s time in the Hunger Games!

This week I reread Suzanne Collins’ The Hunger Games.  In the dystopian world 16-year-old Katniss lives in, what little hope can barely exist is annually stomped out by the steel-toed boot of the Capitol.  For almost 3/4 of a century, the Capitol has held a Roman-coliseum-style fight to the death between two members (one female and one male) of all 12 ‘districts’.  In an overwhelming act of selflessness, Katniss volunteers to take her younger sister’s place in this bloody brawl.  During her time in the Hunger Games Katinss plays to her strengths and comes out of the experience scarred, but wiser and even stronger than before… a frightening prospect for the Capitol.

I really enjoyed this book, but I do find that I agree with Shannon Hale in her blog post “The young adult book tropes that ate the world.”  She has it pegged when she wrote: “Enough love triangles. Enough falling in love with one person and then another. Enough characters falling in love instantly. Enough characters who can’t figure out what they want. Enough characters who discover they (or their crush) are changing, turning/can turn into a creature both more incredible and horrible than they ever imagined. Enough protagonist complaining/whining about his/her life (though let’s be honest, this criticism is usually directed at the “her” only). Enough conveniently absent parents so the protagonist can be free to have an adventure. Enough what we’ve already seen a hundred times.”

Although I think The Hunger Games is a great story, it does have some of the above mentioned issues.  I also felt as though parts of it were ‘corny’ and pandered to the young readers angst.  I know this is a fictitious story, but would the world reader really deal as directly with a 16-year-old troublemaker throughout the series as President Snow does in the book?  Wouldn’t he realistically delegate that task to someone else?  But, as I’m sure you’re screaming at me right now, then we would have no story!!

Overall, I would give The Hunger Games 4 out of 5 stars.  It’s engaging and entertaining, provocative and interesting.

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2 thoughts on “It’s Monday! What are you reading?

  1. I liked The Hunger Games as well, but my biggest gripe was also the love trianlge. Even though I have never read the books or seen the movies, I know the concept was the basis for the Twilight series and some other series. With the Hunger Games, it was extremely tacky, I mean, it was literally so obvious Collins tacked it on at the end of the novel. It went well against Katniss’s character; I know she didn’t want the love triangle at first, but Katniss, if she was true to her character, would have told Peeta to grow some during that train scene and left any potential for a love triangle in the dust. It’s a dystopian novel with so much killing, suffering, and oppression. The fact the rest of the series talks more about her love interests than those things is pretty ridiculous.

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    • “It’s a dystopian novel with so much killing, suffering, and oppression. The fact the rest of the series talks more about her love interests than those things is pretty ridiculous.” I couldn’t have said it any better! You’re in the middle — literally in the middle! — of a war, but you’re instead going to focus on your romance issues? Either Katniss is unrealistic or completely self-centered.

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