So last year I read The Hunger Games. I had the second in the series at the time, I just never got around to reading it. Luckily a coworker had all three and lent me the second and third books over our three-day, New Year’s weekend. I also happen to get sick as fuck over the weekend so I had a lot of free time while I was sitting on my couch. So I finished the series.
Let me give you a quick, non-spoilery rundown. Basically the world sucks. In the center of the current set up is The Capitol. This is where all the super well off fancy people live. From there there are districts going up to District 12. Each district has their own industrial or agricultural type specialty. The Capitol controls everything. Now to the really good part. Every year The Capitol picks two kids from each district to go to the Hunger Games. They put these kids in a giant, constructed arena full of all kinds of horrible things and they have to survive. Only one is allowed to win so only one can survive. The really fucked up part is that the entire rest of this civilization is watching the whole thing on TV. Nuts, right?
Katniss Everdeen is our leading lady. She’s from District 12. Her little sister gets picked to go to the Hunger Games so Katniss volunteers herself instead.
I can’t tell you too much more without giving things away. So I’m just going to go over my thoughts on the series. First, let me just say that this premise is awesome. It’s terrible and beautiful all at the same time. It’s a unique and thought-provoking take on a dystopian world and the first book had me hooked the entire way through. The second and third books weren’t too bad either but neither of them had the fire of the first one.
These books are a fun and quick read but there were definitely weak points. I had some issues with Katniss as a character. Her development was sort of sporadic and disorganized. I found myself wondering why she was making certain decisions. Sometimes her decisions or reactions to things didn’t make a lot of sense. The same thing happened with other plot points in the story. Things would happen and it would almost seem random. I can see where the author would want to create an atmosphere of confusion at times but I thought it could have been executed better.
The other confusing aspect is the “love triangle” that exists through the entire series. It’s weak. I understand the role a love triangle plays in any story and I understand that the author wanted to convey that there were more important things in Katniss’ life than boys. I appreciate that, I really do. But if that’s the case, that plot element should be more solid and it wasn’t. The result was that I felt like both sides were sort of lacking. I couldn’t root for either guy and I couldn’t fully appreciate Katniss’ desire to be independent because neither choice had a solid foundation. The emotional connection for her relationship decisions just wasn’t there.
In the last book, I kept expecting to have that “final fight” tension happen. I kept wanting to feel total suspense and it just never happened. The events of the final book just sort of unfolded and then it ended. The ending was nice but I didn’t feel the same sense of resolution because the climax just didn’t build the way I was expecting.
Overall these are some entertaining books but look at them for what they are. They are YA fiction, which is totally fine. Lots of YA is stellar writing. Like I said, the premise is amazing and the books are good but overall I think they could have used a little more planning ahead and solid character development.
So there you go. Read and enjoy!