Saturday, October 24, 2009

The Hunger Games

I know I promised you a review of The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins. You're on the edge of your seat, just waiting for the final word from NGS on this book, I just know it.

First of all, it's a young adult book. So if you're looking for serious literature, this isn't it. While Bestest Friend and I find that there's nothing wrong with folks in their 30s reading novels written with a targeted audience of fifteen year old children in mind, some people apparently think there is something wrong with it. Those people are weird.

Warning: Some plot spoilers appear here.

Anyway, this book is set in a futuristic time in which North America has been divided into 13 districts. The government keeps tight reins on the food distribution in this world and every year two chosen adolescents from each district, one male and one female, are sent to participate in the Hunger Games. These twenty-four "lucky" individuals are set loose in an arena with a bunch of different landscapes and the one who is left standing at the end, alive, is the winner. The winner gets food for the rest of their life.

And that's the best part of the book. The setting and the plot rule the day. It's an interesting idea and the description of the world kept me riveted, constantly asking more questions. How does the class system work? How are the peacekeepers chosen? How do the different districts allocate food? What happens to orphans in this world? Can people work themselves up from a lower class to a higher class? (And always, in the back of my head, how did the world get like this? Was there a war? A famine? An awesome military coup?)

The characters are definitely not the best part of the book. Maybe it's because the main character that we follow is an adolescent girl who acts like an adolescent girl, but I really can't stand her and I am not sympathetic towards her at all. At one point, I was actually thinking, well, if they kill her off in this scene, can we follow this other character who is much more intriguing? Sadly, that didn't happen and I was left with yet another intriguing aspect of the book with no follow through.

Also, my least favorite book in the Harry Potter series is Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix because Harry is such a freaking jerk in that book. I know Rowling was just representing the adolescent angst of a 15/16 year old boy, but really? No. I started to hate Harry a little in that book and I'm surprised he even had friends left after all his bullshit. So maybe I just don't like tortured adolescents, even if they have something to be tortured about.

The book was okay, but I really felt good about walking away from it frequently. I could have finished it in a matter of a couple of hours, but instead it took me the better part of a week (oh, man, she's still alive - how about we kill her and follow Rue?). There's a sequel and I'm pretty sure the boy ordered it from the library and I'm pretty sure I'll read it, mostly because I want to know the answers to some of the above questions, but I'm glad we ordered it from the library and didn't buy it. It's not worth the space on my bookshelf.

Up next: Stiff by Mary Roach. Why did I never know about this hilarious book before now?

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for the review. It does sound like a frustrating read.

    I like reading 'young adult' books: Robin McKinley, the Dicey series by Cynthia Voigt, HP of course.

    I just finished the third of The Bridei Chronicles by Juliet Marillier. They aren't specifically for young adults, but combine history and fantasy in telling some of the history of Scotland in the 6th century. Her characters are wonderfully developed and written.


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