Log in

No account? Create an account

Previous Entry | Next Entry

The Hunger Games: Official Review Style

There. Done. Good riddance.

Why is this book popular? It is so ordinary. It is so not special or particularly captivating in any way. It was actually less violent than I thought -- the worst thing for me was the mention of a previous year in which contestants had to bludgeon each other to death with spiked maces; that was some unsettling imagery -- but the boredom almost made it worse. I'm not even angry at the plot of the book itself* so much as just, why is everyone wasting their money on this and proclaiming it one of the best YA novels of the year/all time?? It is so far away from being worthy of critical or popular acclaim that truly, teaching Catcher in the Rye makes more sense to me.

(*well, I am, or at least the author; I'm kinda feeling about her the way people feel about Stephenie Meyer unleashing her work upon the world, except I have never actually been able to churn up legitimate contempt for Twilight in my heart)

The whole reading experience was just a long slog of, "Is it over yet? Is it over now? Will it be over soon? Oh my God, this is some pointless storytelling right here." What probably didn't help was me hating Katniss/Peeta. Going in, I was pretty neutral but assumed I would like that pairing best, since I thought they were canon. But SORRY, I just wanted her to go home and find Gale, not be manipulated into gross romance with this dude. Whom I keep thinking of, for some reason, as lumpy, lumbering, pathetic, and kind of a milksop? I read a similar description of him beforehand, but I honestly thought, naw, clearly this person is just cynical, he will totally turn out to be the kind of sweet character I inevitably adore! Wrong. Total wimp. You would think the whole lovelorn angle, at least, would improve my mood, but I just kept thinking his lifelong obsession with her was weird and not particularly flattering.

(Again, weirdly, in a way I do not feel about Edward Cullen -- at least in theory, not having yet read Twilight).

You would also think the whole NEARLY FATAL, SEVERAL TIMES OVER injury & wound nursing would get to me, if nothing else. Not even a flicker. Surely there is no clearer proof of its mediocrity.

And just. Overall. There was basically nothing here that correlated with my interests. Gale and Rue were the most interesting people in it. Unsurprisingly, I feel no pull at all to read the other books.
[Edit: Oh, hell, is Kat/Gale canon later? NO. I AM NOT READING ENTIRE (GODAWFUL) BOOKS FOR PATHETIC SCRAPS OF MAYBE-ROMANCE. And...wtf, (just cheated and looked up triangle resolution for the end of Mockingjay; it's not like I have any spoiler fears!), that just sounds like the worst ending ever. Definitely not reading entire books for pathetic scraps of maybe-romance.]


( 10 comments — Leave a comment )
Feb. 21st, 2011 11:09 pm (UTC)
When I saw you had a cut for Mockingjay spoilers, I was wondering how you got through all three books if you didn't like the first. But now I get it.

I do like the books, but yeah, Peeta is, as he is later dubbed, a "victor by chance", and doesn't really do much in the first games. And yeah, the last book is not happy at all (but I did like it for that - made it feel more in line with what was going on)
Feb. 22nd, 2011 12:18 am (UTC)
Whoops - there, I edited the cut to make it a little clearer. :)

My problem with Peeta is the same one that extends to most of the characters, he doesn't feel particularly developed (however hard the author tries to give him deep and meaningful Feelings), and so he just seems to go through the motions like a stick puppet.
Feb. 22nd, 2011 12:30 am (UTC)
I agree, he isn't very well developed. It's part of the problem with a first person narrator. You get more development in later books, but if you weren't keen on this one, I wouldn't recommend the others.

And yeah, he definitely pours on the feelings in THG. I think it's supposed to be a bit much, since it clearly overwhelms Katniss. Plus, it's also game strategy.

Sort of a weird aside...I haven't read the books in a while, but I follow along at markreads.org, and was reminded how Peeta had been the one to go back and "finish off" that one girl near the start of the games. I had completely forgotten about it until Mark posted about the chapter and it really disturbed me, considering how saintly we were supposed to see him. And who knows what he did at the cornucopia to get the careers to allow him to go with them (I imagine he would have had to kill someone there as well) It's never discussed, which is partly due to the way the series is narrated, but it also bugs me that it's never addressed.
Feb. 22nd, 2011 01:36 pm (UTC)
Re: the aside -- oh, wow, I didn't even register those things. I am...so much more disturbed now. Apparently the impact of the violence in this book settles in retroactively.
Feb. 22nd, 2011 12:01 am (UTC)
I read the books and liked them. I think I like the idea of sci-fi, gore, evil humans, etc. :) I did NOT like the Twilight books at all and am almost offended by what a bad writer Stephenie Meyers is. At least with The Hunger Games there was a use of correct grammar and a legit plot...not just scribblings from a 12 year old's journal.

I don't love Hunger Games but I was entertained by the idea of it. (And evidently bottling up a lot of rage about Twilight! hahahha)
Feb. 22nd, 2011 12:26 am (UTC)
Bottled-up Twilight rage is always welcome here! I can't conjure up contempt, but that in no way precludes me from having a good time with bashing and mockery.

I will, however, be in a continual state of surprise that so many people like this plot. I guess I don't even mind the evil-humans aspect so much as that the villainy of the Capitol is SO overwrought that it's almost cartoonish -- it's too bad to be real; how would they ever get away with this? I'd need a whole separate prequel about this Rebellion or whatever it was to get a sense of the mindset.
Feb. 22nd, 2011 12:57 am (UTC)

Katniss/Gale, what what!

Ohhhhh man, no one else ever likes Katniss/Gale, no one! I don't know why, because they are pretty great throughout. I do love Katniss/Peeta too, though, but the reason I don't like them best is because of what you mentioned: Katniss is manipulated into the relationship in the first place.

AND I'M NOT ABOVE FINDING THAT PARTICULAR THEME WONDERFUL. I enjoy the idea of people being each other's fake WHATEVERS, and that leading to ~more. But in all three books I can't recall one time when Katniss seems to totally and completely feel romance for Peeta -- even her inevitably having him wind up as her dude seems more out of default than choice.

Also, in book two Katniss has this thought:

Gale is mine. I am his. Anything else is unthinkable.

Feb. 22nd, 2011 01:34 pm (UTC)
It was such culture shock for me to hit the internet and find out I was in the minority. Like, the extreme minority. THIS IS NOT HOW I DO SHIPPING. Good to have one ally around these parts.

I'm not opposed to the fake-becomes-real theme either, but you explained this one's flaw pretty well. (that, and I am much more firmly grounded in the friends-become-more theme)

...oh, geeze, that quote. Isn't there some handy place on the internet where they just excerpt all the Katniss/Gale parts? The Harry Potter fandom is good about this, saves me so much page-flipping; surely this series is big enough to do that.
Feb. 28th, 2011 06:00 pm (UTC)
Aww, it's too bad you didn't like Hunger Games. It would've been nice to have one of my LJ friends flail about it with me. I don't think it's the best book in the world, and obviously it has its flaws but I enjoyed it well enough.

Gale and Rue were the most interesting people in it.

Ironically, I thought Gale was pretty boring in HG. I mean, he was just kind of... there. And we weren't given a whole bunch of information about him before Katniss got whisked away to the Capitol. (Granted you could make this argument about a whole host of characters in the HG series but for the guy who was supposed to be one leg of the romance triangle it was rather jarring that we knew so little about him.) I never really thought much about him in the first two books, and then in third book when we actually got to know him he turned out to be, well... really, really unlikable. (This was actually quite a surprise to me. I went into Mockingjay fully expecting to start liking Gale and then he showed off his true character and I was all, "What the hell man, you are such a hate-filled Knight's Templar douchecanoe.")

*agrees with you on Rue though*

And would you believe I was actually trying NOT to ship anything when I first read Hunger Games?
Mar. 1st, 2011 11:18 pm (UTC)
I just liked Gale as soon as they painted him as both her best friend and a caretaker of little siblings no matter how many times his name went in. But then, I may or may not have spent a lot of the book inventing my own backstory for entertainment.

Rue was such a refreshing breath of air. I think the biggest relief I felt in the whole book was when nobody had to face tough choices when it came down to it, because she was taken down by someone with no positive or redeeming qualities. It was a cop-out, and it was worth it.
( 10 comments — Leave a comment )

Latest Month

August 2019


Powered by LiveJournal.com
Designed by Tiffany Chow