Wednesday, February 29, 2012

The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins ***

I'm always game for an after-the-apocalypse book about the future.  Two of my favorites for adults are by Margaret Atwood (Oryx & Crake and The Handmaid's Tale), & then there seems to be a plethora of books for kids about the ominous future (The Missing series & The Shadow Children, both by Margaret Peterson Haddix for example).  So I was pretty excited about reading The Hunger Games anyway, but add to that a friend at work loaning me her copy & the movie coming out soon & I was ready to jump in!
My first impressions of the book were good.  The background of the main character, Katniss Everdeen, is very full & helps the reader feel like they've really gotten to know her.  And the whole concept of taking children as tribute reminds me a great deal of Greek mythology, the legend of Theseus to be exact.  It was going in a great direction, as far as I was concerned!
But then the games began.  And man, I gotta say it's very frightening & gory!  Yes, I've read scary books before, but I've never read one this graphic that was meant for kids between the ages of 12-17.  The terror that the characters are in is horrible, plus the fact that these kids are killing each other!  These characters are between the ages of 12-18 & they're in some cases slaughtering each other with abandon!  Wow!  It was enough to give me the heebie-jeebies when I went for a run today at the park--there was no one else there & the wind was blowing & I kept expecting some starving deranged teen to come running out of the woods with a spear or just a big rock & do me in!
I think Suzanne Collins did an excellent job of invoking the terror, horror, & overall desperation that a kid would feel in those circumstances.  Obviously it worked on me!  But I just knew that everything would be wrapped up in the end & there would be some kind of answer to all this...
But there wasn't.  It just left me hanging.  And I know this is a series of books & she wants to leave me hanging so I'll read the next one, but I was annoyed.  Because this was more like a first part of a novel rather than book one of a trilogy to me.
Between the graphic violence & the sudden ending, I gave this book just 3 stars. 
But that's not gonna stop me from reading the next one.

1 comment:

Shan said...

One of the things I liked best about reading this series was that I had all three books in a box set, and read them back to back - it was like one long book. I agree that the violence was extensive, and gratuitous...I don't think this series fits easily in its genre. 12-17? I'd say more like 15-20.