Book Review: The Hunger Games Trilogy
When Hunger Games was close to hitting theaters, my fiancee picked up the first book in preparation for the movie. She loved it and I don't just mean she thought it was very good; she was locked into the world. She finished the whole series in record time and kept talking about how unbelievable each ending was.
So, being a good fiancee, I picked up the first book and gave the whole trilogy a try. I'm not much for young adult books, unless it's by , but I figured it would just help me read the series faster. I know the internet is full of Dan Wellsreviews and commentaries of the Hunger Games trilogy, but since the original plan for my Hubpages was to follow the books I'm reading, I'm going to do a brief overview of the whole trilogy.
The Hunger Games (Book One)
This is the book that started it all and won over my fiancee. After she finished the book, she told me she couldn't believe Suzanne Collins left the readers hanging. Thinking that meant a death or a clever plot twist, I was excited to see how things would turn out. I picked up the book and was surprised how it grabbed me. I enjoyed the world, even if it's a bit cliche at times, and once the book gets to the capitol city, I felt like Collins found her pacing. The characters, for the most part, were likable and I enjoyed seeing how each responded to the coming event.
When the games actually begin and Katniss struggles to survive, the book becomes a strange cross between The Most Dangerous Game and The Lord of the Flies. Since both of those are favorites of mine, that might explain why I enjoyed this story as much as I did. I finished the book quickly, finding it hard to put down. I found Katniss' trust issues sadly relatable and Peeta an easy to like guy, even if he's somewhat of a sad-sack.
The actual ending, the one that left my fiancee in disbelief, was less interesting to me. Maybe it's because I'm a twenty-something guy or because I'm not one for unrequited love stories, but a cliffhanger based on which guy Katniss will pick doesn't leave me very interested. I was happy to give the book four stars on Goodreads and move on with my life. But, since my fiancee loved the series and wanted to talk about it with me, I buckled in and moved on to the next.
Catching Fire (Book Two)
The sequel picks up right where the first left off, with Katniss unsure of which boy she wants to be with; Peeta, the boy she survived the Hunger Games with, or Gale, the boy she's known since she was a child. At the same time, she's now on her victory tour and trying to appease the government by showing herself to be submissive, not a rebel like the first book would have us believe.
For most of this book, I found myself moving happily along, enjoying the plot twists and pacing. But, there were things I didn't care for. Katniss becomes harder to like in this book, mainly because she's a repressive and moody teenage girl. When she talks about boys, I'd rather hit my head into a wall. There are times when Katniss will say something she knows she shouldn't and it feels like Collin's needed her to slip up in order to move the plot along. There's little build up to her dumb decisions, but than again, I wasn't too smart at seventeen either.
When they enter the games again, the book lost me completely. I know that sequels need to be both different and similar, but I just wasn't interested in reading about Katniss hunting and failing to trust others again. It seemed like Collins was building us up for a surprise, like the games weren't going to happen, but than we're right back in. It was disappointing and left me underwhelmed to read the last book.
Mockingjay (Book Three)
We come to the last book, which I started right after the second. With the previous book starting out well and failing to leave me interested, I figured it would be best to jump straight into Mockingjay, otherwise I might never pick it up. This time, the book started out dull and became interesting. The rebellion is in full swing and you can tell things are going to get worse before the get better. I liked that the rebel were just as trustworthy as the Capitol and Katniss knew her days of being useful were numbered.
Once Katniss began struggling with her feelings toward Peeta and Gale, I was ready to toss the book and never look back. Honestly, if I was one of those guys, I would throw my hands and the air and move on from her. Of course, that's what Katniss would want and it helped to remind myself of how hurt and untrusting she is, but it's hard to reread the same thing every chapter.
Luckily, once the real attack begins we don't see the Gale vs. Peeta question again until much later. The final assault on the Capitol was intense and I was sad to see some characters die. When the book ends, it's satisfying in that Collin's avoids the simple happy ending for something real. Katniss finally makes a choice between Gale and Peeta as well, though it's resolved in much better way than I expected. This book was much more readable than Catching Fire, but it wasn't paced as well as the first and its length hindered my interest.
Which Book Was Your Favorite?
So, there you have it. I liked the series well enough, but neither of the sequels topped the first book. The last one did pick up the slack of the second book, but the story of Katniss fighting for her life was much more interesting than a cliche rebellion. I never could get into the love story of the whole series, but these books weren't written for me. My teenage sister loves the series, though she never finished the third. If nothing else, I now can talk to my fiancee and not worry about her ruining the future films for me.