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The Hunger Games

The Hunger Games (The Hunger Games, #1)So I finally read The Hunger Games. I resisted reading it for a long time because it was getting so much hype, and in my experience things that get much hype are often very disappointing (cf Titanic the movie, Twilight, etc.). Plus I hate to feel like a lemming. But a friend at work loaned this to me on Friday, I finished it Friday night, and now I'm sorry I waited so long. It's well-written, fast-paced, tightly plotted and really grabs your attention. The competition between the "tributes" is interesting enough; the addition of the commercial aspect -- the need to "sell" themselves, to get sponsors, the fact that sponsors can make or break one of the competitors -- results in a disturbing sort of reality-show-on-steroids. It's like The Most Dangerous Game meets Lord of the Flies meets The Running Man.

For me, the three most memorable scenes were (1) the people of her District declining to festively and gleefully applaud Kat's stepping forward to take her sister's place (despite the manic promo-woman's urging!), instead offering a traditional silent gesture of respect; (2) Kat's gathering of flowers to place on Rue's body (yes, I cried); and (3) Kat's realization that the mutated wolves trying to kill them are actually their "dead" competitors, somehow horribly altered into ravenous beasts (nice gruesome twist, that!).

The book does leave a few unanswered questions, such as the nature of the disaster that resulted in the fragmentation of the US, how the Capitol managed to gain so much power, and how humanity has managed to decay to the point where pre-adolescents offing one other comprises acceptable prime-time entertainment on a par with, say, the World Cup. But with a YA book you can't really expect to get complex politics or social commentary (though given the way Kat has foiled the powers that be, there might be more in the sequels).

I can't say that the individual components of the story are original, but this is a novel combination of them, well put together, and Kat's an interesting and sympathetic protagonist. Looking forward to the other two.

View all my reviews

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ladyoneill
Feb. 20th, 2012 04:49 am (UTC)
I'm waiting to see the movie first because, invariably if I love the book, I'm disappointed with the movie/tv show. It rarely goes the other way (example: Jurassic Park which I read after I saw the movie and loved both; ditto with Chamber of Secrets, but loving that movie might have had something to do with a certain blond man with a cane. *g*)
delphipsmith
Feb. 20th, 2012 11:26 pm (UTC)
Movie looks pretty good, I went and found the trailer after finishing the book. Since I really liked but didn't LOVE the book, I won't care that much if the movie is different. Not sure how they'll sell the murder of a 12-year-old as popular entertainment, though. Pretty nasty.

And yes, I'm sure your love for CoS has way more to do with a certain Death Eater (Ret.) LOL!
cassie_black12
Feb. 20th, 2012 11:17 am (UTC)
I put off reading them for ages simply because I found the premise rather disturbing - I'm not really a fan of dystopian style fics - BUT I am so glad that I gave them a chance. Pretty sure I won't watch the films though - I always try to avoid doing that when I've read the book first (there's still some of the HP films I haven't seen) just because the discrepancies irritate me far too. Darry tried to get me to watch HBP with her and after about the first ten minutes I walked out and refused to watch anymore!!!!

I must confess though, that I scrolled very quickly to the end and read a couple of lines of the epilogue before I could bring myself to invest in the characters.
delphipsmith
Feb. 20th, 2012 11:24 pm (UTC)
Starting book 2 tonight =:o
ennyousai
Feb. 21st, 2012 03:28 pm (UTC)
I liked it, but there were parts that struck me as oddly childish. It really threw me out of the whole dystopian world she was building to show in the Capitol and get descriptions of clown characters. I get what she was doing, and that she wanted to show us how decadent and self-indulgent the seat of power was, but it just felt off to me. Along with names like Glimmer and Cashmere. It just totally threw me out of the story.
delphipsmith
Feb. 21st, 2012 11:38 pm (UTC)
Decadent, yes, exactly -- I figured they were going for the ancient Rome thing: vomitoriums and purple velvet and souffle of larks' tongues for the rich while the peons dress in rags and grub for crumbs in the streets.
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