zaterdag 23 augustus 2014

Suzanne Collins: The Hunger Games Trilogy


The three Hunger Games novels have been on my shelf for quite some time. I just never came round to reading them.
Because I got them second (or third) hand they may have a cover you don’t recognize.
Together they make up a story of 1157 pages.

My fiancé and I are getting married next Saturday so I didn’t have a lot of free time to read this week. And that is why I needed to read something light and easy. Plus, a friend of mine told me she really enjoyed them and that made me curious.
These are YA (young adult) novels and I’m around ten years too old to read these kinds of novels, but what can I say? I love dystopian novels. And YA is highly enjoyable.

“The nation of Panem, formed from a post-apocalyptic North America, is a country that consists of a wealthy Capitol region surrounded by 12 poorer districts. Early in its history, a rebellion led by a 13th district against the Capitol resulted in its destruction and the creation of an annual televised event known as the Hunger Games. In punishment, and as a reminder of the power and grace of the Capitol, each district must yield one boy and one girl between the ages of 12 and 18 through a lottery system to participate in the games. The 'tributes' are chosen during the annual Reaping and are forced to fight to the death, leaving only one survivor to claim victory.
When 16-year-old Katniss's young sister, Prim, is selected as District 12's female representative, Katniss volunteers to take her place. She and her male counterpart Peeta, are pitted against bigger, stronger representatives, some of whom have trained for this their whole lives. , she sees it as a death sentence. But Katniss has been close to death before. For her, survival is second nature.”

I really liked this trilogy.
The world-building is almost fantastic. Almost realistic enough to feel like it could happen in the future.
I hate it when the sequels spend too much time relating whatever happened in the previous books and Collins doesn’t make that mistake. She just gets on with the story and I appreciate that very much.
The suspense-drop between Catching Fire and Mockingjay was very prominent. It didn’t bother me all that much because Collins spends some time world-building and character-building which are necessary to the story.
Katniss is a complex girl and not a one-dimensional heroine. She has her good and bad sides, her doubts and traits.
I’m glad this novel doesn’t end with a happy ending. Katniss and Peetal still feel the effect the Games and the war had on them, even ten years later. Their relationship changed, as did the world around them. The war isn’t forgotten like it never happened and all is well again.

I am left with a lot of questions though. Collins didn’t resolve every plotline in these novels and I find that a problem, especially if you’re writing a series because you have the time and the space to do so. To me, it seemed like she just wanted to end the series and she didn’t put as much thought into the third book as in the first and second novels. I wish we knew how their world changed after the rebellion. Collins is only focusing on Katniss in the end, and I would like to know about the world itself. Though Katniss is a well-defined character, every other character isn’t. Most of them are just plain flat.
Another thing that really bothered me was the over-used love triangle. I just hated Gale. He’s unlikeable and hard as a rock. In my opinion, he should be in the novel, but as a friend, not a love-interest. This triangle doesn’t add anything to the story.

Collins is a good writer in my opinion. She has an easy-going style, she doesn’t overuse adjectives and descriptive language, she writes fluent and she can keep the reader captivated. I wanted to keep on reading partly because of the wonderful story and partly because of her writing.
It’s engaging, gripping, addicting even, fast, suspenseful and highly, highly enjoyable.
I definitely recommend this, if you can put aside the unanswered questions you might have.

Happy reading.