Obligatory Hunger Games Post

I think this is required these days. You read the Hunger Games, either the first book or the entire trilogy (and/or read the synopses online or watch the movie) and make a thoughtful post about social commentary. Well, you’re not going to get that here. Best I’ve got for you is that I cannot name anyone Gale for the next five years.

(And a friend of mine said she’d name a son Peeta except it would be too obvious, so she said she’d name him Peter instead and pronounce it in a bad British accent.)

Anyway. I am not generally a trendy reader. I do eventually get to most runaway best sellers, sometimes even before their movies come out, but I generally let the hype go on for a bit before I bother unless it’s something that sounds extremely thrilling. I picked up Harry Potter right before Goblet of Fire. I read the Twilight series after the first movie was out. Da Vinci Code I was relatively early on, for me at least, though I read Angels and Demons first (and it is the better book, by far).

So, Hunger Games. YA dystopia. Dystopia can be very hit or miss for me. Sometimes you get ones where you feel like the author is smacking you over the head with their message. I dislike that. And, since it’s modern YA, it’s first-person present tense which I generally dislike a lot, but luckily Katniss is less annoying than most teenagers when you’re in her head.

Having read the whole trilogy now, I find myself trying to analyze why exactly it’s so popular. It has a lot of similar themes to other YA and YA dystopias I’ve read. That’s not to say it wasn’t enjoyable, because I did like (most) of it, but it’s not on, say, Harry Potter levels of epicness. (I’m sorry, the plotting, foreshadowing, and characterization in the Harry Potter series is on a level of its own. I would like to grow up to be JK Rowling.) And, to be honest, Mockingjay is…not fun.

I know a lot of people who really hate Mockingjay, in fact. I can see why. The plot flows logically, but the main character is powerless for most of it, which makes the reader (in Katniss’s head) feel powerless, and most people don’t like that.

I think the strength is Katniss, honestly. She’s strong, self-sufficient, and while she does have the requisite love triangle going, it doesn’t consume her thoughts and she doesn’t act like an idiot over either boy. I’m not saying she reacts well to everything the trilogy throws at her, but, for the most part, she’s a positive role model and someone whose head I don’t mind being in.

So, hm. Would I reread the books? I don’t think so, at this point. I enjoyed the first two a lot, but I didn’t like the last one. Would I recommend them to friends? Sure, why not, especially if said friend doesn’t typically read science fiction.

I admit I occasionally spend some time trying to figure out what districts would be where. I think District 4’s got to be the gulf coast, and maybe District 7 is the Pacific Northwest? (Actually, from the description, it seems like the Capitol has to be, oh, Salt Lake City, or the general area, which makes me wonder if there’s some sort of social commentary about Mormonism going on, but that’s probably just in my head.)

What did/do you think about the Hunger Games, Squiders? I’ll go ahead and say spoilers are allowed in the comments, so beware if you haven’t read the books and intend to at some point.


4 responses to this post.

  1. Re: the districts – I haven’t read the books, but plan to, so I didn’t get past the first paragraph…but check this out: http://io9.com/5882371/perhaps-the-most-well+researched-map-ever-of-the-hunger-games-panem


  2. I think its pretty awesome. The issues that dwell within the books are relatable. On top of that, the premise is pretty cool too.


  3. Posted by dennarahl on 2012/05/10 at 12:46 AM

    My view of the books is pretty much in line with yours. I didn’t love the last book, and didn’t realize why until you said it. The main character being powerless while you’re in their head is kind of painful to read.

    There are a lot of thoughts that the capital is aspen. It seems to jive with the description in the book.


  4. Posted by E. A. Hughes on 2012/05/11 at 2:35 PM

    Well, I’m just starting out with The Hunger Games (an acquaintance I admire greatly recommended the books, so I trust him). I don’t think I can comment much, but here is my two pence worth (yes, I’m a Brit).

    As I writer, I admire the pace she manages to set. We hardly get to draw breath between the lines, which is harder to achieve than everyone thinks. The first book is certainly a ripping yarn, but somehow … Far too dark and dismal, to be honest. Dystopia works best when it is a clear warning to our social and political trends — see the original V For Vendetta (the comic, not the movie) — in a world that coud well come about. Collins manages to create such a fantastic world, so far removed from our own, that it might as well be set in Middle Earth. Dystopia needs to relate — so far all I have seen is a writer revelling in a gloomy and oppressive atmosphere.

    But very good writing, nonetheless!


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