Book Review | The Hunger Games Trilogy


As a general rule, I don't read much YA fiction and I never really did. I was basically 14 going on 40 as a kid and felt like I couldn't relate to stories dealing with drugs, alcohol and teen romances. I was too much of a square! But finally, at the grand age of 24, I read The Hunger Games trilogy by Suzanne Collins after falling in love with the films and spotting the books in my hospital's little charity shop. 

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PLOT

First, a basic summary if you didn't already know. Set in a dystopian future, Panem, a country formally known as North America,  has been divided into 12 districts all ran by the wealthy Capitol. As punishment for a rebellion by the now destroyed District 13, every year the Hunger Games are held where each of the remaining districts must deliver a 'tribute' (a girl and boy between the ages of 12 and 18) chosen at random to fight to the death with each other in a televised event. Our heroine Katniss volunteers to take her younger sister's place when she is picked to go into the arena and what follows is an uprising that neither the Capitol, or Katniss for that matter, sees coming. Let the Games begin!

THOUGHTS

On the surface, they're a cracking read. Fast-paced, action packed and brutal af there's no doubt this series will keep the reader gripped. You're taken on a wild ride, where it seems nothing is taboo (unusually for a series aimed at kids) and there were twists that I certainly didn't see coming. It covers big themes such as divided loyalty, the dangers of celebrity, wealth and even reality TV plus the question of do the ends justify the means. Despite it being a trilogy I didn't think the books were full of 'filler' and I whizzed through them - they're an easy read even though the content doesn't make for the most comfortable of reading. 

However some things niggle me - Katniss, for example. I'm going to sound super bitchy for this next part but bear with me! But first of all I must say it's refreshing to have a main character, one who is so young too,  who is so flawed. She doesn't always make the correct decisions and is often torn over what direction to take. I know she is a product of the harsh world she lives in so maybe that's the point, her surroundings have made her that way but I couldn't help but feel as a character she's a little flat. There are moments when we see flashes of emotion and personality but on the whole I thought she was quite robotic. We know she has heart (after all, she takes her sister's place to try and save her life which is what kicks off the whole thing) but sometimes I felt like I was practically begging her to show some soul. To be honest I didn't really care for her much and this was problematic as she's our narrator for the entirety of the books - we're in her head the whole time and I couldn't help but feel I'd have liked to have got into some other characters brains instead. OK so she's a badass with a bow and arrow and she's the Mockingjay but her lack of charisma and dull personality made me wonder why everyone loves her so much? I get that to the public she's a hero but it baffles me that people go so out of their way to help her and do what she says. And despite lacking the ability to make friends she somehow has two boys totally fall in love with her?

And the love triangle itself is a little pointless to me. I get that maybe this was aimed at the Twilight generation and that a lot of people love a bit of romance but I just found it quite cliche and boring and not very believeable. I didn't care whether Katniss chose Peeta or Gale and to be honest I don't even remember who she gets with in the end. On the whole I was just more interested in whether or not the Capitol would be taken down. But I get that the romance with Peeta was a crucial plot device, so maybe she could have just pied Gale much earlier on in the series - but I don't knooooow. 

THE LAST WORD

On the whole, despite my reservations on certain aspects of the series, it's one I would recommend for an easy read. They're worth keeping an eye out for in charity shops as they always seem to have them! More than that though I would suggest to go and watch the films as in this case I feel it's one of those rare occasions where the film franchise is better than the books. The arena looks that more incredible (and scary) on screen and a lot of the action in the novels just translates so much better in, well, action where you can see and hear it all. Plus Jennifer Lawrence really brings Katniss to life and gives her soul. In fact her performance reminds me of her role in Winter's Bone (I reviewed the book here if you fancy checking it out.) No doubt the producers saw her in that before casting her as Katniss! 


Have you read these books or seen the films? Anyone else just not loving Katniss either?


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