Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Tuesday Review: The Hunger Games Triology

As you might remember from last week's blog--I still highly recommend WHEN A SCOT LOVES A LADY--I read The Hunger Games; and last week, when the second and third books in the series came, I read those two. On Friday, I went to see the movie.

When I first heard about this book, I said, "I'm not reading it. It's barbaric." Who could possibly want to read about children killing each other for the entertainment of others? That's SICK. Of course, everyone who had actually read the books said they were really good, addictive. (So's cocaine. Still not a good idea, people.) I abstained.

Then the trailer of the movie came out and then I was like, "You know, I think I want to read this book." And I went and found the first book. As I explained, I read it in about two days, barely taking time to eat or bathe...or work, and if anyone asked me about anything: my health, where a memo was, the weather, I would talk about this book. It wasn't long before I too was in love with the boy with the bread. Katniss might have been torn between Peeta and Gale, but I wasn't. It was always the boy with the bread.

Katniss is the hero of this book definitely, but the book also contains lots of great secondary characters who are great to get to know. Cinna is a particular favorite of mine; I was never a fan of Haymitch, but I know he has his base. There's Prim and Finnick and Joanna and Rue and Boggs. And many more. The novels are gritty and hard; and it's an anti-war theme in every corner of its pages. War solves nothing, but only introduces more people who are also corrupted for their own gain.

My favorite part of the books is the author's 'easy' ability to drop "bombs" at the end of chapters. Excellent pacing, but it's more than that. It's jawdropping sorts of bombs where you think, "I didn't see that coming." The twists make sense; they're definitely the worst things that could happen--so they are the things that need to happen, but in the end, you wonder, how can any Happily Ever After ever come from this? Maybe that was the author's point--that war changes everything and everyone, and Happily Ever Afters are hard-won and fought for every day.

I know YA novels are not everyone's thing, but this is more than the typical YA "girl's" novel where she has to pick between two boys. It's less about a love triangle than a fight for survival. She is a hero in every sense of the word. I understand why these books would be included for reading lists to discuss in a classroom. They would promote lots of discussion.

I laughed when I finally got sucked into the book. This was Harry Potter all over again. I refused to read the books because I didn't want to read books about a kid--a BOY--and about magic. How stupid. And then I went on that awful date and agreed to the movie. Instantly I was enchanted and had to read the books, and once I read the books, I was lost completely. Hooked for life. Harry Potter was worth every bit of its hype; and so was this trilogy (for me.)

What book have you avoided reading because it was uber-hyped? Did you ever read it? Was it worth reading or were your fears right all along?

20 comments:

Maureen said...

I have not, nor will I succumb to Twilight. Or The Hunger Games. I might read Girl with the Dragon Tattoo. I actually looked at those to buy and the price turned me off.

At least I think it was that trilogy...

The crew talked me into reading Eloisa James when I swore I would never read historical romance. That's the line I crossed. I'm not crossing anymore!

The last thing I need is another book addiction...I have books to write!

Go AWAY! ;-)

Janga said...

Enough people I respect have raved about The Hunger Games and its sequels to persuade me that they are well-written, truly extraordinary books, but I won't be reading them. I don't have time to read all the books I want to read as it is. But no doubt I will reread Harry Potter at some point. :) What I should do is follow Chance's example and spend less time reading and more time writing.

MsHellion said...

*LOL* Love you too, Mo. Though I still maintain to be a great writer, you need to read great books. It's more than just writing great books...

But I understand.

I can see you reading the Girl with the Dragon Tattoo. You can check them out from the public library. :) They have popular books like that.

Eloisa James is worth crossing a line for. I hope you didn't regret it. *LOL*

MsHellion said...

How can you not reread Harry Potter? *sighs* Good times. Or do what I do at work: put them on as audio books and work and listen at the same time. :)

Janga, that's what the month of April is for--you've already signed on for all sorts of writing!

Sabrina Shields (Scapegoat) said...

Ask - ate my comment!

I draw the line at YA. Just not for me.

I *might* give Harry Potter a read since I loved the movies and the books are supposedly so good.

Not touching Twilight with a ten foot pole. Now, her adult book The Host - that was actually really great. I listened to it on Audio and it was insanely compelling and creative. Full of emotion and layered. Seems like it's almost like an entirely different author!

TerriOsburn said...

I can't stand reading present tense so I won't be reading these, but my daughter read the entire series in a week (after begging as I was staunchly against them for the very reason Hellie states at the beginning of this blog.) Kiddo LOVED them and I'm grateful to any author who keeps my child's nose in a book.

I know I read something that others hyped and I put off. But I can't remember what it was. Let me drink more coffee and maybe it'll come back to me.

TerriOsburn said...

Oh, I haven't read HP but I did listen to Book 6 and was hooked! However, as mentioned by others, I have too many other (Romance) books to read and my own stuff to write. But someday. I'll get to them someday!

MsHellion said...

Scapey--Terri's not a fan of the YA novels either. I like them; lots of sexual tension and angst (in the way I enjoy angst); and they're also usually rebelling against The Authority. As a pirate, I love rebelling against the establishment.

Couldn't get into the Host. The premise left me squimish; and there are some forms of sci-fi I just won't do.

MsHellion said...

Terri, totally understand. That was the 2nd reason I wouldn't touch the books. I hate present tense. I was reading another book I love the other day, another YA, and realized it was a present tense novel and it never bothered me. WEIRD. So clearly it was the premise that was the biggest driving force. Children killing each other for entertainment just makes me want to throw up. However, I'm sure it was supposed to be horrifying enough to be something you'd hate the Capitol for. The author definitely went big with that one.

I'll be grateful you at least listened to one of the books. *LOL*

irisheyes said...

Haven't read YA. Haven't read Twilight or HP and don't plan on reading Hunger Games for just the reason you stated - the violence. Kind of creeps me out.

I'm with Terri, though, on the fact that my son picked it for his summer book for school last year and LOVED it! Anything that gets my son away from Call of Duty and reading is okay by me.

I may listen to HP on audio one of these days - my sister claims the person who reads that series is the best, hands down... and she listens to a lot of books.

Maureen said...

Well, I do read...but I stay away from the series stuff because if I get into them...I will read until I finish them all and that is wa-a-a-a-a-a-a-a-a-ay too much time to be sucked away.

Even with Eloisa, I ended up on my ass for days just reading one after the other.

Yeah, YA just doesn't do it for me...

Library? Oh, yeah...I do have one of those nearby, if it's ever open... California budget cuts have made it really hard to know when the bugger is open!

Maureen said...

I mean, I finished a book last night! The Rope by Nevada Barr...couldn't put it down...

Sabrina Shields (Scapegoat) said...

Gotta go look that one up Chance...

irisheyes said...

Okay, I amend my earlier comment - all of the HP books have just been released for the Nook. So, maybe I'll go that route instead. I read some time ago that JK Rowling was dragging her feet on releasing the books as e-books for some reason. Guess they finally got it all figured out.

Man, Maureen, that really stinks about your library. I would die without mine. I've checked out hundreds of books. I especially like it for the hardcover books. A lot of my autobuy authors have decided to go hardcover and I just can't dish out $25/book. And then it's a great way to check out new-to-me authors also.

MsHellion said...

Irish, I love listening to the HP books. I listen to them at work whenever I can--and when I'm not actually tired of them. *LOL* He is a great reader.

And of course you should download them immediately! *LOL* I don't think she wanted them to be pirated any more than they were already being pirated. :)

I'm with you about libraries. I'm lucky I live near such an awesome one! The librarians rule...as well as the library. They really work hard to have quality material on the shelf; and the volunteers of the library are always raising money. Kudos to all of them. And I do my part by buying the cast off books they sell. *LOL*

MsHellion said...

I'll give you a pass, Mo, since you're writing so much. But I still maintain heavy reading makes your writing better. (Of course, also heavy writing makes your writing better.)

quantum said...

Thanks for the splendid review Hellie.

I only write for pleasure and am constantly on the look out for excitement and addiction in reading. If 'Hunger Games'is comparable with HP then its a must try for me! I listened to Stephen Fry reading the Harry Potter books and thought that he added an extra dimension of excitement. So I'm definitely going to try the audio version of Hunger Games, as long as it doesn't distract me too much while driving!

I also enjoyed Stieg Larson's trilogy beginning with 'Girl with the dragon tattoo'. There are a few series like this that stand head and shoulders above the rest IMO. It would be a great pity to miss out, especially if you are a budding writer hoping to sell lots of books. You need to study the winners!

I tried the twilight books but didn't like them at all. Never was hot on vampires so that is probably the reason. But I tried them befor rejecting them! LOL

MsHellion said...

Q, I found Hunger Games as addictive as HP, but it doesn't have the charm of HP with all the inside jokes and cultural things. (One of my favorite scenes is in book 6, where the Prime Ministers meet each other--and the Prime minister talks about his teacup nibbling the edge of his speech.)

I'm sure there was funny stuff; I know I laughed--but these books don't have the same sort of comic relief that Harry had. But that aside, they were quick reads for me and I was very involved in the outcome.

I have Twilight and eventually enjoyed the series, but it's not on par with Harry or Hunger Games. It's just not as gritty...and society altering. I learned things, about the kind of person I wanted to be in a sense, by reading this series (I'm sure that's weird to say)--about not letting Evil get a free pass, about loyalty and friendship, about love. In the Hunger Games, I learned about the cost of surviving, the evilness of a society that values entertainment over right and wrong, how war is always always the wrong answer.

In Twilight I learned that if you're a whiny teenage girl who drops all her friends to date your stalker boyfriend--he will let you live forever with him. Alone. (Okay, they're not that bad. They're commercial and compelling, but they're not life-changing.)

Maureen said...

See? So many reasons not to read Twilight! ;-)

Maureen said...

Q - I'll search out the Girl with books again. Maybe the price has gone down for my Nook. Though...damn, I don't want to get caught up in a really good book right now!