I have been wanting to post about The Hunger Games ever since I began my blog. I devoured them in October, 2011 and then again in November 2011. For some reason though, I can’t get the words just right in order to depict what those books made me feel. How they swallowed me into their pages and held my soul like a vice as I feverishly whipped through the pages. So I did the next best thing: I got someone to talk about it for me. Our opinions are very much the same and I feel that she has captured the essence of what I would want to say perfectly. This post is meant to encourage those who have yet to discover the excitement and literary pull of The Hunger Games trilogy. Better late than never…this is one bandwagon you don’t want to miss.
[Review by Amanda Grinstead]
I always feel like I come late to the game when it comes to truly extraordinary books. I didn’t start reading Harry Potter until after the first movie came out and, in typical fashion, I only picked up The Hunger Games series this past week amid all of the hype for the upcoming film. But I’m glad I did because I haven’t read anything so captivating, so thrilling and so hard-hitting in a long time–and I average reading over 100 books a year! Here are some of the reasons why I think Suzanne Collins’ trilogy is too good to put down, ranking among the best fiction I’ve read this decade.
- An Action-Packed Plot
The plot gripped me throughout as it explored the realities of war and the complexities of its psychological fallout. I was amazed by the depth of feeling I had for each character I encountered along the way. I cried and fell in love with some and yelled in hatred of others because it was impossible to feel nothing for even the most minor of characters. I was also utterly blown away by how Collins handled every aspect of the books; from their near-perfect pace to the stages of trauma that each character experiences when faced with real violence.
- Katniss Everdeen
She is a strong, self-sufficient female whose whole mindset revolves around the survival of her family, friends and self even before she is thrust into the arena. I loved seeing the world through her eyes because every word and action is calculated. She is hardened by life at only sixteen and yet, has a fire that tends to burn everyone around her. And when it comes down to it, I loved her for just being plain unfriendly.
- The Relationship Triangle
In spite of Katniss’ prickly personality, other characters can’t help but love her. Her relationship with Gale and Peeta isn’t your typical love triangle (thankfully) with her wavering between the two since Katniss recoils at the thought of marriage so she sees no point in developing a romantic relationship of any kind. Her unsure feelings towards them are realistic for a sixteen-year-old girl, especially one being faced with the very real possibility of her death. I liked her frustration with Peeta over his repeated demonstrations of love and I was relieved that she didn’t automatically prefer Gale because of their long-time companionship. That being said, I have to admit at this point that I’m kind of in love with Peeta so I’m biased.
Peeta is genuinely good and his love for Katniss is more touching than any other romance I’ve read. It’s not creepy, selfish or obsessive like Heathcliff from Wuthering Heights or Edward Cullen of Twilight. His feelings and devotion are (literally) tested by fire and he has an unshakeable strength that is wholly different from Katniss’ and even Gale’s. I was so emotionally invested in him that when war, violence and tragedy permanently change him, I was not just upset…I was inconsolably distraught. Some of the most heart-breaking and traumatizing moments in the books involve Peeta and his unfailing commitment to loving and protecting Katniss even when his own mental reality is broken beyond recognition.
- Hard-Hitting Themes
Collins’ trilogy isn’t quick to condemn all of the privileged characters and label them as evil. And in refusing to do this, she reveals the core message of the books: that people raised in very different situations, with different values and perspectives can still feel a measure of concern and even friendship for each other. That they can come together to fight for a common cause. By the time I was finished reading The Hunger Games trilogy, I was not only enthralled and entertained but I came away with something real to contemplate—the importance of peace. The importance of love. The importance of survival.