Tuesday, August 2, 2011
Series In Review: The Hunger Games Trilogy by Suzanne Collins
Series are a tricky thing. I have series that I love as a whole, but an individual book within the series did not impress me. So I am not always sure that reviewing the individual books is fair to the author's vision. However, I do not want to postpone all of my reviews of the books within a series until the end. With those thoughts in mind I decided to start Series In Review. In these postings, I will be looking at more than one book in the series or if possible the entire series at one time.
**This review may contain spoilers for some of the books in the series**
Genre: Young Adult, Dystopian
Books Released in Series: The Hunger Games, Catching Fire, & Mockingjay
Supplemental Books: The Girl Who Was on Fire: Your Favorite Authors on Suzanne Collins' Hunger Games Trilogy
Author Info: Website | Goodreads
Rating: 4 stars
Books given as a Christmas gift, Audiobooks borrowed from library.
In A Nutshell:
I loved this series! I do not re-read a lot of books, but when I decided to write this review I wanted the story fresh in my mind. I was glad I did because I loved it even more the second time around. Suzanne Collin’s storytelling is compelling. I felt drawn in from the first page, and I could not stop until the very end.
The first time I read The Hunger Games series, I devoured all three in the week between Christmas and New Years Day. When I decided to write a review, I decided to listen to the audiobooks to get the story fresh in my mind. It did not matter whether I read the books or listed to the audio—the story is amazing.
I was quite surprised by this book. When my friend told me about this series, I was turned off. A story about a country who puts children into an arena to fight the death? How can that be good? It is good, though, because Suzanne Collins is an excellent storyteller. She gets the reader right into the heart of the story but effortlessly interweaves the background information necessary to provide the reader with context. She weaves a story that crosses the emotional gambit from shock to love to fear to acceptance and then back again. Over and over I was taken on an emotional ride--and I liked it!
I empathized with the characters and their situation. Katniss and Peeta were forced to fight in a horrific game, fully expecting that one if not both of them would not return. Gale had to watch his best friend volunteer for a game that would probably mean that she would not return. Then all three had to untangle themselves from a love triangle that was complicated by the politics of the Capitol where the wants of the heart do not really matter. It is about the image and the power to control.
I struggled with the characters as well, Katniss in particular. Despite all of her accomplishments, she had a tendency to always see herself in a negative light. She was not good enough to succeed. People would not follow her. I wanted Katniss to see how fantastic she was and how much she had accomplished. She had saved her family while her mother struggled with depression. She had defied the Capitol and saved both herself and Peeta. But as Peeta said many times, she had no idea the effect she could have on people.
I sympathized with the characters too, particularly Peeta. He had always loved Katniss, even when she did not know him well. He saw Katniss’ positive qualities; the qualities she would hardly ever admit she had. He put his love out there for the whole country to see in the hopes that it would save her. But my sympathy came from the moment when he realized that she was playing for the cameras. Not because she was cruel, but because she did not see her own positive qualities. She could not fathom that Peeta really did love her, that he was not just playing for the cameras too.
I have wanted the supplemental book since I heard about its release. I own it now but I have not had a chance to read it. But I will, and then I will write about it!