Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Books - The Hunger Games Trilogy

So I've already finished The Hunger Games trilogy. It has its good and bad points, but as a whole I think it was worth the read (and the re-read that I am actually in the middle of doing now). I still have yet to watch the movie though because our DVD is missing, but I plan to do so as soon as we find it, hopefully before the movie sequel comes out in November.

Anyway, this is not a review per se since I have no idea how to do an actual book review (that is not graded ala what was required back in grade school and in high school). I am just going to air out my thoughts about the book. Side note - does any of you know of a book club in Quezon City? I really am interested in joining one. Let me know if you have any leads please. Thanks!

Okay, back to my musings before I digress even further.

My favorite book of the trilogy was definitely The Hunger Games (first book), despite its sluggish start and obvious segue for the sequel. I was totally engrossed in the story and I pictured it easily in my mind. True, my mind's Katniss was still Jennifer Lawrence, but the arena, the fights and the desperate desire for survival were so well told that it wasn't all that difficult to be a part of their world.

I found Katniss to be a different type of heroine. Her progression from the strong and feisty girl in book one to the resigned and determined girl in part two made a lot of sense. However, her attitude/role in book three was so disappointing and confusing. It was as if she lost her spunk once the war started. And then I realized why. She was all about keeping her head down and just doing what she can to survive. She was fueled by her need to keep herself and her family and loved ones alive. Yes, she was angry at the Capitol, but she was no rebel. So it seemed as if she couldn't find her footing and her character sort of took a backseat once the war started. She was merely the face and symbol of the rebellion, but she was not instrumental in any aspect of it. She spent the better part of book 3 either hospitalized and drugged or helpless and apathetic. I would have preferred to see her involve herself more instead of the lost person she seemed to be.

I love the Haymitch-Katniss-Peeta dynamic and that they grew to care about each other like a family. Yes, Katniss already has her own family, but with Haymitch and Peeta, she is on the receiving side instead of the giving side of the relationship. She gets a father figure in Haymitch and an adoring friend in Peeta, and the three of them together made so much sense. Their weaknesses and insecurities were balanced with the strengths the others had. Very good stuff. The interactions among these three were my favorite parts in all three books.

What I really didn't like was how the third book, Mockingjay, ended. It was as if the author ran out of fuel and just wrote a draft and submitted it to her publisher. I get that Peeta, Katniss and even Haymitch would never be the same persons as they were before becoming Tributes, the war and everything in between, but I really wanted to know how they overcame all the demons that haunted them. I think it was in writing the memoir-type book that brought them a semblance of healing and peace, and I really, really wanted to know how they got the project started and how they went about immortalizing their fallen friends. I am so curious as to how each memory, each dead person was written and memorialized there. The resolution that Suzanne Collins gave me was just so vague and so devoid of details. Blah.

I was thrilled that Katniss ended up with Peeta and that they were able to build a life together (even if the short epilogue was just that, short). I knew it was either life with Peeta or a life of single-blessedness for Katniss since it never crossed my mind that she would end up with Gale, who wasn't significant enough in the series. I felt more connected with Finnick than with Gale actually, which was why the former's death in book 3 affected me a lot (I actually had to stop and regroup myself before I could read further, a lot similar to how I felt when JK Rowling killed off Fred Weasly in Harry Potter. A major what?!?! moment that was difficult to accept). Anyway, Gale was just a minor character and I didn't feel any of the romantic vibe between him and Katniss throughout the series.

Overall, it was a good and entertaining read. It could have been great but sadly it missed the mark. The parts were all there but the second and third books felt so rushed and sluggish at the same time. I know it doesn't make sense but it just had that feel to it. Maybe it should have been stretched to 4 books, or maybe we could have done away with the first parts of books 2 and 3. I don't know.

What I do know is that it would be beyond amazing if Suzanne Collins released a book in Peeta's POV, much like Midnight Sun was Edward Cullen's POV of Twilight. Wouldn't that be so amazingly awesome? I would love to know what he was thinking when Katniss volunteered at the Reaping and when he was called shortly after. I would love to know how he thought of and went about his short alliance with the Careers, how he felt when the rules were changed and Katniss sought him out, how their romance was set against death and survival in the arena, and how he dealt with the realization that it was all for show on Katniss's part. It would be so amazing if we knew what he was thinking when the victors were mandated to be tributes again, how he dealt with being in the arena again, and how he coped when he was captured by Capitol and separated from Katniss. I would to know how he was hijacked and how he sort of overcame and fought against it. Ah, so many things to clear up and expound on! It would be so awesome!

So for those of you who haven't read it, I suggest you get started right now. It is not a big love triangle set in war times, as is mostly hyped in the Team Peeta vs Team Gale debates after the movie was released. It is entertaining and unique and worth it.

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