Saturday, March 17, 2012

The Hunger Games

This morning I finally closed the cover on Suzanne Collins' Mockingjay, the final book in the Hunger Games trilogy. And I must say, I am so glad to be done. What began in The Hunger Games as a fun ride turned into an exhausting political game, told by a main character I no longer trusted or even liked.

The story is dark and brutal, set in a post-nuclear America ruled by force and fear, where children are sent as sacrifices each year (to pay for the past uprisings against the all-powerful and wealthy Capitol) to a televised gore-fest called The Hunger Games. It's not okay. And Collins does not sugar coat the pain of this broken world; she writes this brutality so that we will cringe and cry with the oppressed for this to end. It's not okay, and it's not supposed to be okay.

Aside from the other two books, I enjoyed The Hunger Games. I appreciate the trilogy in light of the entire story, of the fight for justice and freedom, and the struggle throughout to do the right thing in a world gone crazy. I just got bogged down by the third book by the first person monologue of the narration. I stopped caring about Katniss.

Collins writes to explore the themes of the effects of war and violence on young people, and this crazy sci-fi teen romance definitely does that. She also does a good job of showing a broken world, seemingly much more broken than ours, and yet with chilling echoes of the very society and culture we live in.

I'm glad I read the series, but I'm not planning on buying my own set of books. I am, however, extremely curious about the upcoming film, which has rocked Rotten Tomatoes so far with a 100% rating, and such reviews as "The best American science-fiction film since the Matrix," (Box Office Magazine) and "As thrilling and smart as it is terrifying. There have been a number of big-gun literary series brought to screen over the past decade. This slays them all." (Empire)

No candle to Harry Potter (I'm a little biased), vastly superior to Twilight (isn't everything?) -- but I think I'll withold judgement until I see the films.

What do you think?