The Hunger Games Trilogy, Boxed Set – Book Review

[Categories: Books, Reading, Literature, Photography.]
[Click on photos to enlarge.  Taken with my new Nikon 35mm f/1.8G AF-S DX Lens.  Single icon photos are crops/blowups of cover photos.  Photography 101 forever.]

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Three stars out of five.  The trilogy is: The Hunger Games, The Hunger Games: Catching Fire, and Mockingjay.  They are a single story told in three books.  4, 3, and 2 stars respectively for each book separately.

Each book has three parts:

H.G. 1:
Pt. I The Tributes
Pt. II The Games
Pt. III The Victor
Catch:
Pt. I The Spark
Pt. II The Quell
Pt. III The Enemy
Mock:
Pt. I The Ashes
Pt. II The Assault
Pt. III The Assassin

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Chapter numbers in each book designate a place to stop, pause, emphasize, take a breath.

It’s a very long story, but not as long as Larrson’s Girl with the Dragon Tattoo unofficial trilogy:

Book lengths: Suzanne Collins 5×7” softcover
H.G. 1: 454
Catch: 472
Mock: 455
Total 1381

Stieg Larrson
The Girl Dragon Tattoo, 3×6”: 644
The Girl Played With Fire, 3×6”: 724
The Girl Kicked Hornets Nest, hard cover 7×10”: 563
Total 1931

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These make Ayn Rand’s 1100-page opus Atlas Shrugged look like child’s play.  (But Shrugged is REAL literature, with action, heroes, morals, and messages ga-lore.  Don’t you DARE try to read it.)

J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter books were very long but held the attention of most readers.  I read the first 4 or 5 and found them entertaining but they eventually were too long for me.

If you search ‘Hunger Games genre’ you get Science Fiction, Young Adult, Dystopia (http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/dystopia‎; Merriam‑Webster: an imaginary place where people are unhappy and usually afraid because they are not treated fairly.)

It’s definitely sci-fi and definitely dystopia.  Young Adult?  I shudder to think that young adults (18-21? -25?) or even today’s world-wise teens 13, 14, -18 can stay enthralled through all three books.  Unless, that is, they share the conflicted, insecure, paranoia of the main character 16 yr old Katniss Everdeen.

The first book is the best, the third is the worst.  The single common thread throughout is the conflicted resignation of Katniss.  (All three books are narrated in her mind.)  “I’m going to die!”  ‘He loves me.’  ‘He loves me not.’  “I’m going to die!”  ‘I love him.’  ‘I love him not.’  ‘The other he loves me.’  ‘The other loves me not.’  “I’m going to die!”  ‘I love the other.’  Oh, you know the drill.  Ad infinitum.  Ad nauseam.  Ad conflictus non-interruptus. Terrible.

The author is 51 now, thus in her 40s when she wrote these.  Does she really think teens are THAT conflicted?

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The descriptive qualities are minimal.  (Why bother, we can leave that to the movie screenwriters to flesh out in translation.)  Any moral underpinnings (not a requirement mind you) are minimal too.  The Games are an annual futuristic gladiator fight to the death among selected 12-18 yr olds as punishment for a past insurrection/revolution/war.  Do you think many/any 12-14ers are the last person standing?  Uhh, probably not.  Let’s write about killing children.  Whoopee.

Lacking any real message, that leaves action and adventure.  The first book was best, the second fair, the third I was bored.. to.. death.. by the middle but hung in for the action in the last quarter of that book.

Why did I read them?  M’lady and I saw actress Jennifer Lawrence in the quirky movie Silver Linings Playbook and loved her.  She plays Katniss in the two movies released of the first two books and we wanted to see her.  Since the book is always better than the movie we thought we would read the books.  SKIP THE BOOKS.  I’m fairly certain they will NOT be better than the books.  OK, the first book is decent and the first movie (we’ve now seen it) cannot/does not include everything in the book.  Bear in mind this is not great literature or great movie-making.  (Jennifer Lawrence is good, thankfully.)  The author and movie producers are laughing/crying all the way to the bank.  In my next lifetime I must learn to write fiction or be an actor.

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About JohnRH

Retired, avid winter skier, avid reader, traveler (avidly). :)
Gallery | This entry was posted in Book review, Books, Fiction, Literature, Photography, Reading, Science fiction and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to The Hunger Games Trilogy, Boxed Set – Book Review

  1. Thank God someone feels the exact same way that I do about these books.

  2. JohnRH says:

    Ha! I like light, escapist reading from time to time but these were disappointing.

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