Tuesday, February 7, 2012

The Hunger Games

I read The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins in a day. Well, a night and an afternoon. I don't remember the last time I did that. Although I did stay home from work yesterday so I guess that's cheating. But honestly, it sucked me in. Just like it has the rest of the world. I think its the plot and the premise. What can be more compelling than knowing someone like you (albeit a crafty You who can pwn a bow and arrow) needs to fight to the death, or die themselves? You root for Katniss because you'd want people to root for you, and at the same time you try not to get swallowed up in hoplessness.

I started reading this a long time ago and put it down because I thought it was too depressing. When I picked it up again the other day I flipped ahead to the spot where I stopped, and it was only the end of chapter one. So... maybe I should have given it more of a chance, but if a book doesn't catch me, I don't waste my time. Lately I've been doing this a lot, putting down twice as many books than I end up finishing. I blame life, and the commute. I don't have time to sit for hours to really fall into a book, so the really heavy books that make the reader think (that I love) I just don't have the emotional energy for anymore. Writing saps a lot of that out of you. Actually, now that I think about it, writing really puts you through the wringer. Speaking of, read this.

It was extremely refreshing to read a teen book with a main character that wasn't all swoony for love and gag-worthy. I may not be a teen anymore, but I'm definitely still trying to figure out my place in the world, so they're still appropriate. But I'm tired of characters where all they think about is romance. This was life or death, and there was a lot of death.

Katniss and her survival skills took me back to middle school, when I must have read My Side of the Mountain ten times. I find that stuff fascinating. One day I'll learn how to wrangle me a moose and field-dress a deer, but in the meantime I'll keep myself happy by reading about it.

I should say, I have no interest in reading the second and third books of the trilogies. I've heard a lot about them, especially the third (bad things), and I know I'm setting myself up for dissappointment. So I read the wiki summaries. And to be honest, they seem chock full of deus ex machina, and I'm not that interested. The first one was awesome, I'm excited for the movie, and let's leave it at that. I also think way too many stories are stretched out into trilogies because that's the popular thing to do right now, and a lot of the time it's not appropriate. This is one of those times. Leave the audience pleasantly murky on how the politics work out, and leave them wanting more. My favorite books are those that have incomplete and bittersweet endings. Um, The Gargoyle?? The Name of the Wind?? I don't know what that says about me, but I won't think about it. I'm glad I know how it ends, so now I can move on to other good books I haven't read yet.

Back to Katniss, she is totally kick-ass. I love how she took care of Peeta and did the hard things, like facing her fear of cuts and blood because she knows she had to help him. The best part of the book was how much Katniss grew through the games. Definitely one of the most dimensional characters out there. The book was full of good writing as well, something that falls to the wayside more often than not in YA. Crappy writing sucks. Doesn't matter how good the story is, if the writing sucks there's no redeeming it. Well, I shouldn't say that. A movie can redeem it (a la The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo).

Reading Now: Blood Red Road by Moira Young

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