The Hunger Games

On the recommendation of a countless number of people, I read The Hunger Games.  I just finished it up on Sunday, and I’m still trying to figure out what I think of it.  Please note – spoilers will follow, so don’t read this if you want the entire book to be a surprise.

The book reminded me of Harry Potter and Twilight, in that it’s a quick, engrossing read.  You don’t want to put the book down until you find out what happens.  The language is easy to follow and fairly simplistic.  The concepts are more complicated however, as the book is about a gruesome fight-to-the-death and 1984-like government oppression.  It’s very gruesome, in point of fact.  One of the participants in the “Hunger Games” gets attacked and eaten by a pack of wild dogs that are really resurrected former Games players.  Dark.

The true thread of the story though, is the story of Katniss, the girl hunter who wows the crowd and makes everyone fall in love with her, including the fellow tribute from her home district, District 12.  This boy, Peeta, has been in love with Katniss since the age of 5, a fact that the organizers of the games choose to exploit for viewership and interest.

Despite the history and actions of Peeta over the course of the 10 years they’ve known each other, Katniss prefers to assume that he is just “acting” in order to win the games.  I can’t believe that a 16-year-old girl would be that dense.  She is conflicted by another sort of love interest, her hunting partner, Gale.  They never were anything but friends, but the faux romance with Peeta (for the benefit of the games) makes her contemplate her relationship with  Gale.

A movie is being made of the book.  I read a review/preview, and the writer was lamenting that it seems as if the love triangle (ala Team Jacob/Team Edward) was going to play center stage.  In my mind, however, that IS center stage.  The relationship between Peeta & Katniss is the main motivating force of the story.  Without that, it’s just a death match.

Which brings me to my point, that this is really a love story, which is not what I thought it was going to be.  Not that there is anything wrong with that.  I love a good love story.  But, this one annoyed me.

Katniss is so mean to Peeta.  She is cold, and he is sweet and caring and self-sacrificing.  Sure, Katniss puts herself on the line to save Peeta, but it seems as if the ONLY reason she is doing it, is to survive the games.  The Gamemakers make a rule-change stating that unlike past years, this year two tributes can “win” the games, as long as they are from the same district.  Once that announcement is made, Katniss is all for playing up the romance with Peeta and taking advantage of all that means.

I really did not like Katniss very much.  Of course she will do anything for her family – she volunteered to be tribute in lieu of her sister, in fact.  However, she seems narrow-minded and harsh – disingenuous even.  And she hurts Peeta in the end.

I haven’t read books 2 or 3, so maybe things turn out all right, but I don’t seee how they can, if Katniss remains true to the character developed in the first book.

All-in-all, the book is good, especially for a young adult book.  The theme is very timely – oppression by the government and the desire to remain true to oneself in the face of that.  Those concepts are good.  I just was not a fan of Katniss, which is unfortunate, since she is the main character.  It is nice to see a strong, female lead – a girl who can take care of herself and others in her life, however.

Read it, and tell me what you think!

2 Replies to “The Hunger Games”

  1. I read the Hunger Games last week after a recommendation from a gazillion people. I agree that Katniss was cold, but I think that was her strategy to deal not only with the hunger games, but the life she lives in this dystopian world of the book. I liked when we are shown how human Peeta could be in comparison to her. I did appreciate that a female character was the lead and not portrayed in the terrible way that Stephenie Meyer’s presents her heroine.

    1. I agree that her coldness was a dealing mechanism. It just doesn’t make me like her anymore, and I really wanted to like her! She was smart, tough, and resourceful, but also manipulative, especially when it came to Peeta. She wasn’t in regards to Rue, though…

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