Book: The Hunger Games

Reading this novel was… interesting. I read it not for a multitude of reasons but one: Simply put, I was darn curious about it. To give a bit of background on my exposure to The Hunger Games before news of the big-screen adaptation broke (dare I say this…), I had never heard of this trilogy. Shocking, I know. Anyway, after all of the buzz surrounding the series seemed to capture my attention, I asked Danielle if she would be willing to write a review on the book for my blog, and she graciously accepted. After that, I couldn’t hold out any longer and succumb to my curiosity. The book both entertained me and also annoyed me as a reader.

Less of a review and more my thoughts on what I hope is left intact in the movie, be warned: This is a looong “review.”

About the Book: 
Author: Suzanne Collins
Publisher: Scholastic
Publication Date: 2008
Genre: Teen, Fiction, Fantasy
Rating: 3 out of 5

The Story: Collin’s popular teen saga revolves around an annual tradition in a tyrant world in which the “Capitol” punishes each of its surrounding 12 districts because of a long-ago rebellion. The punishment is to take away residents children by holding an “event” that picks one boy and one girl minor from each district that then pits the 24 contestants against each other in a battle that could either result in fame and fortune – or death.

My Thoughts: I’ll just admit it. I read this for one reason and one reason only. Because of its popularity, I saw the book everywhere and as a result I succumbed to curiosity. There probably isn’t one person (well, maybe that is exaggerating a bit) who has not already read this book and is counting down the hours (or minutes, perhaps) until the major motion picture releases in a couple of weeks. In all honestly, I did not particularly love the book. My initial reaction was that the premise was a bit… primitive. The idea that young minds are asked to kill one another simply for the sport of their political leaders is troubling. With that being said, I am definitely not against fighting when it comes to protecting freedoms or self-defense. Fortunately, I was able to still like its main protagonists, Katniss and Peeta, not only because they were forced into a ritual they did not want but because their only “kills” were either for survival or unintentional.

The book is written in the first person, which admittedly I am not all that fond of. It seems to stifle so much about the book. For starters it only allows the reader into the thought process of one person and I find that a bit uninteresting, and it seems to be more difficult for me as the reader to really get “into” the story. Getting other characters perspective is just one of the things I am most anticipating about the movie. Below I am listing what I hope the movie adaptation strengthens…

  • Since she has already created Oscar buzz, I am anxious to see Jennifer Lawrence in the role of Katniss. I read somewhere a piece in which the writer felt she was too cold to play a convincing Katniss, but knowing the little about Jennifer that I do, I actually think she will make a wonderful heroine. Katniss isn’t exactly a character that makes you feel “happy.” Her attitude about life is very practical, granted made so by necessity; a no-nonsense attitude I think this actress will easily pull off. Josh Hutcherson (Peeta) and Liam Hemsworth (Gale) as the heroes both seem equally suited
  • Hopefully the film will do a much better job of introducing us to Gale. Unfortunately the book does a crummy job (or in book one anyway); we are hardly ever made aware of his presence. This is in large part due to the better part of the story taking place in the arena where the games are held. Sure, Katniss thinks of him and we have an inkling of why his friendship means so much to her but apart from that, he is merely a “thought.” (How on earth am I supposed to pick a “team” if I cannot get to “know” both guys equally? *wink*)
  • Costume designers had an imposing task ahead of them in this picture – to recreate such designs. That is just one of the major things I hope the big-screen “copies.” The costuming sounds both unique and breathtaking – and it’d be not just impressive on-screen but also vivid to actually see
  • The novel isn’t “graphic” in terms of each time a character is killed of but… out of the 24 who begin the games, only two are still standing at the end. It is important – or it is to my ideal view of the movie that filmmakers also used sensitivity when adapting this into a film. Katniss’ grief over one death was evident and I suspect that writer’s will have played that up

Overlong (or tedious) would be how I’d sum up the “middle” section of the story. It seemed like it became stuck in redundancy in certain sections. In all likelihood, the film will not suffer from this – if there is one thing to be said about the book-to-screen adaptation, things should always be kept interesting. I doubt very much that I’ll get to theaters to see the film (I’ll rely on all of you to blog about it *hint, hint*) but will most definitely rent it once it arrives on DVD. Destined to become the next Twilight saga craze, as Danielle said, no longer will fans be thinking about being on the team of a vampire or werewolf but rather whether to be “team Peeta” or “team Gale.” Honestly, I was neither. Until Katniss can figure out her own jumble of sometimes selfish emotions, she has no business being in a relationship. But then, she is only seventeen.

Having sufficiently bemoaned the “ins and outs” of The Hunger Games, I can honestly say: Reading the next two books are high on my priorities list – does that sound completely contradictory? I can wish that the series grows with its characters although I am sad to say, I don’t know if I’ll ever find Katniss the most worthy heroine to ever be written onto the pages of a novel.


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