Sunday, September 12, 2010

War is Bad

I waited on pins and needles for the conclusion to Suzanne Collin's ridiculously popular teen read series The Hunger Games. The day finally came, I bought the book then realized that this was THE LAST ONE. Once I read it the trilogy would be over and Katniss & Peeta would move on without me.

I tore through the book and turned the last page with mixed feelings.

For those of you who are insane enough to not have picked up these amazing books let me explain. The Hunger Games takes place in a post-apocalyptic world in the country of Panem, where North America once stood. Panem consists of The Capitol and 12 surrounding Districts. A number of years ago the Districts stood together to revolt against the wealthy Capitol but lost. In the end District 13 is decimated and The Capitol is victorious. As punishment for their disobedience the Capitol creates The Hunger Games, a vicious televised reality show in which one boy and one girl from each district must kill to be the last contestant standing.

16 year-old Katniss Everdeen's nightmare comes to be on the day of the lottery when her younger sister Prim is chosen to represent District 12. Katniss immediately volunteers to take Prim's place and so begins a terrifying tale of murder, love and revenge.

Out of the three The Hunger Games was definitely my favorite and I loved the trilogy as a whole, but at the end I was left feeling conflicted. There was so much violence and not just a 'you know someone has died' type of violence, but a bloody 'let me describe it in detail to you' sort of violence. Was that necessary? I doubt it, but there it was.

Suzanne Collins writes Katniss to be an almost indifferent character. She takes her responsibilities more seriously than any other 16 year-old and seems to have no patience for anyone other than her best friend and hunting partner Gale. She views her mother as weak and useless, her sister as innocent and frail. But as the story progresses she becomes both softer and tougher. She begins to form more attachments to unlikely characters and at the same time begins hardening towards the Capitol and all it stands for.

In The Hunger Games I found myself riveted. Though the concept was already done (The Running Man, Death Race 2000, The Lottery) the characters were new and the writing was horrifically graphic. I was reeling, wondering how this story could possibly end in any way that would be satisfying for me.

Catching Fire was almost an unnecessary evil. I couldn't believe that after everything Katniss had been through that it would start all over again. I wanted a happily ever after that didn't exist. But with Catching Fire came a whole new set of characters that were colorful and lively and vicious. And Catching Fire definitely left you on the edge of the cliff. I hate that!

And then finally there was Mockingjay. Much more emotional than the first two. The book is graphic. I can't say that enough, but by this time you have come to know all the characters so well that when one is lost it is like a real life death. Katniss has finally come into herself and she proves to everyone that she is a force to be reckoned with.

I can't say more without giving much away. I want readers to pick it up and be as enthralled as I was the first time I read the books. So, do it now! Go out and buy these books!!

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