Sunday, April 8, 2012

Hunger Games Trilogy... WTF Review

SPOILER ALERT: I will be discussing events from all three books in the trilogy. If you have not read them and don't want the ending revealed in a jarring manner (much like the books are written) then exit now!!!!!!!

DISCLAIMER: Opinions are like assholes. Everyone has one and most of them stink. This review/rant is merely my opinion that I am writing on 4 hours of sleep because this book kept me awake. I had to start reading some cheesy girl book to get the taste out of my mouth. And even then, I was depressed watching the sun rise. So yeah, this is me bitching my opinion. I want you to know I LIKED the books overall and that I was very pleased with the movie. However, this needs to get off my chest...

Okay you've been warned. So let me preface this by saying that I never really write book reviews, and Lord knows that is not the purpose of this blog. However, being that I was up until 5:30 this morning, I am compelled to spill my guts over the events of the past few days that I read the three books in question. To clarify, this week I read:

The Hunger Games
Catching Fire

All are authored by Suzanne Collins. And before my "critique" I must give credit to the author. She knows how to write, and she knows how to engage the reader to want to continue reading. I think I finished each book in little over a day.

The first book is superior to the rest in my estimation. The character development is solid and steady. The action gets going fast enough to stay engaged and the reader begins to mull over the two male leads. I will say that the end of the book was a bit jarring but nearly as much as the sequels. There are certainly times when I want to reach through the page and shake Katniss into having some human emotions. Her lack of decision making outside the arena reminds me of Zoey, the main female character in the House of Night series. But that's where the connection stops for me. It's just a frustration.

Sooo let me get down to the point. I was horrified by the ending of the last book. And not in the way I expected. Thank God my friends are not soulless and forewarned me that the end of the series would make me displeased. I got a little taste of the abruptness in Collins' writing by the end of the second book, where its like... Action. Action. Gasp. Action. Confusion. Katniss Rescued. 12 Gone. Close Book. What? WHAT just occurred? I had to re-read a good chunk of the end... slowly... so I felt more development of events could occur. No such luck. However it did get me intrigued to immediately start the third book.

Oh Mockingjay. My dear, sweet Mockingjay. There were a few ways I approached this book. All of which involved great trepidation to not read the end. My roommate, Kris, warned me that the end was sudden and somewhat frustrating. However, three chapters in I was already agitated. Now please don't get me wrong, there are points when I fully connect with Katniss and her slipping control over her own mind. However, her complete lack of emotions except for little snippets of time are confusing. Trying to put myself in her shoes I could see being emotionally stunted by the events of the games and even life in 12 before. However, she has this weird habit of dismissing people that care for her, to the point that I'm reading out loud going "What the hell Kat!?" Yes, I call her Kat. Judge away.

So, okay, overall the book is good. HOWEVER... Mockingjay should be two separate books. Wayyy too much stuff happens and none of it is really developed until they get to the Capitol. And even then, after that gets rolling, time jumps again. But let me not get ahead of myself. I knew they would kill Prim. They had to didn't they? Because that was the only person Katniss seemed truly happy with and one of the characters I truly loved. And then there is Finnick and Annie. I figured well I know I'll be pissy about how the author treats Katniss' love choices, so at least I can be happy that Finnick and Annie are together. Especially when I guessed that Annie would die. NOPE! Finnick is eaten by mutts and then blown up... wtf. Okay, okay, I get some of the deaths in the book. Actually, I understand a lot of them. However, Cinna, Prim and Finnick are unforgivable. WTF Collins! Stop that!

So then there is the treatment of time after Katniss kills Coin (which I lol'd about). I wasn't super happy that there was no definite explanation of how Snow died (choking on his blood from laughing...really?) and if I were Katniss I'd be pissed to not take the bastard out myself. So then lets time jump. A lot. To me, the end of the book is like when my Jeep hits 1/2 a tank of fuel left. From F to 1/2 it's a solid few days. From 1/2 to Empty it takes like ... an hour. Okay that's false, but still. It's fast. Too fast. Startlingly fast.

So Katniss just chills in the Capitol suite forever planning the never-ending suicide? Okay. So wait, Katniss just sits in her house for months? All nasty and shit? And Greasy Sae doesn't even try to hose her down? Okay. Oh wait. She starts talking to Peeta again (and he's not choking her). Okay. And her Mom doesn't give a crap enough to come back to her. Okay. And Gale and her are like "okay, it might have been your bomb so you can't be forgiven, even though you couldn't have known. Peace bro." Okay. Soooo Katniss has no one but Haymitch. They even kill off the sweet mayor's daughter? Okay. Um, I'll commit suicide FOR Katniss. By the end of the book I'm pissed and crying. But wait, is this a silver lining? Nope. If it is it sped by at the speed of a Ferrari on the Autobon.

It's like three pages long. Three. Peeta and I talk. Then we like each other. Then we're a thing again, but it's not the same. Then a million years later I'm like "okay impregnate me." And then I'm a sad Mom. No more Hunger Games. Sweet. Then I'll tell my cute kids about my horrible existence and how Mommy killed lots of people. But it's gonna be cool. I wrote it all down. Because that's cathartic. THE END. Okay.

What. The. (pardon me) Fuck. Just. Happened.
I swear to you, this should have been TWO books. Develop the attacks on 13 and the subsequent plan to go to 2 and the Capitol. Fin. Book 2 (or 4 technically). Attack the Capitol. Kill all the nice characters except for the boys. Then DEVELOP THE ENDING. Give the reader something to cling on to. It's almost like Collins was so exhausted from writing the series that she slapped on a three page denouement and a 2 page Epilogue and called it a day. Okay.

So in sum, yes, I liked the books and most of the content. However, as a reader and a narrative writer I felt really disconnected by the end. And mad. I hate ending books feeling mad. That's not to say I approve of happy endings all the time... perhaps that couldn't happen in a dystopian society. But still... develop it. For God's sake man, develop it!

So now I'm tired and grumpy and I need a coffee. The odds seem to not be in my favor. LoL.



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