The Hunger Games Trilogy

I’m not ashamed to admit that I was wrong about the Hunger Games books. Before reading them, I had assumed that they would be pretty much like any other young adult book. Good, but not very, and overly dramatic in the worst sort of high school drama way. Also, there seemed to be a love triangle and those get really old really fast for me.

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I’ve already reviewed the first book, and I quickly finished the series. It’s fast moving without seeming to manipulate your need to finish it in one go like some thrillers do, with massive cliffhangers at the end of every chapter. Katniss is a relatable character and it’s easy to see why people like her so much. The love triangle was there but it wasn’t the main story line and it was pretty clear who she was going to end up with. And, even better, the writing was good!

CatchingFireCover

However, I probably won’t be reading these books again. As interesting and well-written as they might be, they are still telling the story of children who are forced to kill each other. People die. Lots of people. A rebellion starts and more people die. Characters we know and care about (and some we don’t). It begins to feel rather pointless after a while, which I understand is accurate to a wartime situation, but really not my cup of tea.

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Because ultimately, I read to escape. And I particularly love reading fantasy and science fiction because those genres provide the best opportunities to do that. I like my stories to end happily, where people get what they deserve, and sometimes what they want, and everything ends with sunshine and daisies. (A bit of an exaggeration of course, but not much.) I don’t like unrelenting brutality and stories that end with hurt and pain. I realize that that is probably more honest and true to life but, well, I can get that from the news. So while I’m glad I read the books and found them good enough to even recommend them to others, I can’t say they were as enjoyable as what I normally like.

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10 thoughts on “The Hunger Games Trilogy

  1. L. Palmer says:

    I agree with your assessment of the latter part of the trilogy. Yes, there should be a cost, but the constant bombardment of horrible events just gets to be numbing instead of engaging.

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    • Mary says:

      There was one particular death at the end that I felt to be absolutely pointless (SPOILER I’m referring to Prim END SPOILER). And I felt that her death should have meant more but by that time, I was just kind of done. Oh well. I’m still pleased that the series as a whole was much better than I was expecting.

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  2. jubilare says:

    I really relate to that last paragraph (though I haven’t read this trilogy yet). I will say this, and I think I am allowed to, as I am a recovering cynic. The picture the news paints, and that dark stories paint is not, in itself, any more realistic to the stories with happier endings. Too much of either fails to tell the truth about our world because there is a lot of good, here, too, and miracles and joys. A balance is more true to life. 😉

    So people who claim that a story is too “idealistic” if it is not dark and brutal have a skewed understanding of reality, much to their detriment. I used to be one of them. Don’t let them shame anyone into disliking a happy ending or a story that is not seeped in blood and despair.

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    • Mary says:

      You’re right about balance. The miracles and the joy can feel all the more sweeter sometimes exactly because of what has been lost. Unfortunately, in this series I felt that even the little bit of good at the end was overwhelmed by the tragedies that had come before.

      It’s hard sometimes to feel, hmm, justified? in liking comedies, happy endings, etc. Sometimes the highbrow literary stuff seems like it is required to have at least 1 murder/rape/dark tragic secret in order for it to be read. And if it doesn’t then it’s usually delegated to chick lit or beach reads. If ever I get around to writing the stories in my head, they will have happy endings.

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      • jubilare says:

        Please, please write them! I will help goad… ahem… “encourage” you, if I can, because I want to read them. I promise mine will have a happy ending, as endings go in these mortal lands. 🙂

        Are you familiar with P. G. Wodehouse? Because he is, technically and in many other regards, one of the greatest writers in the English language… and as far as I am aware, he wrote nothing but comedies. Fan-fricking-tastic comedies. 🙂

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      • Mary says:

        Well, I can say I’ve started writing them but I get distracted very easily.

        And I have heard of Wodehouse and his Jeeves and Wooster stories. I haven’t actually read any yet because, well, so many things to read! I’ll keep that in mind though, the next time I’m looking for something more upbeat.

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      • jubilare says:

        So do I, though I seem to have locked in (after some 20 years of trying) recently. Seriously, though, if I can help, prod, bounce ideas or even mail you coffee/tea, let me know. 🙂

        He’s quick and easy, and if you have a commute, there are some great unabridged audio-book renditions out there. I get mine from the library. A word of warning, though. Sudden outbursts of laughter can be dangerous while driving…
        Apparently he would post pages of a manuscript to the wall and re-do them until he was completely satisfied with the wording. That is dedication, and it shows! I’ll never be quite that dedicated to my craft.

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  3. jubilare says:

    He was also known, apparently, to toss his mail out the window on the assumption that people were, generally, nice enough to pick it up and chuck it in the post box. 😄

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