Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Review of The Hunger Games Trilogy by Suzanne Collins

I spent this Memorial Day weekend reading The Hunger Games Trilogy by Suzanne Collins. By the time I had finished the last book, I realized that I had made an appropriate choice because by the end, everybody, except a few sociopath villians, is struggling with PTSD.  One would think there would be some good treatment for PTSD so far in the future, but there does not seem to be.
My daughter-in-law, who loaned me the books, did not like the third book at all, though she loved the first and second books. I think what she missed was the spark of humor in the thinking of Katniss. In the third book, Katniss is so thoroughly broken by all the horror she has gone and continues to go through, that you do not know if she will ever recover. The breaking of Peeta was excruciating to read.
I thought the third book was the natural outgrowth of the first two, and followed a progression of events that made perfect sense. The third book breaks your heart over and over again. It shows what civil war is like, and what civil war does. It also shows that taking down an evil government does not guarantee a good government will take its place.
The thing I admire most in Katniss is her ability to retain her ability to do what must be done, no matter what. Of course, what must be done is defined by what the end goal is. Katniss never lost sight of the end. What astounded me most about Katniss was her ability to take the tiniest clues and then understand what was going on. Since I am perpetually clueless, the ability to understand from tiny clues looks like a superpower. She exemplified the saying: It's not paranoia if they really are out to get you.
I had expected the writing to be awful, but Collins is a good writer on many levels.
If your books must have a happily ever after ending to justify the time you spent reading it, these books are not for you. If you are willing to have a sorta happy ending with the hero limping for the rest of her life, this book will give you a lot to think about. If you want to know what PTSD feels like, this book will tell you even though the phrase is never used. Warning: a lot of people you really don't want to see die do die.
I liked the movie The Hunger Games when I saw it several months ago. It was interesting to see where the movie deviated from the book, simplifying the plot line and reducing some of the gore. I have no idea how the moviemakers are going to handle the third book.
I had very few quibbles with the book. I cannot understand how the woods did not get hunted out. Where was New Zealand, Australia, Europe, Russa? They ALL got wiped out? Well, never mind. Bringing them in would have interfered with the morality play.
All in all, I'm glad I read the trilogy.

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