Friday, July 02, 2010

Book review: The Hunger Games


Note: What I'm about to say many people won't like... I'm sorry. Don't throw stuff at me.





One line review: I liked the Japanese version better.
Why did I read this book?:
I read this book for a couple reasons.
1) it's been on EVERYONE'S Must Read list.
2) about 75% of my students read it and loved it
3) A lady at the scbwi yelled at me, literaly I was sitting next to Mary Kole and this lady started to yell at me because I hadn't read it yet, it was like I didn't belong at the writers conference because I didn't read it.
4) One of my students said, "out of a rating from 1-10 I'd give it an 11."


The book:
Girl has to fight against 24 other kids to food for her home town.
Here's the thing, it's not a new concept... in fact it was a book, a comic and a movie back in Japan, and it was call Battle Royale. But the kids weren't strangers they were classmates, they had a long and deep rooted history with each other, which made the events that more horrifying.
The main character wasn't highly likable. What I did like about her was she was a girl who kicked ass, and she was smart, but everything else about her was sort of meh.

What I did like about it:
  • Fast read
  • I liked the reality TV aspect and that she was hyper aware that everything she did was going to be broadcasted. I thought it was a nice statement for how we are currently living out lives in a hyper media word. Even now I'm blogging, sharing my thoughts with whoever will read it.
  • I liked how well thought out the world was, I could tell Suzanne Collins spent of time playing around in this world in her head.
  • She wrote great action scenes.
Downsides.
  • The biggest one for me was, not once did I read it and think, "Damn I WISH I could write like this." Possibly the problem was I had literally finished On Writing ten minutes earlier and I LOVED that book. When ever I read something by John Green nearly ever page makes me want to beg the Writing Gods to make me a sliver as talented as he is.
  • It was a little too "telly" and not enough "showy".
  • Did we really need 2 pages about the back story of her sister's goat?<-yes I know character development, time needed to pass so the characters could heal, but still 2 pages?
  • The "rule change" half way through the game was BS. It was a cheep plot device used to get to characters together, but it didn't cause any tension, in fact, released any tension that was there in the story. Lame.
  • I know the book is called The Hunger Games but there was WAY too much description about food.
Overall Review:
Was it entertaining? yes. I finished it in a few hours. But in all honesty I felt that Twilight was more entertaining.
Maybe it was because I had such HIGH expectations for it. And there's a frenzy around the book that I thought it would be better. Maybe it was me and not the book.

Note: I can't imagine the unreal pressure that must be on Collins right now, with the final book coming out. While I didn't love the book, I know millions of people do, and I hope she can live up the pressure and hype and I wish her all the best.

Rating 7 out of 10

6 comments:

  1. I hadn't read it yet, but you confirmed what I suspected - she nicked the premise from Battle Royale.

    Still, I'll read at some point. Thanks for the review.

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  2. I've been wary of reading it... I think now I know why!

    A few years back I fell in love with another Collins's series, The Underland Chronicles? That is absolutely BRILLIANT, and this one never seemed on par...

    And wow, creepy old lady... I might have to forgoe reading it JUST to punch someone like that in the face.

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  3. Great to hear this. It's on my list, and you're right... the buzz is huge. (If I know about it, it must be). I'll let you know what I think when I finally read it!
    Have a great weekend!

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  4. I've heard about this book, but I haven't read it. I think you gave a very balanced review. The book sounds interesting. Thanks for the info.

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  5. I really liked the book - Katniss was well developed and real to me. I also loved the entire premise.

    But we all like different things - that's part of the fun! :)

    And I haven't read Twilight yet - although I'm planning to this summer. :)

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