Suzanne Collins' The Hunger Games Trilogy
- Did the plot make sense?
- Kept me interested?
- What about the characters?
- It had a good ending?
- Overall Rating
Note: this is a guest post by my husband Joaquín Windmuller.
Today I finished reading The Hunger Games by Suzanne Colins.
One of the first issues I had with the books is that it is narrated in first person present tense. A mode that I wasn't used to and felt awkward every time I resumed reading.
The awkward sensation continued throughout well into the second book. But eventually it grows on you, or the story traps you in a way that, verbs don't matter anymore.
Book One: The Hunger Games
Collins is a master of keeping descriptions to the bare minimum so that the reader fills in the voids with imagination (as it should be). But no information is skipped when it comes to letting you understanding the world of Katniss Everdeen, although the discovery is gradual which makes it easy to follow.
The Hunger Games occur on an indefinite time of humanity where technology is highly developed but kept from most of the population.
The 12 Districts that encompass this world are under the tyrannical rule of the Capitol and survive everyday with the bare minimum. This setup is the result of a long gone uprising against the Capitol by the, then, 13 Districts.
Even the privileged that live in the Capitol have access to the technology for only one thing: their enjoyment.
Enjoyment in the form of food, parties and The Games.
The Games are a yearly event that casts two kids from each district into an arena where they have to kill or be killed. All for the enjoyment of the people in the Capitol and as a reminder to the District of who is in charge.
Of course our heroine ends inside this games, and her partner in war is no other than Peeta Mellark. A kid that saved her and her family's life during times of extreme hunger.
And this theme is carried throughout the whole series: Katniss' struggle between being forced to hurt people she owes or loves for the sake of some rules imposed on her.
The other big struggle of this book is the unexpected role Katniss takes on because of her actions. The inspiration for a new uprising of the Districts.
Her unintended act of rebellion saves her and Peeta from the Games but puts all of her loved ones in danger from the Capitol, and its wrath is represented by President Snow's calculated threats.
Book Two: Catching Fire
After surviving the Hunger games and having forced the Capitol's hand into letting Peeta live too. Katniss is forced into pretending to love Peeta too quell the uprising starting in the Districts.
This book brings to the front row the complexities of Katniss. How she struggles to clear up her feelings for her old friend Gale Hawthorne, her constant issues with trust and her overall awkwardness in human relationships.
Surrounded by the constant threat of the Capitol she embarks into the victory tour through all the Districts tasked to convince the people and specially President Snow that her act of defiance was merely an act of desperate love.
But during the tour all her attempts at honoring the fallen or to ease their pain is seen as furthering the defiance to the Capitol.
The theme of the brutality of a tyrannical government is treated in a gritty manner and the reader really experiences the confusion, desperation and incapacitation of being out of control of one's life.
And when you think it is almost over and nothing can be worse, Katniss and Peeta are forced back into the arena because of the special conditions imposed by the Quarter Quell.
This book plays hardball when it comes to gut wrenching experiences, and Suzane Collins is an expert on surprising you with the next turn of events.
Book Three: Mockinjay
You would think that the last book of the series is the one Collins left to explain to the reader how all the suffering in the previous two will make sense and things get better.
But none of that happens. Only the opposite.
Collins makes you feel the incapacitating feeling of being used by enemies and friendlies, the desolation of losing your home, the desperation of broken friendships and the paralyzing experience of seeing family die.
You'd think that beating the bad guys would result in celebration, but not when so much is lost.
All that is what Suzanne accomplishes with this book.
"May The odds Be Ever In Your Favor"
The Hunger Games is a great novel. There's no denying that.
The message it brings is about the horrors of war. It is about how years after the war is over those who suffered still never feel safe.
The whole saga highlights how useless they are and how frustrating it is that everyone knows that yet wars are still allowed to happen.
This main message is entwined with a scarring love story of adolescents that are forced to grow up and behave like adults without the complete toolset that experience brings.