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Adventure in an Apocalyptic World: The Hunger Games


Reading this novel was… interesting. I read it not for a multitude of reasons but one: Simply put, I was darn curious about it. To give a bit of background on my exposure to The Hunger Games before news of the big-screen adaptation broke (dare I say this…), I had never heard of this trilogy. Shocking, I know. Anyway, after all of the buzz surrounding the series seemed to capture my attention, I asked Danielle if she would be willing to write a review on the book for my blog, and she graciously accepted. After that, I couldn’t hold out any longer and succumb to my curiosity. The book both entertained me and also annoyed me as a reader.

Since I have a review already posted here, I have decided to write more about what I hope is left intact in the movie. (Only be warned: This is a looong "review.")

About the book:
Author: Suzanne Collins
Publisher: Scholastic
Publication Date: 2008
Genre: General, Teen, Fiction

The Story: Collin’s popular teen saga revolves around an annual tradition in a tyrant world in which the “Capitol” punishes each of its surrounding 12 districts because of a long-ago rebellion. The punishment is to take away residents children by holding an “event” that picks one boy and one girl minor from each district that then pits the 24 contestants against each other in a battle that could either result in fame and fortune – or death.

My Thoughts: I’ll just admit it. I read this for one reason and one reason only. Because of its popularity, I saw the book everywhere and as a result I succumbed to curiosity. There probably isn’t one person (well, maybe that is exaggerating a bit) who has not already read this book and is counting down the hours (or minutes, perhaps) until the major motion picture releases in a couple of weeks. In all honestly, I did not particularly love the book. My initial reaction was that the premise was a bit… primitive. The idea that young minds are asked to kill one another simply for the sport of their political leaders is troubling. With that being said, I am definitely not against fighting when it comes to protecting freedoms or self-defense. Fortunately, I was able to still like its main protagonists, Katniss and Peeta, not only because they were forced into a ritual they did not want but because their only “kills” were either for survival or unintentional.

The book is written in the first person, which admittedly I am not all that fond of. It seems to stifle so much about the book. For starters it only allows the reader into the thought process of one person and I find that a bit uninteresting, and it seems to be more difficult for me as the reader to really get “into” the story. Getting other characters perspective is just one of the things I am most anticipating about the movie. Below I am listing what I hope the movie adaptation strengthens...
  • Since she has already created Oscar buzz, I am anxious to see Jennifer Lawrence in the role of Katniss. I read somewhere a piece in which the writer felt she was too cold to play a convincing Katniss, but knowing the little about Jennifer that I do, I actually think she will make a wonderful heroine. Katniss isn’t exactly a character that makes you feel “happy.” Her attitude about life is very practical, granted made so by necessity; a no-nonsense attitude I think this actress will easily pull off. Josh Hutcherson (Peeta) and Liam Hemsworth (Gale) as the heroes both seem equally suited
  • Hopefully the film will do a much better job of introducing us to Gale. Unfortunately the book does a crummy job (or in book one anyway); we are hardly ever made aware of his presence. This is in large part due to the better part of the story taking place in the arena where the games are held. Sure, Katniss thinks of him and we have an inkling of why his friendship means so much to her but apart from that, he is merely a “thought.” (How on earth am I supposed to pick a “team” if I cannot get to “know” both guys equally? *wink*)
  • Costume designers had an imposing task ahead of them in this picture - to recreate such designs. That is just one of the major things I hope the big-screen “copies.” The costuming sounds both unique and breathtaking – and it’d be not just impressive on-screen but also vivid to actually see
  • The novel isn’t “graphic” in terms of each time a character is killed of but… out of the 24 who begin the games, only two are still standing at the end. It is important – or it is to my ideal view of the movie that filmmakers also used sensitivity when adapting this into a film. Katniss’ grief over one death was evident and I suspect that writer’s will have played that up
Overlong (or tedious) would be how I’d sum up the "middle" section of the story. It seemed like it became stuck in redundancy in certain sections. In all likelihood, the film will not suffer from this – if there is one thing to be said about the book-to-screen adaptation, things should always be kept interesting. I doubt very much that I’ll get to theaters to see the film (I'll rely on all of you to blog about it *hint, hint*) but will most definitely rent it once it arrives on DVD. Destined to become the next Twilight saga craze, as Danielle said, no longer will fans be thinking about being on the team of a vampire or werewolf but rather whether to be “team Peeta” or “team Gale.” Honestly, I was neither. Until Katniss can figure out her own jumble of sometimes selfish emotions, she has no business being in a relationship. But then, she is only seventeen.

Having sufficiently bemoaned the “ins and outs” of The Hunger Games, I can honestly say: Reading the next two books are high on my priorities list - does that sound completely contradictory? I can wish that the series grows with its characters although I am sad to say, I don’t know if I’ll ever find Katniss the most worthy heroine to ever be written onto the pages of a novel.

Related Posts:
*If anyone else would like to add their "two cents" to this craze, please type away as I'd love to read them.

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23 comments:

  1. Team Peeta!!! LOL. Can't wait for this movie!!!!

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  2. I was interested in reading this... and then found out there are 400 holds on the book at the library. Unless I buy a copy, I doubt I'll get it read before the movie comes out. =P

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  3. I'm rather curious about The Hunger Games trilogy, too. I've heard a good deal about it and the soon to be released movie adaptation--which has strengthened my curiosity even more. But I've heard both sides of the "argument." Many say it's a great series, while others dislike the violence content and so on. Really glad you made this review! I'm hoping to read it as soon as I can...hopefully before the movie comes out.

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  4. Rachel - you and so many other fans. ;-D I will see the movie but probably after it releases to DVD.

    Charity - WOW! Seriously!? 400 holds!? That is... a lot! Your more than welcome to read my copy if you would like to read the novel.

    Are you going to see the film?

    Jemimah - it was... interesting. I didn't love the first book but I also did not dislike reading it. Instead I found it a "fun" read - despite its premise. I am sure that there were "deeper" meaning behind much of the story but in all honesty, I didn't read it with that thought process. Chances are, I will be interested in reading it again in the not-too-distant future; perhaps when the movie comes out (on DVD).

    Hope you enjoy it, Jemimah!

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  5. This is not my usualy type of fare when it comes to books....but I greatly, greatly enjoyed it. I couldn't put it down! I'm not as rabid about it as the diehard fans, but I do hope to see it when it hits theaters.

    Gale is better introduced in book 2. He plays quite a large role as a matter of fact. And I can already see it now--this trilogy will become a film trilogy as well. Which is fine with me, I can enjoy it MORE than Twilight =D

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  6. Thanks for this great review, Rissi. I myself have been hearing a lot about the Hunger Games trilogy, and it has piqued my curiosity. It sounds like a very sad and disturbing story, and I really have to be in the mood for those. :-)

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  7. Am I going to see it? I haven't decided yet. I might. It looks interesting, even though someone spoiled me for which guy she winds up with at the end of book three. =P

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  8. Ella - I enjoyed the book, too, but underneath its premise there was something... weird about the book. (I know that probably sounds weird, but nevertheless...) Putting it down wasn't an issue for me but yet I did enjoy the "suspense." =D

    Glad Gale is more explored in book 2 - one of these days, I'll be reading the other two just to finish it out. Already critics are saying that, yes, this will be a trilogy with book 3 being split into two films. Totally agree with you: Not a Twi-fan. ;D

    Look forward to your thoughts on the movie.

    Gwendolyn - me, too! I was so curious about it that I just had to see what all the fuss was about. There is just something about the idea of killing fellow peers for sport that is... odd. I realize that the kids weren't given a choice and they wanted to rebel but the two that did live barely escaped with their lives.

    I am right there with you - I have to be in the right mood to read or watch something depressing also.

    Charity - well, if you do see it, I'll look forward to your thoughts on the movie. =)

    I had to check out how the books ended, too. They sound like more of a let-down in my opinion, but we'll see...

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  9. Great commentary Rissi! Although I got sucked into this series rather quickly and loved it (I even pulled an all-nighter to finish the first one)! Which is kinda rare for me since I don't read a ton on fiction these days. Personally I think these are far better in Twilight. I feel like Katniss is more admirable than Bella as she actually has opinions and a mind (just my opinion). Plus, Suzanne Collins had written a children's series I had loved so when I saw this series I immediately bought my copies.

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  10. Nice review, Rissi!

    I, too, am looking forward to seeing how they recreate the costumes in the movie (especially the flaming costumes).

    As for the violence - I was also wondering how they'll handle it in the movie. It's rated pg-13 (obviously they couldn't make an R-rated film if they wanted to make money off it).

    I'm glad you (mostly) liked it. :)

    Oh, and thanks for linking to me!

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  11. Natalie - thanks! I wrote this up really quick, so I liked how "easy" this was. =)

    Fiction and me are no stranger (I love it) and in all honestly, I read - A LOT. Never was interested in the "Twi" series although I did read a lot about the series in the paper and such. Ironically Danielle made reference to Katniss being similar to Bella in her review...

    Lauren - I know, right!? If there was only one thing I could pick for the movie to replicate, it'd be the costumes. They just sound... awesome!

    To me, the book wasn't horribly "graphic" in its depiction of violence and I'd hope the film uses restraint. There would be NO way the film would be as much of a "powerhouse" opening if it had been rated R. A lesser rating guarantees more money, that is for sure.

    I did enjoy it; thanks. =) And you are welcome.

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  12. I read the first book and...well, I'm not that interested in reading the others :P The first one was okay...but it just didn't keep me interested! For serious. I read most of it and stopped with about 3 chapters left and kept putting off reading it. The only ting that finally convinced me was the enormous library fine I would have...and everyone's blog posts about it ;) I AM however looking forward to the movie, though I'll definitely wait till I can rent it :)

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  13. I share much the same thought, Trinka but the novel definitely intrigued me enough that I will finish out the series. The amount of blogs that I saw this on was insane!

    I want to see the movie also but like you will be content to just "reserve" a copy of it once it comes to my local video rental store - which should be an autumn release.

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  14. Thanks for revisiting my post Rissi! I'm guessing that, if the hype of the book encouraged you to read it - the hype around the movie will do the same :)

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  15. Sure, Danielle. =) I was glad to do so - thank you for stopping by, it has been a while, girl! ;D

    Hmmm... you think so!? I don't know, I can be very patient when I want to be. LOL! =)

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  16. Did you read my post on The Hunger Games? If not, you might like it: http://saamusings.blogspot.com/2012/01/panem-et-circenses-post-on-hunger-games.html

    I really liked the book. And I am definitely counting the minutes. 26,201; 26,200...

    Just kidding. I made those numbers up. I have no idea how many minutes {or hours, even} there are until the movie. But I am going for the midnight premiere, and I am SO excited to see it!

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  17. Thanks for linking to that, Annie - I don't think that I did see that post (yikes!). Will definitely be linking to it after I am done "catching up" on these awesome comments. =D

    For me, the book was entertaining but I just cannot get past the whole killing for sport thing. I "get" that the kids had no control over it and the idea was to rebel but still... it kind of annoyed me. I'll see the movie and will definitely blog about it (even though everyone else won't care because they'll have already see it - maybe even twice).

    Enjoy!

    *If anyone else wants to add their "two cents" to this craze, I'd love to know your thoughts - so type away. =)

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  18. I'm sorry if you didn't like it all that much. I really did like it and although Katniss isn't a hero or a main favorite I think she did well for the series. That may only make sense to me though :P However Peeta I think is just one great character :) I'm totally team PEETA! I don't know if I could choose between the second and first book...they are both great. I hope you get to read the next two (however Mockingjay is one that I didn't like :'( ) soon! At my library the holds for Hunger Games are...59. 40 for Catching Fire. Sierra
    Keep Growing Beautiful♥ (Cause You Are!)

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  19. Contrary to what my "lackluster" thoughts on the series were, I did still enjoy this novel. Is it one of my faves? No, but then, I probably would read it again.

    Katniss... that makes sense. The world that she comes from is so drastically different than ours that her attitude about life would be... well, different. I really didn't form an attachment to Peeta OR Gale in book one. Neither seemed to be all that great as characters - still I am hoping (as I've been told!) that will change in book two. I just got it Thursday and will be reading it as soon as I finish a book in another series (I think I did hear that about Mockingjay... so I am curious to read the series in its entirety.)

    WOW! That is just insane that the library has that many holds. Cannot even imagine that. =D

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  20. If I have not read the HG, I would have read it because of your review. This review was very good and highlighted the highs and lows.

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  21. Thanks, Will! I appreciate that. One of these days, I will write another post on my thoughts about the series as a whole.

    Thanks for the follow!

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  22. Replies
    1. Glad you do, Chasity. One of these days, I am planning to finish the books! :)

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