?

Log in

No account? Create an account
 
 
28 December 2010 @ 01:37 pm
'The Hunger Games' Trilogy -- oh my heart!  
So I got the first book from The Hunger Games trilogy from the library early on Thursday, Christmas Eve. I didn't begin reading it until mid-afternoon (after I'd gone to Barnes & Noble and spent $30 of the $50 gift card I had). 100 pages into the book, I looked up at my sister and said I really wished I had begun reading the book a few hours earlier. If I had, I would have bought the entire trilogy with that gift card because (a) there was no way these would not be books I wanted to read again and (b) there was no way I was going to wait until the next two books in the trilogy were available from the library. On December 26th, B&N was open; I used the rest of my gift card and my own money and purchased the trilogy. I finished the third book around 10 am December 27th. And bawled like a baby.

I really, really, really love these books.

I've read some complaints that Katniss didn't do enough at the end, that she just reacted to things, was manipulated, etc., especially in the third book, and I agree about that. But I also felt that it was exactly as it should be. She was only 16/17 years old, she had everyone she loved taken from her or put in danger. Her world (District 12) was destroyed. She was lied to over and over again. Even if she didn't make all the big decisions, even if she was manipulated into doing things, even if she reacted more than she acted, it made sense. She was a broken, nearly-destroyed child who still went through a series of horrifying events with more grace, strength, bravery and goodness than many others could have. And I think that Suzanne Collins displayed that core of character beautifully from page one of The Hunger Games to the last line in Mockingjay.

I know there were others who were upset that the "triangle" or "love story" was backburner for a lot of book three in favor for a political message and some deeper agenda. I can't agree with that complaint at all, because to do so is to believe that the first two books were about a love story/triangle from the get-go. It was always obvious to me that these books were about a political message, a human message, and meant to make people think -- especially the young adult audience the books were aimed at. And Collins did that beautifully as well. The love story/triangle was always just one of the threads, albeit one of the larger, more colorful ones, never the main thrust of the story.

Now, it's easier for me to be happy with the ending because I was more inclined towards Peeta from the first book, and then gung-ho for him in the second because Catching Fire pretty much made me fall completely in love with him, so I wanted him to have what he wanted most in the end. And Gale, as much as he loved Katniss, could survive and find happiness without her, I believed. I think Katniss *was* happiness -- at least his truest sense of it -- for Peeta. And when this paragraph on the last page, pre-Epilogue hit, I couldn't help but smile through my tears because it's the exact conclusion I'd come to myself about three chapters before.

That what I need to survive is not Gale's fire, kindled with rage and hatred. I have plenty of fire myself. What I need is the dandelion in the spring. The bright yellow that means rebirth instead of destruction. The promise that life can go on, no matter how bad our losses. That it can be good again. And only Peeta can give me that.

Like I said, I had already come to that conclusion myself so reading, in such perfectly-worded prose, Katniss come to that conclusion herself was the perfect ending. And I adored how she brought the dandelion recall into it, as well. Such a simple, beautiful touch that tied in how Peeta, as the boy with the bread, had saved her in her darkest period once before, and now he had done it again. Gale may have been the other half of her in many ways -- and he so was, but Peeta was her light ... and after all of the darkness that Katniss had endured, she needed that light to survive. She would have been drowned in Gale's darkness, and would have lost the girl who sang for Rue, who thanked District 11 during the Victory parade, who reached out to the soldier with a gun coming out of the train tunnel.

I just loved so much of everything about these books. The characters (Katniss, Peeta, Gale, Prim, Haymitch, Effie, Cinna -- oh, my God! Cinna!!!!, Katniss' prep team, the evil of Snow, the controlled dark of Coin, Plutarch, Rue, Boggs, Johanna, Finnick .... gosh, the list just goes on). I loved these characters, I felt for them, got to know them, love them, hate them through Katniss' eyes. Oh, and her voice, Katniss' voice was so perfectly rendered. So real, so vivid and even through that first-person narration, the other characters were just as real, so unique, and such complete characters. The story that was set-up simply in book one with enough threads and hints to point to exactly where it would end from almost every single point to this huge history-changing climax. The dialogue, and the heart, the emotion, the love story, the ... gah! Everything.

I just ... I really, really, really love these books.
 
 
 
But you can call me Bowie: billie piperisiscaughey on December 28th, 2010 07:15 pm (UTC)
Aren't they FANTASTIC? I discovered them last year, and I had such a hard time waiting for Mockingjay to come out (especially after the cliffhanger at the end of Catching Fire).

I totally agree that the third book was written in the way it should have been- Katniss reactions were realistic and true to the storyline.

So much love.
Arabian: Billie Piper_04arabian on December 28th, 2010 07:27 pm (UTC)
I remember my flist and twitter feed going crazy the week before the 3rd book came out, and I was thinking, man, I have got to read these books. I'm bummed I missed out on the EEEE!!Fandom for it, but on the other hand, I got to read them all together in a three-day period.

Katniss reactions were realistic and true to the storyline.

Yup.

BTW: Gorgeous Billie icon. Can't wait for the next series of Secret Diary of a Call Girl.
leosgreensleosgreens on December 28th, 2010 08:08 pm (UTC)
I first got Hunger Games a few months ago because I kept seeing them referenced in EW. I just finished Mockingjay at about 3 am. I read the same criticisms you did (including one by an EW writer that compared Katniss almost unfavorably to Bella Swan. UGH).

The only thing that disappointed me was Cinna's fate. :( I was sad to see him go so quickly. I almost shouted with joy when she shot Coin. These books were so damn good, I hope the movies do them justice.
Arabianarabian on December 28th, 2010 08:56 pm (UTC)
Ugh, I haven't read any EW stuff, but now I know to not go looking for them, (hah, I wouldn't be surprised if it was Missy Schwartz, the same idiot who so did not get Larsson's Millenium Trilogy.) Katniss is NOTHING like Bella. DOUBLE UGH!

The only thing that disappointed me was Cinna's fate. :( I was sad to see him go so quickly.

Me too, but Collins did such a fantastic job foreshadowing that without hitting us that loudly over the head with it. Damn it was so painful, though. Wah!

,i.I almost shouted with joy when she shot Coin. </i>

I was stupid, LOL! For some reason I skipped over Coin and just saw "President" and so thought Katniss shot Snow, but the first couple of paragraphs of the next chapter didn't make sense with that so I had to reread it twice before the "Coin" actually made connection in my brain. Oy vey. But when it did, yes, I was like GO KATNISS!

These books were so damn good, I hope the movies do them justice.

I'm leery, but hope they do too. At least we know that Suzanne Collins wrote (or at least co-wrote) the screenplay for the first one.
leosgreensleosgreens on December 29th, 2010 07:35 am (UTC)
When I first started noticing it was because of EW, but any stuff I read before I started reading the books I don't remember. When I got interested in reading the books, I avoided the articles. I can't remember who wrote the Katniss vs Bella piece, but it was idiotic. It basically said that sure, Katniss is cooler but completely indecisive and at least Bella always knows what she wants from the get-go. To which I say, PLEASE.

Arabianarabian on December 29th, 2010 01:15 pm (UTC)
Bella wanted Edward. That was her only decision, of course she it was easy to be decisive. Katniss was dealing with an entire nation's worth of history-altering, violent, death to thousands decisions. GEEZ!
(Anonymous) on December 28th, 2010 08:15 pm (UTC)
I read the same critiques you mentioned, and they did not bother me for the same reasons you mentioned. My only issue was the death/loss of certain characters. Of course I know in a book like this certain (heck many) people will die, but some deaths seemed so horrible and unnecessary, I'm still grieving over them more than others, though that's what war is all about it isn't it?

Anyway I was totally engrossed in these books, and I enjoyed them. To me there was never a very strong love triangle vibe because I felt Katniss had to be with Peeta. Structurally it would have been weird for Katniss to end up with the character the reader knows the least about. Peeta had a headstart in our hearts IMO. Also of course, I preferred Peeta because of all of his traits, and I was hurting for him so much in the third book.

You're right about Katniss. I was with her all the way, and the last pages were such a relief to me.
Arabian: Booksarabian on December 28th, 2010 08:57 pm (UTC)
Now I'm sad with the idea that there must have been a lot of these types of critiques because I just read a few reviews on Amazon.com. :(

My only issue was the death/loss of certain characters. Of course I know in a book like this certain (heck many) people will die, but some deaths seemed so horrible and unnecessary, I'm still grieving over them more than others, though that's what war is all about it isn't it?

Exactly. You pretty much answered it yourself. It's not fair, it is horrible, it is war. :( :(

So ditto to everything about Katniss and Peeta, and Katniss' end. :)
elffriend26elffriend26 on December 28th, 2010 10:43 pm (UTC)
This comment is me BTW. Posted anonymously by mistake.
Arabian: Sheldon & Penny - Sleepingarabian on December 28th, 2010 10:47 pm (UTC)
I figured it was someone on my flist, LOL! who just wasn't logged in. :)
Jules: not a hero [ vampire diaries ]blueeyelinerx on December 28th, 2010 11:49 pm (UTC)
What a coincidence!! I bought the first book to read on my trip to my parents and am now OBSESSED. I am anxiously awaiting the library's e-amil letting me know the books are on hold for me (don't quite have the money to buy the next 2 books in hardcover but it may come to that). I didn't read your whole thoughts since I'm trying my hardest not to be spoiled for Catching Fire and Mockingjay but so far I LOVE them.
Arabian: Damon04arabian on December 29th, 2010 12:01 am (UTC)
Good, don't read the whole thing until you're done because you will be spoiled. Oh, I hope you get them soon!!!

Edited at 2010-12-29 12:01 am (UTC)
sassy, classy, and a bit smart-assy: Real or Not Realbadboy_fangirl on December 29th, 2010 03:39 am (UTC)
I loved every bit of them as well (so fun to have something else to share with you--can't wait until they cast the movie!), and if I were going to change anything it would be that Finnick didn't die. That was the only thing that gave me pause and made me wish to make it not happen.

Katniss is such a wonderful heroine, and such an antithesis to all the Bella Swan crap out there. I hope she will attain a status among young girls as someone to admire and respect in a very big way.
Arabian: ATttD - Sorryarabian on December 29th, 2010 01:22 pm (UTC)
I was very sad when Finnick died. Yeah, if anyone could have lived without it affecting the emotional threads of the story, it would have been Finnick. :(

Katniss is such a wonderful heroine, and such an antithesis to all the Bella Swan crap out there. I hope she will attain a status among young girls as someone to admire and respect in a very big way.

Agreed.
beatlegirl59 on December 29th, 2010 05:20 am (UTC)
I got the first one for Christmas! 100 pages in and loving in...don't think I'll be able to wait for the others either.
Arabian: Billie Piper_07arabian on December 29th, 2010 01:22 pm (UTC)
Oh, I'm sure you won't be able to wait!
Myramidnightblack07 on December 29th, 2010 08:49 pm (UTC)
oohh I've been wanting to read these books for ages, don't know what's stopping me lol =/ I didn't read anything detailed yet for the sake of not spoiling myself, but hopefully I can get a hold of the first book sometime this weekend =)
Arabian: Damon05arabian on December 30th, 2010 12:00 am (UTC)
They really are fantastic. I can't recommend them highly enough!
redbrunja: the hunger games | kiss kissredbrunja on December 30th, 2010 06:31 am (UTC)
I really, really, really love these books too.

But I also felt that it was exactly as it should be. She was only 16/17 years ago, she had everyone she loved taken from her or put in danger.

Also, having people take her agency away from her is a deep theme in the books; it's hard to do that honestly without actually taking said agency away.

but Peeta was her light ... and after all of the darkness that Katniss had endured, she needed that light to survive. She would have been drowned in Gale's darkness,

I think, had the situation been different, they would have been perfect for each other. But the war damaged them in incompatible ways, I think.
Arabian: Booksarabian on December 30th, 2010 04:11 pm (UTC)
Also, having people take her agency away from her is a deep theme in the books; it's hard to do that honestly without actually taking said agency away.

Exactly. It was how she fought back and tried to make her choices despite all of that.

I think, had the situation been different, [Katniss and Gale] would have been perfect for each other. But the war damaged them in incompatible ways, I think.

I agree; but what the war did. Yeah, no, it destroyed what could have been.
Adrienne: Candice Accolaluredin on February 5th, 2011 05:05 pm (UTC)
I agree with everything you've said. The criticisms regarding Katniss reacting more than acting on her own are meritless. Katniss' entire life, from the moment her father died in the mines, from the moment Prim's name was called in the reaping, from the moment she became a pawn and a symbol, were about nothing but reacting...to each new horror she had to face. To make her suddenly a rebel mastermind in the final act would have rang completely false.

The comparisons of her to Bella Swan make me gag a bit. Katniss was a three dimensional character with heart and emotions that rang true. Despite Katniss' own misgivings about her motivations and her self-worth, she was always honest. I think she's an excellent role model for young adults. The only time her actions upset me was near the end when she voted in favor of the new hunger games. I understood that she was moved by her all-consuming grief over Prim's death, but it still didn't sit well with me. The chapters dealing with her grief were beautifully constructed, though.

I think Finnick's death effected me the most. I loved Cinna dearly, but honestly, from the first time he styled Katniss & Peeta I knew his number was up. So, I was prepared for his loss in a way that I wasn't for Finnick's.

And finally Peeta. Of course it always had to be the boy with the bread! There was never anyone else in my mind; I was so worried after he came back from the Capitol, hijacked, that things would not end well for him and Katniss. But as far as I am concerned things ended just right; the passage you quoted above summed up what I'd been feeling exactly. My only disappointment was the disappearance of the pearl from the latter half of Mockingjay. Collins made a point of having it always with Katniss up to the point she goes to District 2. And then it seems to disappear off the pages. I know it was cliche and sentimental but I would have liked to see it turn up somewhere at the end, if only they included it in their memory book or something.

Arabian: Candice Accola01arabian on February 5th, 2011 05:23 pm (UTC)
To make her suddenly a rebel mastermind in the final act would have rang completely false.

OMG! Thank you. (Literally what I said aloud when I read this paragraph.) It's just so true; Katniss was always a girl dealing with forces so out of her control. She *was* a reactionary. Period.

The only time her actions upset me was near the end when she voted in favor of the new hunger games. I understood that she was moved by her all-consuming grief over Prim's death, but it still didn't sit well with me.

I agree; I mean, I get it. She was so numb at that point, but yeah.

Hmm, I don't even remember the pearl, LOL! So it really did lose its significance, I guess. Wow, I'll have to look out for that in my reread (I'm half-way through Catching Fire). But so much yes to everything else with Peeta and Katniss. Loved them so much. So beautiful.

ETA: I know! I'm sorry! But I totally missed the paragraph about Cinna and Finnick for some reason.

So, I was prepared for his loss in a way that I wasn't for Finnick's.

I wasn't prepared for Cinna's death, so that shocked me, whereas everyone and their dog was dying in book three that I figured anyone but Katniss could go. Still losing Finnick was heartbreaking. :(

Edited at 2011-02-05 05:24 pm (UTC)
Adrienne: Candice - Head Restluredin on February 5th, 2011 06:20 pm (UTC)
Hmm, I don't even remember the pearl, LOL! So it really did lose its significance, I guess.

LMAO. I guess it was just me! Right before the big lightening plan in the Quarter Quell, when everyone ate the giant seafood feast, Peeta found a pearl inside of his oyster and gave it to Katniss, and they had a moment. She kept it with her, in her pocket, and would sometimes take it out at night and roll it against her lips, remembering his kisses...and seriously? Seriously? I am alone in remembering this? ;)
Arabian: Caroline02arabian on February 5th, 2011 06:22 pm (UTC)
I vaguely remember it? I'm sure when I read it this time, I'll never forget it though!
Diana: Bookworm -- Pride and Prejudicebutterfly on April 1st, 2012 03:14 am (UTC)
Fantastic books! We really need to chat about them sometime.

I've read some complaints that Katniss didn't do enough at the end, that she just reacted to things, was manipulated, etc., especially in the third book, and I agree about that. But I also felt that it was exactly as it should be. She was only 16/17 years old, she had everyone she loved taken from her or put in danger. Her world (District 12) was destroyed. She was lied to over and over again. Even if she didn't make all the big decisions, even if she was manipulated into doing things, even if she reacted more than she acted, it made sense. She was a broken, nearly-destroyed child who still went through a series of horrifying events with more grace, strength, bravery and goodness than many others could have. And I think that Suzanne Collins displayed that core of character beautifully from page one of The Hunger Games to the last line in Mockingjay.

People said that Katniss didn't do enough? That blows my mind. Everything happens because of Katniss. She's the spark that starts the fire and she learns over time how to use that. She is manipulated a lot, but she figures out by the end how to play the players back and put them where she wants them to be (saying 'yes' to Coin's plan so that she can be in position to kill Coin).

I know there were others who were upset that the "triangle" or "love story" was backburner for a lot of book three in favor for a political message and some deeper agenda. I can't agree with that complaint at all, because to do so is to believe that the first two books were about a love story/triangle from the get-go. It was always obvious to me that these books were about a political message, a human message, and meant to make people think -- especially the young adult audience the books were aimed at. And Collins did that beautifully as well. The love story/triangle was always just one of the threads, albeit one of the larger, more colorful ones, never the main thrust of the story.

Oh, that's interesting for me to read, because I felt like the love story was just as present in the third book as in the first two. Katniss is frequently either thinking of Peeta (the pearl! My heart!) or actively making herself not think about Peeta. Losing Peeta to the Capitol basically makes a huge part of her check out until she sees the proof that he's still alive, which felt like a call-back to her mom having checked-out after her dad died.

I loved that Katniss mentions the dandelion at the end of the book, because it was her mention of that in the first book that made me start shipping them. Perfectly summed up what Peeta had always been for her - the person who gave her hope and who inspired her to rebuild from the ashes.

Edited at 2012-04-01 03:15 am (UTC)