Between the Lines

Everyone can read, but really understanding a book and the story it represents is entirely different. It's important to adopt different perspectives. Here, I offer you mine.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Double Feature!! The Hunger Games AND Catching Fire, both by Suzanne Collins

Huh! Looks like I have a life after all! Guess I didn’t see it under all that school. But now that school’s over and life has caught up with me, I’ve been so busy!! Which I will use as my excuse for not updating my blog more often. I haven’t forgotten about you guys just yet! Anyway, enough about me. I decided to review both The Hunger Games and Catching Fire together because they’re both in the same series and I didn’t really feel too diverse about them.

DOUBLE FEATURE: The Hunger Games and Catching Fire
Suzanne Collins
374 Pages

Summary: "In the ruins of a place once known as North America lies the nation of Panem, a shining Capitol surrounded by twelve outlying districts. The Capitol is harsh and cruel and keeps the districts in line by forcing them all to send one boy and one girl between the ages of twelve and eighteen to participate in the annual Hunger Games, a fight to the death on live TV.
Sixteen-year-old Katniss Everdeen, who lives alone with her mother and younger sister, regards it as a death sentence when she steps forward to take her sister's place in the Games. But Katniss has been close to dead before—and survival, for her, is second nature. Without really meaning to, she becomes a contender. But if she is to win, she will have to start making choices that will weigh survival against humanity and life against love.”

Positive: 1. Compelling. At first, I was a little skeptical about The Hunger Games series. I’m not much of a Twilight fan, so who’s to say that I would enjoy the next teen craze? But when my friend Delaney forced the first two books upon me, I can honestly say that I owe her one. I could not put them down! I mean, they’re not exactly quick-reads by length, but it is because it’s hard to stop reading once you started. The action and suspense mixed with romance and drama kept me going. 2. Unique. These books are nothing like anything I’ve ever read before, though some reviews I’ve seen around the almighty Interwebs compare them to some book I’ve never heard of called Battle Royal. Usually I don’t even like these kinds of books, ones in which the author creates their own little world, because they just don’t come across as believable to me. I must say that Suzanne Collins did an excellent job in this, though. She tied her imaginary place with the possibility of what North America could evolve into as time wares on, so it was easier for me to understand and believe. I found myself wondering what it would be like to live in a place as horrific and disciplined as Panem. It’s a good wakeup call to what a control-freak government could become (well, maybe that’s reading into it too much, but still). 3. Suspense. This was actually the main reason as to why I found the books compelling, but I still think it deserves its own little number under Positives. When Katniss was discussing her encounters during the actual Hunger Games, my curiosity of what romance would happen between her and her partner, Peeta, was eating away at the back of my mind, and vice versa! I loved the anxiety of wondering if Peeta’s feelings were real or just staged to ensure his survival through the Hunger Games. The whole time, Suzanne Collins kept it interesting, throw in one brilliant plot twist after another. Not to mention the fact that both books end in a spot that is horrible because it leaves you with a feeling of incompleteness yet is good because it practically forces you to read on. I’m absolutely dying to get my hands on the third book of the series.

Negative: 1. Violence. This series probably isn’t the best for those who scare easy or don’t do well with blood. I enjoyed it myself because such things don’t really bother me, but squeamish beware. I must say, though, I highly respect the fact that Suzanne Collins has absolutely no problem with killing off a character. Not even in the just-kidding-they’re-not-really-dead-they-faked-it sense. Most people wouldn’t expect a likable character to be knocked off right in the middle of a book, but Collins doesn’t always play it safe that way, and I liked that. Wait… this is the Negatives section. Oops. See, I liked this book so much, the one negative I came up with isn’t even really much of a negative!! I need to read worse books so I can actually have a negative or two every now and then.

Overall: This series is definitely in my top 10. Top 5, even!! It’s got just the right balance of romance and action. I also found the main character likable and very relatable, in that she was headstrong but not perfect. I couldn’t stop reading, and often found myself staying up late at night and skimming the pages until my eyes were watering. The story’s unlike anything I’ve ever read before. I absolutely love the Hunger Games. (For those of you who already read it, you’ll know what I mean when I say: TEAM PEETA, FOR THE WIN!!)

Rating: Two thumbs up! Feel three to throw in a pinky, a forefinger… heck, a ten! All the fingers I have!!

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