Monday, January 2, 2012

Review: The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins

Title: The Hunger Games
Author: Suzanne Collins
Series: The Hunger Games, #1
Genre: Young Adult Science Fiction
Release Date: September 14th, 2008
Publisher: Scholastic
Format: Kindle eBook
Pages: 374
Read on December 31st, 2011
My rating: 4 stars: I really like it
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 is forced to represent her district 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 weigh survival against humanity and life against love. 


Last read of 2011! YAY!

After sitting around for about an hour or two, trying unsuccessfully to figure out why I didn't love this book, and whether something could possibly be wrong with me for not loving it, I finally decided that the only way I'll ever get an answer from myself is to start writing. Things figure themselves out as I write, usually. It's one of the few ways I get to think and say what I really feel, after all. So I see no point in postponing this review anymore. And oh, HAPPY NEW YEAR! It's 3.45 am of January 1st, 2012.


The Hunger Games' rating is spectacular. I mean, an average of 4.54 stars, with 352,384 ratings! Before I read it, I saw the rating and I was sure I was going to love it. I admit I judge a book by its rating. Happy with a promise of an amazing book, I dove right in. I actually liked the first few chapters of the book. I thought they were quite interesting. But then I got to the 46% of the book and decided I was disappointed. Because nothing was really happening. However, I have to add that the book is addictive as hell. I read on and when they were some more actions, things were looking up. I enjoyed it from then on, until the moment I thought the author pulled a goddamn cheap deus ex machina by announcing that there can be two winners if they are from the same district. I was enraged! I had to rant it out to someone!  Apparently I had expected some sort of kickass rebellion against the Power That Be, and not a SUDDEN CHANGE OF RULE to be in the hero and heroine's favor! I thought it was so cheap I was offended! But then it wasn't a deus ex machina after all -- just part of the plan to make the show more dramatic. Whew. I cooled down then.  After that, I very much enjoyed most of the rest of the journey. The book had me so hooked! There's no denying that! 

But then let's face my true feelings... I didn't love it. No. I was convinced something was wrong with me. I didn't love this book the way I'd thought I would. I didn't immediately shelve it as a favorite. I looked at the awesome shelf and thought the book wasn't good enough to be on there. I considered taking it off my wishlist. WHY? WHY WAS I NOT IN LOVE WITH IT? WHY????????????????? I felt so lost.

Apparently I don't think it is amazing like the majority of people. I mean, it's good, it's great, but it isn't amazing. Reading it wasn't breathtaking. I remember holding my breath a few times. Not most of the time. I don't have that heart-beating-fast sensation after I finished it. Most of the time I had a blank expression on my face. I was even aware of that, yes, because as I read, I wondered why it didn't trigger anything in me at all. I just can't explain it. All the time I was reading it, I braced myself to be hit with surprises. I expected to be blown away. I expected to feel amazed. I expected the author's genius to show. Didn't happen. I wish I'd loved it. I don't want to have to justify myself, but I guess I will have to now. 

I liked that the book is one of the most addictive books I have ever read! It kept me wanting more, turning pages, unable to tear my gaze away! I liked the excitement, although it wasn't quite enough to make my facial features move. It did manage to make my heart pound at some points, though. I liked the romance! It was cute in the cave! I liked some characters: Katniss, Gale, and Caesar. Katniss for being strong and single-minded, and of course, smart. Gale for some reasons I can't explain. He just sounds perfect. Rebellious, strong, hard-working, caring, perfect best friend. And Caesar for making me smile a few times. 

I'm not sure if I liked Peeta. He's pretty naive, but also kind, and kind of cute, but he seems weak to me. With a heroine as tough as Katniss, it's bit weird to have a weaker hero. I don't know. I admit he made me squeal, but not often. Another thing is the writing. It's fine, as far as writing goes, but it's not gorgeous. The descriptions aren't too gory, which is good. However, I think the story telling doesn't quite work. I personally think it would be more interesting if it was told in the third person point of view. Maybe. (But I've heard that the author rewrote her third-person-pov script and resulted in this first-person one.) And from multiple perspectives too, not just from Katniss, that way we know exactly what's going on, and not just what Katniss knows, which seems limited. 

I didn't really like 1) that Katniss isn't even sure if she loves Peeta. What the? But I guess this will make sense in book two. Still, I'd love to know for real what she's thinking, since it's told in her perspective and all. 2) The way Katniss and Peeta's romance works. I'd expected some sort of fierce battling, the fighting-for-life-against-and-falling-in-love-with-each-other thing. Didn't happen. Instead, they just stick with each other. And most of the time one must take care of the other, because he/she is injured or sick. Nothing heart-wrenching ever happens between them, no tension. Only some cute stuff in the cave. And that's it. And 3) THE ENDING. Could it be more abrupt and forced? I mean, I'm fine with how it ends, but NOT the way it was written. I can almost say I hated the ending. 

To think about it, there's really no part in this book that I loved. Sigh. I'd expected so much. I hate falling down from high expectations. It hurts. Why is it doing this to me but come out as amazing to others? WHY AM I NOT IN LOVE WITH IT??????????????????

Anyhow, I'm totally going to read book two and three. See if they're any better. I want to know how this story ends!


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This review is also posted on Goodreads.

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