Thursday, July 14, 2011

The Hunger Review

Hi all!

I've been meaning to do this for a while, but I took some time to let it sink in. You all know I've been on top of The Hunger Games trilogy recently. I've made short work of it. So I wanted to do a mini-review on it and show what I liked, what had me going meh! and what I've learned from all this.

The Hunger Games

Is a great book. The concept is amazing, the characters are strong and the writing is... I have no idea since I read it in Romanian, but in Romanian, it was really nifty. It was one of those books where I couldn't stop and crit. I found nothing wrong with anything as a writer. It hooks you and keeps you there until the very end. As a stand alone, it is marvelous. - Of course, this is all my opinion.

What it's all about: You all know the concept of the Capitol and it's surrounding districts. One revolution brought on the wipe out of one district and the birth of the Hunger Games. Each year, 2 teenagers, boy and girl, from each district are put in a CGI arena and fight for their lives. Katniss Everdeen is one of them - she actually takes her sister's place and becomes part of the Hunger Games together with Peeta Mellark, a boy she knew but never talked to. -> very basic story line.

I liked the characters, the setting and all the world building in this book. Even if Katniss wasn't sure about her feelings and what she should do, I loved how her instincts took over and she did what she had to do. I liked that she grew attached to people, that she was fair, and that she tried to do the right thing.

The little things I can snark on:  The first chapter isn't exactly gripping. It has a good hook, but it's a little slow to start. The whole getting out of bed thing was a little disappointing.
The ending was a little disappointing - the whole Gale vs Peeta thing and the thought of marriage coming out of the blue. It showed a little of Katniss's selfish, jerky side, and I didn't like that much. Especially since I've grown to really like her.

Overall verdict: 5/5 stars. I think this book truly deserves it - because of the entertainment value if nothing else.

Catching Fire

I started reading this right away after finishing the first book. It felt like the middle book of a trilogy as the action seems thin. I know it's not, but that's how it seems to me. Probably because most of what happens is a repeating of the first book - getting ready for the tour and then the second Hunger Games for Katniss and Peeta.

I did like the twist with Snow, and how he played a big part in this book. I liked his idea of getting rid of Katniss and I especially liked the budding of the revolution, played subtly. There were some great scenes in this book - like their visit in District 11 (when the old man got shot). The fall of the Capitol was also painted well.
And I can't help but applaud the ending - a great hook!

Things I can harp on: Katniss is starting to turn into a jerk in this one - what with the whole Peeta-Gale-no, Peeta- no, Gale part. She's really inept in keeping up a relationship with people. I understand where she's coming from, but I expected her to grow.
 The second Hunger Games didn't have the savor and feel of the first - they almost seemed a bit rushed and too many people died too fast and too pointless, IMO.
Not sure I liked Peeta's latest lie about her being pregnant. I liked him, though :D

Overall verdict: 4.5/5


This is a good book. But it annoyed the crap out of me. I might be one of the few who feel this way, but I kinda saw it as a fail. I read it fast, but found myself annoyed and getting bored. And that's only because it felt less...good compared to the other two books.

The book mainly focuses on the rebellion and brining the Capitol down. But the rebels are jerks, lead by district 13 and a president which is just as bad as Snow, and it's annoying that no one realizes that.

I'll go straight into things that annoyed me: Katniss spends most of this book wondering around and being emo. There's a brief flash of her old personality when she wants to go hunting again and asks for the former Hunger Games winners to be spared. I liked that part, and when she wants to save the burning hospital. But most of the time, I grow to hate Katniss. She's so incredibly selfish, it makes me want to slap her.
I hate how many people died pointlessly (and here come spoilers) like Finnick and Prim - I mean what was the point in killing them off? And in such a confusing way? They deserved better. The bloodbath was so overwhelming that by the time that Prim died, I couldn't care anymore.
What annoyed me the most? Katniss falling unconscious so many times and denying us of great action scenes - like the fall of the Capitol after Prim died and beeing knocked out after she killed the president of district 13 - I felt cheated and also felt that the strategy had been used a lot in this book/in this series.
And I had a problem with what happened to Peeta - why screw him up like that? And why have him still be better than Katniss even if he was screwed up?
The ending - felt rushed - even if she and Peeta got married and they had kids and there was no more Capitol and the President was decent, it still feels like they didn't win. I get that Katniss still has nightmares, but there's no joy, no nothing. It's kinda depressing - like all the fighting, all the death was for nothing. MEH!

Overall verdict: 4/5 - I know  I ratted a lot on this book, but it was still gripping and had some really good scenes and managed to get emotions across well.

So, this is it. I'm currently reading Mary's A sign in Blood and A Game of Thrones (since I can't read on the computer for a long time - sorry Mary - I am making progress though :D). Maybe I'll give you some thoughts on those.

Oh, I was supposed to tell you what I've learned from the Hunger Games:
Mostly that chapter length doesn't matter and that even a brilliant book can be completely brought down by the ending. So... I'm thinking twice now about killing all my characters off in the last book of my series O:)


  1. I wrote a nice long comment and then one of my wretched family members hogged the wi-fi and my post was virtually never written!

    The gist was that I'm reading A Game of Thrones as well. I've only gotten really used to the style a short while ago. What are your thoughts on it?

  2. Sorry that happened, Ryan :(

    It took me a little while to get used to it too, but not because of the style (really like that) but because of all the characters and stuff going on. Now I'm about 200 pages in and I'm really enjoying it. It's not even confusing anymore :D

  3. Yeah, the construction of it is what I mean. ;)

    I can actually follow what's going on and why.

    I'm a slow reader. Are you a fast reader? When I say slow, I mean in five minutes I might read two pages.

    I'm trying to develop speed-reading technique so I can enjoy more books in less time. Does that seem worth it?

  4. Ryan - I took a speed reading class long ago, but I hate reading like that because then I can't enjoy the language and the flow and the texture of the words I'm reading. So now I read slow too, and I wouldn't have it any other way. :)

    Stef- I'm happy you liked the trilogy overall. Katniss was a complex character who, by the third book, is fighting with her inner demons who now doubt haunt her because of what she's been through. Did she have to be so mopey? No. Did she have a right to be? Yeah, she kinda did. I didn't really see the point of Prim dying either, but it was sad. :(

  5. I'm hoping to read these after SS is done. I'm gonna take a nice long reading break :)

  6. @ Ryan: I can't say I'm a really fast reader (like my mom), but I do tend to finish 500 page books in two days :p It's a hazard of having to learn 100-600 pages in a week.

    @Lindsey: I believe Katniss had the right to be like that, sure - she's been through some really tough stuff. But she was the hero. And I think she went totally wrong about it, and all that happens in the last book is mostly luck - that's what made me go meh! because she was so competent in the first 2 books.

    @Mysti: Lol, so I'm not the only one who hadn't read them until now. They're worth it, Mysti :)

  7. I couldn't have put it better myself :D Whenever I explain to friends, I say, "first book was really good, second book was okay, third was ehh...." :D

    I'm a pretty fast reader, but I tend to skim over words, so I have to make myself go slower.


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