Saturday, March 7, 2015
The Hunger Games Trilogy by Suzanne Collins (Read 2/6 to 2/18)
So as I am sure almost everyone is familiar with the premise of the books even if they have only seen the movie previews on TV. So as we know there was a war 74 years ago between the Capitol and 13 outlying districts. The capitol destroyed a District (District 13) had has since been oppressing the reaming 12 districts, keeping them highly policed, isolated, uber poor and starving. Then to keep them even more depressed and desperate, they make them send 2 of their children (age 12 to 18) each year to die via a horrible death at a highly televised game show. Then two contestants come and shake it all up, and start a revolution. It take all three books to get from the start of the revolution to the end. Hunger Games is set in District 12, and the random names draws are Peeta Mellark and Prim Everdeen. Prim however is only 12 and so her 16 year old sister Katniss volunteers to go in her place. The two contestants find themselves in the world of the Capitol, a place of wealth and overindulgence, the Capitol citizens are materialistic and shallow. Katniss is only thinking of herself and getting home to her family. Peeta on the other hand is thinking of how to get Katniss home and starts a lie based on truth that he and Katniss are doomed lovers. It works, but in the end she pulls it out and saves him too, defeating the Capitol at its own game and giving inspiration to all the districts to fight their own oppression, with the message "if we die in our fight, at least it was our choice and not yours." My summation not Collins's.
We surprise, surprise this really pisses the Capitol off, so they decide as retribution that in the special 75th edition of the televised child slaughter that they will spare the current children this year, and contestants will be selected from the previous winners. Oh damn, Katniss is the only female to have one from District 12, I guess she is going back. And because Peeta really does love Katniss, he is not about to let her go it alone. So sequel is a repeat, but nastier. There is no way the Capitol is going to let Katniss and Peeta cheat them again, their intent is to kill Katniss, hoping it will also kill the revolution that she is unaware of, that also happens to be using her as a symbol. Oh did I mention the Revolutionaries plan on rescuing Katniss and making her their leader, well image of a leader anyways. Problem is no one bothers to ask Katniss, or even tell her about these plots within plots. It really comes as no surprise that she doesn't play her part, she doesn't know her lines after all, and throws all sorts of monkey wrenches in things.
Then because they left Katniss out of her own rescue, they screw up and leave Peeta behind, Katniss does actually become the figurehead of the revolution to save him. But Peeta comes back different, and then Katniss's goal becomes to kill the person who did this to Peeta, but who really is the cause? Is it the leader of the Capitol President Snow? The leader of the revolutionaries President Coin? Is it society that let these awful games come into being? Or could it be Katniss herself? Hmm...social commentary GO!
Oh wait I almost forgot, Katniss is torn between Peeta and her best friend/potential boyfriend Gale. Decisions Decisions.
Now I know the synopsis sounds a little off putting, don't be off put I really like these books. Do they follow the same pattern as many of the YA dystopian society books that are all the rage right now yes. Does that make them bad no. I was drawn into the story, did I see parts as cookie cutter, yeah but its hard to read any book nowadays that doesn't have something cookie cutter about it. I think what I liked best about these books was the ending. I really liked that Collin's didn't give a traditional happy ending, some important characters die unexpectedly right when the reader thinks the win is at hand, spoiler it is not our three main players, Katniss, Peeta or Gale. What I like is that Katniss, Peeta and Gale come out the other side of this revolution changed, damaged even. In real life no one who went through what these young people did would come away with no emotional scars to match their physical scars. And Collins' gives us readers that truth.