Thursday, September 22, 2011

The Hunger Games Trilogy Review

**Sorry guys, I had to quick change the background because THIS POST on a dark background was killing my eyes. So, the poll still stands, and if 'No' still gets more votes when it closes, then I'll consider changing it back. If 'Yes' gets more votes, I'll keep tweaking my new color scheme, then ;)**


I know I reviewed the first book a few months ago, but I have to revisit it along with the last two.

I'm going to try and be as fair as I can. I respect Suzanne Collins and she herself as an author is amazing. But these books are just.... not for reading......


I have one thing to preface this post with.

See this picture?

(It's reversed, I know.)
And this one?



And these?


These are my notes in preparing to do this post.

*cough*

I don't write notes before I post.

I did put a little extra thought into this post to try and make is worth the time.... however, at the end of the day, sometimes Abby just goes on and on and on and babbles. o_O

And haha, I probably overthunk this whole thing.

So, if you don't want to risk reading an extremely long post that may or may not actually benefit you, try these reviews on Mockingjay and/or the whole trilogy for size:

This is Kate the Parchment Girl's, whom I esteem highly: http://parchmentgirl.com/book-reviews/mockingjay-suzanne-collins/



Read on if you so desire.

*********************



   First thing first: her writing is amazing.
   The goal of a writer, one of the most important tasks, is to evoke emotion. And Suzanne Collins did that, oh boy she did… masterfully. We are freaked out. We are angry. We are scared. We are revolted. We are depressed. We are tense and anxious. We are roused, some way or another.
We are affected.
That in and of itself is something to admire and respect. She’s an incredible writer, and my negative opinion has nothing to do with her skill… unless it is because her writing is too good.

   Before I get too far, here’s our obligatory summary:
   Katniss Everdeen, a teenage girl from District 12 in the dystopian future of North America called Panem, is thrown into the annual Hunger Games: a fight to the death among 24 children from the Districts. She and her fellow District partner in the Games, a boy named Peeta, are the only survivors due to a defiant move by Katniss, which the evil President Snow fears will incite rebellion. Katniss soon becomes the rallying symbol of a growing nation-wide uprising, and must choose carefully how to play the ever-complicating game of the war in order to survive. Among other terrors she faces a second Games, President Snow himself, and a slew of people who all want to use her as their pawn.

   It sounds interesting, maybe a little intense, but totally great once you get into it, right? Well, yeah, that’s what I thought. But having read all three books, let me tell you firsthand what they will do to you, particularly if you are a visual person.
They will desensitize you. They will numb you. They will fill your mind with very unpleasant images. They will give you an adrenaline high and then crash you down into some serious disturbing-ness and depression. There really isn’t any relief from the war and the killing and the killing and the killing and the revolting ways people are killing.
These books will most likely freak you out, disturb you out of your skin, or depress you. Maybe all three. 
   But if you’ve read just the first one, or at least know a bit about it, surely you know it’s not all that bad. Read my original review- I even liked it after I read just the first book.
However, it’s rather akin to boiling a frog. You boil a frog by putting him in cold water. Then slowly, methodically, subtly, you turn the heat up at such a rate that he won’t notice how hot it’s gotten until it’s too late. The first one starts out decent enough, but somehow you reach the last page of Mockingjay and wonder, How on earth did we get here? It wasn’t supposed to end like this.
Boom. There you go. You got sucked in, and boiled. End of story.
And if you have some time, I’m going to illustrate how it happens by walking through the books in longer-ish summaries that aren’t summaries. More like choppy overview of events. 

(Feel free to gloss over this next part if you so desire.)


*************************************
Major spoiler warning for the rest of this post.

The Hunger Games, Book #1
We open the story in the oppressive, possibly Star-Wars-Empire-esque Panem. We see Katniss and Gale’s brother-sister-esque relationship. Then when the reaping comes, Katniss admirably offer to take her ten-year-old sister’s place in the Games. She is given a mockingjay (which is a bird) pin by a friend, which becomes her own little symbol throughout the course of the book. 
Peeta’s love for her is announced, which throws everyone for a loop but it’s a humorous and possibly cheerful side to the story. We see Katniss’s noble attempts to kill as little as possible and still stay alive in the Games.
(Another thing to note is that Katniss is very much doing what she’s doing for people like her little sister Prim, and because of intense hatred for the Capitol and wanting to make things better than they are now.)
There is the short but sweet relationship between Katniss and Rue, a younger participant who makes Katniss think of Prim. There is an amusing romance faked between Katniss and Peeta (which might not actually be fake…?) throughout the Game, and their daring suicide proposal at the end of the Game which ends in both of them living, triumphant and having stolen the hearts of the spectators… but now their lives are in danger because of it. The Capitol views them as possible threats, and their actions may be the final thing needed to break the dam of revolting citizens throughout Panem.
Also, with the break-in of Peeta’s romance comes a personal struggle Katniss has with figuring things out with Gale, her old childhood friend, and Peeta, who she has just pretended to be in love with, and fought and almost died with.

My personal first reaction: Thought it was pretty intense and not for everyone, but really good nonetheless. A bit much on the romance but the book goes so fast you barely even notice.
While it IS a rather somber book with some heady, serious themes and pretty gruesome violence, with a disturbing sequence at the end, (mutts, anyone?), there is a level of lightness found mainly in Peeta’s character, and a sense of almost-epicness as Katniss is pitted against the worst the Games can give her. So- while many still dislike the books from the start, but for those who really want to give it a chance and/or don’t mind lots of violence, this is a good first book and promises a rip-roaring sequel.

The one thing that crossed my mind during this series was everyone was so horrified by all the gruesome violence. My one thought about that was: true war stories are also very gruesome and terrible. What made this story worse than real war stories?
I haven’t really come to a conclusion for that, but the point of saying that was because it wasn’t necessarily the violence per se that was the problem I had with the books.

Catching Fire, Book #2
This book, I read in about 36 hours. I think it’s the shortest of the three, or else I just had a lot of time on my hands. I was probably the most engrossed by this second book. The suspense level was….. very high.

The second book opens up with Katniss preparing for the Victory Tour, in which the victors of the Hunger Games go through all the districts and make speeches. Painful for those who don’t want to remember the atrocities they lived through, painful for those whose children were killed instead of the victors. President Snow makes a personal visit to her house, asking making it very clear to her that he wants her to use this tour to stem the rebellions.
It doesn’t really happen. In District Four particularly, quite the opposite occurs.
Throughout the tour, Katniss starts to get inklings of the uprising that has already started, and that people are on her side: which confuses her until she realizes she’s become a symbol of the rebellion… at least, that’s how the citizens see her. 
At the Capitol, the final stop in the Tour, it is announced that the next Hunger Games will be something special, since it is the 75th anniversary: all the participants will be past victors.
This is something completely out of left field, until then not even allowed, but what the president says, goes, of course.  
Katniss and Peeta are back in the arena with a slew of past victors they will need to sort out as allies or enemies. They form alliances and “teams” among themselves.
We watch as Katniss becomes distraught over complicated romance issues (Team Gale or Team Peeta, people?).
People die. It’s pretty gnarly but less than the first book to a degree because there are no kids- Katniss and Peeta are the youngest ones there. It’s more creepy than the last Games because every hour there’s a different thing in a different area of the arena designed to kill them. Fog that will gag you and choke you to death, killer monkey, etc...... Creepy. 
A group of participants are all working together, Katniss and Peeta included, and they hatch a plan to eliminate the other team. 
It involves electricity and complicated setup that goes wrong, and the group gets split up. Katniss shoots what was left of the electricity plan into the “roof” and the place explodes. 
She, along with some of the other victors are rescued by a team from District 13, the last district that was thought to be completely wiped out but really was alive and well and hidden underground. However, Peeta and two other participants end up captured by the Capitol.
Then Katniss finds out from Gale that District 12, their home, is gone.
End of book two.

After reading Catching Fire, I actually had a few positive things to say about the series: I just noticed, there’s no language. Which is interesting. The romance is present but for one thing, the book, again, goes by so fast it’s barely noticed, but because there’s nothing really mushy about anything, it’s not even a problem. And bonus! I didn’t feel like the “love triangle” was a Twilight re-enactment.  As Gale remarks in the third book, Katniss will choose the person she thinks she can’t live without. Her entire mindset is rather linked to survival rather than… I don’t know… emotions? :P

Anyway, another thing to praise: Suzanne Collins is the master of suspense. You really, really can’t put down that book. Her craft is absolutely flawless. Truly, every up and coming writer should envy her. (And learn from her!) She picks the perfect moment to call a chapter break. As well, I was just flipping through book 2 again today and for such a lot to happen, she doesn’t have to use a whole lot of words to relay it. Katniss doesn’t even get into the arena until maybe two-thirds into the book. Yeah… a lot happens in a short amount of time but still makes sense… very good.

Mockingjay, Book #3
District 12 is gone, but Katniss’ mother and sister are still alive and are safe in District 13, where Katniss herself soon ends up. They have rigidly and strictly maintained their existence since they made a deal with the Capitol to play dead if they promised they would not be bothered.
President Coin, of District 13, and the other rebellion leaders manage to convince Katniss to truly step into the role of Mockingjay and be the public rebellion leader.
They go to rescue Peeta, and it turns out the Capitol has messed with him, replacing all memories of Katniss and twisting them so he sees her as the enemy. He’s half-crazed and unstable, and Katniss starts to crack. (Her little sister tell her that the Capitol will do whatever it takes to break Katniss.)
The funny thing about Katniss is that she really doesn’t get how much power she holds, how she influences people. But the people around her know, and try to help her (or use her). 
We see Katniss become more and more of a revenge/hate/anger driven person who’s primary thought is raw survival. The loving big sister we met in the first book has disappeared almost entirely, and is replaced by someone who is half as awesome, if at all, and is a killer. 
We see Katniss personally promise another victor named Johanna that she will kill President Snow (she had already claimed that right publicly as well)- and then the special squad Katniss is part of takes off for the Capitol.
In some emptier parts of the Capitol where citizens have evacuated, the squad is practicing until one of them accidentally sets off one of the mines planted in the ground. The place this thrown into chaos and Katniss and the remaining members of the squad head off to assassinate President Snow. Peeta’s still slightly out of it.
The Capitol’s troops release an army of mutts to hunt down Katniss, but she gets away and three of her companions are sacrificed in the process. She ends of proceeding to the president’s mansion alone, where the Capitol’s children are actually being held outside as a human shield. Just when Katniss realizes that Prim is actually in the crowd of children, a hovercraft goes by overhead, dropping the bomb that kills her sister.
Katniss comes back to reality after the fact. President Snow has been tried and found guilty, but before the execution Snow tells Katniss that the bombs dropped in front of the mansion were from the Rebellion’s side, not his. (And he reminds her that they have promised not to lie to one another.) 
Also, Coin holds a vote among the remaining victors concerning a final Hunger Games using Capitol children, who were never put in the Games. Katniss votes yes in the name of her dead sister; Peeta is the first to vote no.
But right when she should have shot Snow at his execution, Katniss remembers the agreement between her and Snow, realizes the truth and kills President Coin instead. Snow also dies that day, however.
Katniss is saved at her trial because she is "mentally unstable" and she goes home, and ends up with Peeta. 
Gale is off with a nice job in District 2; after realizing that it may have been the bomb Gale designed that killed her sister, Katniss can never even look at him the same way.
The story ends with an epilogue after Katniss and Peeta have married and have two children; and how one day they will have to explain to them about the Games. And also how when things look bad, Katniss makes a list of every good thing she’s seen someone do, and it makes her feel better.
The End.

There. Boom. Somehow we got to the end and it has gone from a hopeful-looking rebellion and overthrowing of evil to a depressing, dark, violent state of hopelessness where it is accepted that humankind is a lost case and will never change.

Boiled.



********************************************

My first emotion after finishing Mockingjay was this:

Regret.

I was truly, truly sad that I had read them. I had gone through all this exhausting stress and suspense and excitement and worry and pain for—what? For nothing. For me to think of a list of nice things so I could feel better about all those people who are now dead. *heavy sarcasm* There’s a major lack of any moral to take home after you’re done. 

And as other people have reminded me in the comments, not only is it unpleasant while reading but then you leave the book feeling really messed up. And are traumatized whenever you think about the books. (Seriously, that first night after I finished Mockingjay I felt messed up. And it was BAD.)

I was disappointed not so much because I was traumatized by the violence, but because it was so… worthless. So many died, and for one thing it’s not like there is any mention on Heaven or Hell. They’re just… dead. Gone. The end was so dark and hopeless, and with no victory afterward. And, to quote a reviewer I just discovered:

[Katniss realizes the hopeless situation the human species is in, something I entirely agree with.  She then proceeds to let it turn her into the worst humanity has to offer.  She then realizes this and instead of working to change things, she just gives up.  She gives up and bows her head and succumbs to a submissive life.  The Katniss of the first book would do anything to defy the expectations and mores of society, but in the end, she sees that society has not really changed with the change of rule.  Indeed, the most active thing she does is also one of the worst.  She votes in favor of having another Hunger Game featuring the children of the Capitol.  Maybe this is realistic and most people would either join the evil or give up, but I’d hoped for more… Yes, the world sucks.  Yes, it’s a constant struggle.  Yes, it hurts and you may never succeed, but never stop trying.  That was the message of the first two books, and yet it was entirely tromped on by the final entry in the series.]

The fact that nothing changed was really, really bad.
I felt so depressed and messed up after finishing Mockingjay that I whipped out my One Year Bible and read the entry for that day. Here were a few verses that stuck out to me:

‘Say to those with fearful hearts, “Be strong, and do not fear, for your God is coming to destroy your enemies. He is coming to save you.”’
~ Isaiah 35: 4

‘Sorrow and mourning will disappear, and they will be filled with joy and gladness.’
~ Isaiah 35: 10

‘But God Himself will shoot them with his arrows, suddenly striking them down.
Their tongues will ruin them, and all who see them will shake their heads in scorn.
Then everyone will be afraid; they will proclaim the might acts of God and realize all the amazing things He does.
The godly will rejoice in the Lord and find shelter in Him. And those who do what is right will praise Him.’
~Psalm 64: 7-10

Reading verses like these directly after Mockingjay was startling. Because it was like someone turned a light switch on. 
See, The Hunger Games is just people trying in their own strength to do what they deem is right. It’s just humankind left to our own devices. And truly, we are hopeless. We need God, and there was nothing that came even close to representing Him in these books. We see our hero succumb to evil (you have no idea how much I HATED Katniss when she voted yes for another Hunger Games) and then live quietly, having accepted that mankind is hopeless and the best you can do is think of the good parts. Good grief, people! That’s so not right! YES, we are hopeless on our own… that’s why God sent His son, to kind of, you know… die for us and save us.

There’s a very noticeable lack of ANY redemption. 
It’s so extremely hopeless and depressing and traumatic that reading the final book is wearying to the soul, truly. You would do yourself a favor not to even start the series, because most people will start it and then be unable to stop. (I applaud the amazing Amaranthine for being able to stop reading after Catching Fire. Talk about self-control.)

(And these books are definitely, definitely not for kids. I don't know WHY they're targeted so young- YA is what it's labeled but 12-year-olds are reading them. Gack. Very bad. Please put these books in the adult section somebody.)

Also, after reading the first book, I was excited for the thought of a movie coming out. I thought it would be intense but pretty cool.

Now all I can do is feel sick whenever I think of the four films coming out starting next year, because I know where they’re headed.

However- it is now three nights since I finished the book. And actually, having read another one of her series’, I have a grudging respect for at least one aspect of the ending. You see, Collins is the master of not-happy endings. The Underland Chroncles, her other series, ends bittersweet. Not the bad kind. Just bittersweet (btw, I HIGHLY recommend The Underland Chronicles to anyone. But, for those who have been recently traumatized by The Hunger Games, give it like four months at least before you pick them up.).
Having already seen an ending like that from her, I could sort of accept the not-perfect-and-happy ending. However, the lack of redemption is still not to be accepted.

So, in the end, I found the first two to be an exciting ride that came to a screeching plummet into a dark oblivion. (Wow, that was really sappy…. ooh well.)
My first reaction when people tell me they're reading the series now is, “I pity you.”

If there was even the slightest something that was good to be taken away from the books, then I might consider recommending them. But it’s a depressing experience by the end that is not redeemed at all. Sadly, I found it wasn’t worth the time spent to read it.

That’s all.

Wow. That was the longest post ever. Sorry if that was exhausting. I feel exhausted now.

I apologize if this post made no sense.


**EDIT: Personal note: I really do like the first two books. However, the third was so bad that they are slightly spoiled for me now, and because once you start you can't stop reading a series like this, I don't even recommend reading the first two because after 2 comes 3 -_-  Just to clarify because I forgot to mention that.**

37 comments:

Jessica said...

Wow, that was an epic post. I've been curious about the hunger games until I read Stephen King's endorsement, which rather to be honest, freaked me out, but still the curiosity remained somewhere deep inside of me.

Thank you for posting this, it was really a confirmation that this series (no matte how hungry I am for a new book) IS NOT FOR ME...ever. You've confirmed all of my suspicions of what I would find in the book if I did brave it's pages.

Thank you for your review. I really precipitate it.

Jessica

whisper said...

Chayal - Very well-said and well-thought out. If I may share a few words about my personal Hunger Games experience:

I started the books a year or two ago, and I devoured 2.5 of the three books. I finished books one and two, but had to stop midway through Mockingjay. I should have stopped much, much sooner... those books mess me up crazily. I have this weird 'allergic reaction' to movies and books that are Epic - I've not watched any Lord of the Rings, Narnia, Eragon, Indiana Jones, The Eagle, Alice in Wonderland, Pirates of the Carribean, Gladiator, Harry Potter, and dozens of other movies for years now because they're so awesome they make me reallly depressed afterwards. So! With that said, the Hunger Games trilogy is the worst of all for me. I LOVED reading them, LOVED LOVED LOVED the stories, but every time I put them down I was miserable for weeks on end. Life had no meaning, I was sullen, I cried - it's pretty bad. So, I finally stopped halfway through Mockingjay.

I read your post up to the bit about Mockingjay, because I still don't know how the series ends, because I've stayed away from spoilers, because I hope that one day I'll be able to read them without being tossed in a pit of despair. >_> Just reading your post and remembering those stories has ruined my morning (not your fault at all; I should have known not to read this. :P) I don't know what I'll do when the movie comes out - the magnetic lure to see everything I possibly can about the actors and trailer is mighty but fatal. The books were bad enough - a movie would kill me. O_O

So. I'm sorry for this rant - this is a matter that exceedingly frustrates and messes me up, as you can see. Very sorry to spew on you. Any words of wisdom/empathy/advice to offer? *bows and retreats into shadow*

-whisper

Amaranthine said...

Yay! I was mentioned twice throughout this post! And underlined! :D

Seriously, I read Hunger Games last Tuesday(more than a week ago) and Catching Fire last Saturday and I still lie down every night wondering if I am going to be able to sleep.

I applaud everyone who's commenting or posting about this because these books are so popular and have the potential to be so harmful.

And the depressingness/disturbingness doesn't STAY with the books. It kind of seeps into your daily life. There is about five pages of stuff I can't see or think about without thinking about THG(including bread, oranges, chicken, trees, bugs, monkeys, water, flowers. You can see where this would be a problem).

I think more people need to be warned because even though quite a few of us have this problem, I barely heard about it before I got into this series. Especially for people who read a lot of books(like us) and think they are immune.

I might link back to your post Abby, and your guys' comments later.

Hannah Joy said...

Hey, great post. And I'm gonna have you check your email again.

No, I haven't read the Hunger Games, but I NEVER EVER want to. Read the email I send and you'll know why.

Thanks for the thoughtful post!

Josiphine said...

Yikes! My younger sister just won the first one in a library program and is thinking about reading it. I'll confiscate it as soon as possible. She...is emotional when it comes to books. She cries through almost every one. I don't think I'll let her read it.

I'd heard that they were violent, but...*shuddder* I think I'll pass, thank you very much.

I do commend her for not using any language though.

Hannah Grace said...

I actually, *hangs head in shame* Skipped to the end because I just wanted to know if they were worth reading or not. I might go read the whole post....maybe not...we'll see. :)

As for your poll, I [having vision issues in the first place!] have a much harder time reading the black lettering on your blog, especially since the background is dark. Keep the white and WHERE'S THE CAR GIVEAWAY? ;)

The Director said...

@Jessica
You're... welcome... did you actually say precipitate??

@whisper
Thanks for sharing ;) I understand the awesomeness depression. And I'm so sorry for ruining your morning!! *feels really bad*
Stay away from the movie, courageous whisper!
If any wisdom comes to mind I'll comment back to you again ;)

@Amaranthine
I'm sorry you were so completely traumatized. I wasn't to the degree you are. *hugs*

@Hannah Joy
I'm gonna email you back later when I'm done with school.

@Josiphine
Confiscate it! Confiscate it NOW! (OO)
But yes, no language good :]

@Hannah Grace
I have no car to give.... (OO)

Jessica said...

lol I meant appreciate :P Never leave comments at 4 am...because you can't sleep. Tis always a BAD IDEA.

Sorry about that!

Jessica

Amaranthine said...

Well, it's fading. And it's not so much as traumatized, as it has just, i don't know, changed my sleep patterns? XD I never use the word "traumatized" lightly, anyway.


@Josiphine-yes, confiscate it!

I actually would recommend the first book to mature readers(more mature than me XD). The danger is that you can't really stop reading the series once you've begun...

I was extremely sensitive to violence right after reading them XD. On one of the nights I couldn't fall asleep, I listened to Artemis Fowl: The Eternity Code audiobook to help me, and I had to skip over the part where they cut off Mr. Spiro's thumb because I couldn't stand even a slight amount of violence afterward.

oh..and Maximum Ride is an extremely good antidote to Hunger Games..I read Angel yesterday, and I cracked up at every other line.

Thanks for the post! :D

Millardthemk said...

Good post, :)

[Yes a short comment]

Anonymous said...

Man, this kinda made me feel a wee bit depressed...but grateful to you for giving an in depth, honest review.

I'd read a lot of different/conflicting reviews on the series, but most that strongly opposed it didn't explain very well exactly what was bothering them (I think now probably cause it would be hard to pinpoint it) and my overall opinion had been that I'd like to maybe read the first book and see what I thought myself. Now, I don't want too. I just don't enjoy stories without a light/redeeming quality at the end. I mean, violent, a little dark through the whole thing, I wouldn't necessarily mind, but, only if there was *something* redeeming in the long run, even just a little spark of hope, you know? It always makes me a little sad to run into talented authors who write amazingly but who have storylines with no hope/redemption to be found even in the darkest cranny...

Wow, that was a long rant, sorry about that. Anyway, thanks, and good review.

-'Slippers

Jake said...

I read it, spoilers and all. *laughs maniacally*

Ahem.

I had been considering reading this series, and a friend challenged me that if I read them, he'd read LOTR (which I almost agreed to). Due to the violence, I deliberated for a while.

After this post, however, I'm glad I didn't choose to read them yet. I hate books that end on hopeless notes. We're Christians, we have a hugely powerful hope in the greatest man who ever lived and eternal life after death: to put something into my mind that resigns itself to lack of hope is repulsive to me.

Great review. It wasn't too long at all. :)

Kate {The Parchment Girl} said...

FABULOUS review! I love how you tied scripture into it. And I agree with almost everything you said. I'm not sorry I read the series, and I am planning to watch the movie... though wether or not I'll watch the last two movies remains to be seen.

The Director said...

@Slippers
Glad it was helpful... heh, yeah, if you read them you would have infinitely depressed, I promise (OO)

@Jake
Gah! Sir Jake makes an appearance! *smiles widely*
Glad this was helpful and not too long- I was hoping you would get a chance to see it.
If you can manage, though, read her other series; her writing is amazing :]
Also, yeah, I *have* noticed that a vast majority of the people (that I've seen) who didn't like the last book were believers.

The Director said...

@Kate
Aw, thank you! It means a lot to me.
And yes, I'll be eagerly waiting for more trailers for the first one at least ;)

Amaranthine said...

Am I creepy for commenting on the same post multiple times?

Yes, I was thinking it might affect strong Christians more, sort of like a spiritual attack.

Nairam said...

Hey! I admit I knew sort of about your blog (I think I visited it once before) before you commented on mine, but I thought I'd check it out more deeply after you laughed at Much.

I'm omitting his comment because this post is serious and he is only serious when absolutely necessary.

Anyway. I saw the Hunger Games at the top and thought "oh brother." Then I skipped near the end and saw that you, apparently, didn't like them. That one word: regret. And I had to read the rest.

I so, so agree with you, though I have never put it so much into words. I read all of them and felt that same feeling. Regret. That was horrible. What's the point? Dystopias actually tend towards this way, which is why I'm finally writing one of my own. But this one seemed much worse--probably because it was three books and didn't point out anything about humanity we didn't already know pretty well (I like the way Brave New World makes me think...Hunger Games didn't make me think).

Paragraph break, 'cause that was getting long. Anyway. You're very right. Loads of emotion and AMAZING suspense (I am NOT an easy reader to get glued to the page--and I was), but basically meaningless. You don't really take anything away except: "wow, we suck."

There's no hope or meaning in a world without God, so as a Christian I'm going to recognize that, move on, and never read them again.

Great post. :)

~Nai

Nairam said...

By the way, light words on dark background always put me off on blogs. It's hardz on mine eyeses.

loves said...

Hi Abby! First of all, as a 7th and 8th grade teacher I have to say that I am very much impressed with your writing voice-- you would get a 6 on the traits of writing from me! :)

Also, I definitely agree with you about the third book of the Hunger Games. I don't keep it in my classroom, but I do keep Hunger Games and Catching Fire. I think they are very well-written, engaging, and demonstrate brilliant hooks. I had never read anything quite like them before. However, the third book is pure garbage in every sense of the word. I feel like Ms. Collins just gives up altogether; like the third book was forced and became something absolutely, 167% different than the first two books. It tanked in a different direction. So, I just keep the first two and then tell kids the ending of the third book. Their hopes are preserved and they don't have to waste their time on the third one. :)

The Director said...

@Amaranthine
You're not creepy, you are awesome.
And yeah, the messed up-ness was seriously feeling like spiritual warfare for me (OO) Because God is completely out of the equation and Mockingjay plants the lie that mankind is hopeless and will remain forever hopeless :|

@Nai
Thank you for stopping by *hugs*. And yes, a nod of agreement to what you said up there. Also, great to hear you're writing your own dystopian... let's get some good material in that genre, huh? :] And thank you for your input about the background and word color ;)

@T-Love or Megan
I don't know which Love you are, haha. I'm thinking it would be Megan but I'm not positive... anyway, thank you for the sweet words! And yeah, having them read the first two and then telling them the ending sounds like a much better idea than reading Mockingjay or skipping the series, since the first two are still good ;)
Can I commend you for being so careful with what your students are reading? 'Cause it's so important and most people don't care...
Anyway, thank you again for sharing your thoughts! :D

Hannah Joy said...

Abby, you *sniff* didn't email me! Actually, no worries. I love all the comments here--such insight is a nice break from a wearying day of school ahead of me. Thanks all!

@Jake, your friend should read LOTR anyway! I'm rereading them and they are so incredible I could bawl! *Bawls* ;-)

Lauren said...

Great post! I agree with you on everything :)
~Lauren

Millardthemk said...

Gregor the Overlander is going to be in at the library today...

And as a Non-recommendation, don't try The Maze Runner by James(?) Dashner, not a good book.

Millardthemk said...

Gregor the Overlander is going to be in at the library today...

And as a Non-recommendation, don't try The Maze Runner by James(?) Dashner, not a good book.

Robin at Stone Soup Homeschool Resources said...

Brilliant commentary. Thank you. You answered all my questions!

The Director said...

@Hannah
Ack! I'm so sorry! *runs over to email*
Gimme an hour or two, I'm working on an English paper *gack*

@Millard
Go get Gregor!!! :D
Also, thank you for the un-recommendation :]

Millardthemk said...

I'm now 129th on The Eagle request list. :-P

The Director said...

Mil..... *laughs*
I really should just give you mine, somehow (OO)

MarshaMarshaMarsha said...

I appreciate your review and will definitely not be reading these books, nor will my boys. While I appreciate good writing, I don't appreciate books or movies that are considered "highly acclaimed" just because they are disturbing (i.e. the movie Seven or No Country for Old Men). blech!

Millardthemk said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Amanda said...

Finally had a chance to check out your post!

Hm, I find it interesting that we both disliked the very dark ending for vastly different reasons. Since I'm a secular humanist, I don't want kids to lose hope in changing the world! I think it's interesting you came to a similar conclusion through your religious beliefs.

The Director said...

It is funny how so many people that are different have come to the same conclusion. Thank you for taking the time to read it! :]

BushMaid said...

A friend of mine shared this review with me. :D I didn't read all the comments, but I just wanted to say that everything you said in this review mirrors my own sentiments :exactly:. I was utterly depressed after I finished this series. As much as I enjoyed the first and second books, the third one disturbed me immensely. :P I actually didn't read any more books for at least a fortnight after reading it, I was that horrified at how badly it ended. I was sorry I picked it up in the first place. :P

Collins is a good writer, and I am so disappointed that something that started out as something that could have been an epic, turned out so dark and hopeless.

Destiny Nicole said...

Oh, I just finished it now. Around 20 minutes ago. And yes, I am traumatized. I feel wasted. Everything, all the suspense, the romance, the giddyness, the excitement, the adventure, they plummet down on the very last words of the book. I feel so traumatized. SO traumatized. I don't think I'll be able to face that book again in the same way. Don't think I'll touch it either.

Anonymous said...

The Hunger Games Trilogy are my absolute favorite books. It took me three days to read the whole series and last year, when I was 11 years old my sixth grade class read the whole series. My little sister read it after me when she was 9 and then all her friends started reading and loving the books. Right now there is a poster in my school hallway for the Hunger Games movie which my class well go see when it comes out. Did I mention I go to a Catholic school. And not a single person was traumatized by the way. The HUNGER GAMES ARE THE BEST BOOKS EVER!!! well in my opinion anyway. But you can think whatever you want.

Anonymous said...

So we're clear you liked the ending or not?

Bullionpbsl said...

A friend of mine shared this review with me. :D I didn't read all the comments, but I just wanted to say that everything you said in this review mirrors my own sentiments :exactly:. I was utterly depressed after I finished this series. As much as I enjoyed the first and second books, the third one disturbed me immensely. :P I actually didn't read any more books for at least a fortnight after reading it, I was that horrified at how badly it ended. I was sorry I picked it up in the first place. :P Collins is a good writer, and I am so disappointed that something that started out as something that could have been an epic, turned out so dark and hopeless.