8 Jan 2011

A Tale of Life, Death, Hunger and Love: Suzanne Collins' Hunger Games. A Review.

I have just resurfaced after burying myself in Suzanne Collins' Hunger Games trilogy. I had downloaded the first sample to my Kindle a while ago, but I needed to create a stretch of free, uninterrupted time to bite into it. And wow, did that bite turn into a binge!

Book 1 - cover
Up until half an hour ago, the outside world no longer existed. For a few days, I've co-inhabited the head of Katniss Everdeen, a mature sixteen-year-old, looking at a world that could have been ours. Or might become ours, one day. It's the tale of a resourceful girl in extraordinary circumstances, playing the cards she's been dealt and forced to face the consequences of her actions and decisions.

I don't want to go further into the story here; there are plenty of sources out there that do. What I do want to share is why I loved it so much.

First of all, Suzanne Collins is an amazing writer. These three were the first of her works I've ever read, but the Underland Chronicles are next on my list. It will be hard to meet my current expectations, but even if they're only half as good as the Hunger Games trilogy, it still won't be a waste of time to read those. All five of them.

Lately, with my own novel in the stage it's in, I've found it difficult to read other people's work without having my inner editor jump in, pointing out style, tricks, show vs. tell, great or poor dialogue and much more. I was starting to fear I had lost the ability to submerge myself in other writers' worlds, new stories and characters' lives.

Book 2 - cover
I couldn't have been further from the truth. The Hunger Games grabbed me from the first few pages and sucked me in, right until the end of Mockingjay. Along the way I laughed and cried, I ached and wondered, I felt empowered and enraged.

There are so many layers to these novels I can't even begin to describe. But of course I will try.

In these stories, Suzanne Collins captures human nature's paradoxes unlike any author I've read in a long time. She reveals our weaknesses and strengths, our courage and cowardice, the good and evil we are all capable of, especially when it affects the ones we love. Or hate.

These dilemmas emerge in a world where poverty, political corruption, brutality and violence reign. But we don't have to look far to find, interwoven, the importance of love, family, loyalty and hope.

Book 3: cover
I was very impressed with the wisdom the author shares and and the insights she provokes, without waving the belittling finger I so dislike (possibly because I'm not entirely unguilty of it myself.)

Suzanne Collins created a bunch of amazing characters here. I love how they come to life in her words, and how real they feel. Some of them I adore, others I despise, still others I pity. But hardly any don't affect me at all. And even in those cases, I feel that's exactly what the author intended. That might not be true, but the mere fact that she has me believe it, proves to me what an extraordinary writer and storyteller she is.

If you haven't read the novels yet, I can only recommend them. If you have, I'd love to hear your thoughts!
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4 comments:

  1. Well, now I will have to read it - done with all my reading material (fiction, that is)for the time being...time to pick-up something new!

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  2. Great, let me know what you think :-)

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  3. Hey, new follower here! I never -- ever -- read YA novels, but I'd heard so much about this series that I gave them a peek. And WOW! They're incredible. Katniss is such a strong, well-written character. And, you're right, all the characters evoke some kind of feeling. My personal favorite character is Haymitch. Not sure why, but I loved him.

    So, have you been following the casting for the movie coming out next year? What do you think so far?

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  4. Hey Meika, nice to meet you here. :-)

    Haymitch is a brilliant character. I think she developed him really well.

    I haven't heard much about the movie cast yet, so it'll all be a big surprise when it comes out. I'm looking forward to it! :-)

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