When the blogger that you call JL ( I just call her sister), asked me to guest post on her week of Hunger Games celebration, I was a little apprehensive. See, here's my confession: I hadn't read a word of any of the books, until two weeks ago. I had heard all the buzz about Mockingjay ( who could miss THAT?!?), and decided that I didn't want to be left out of the in-jokes and the speculation/jubilation when the ending was revealed. Plus, I had heard some words about how good the books were. You know, just saying.
I read both The Hunger Games and Catching Fire in the space of a 48 hour period, and I was sold. Bring on the midnight release party and the fandom. Well, to a degree. Personally, I didn't feel the need to pick a Team, but I was rooting for Katniss, Peeta and Gale as people to survive the coming storm that Mockingjay was sure to bring. JL asked me to post a review of Catching Fire, while she would do The Hunger Games, and I agreed. But, then I proposed the idea of me reviewing both in one cohesive blog post, instead of separately. She went along with the idea. I rubbed my hands together, and smiled. Maybe with a tinge of glee. Or you know, madness.
I'll be doing things a little differently than I would on my own blog (shameless self-promotion: Read My Mind), but I hope you enjoy the result.
Book(s): THE HUNGER GAMES and CATCHING FIRE
Author: SUZANNE COLLINS
Genre: DYSTOPIAN FANTASY
Katniss Everdeen lives in Panem, the country that rose out of the ruins of North America. The Capitol is the ruling government, and to keep Panem's citizens subjugated, it holds the Hunger Games once a year. The Games are broadcast live, and every citizen is forced to watch as their "tributes", one boy and one girl between the ages of 12 and 18, fight each other to the death. There can be only one victor, and to save her sister, Katniss volunteers as a tribute. Here starts her journey of survival in the arena.
I wasn't sold on the actual writing as I made my way through THE HUNGER GAMES. That's not to say that I thought it was bad, but what brought the world alive, for me, was the building of each supporting character. Effie and the design team from the Capitol, who were the epitome of over-indulgence and turning a blind eye to the treatment of the districts. Haymitch and his inability to stay sober, but who turned out to be an ally. (For Peeta certainly, and by extension Katniss.) Even Madge, who I think, saw the potential in Katniss, from the moment Katniss intervened on Prim's behalf.
What I liked most about THE HUNGER GAMES, was that when I was finished, I couldn't get it out of my head. When I should have been sleeping, I was going over and over that moment when Peeta stumbled over his feelings on live television. And when Rue made herself known to Katniss in the trees. And yes, when Katniss pulled out the berries. A spark in my brain had been lit. I thought, maybe I do see what everyone has been talking about.
So, I started reading CATCHING FIRE.
I liked the second book more than I liked the first. But, I read it differently. To be honest, I called almost every single plot twist before it happened. I didn't really see THE HUNGER GAMES as being as predictable as CATCHING FIRE. But by now, I had been indoctrinated in Suzanne Collins writing, and maybe, I had figured out her "tell". No matter, though. My oracle-like ability didn't stop me from enjoying the book. In fact, it made me read the book with more excitement. I wanted to find out if I was right, and for some reason, I experienced the highs and lows more acutely than I did with THE HUNGER GAMES. I was now invested in this story of Katniss and Peeta, the arena and survival, and the districts versus the Capitol.
THE HUNGER GAMES:
3.5/5 for plot
4/5 for characters
3/5 for language
My Rating: 10.5/15 Recommend (3.5 Stars)
3.5/5 for plot
4.5/5 for characters
3.5/5 for language
My Rating: 11.5/15 Highly Recommend (4 Stars)
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