This book was truly fascinating when it started. I honestly considered giving it a full 5 stars when I was through half of it, then it suddenly started going into a very wrong line, which finally culminated in its mediocre ending.
The plot is set in a dystopian future, and it's about a group of children trying to kill each other in a game called The Hunger Game
. As the title suggests, hunger is one of the central themes in the book, with a very clever contrast when the food is awfully abundant at times and very scarce at others. As for the rules of the game, they were very simple: the child who kills all the other children and stays alive wins the competition. What was very interesting and ingenious though, was the draw that determined the names of the participants in the game. I've found these passages very moving. Plus, the world in which the story is taking place was very well described in the book, along with the characters and their emotions, except with one of the characters about whom I'll talk soon.
I liked the heroine of this book. Her name is Katniss. She's brave, intelligent and mature, in addition of her being at times cynic. I like books where strong female characters are leading the story (not that I hate the alternative). Her character development was very good and interesting. But, one of the most annoying characters was Haymitch, whom I was not able to fully comprehend even after the book was finished. His behavior kept changing and his words never corresponded to his deeds, till the end when we are forced to know him. I even felt him sometimes to be a sadist.
As for why I didn't like the book much, I have two main points. First, I couldn’t believe that an audience, who simply find amusement in watching children kill each other, can possibly care if two participants loved each other or not. Even if they did, it was terribly exaggerated in the book. This kept nagging in my head and therefore spoiled the book for me. It seemed very absurd and out of place. The funny thing is that even the characters were not acting in front of the audience as if they were in love. Second, I couldn't understand whether The Capitol cared about the opinion of its people or not. Sometimes they did and sometimes they didn’t, which I can't help but realize was a cheap trick from the author to help moving the story forward. Some may argue that I shouldn’t make such notes in a Young Adult fiction book, but I disagree. Young adults are fully able to grasp these contradictions.
Another thing (which was more a personal rather than a general remark) is that I would have preferred the third person prose much more than the first person. The latter didn't help me
connect with the characters as much as I could have.
Well, there are some other unbelievable and predictable elements, in addition to forced and deceiving thrillers, mostly in the second half of the book, but I don’t think they are worth mentioning and making the review long. As a young adult book, we know after all what will happen at the end and who's going to win, and even if Collins tried to make it as less victorious as possible, it will go where you expect it to do. Nonetheless, it was enjoyable and hence the three stars.
I wonder what would've happened if the group of the remaining tributes decided not to kill each other and defy the Capitol. Ah, here I go again!