Thursday, May 5, 2011

THE HUNGER GAMES Trilogy by Suzanne Collins


THE GIST:

Colosseum-style games become all too real in a not-too-distant future society. 

THE VERDICT:

This series is a great example of a tale that brings together lots of familiar elements to create something new and riveting. Collins incorporates Roman history, Greek mythology, and the dystopian literary tradition in this exciting and thought-provoking story. The three books, THE HUNGER GAMES, CATCHING FIRE, and MOCKINGJAY should be read together, but each one contains a satisfying story arc of its own. I'm not a big YA reader, but these three books are fun reads that offer more than enough substance.

I really appreciated the main character Katniss. She is much more than the typical "strong female lead." She is a complicated mix of vulnerability, reserve, coldness, violence, compassion and power. She is everything from a hero to a style icon to a propaganda lynchpin. There are aspects of her personality that just aren't that nice, and her flaws are complex and believable. She forces the reader to confront the circumstances that forged her into a person who will do just about anything to survive, and will do even more than that to protect the few people that she loves.

Collins explores the effects of violence, loss and desperation on very young characters. All the books have high body counts, and Collins does not shy away from showing the ugly side of exciting battles and of victory. Revenge, suicide, and sacrifice are important themes, adding depth to the fast-paced story. For the most part, Collins does not go for the easy resolution. There is always a loose end or two, and "happily ever after" becomes a painful process in her hands.

THE LINK:

The website of Suzanne Collins

THE COST:

THE HUNGER GAMES: $5 for the Kindle edition
CATCHING FIRE: $8 for the Kindle edition
MOCKINGJAY: $6 for the Kindle edition

THE QUESTION:

To what extent do you think children can or should be protected from violence and its effects? When should they be exposed to the realities of a world that can be very ugly?

7 comments:

  1. I think children should not be exposed to violence when very young, ie they should not see/hear parents fighting, watch violent TV or be encouraged in violent games. I think children are very sensitive to violence; it starts off upsetting them but then gradually they become accepting of it as the norm and perpetuate it in their own lives. As for the ugly real world,it comes soon enough so let's shelter them as long as possible and introduce the idea that eveything is not perfect gradually and from a safe and secure base...family.

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  2. I just downloaded this book last week. Very interesting review. Thanks.
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    http://mylife-in-stories.blogspot.com

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  3. This review is admirably accurate and succinct. Lovely.

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  4. Reading the Hunger Games made me realize how close we actually are to that future. Reality TV stars are almost canonized today, but Suzanne Collins was able to take it a step further. Since I do not have children, I can only say I hope that there can be a balance between preparing children for the world while still keeping some semblance of childhood. I was excited to see a review for the Hunger Games here because it was one of my best reads this past year.

    Happy Travels,
    M&Y

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  5. I've read the first one but I'm not sure if I'll read the rest. I enjoyed it, but didn't feel inspired to read the other two. I probably will one day..

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  6. Thank you all for your comments. This series was recommended to me by quite a few people. It seems to garner a strong response. I wonder if that is because there are so many things that are troubling but familiar in this book. We are used to reality TV, video games and even drastic plastic surgery, and all these things grow and become sinister in the Hunger Games.

    As for violence, I guess we are very lucky if we live in countries where we have the opportunity to shelter our kids from it. Too many parents don't have that luxury.

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  7. One and two very compelling book three seemed to be far away from other two books.Could not put down any of the books at any point throughout them. Classic, and well written.

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