January 2nd, 2011

Padme and Anakin Love

Book Review: The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins

I almost feel redundant posting this, because by now everyone knows about it, right? And chances are, everyone's read it! No spoilers anyway, just in case.

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Katniss Everdeen lives in a distopian future America where the Capital city forces each of its twelve districts to send two children each year to fight to the death, distracting citizens from the poverty and iron rule they suffer under. When she, along with a young man named Peeta, are chosen, she'll be up against the deadliest fighters and traps her government can produce, to say nothing of her own conscience.

Collins is a hell of a story teller. I finished this book in about a day when I tend to take my time reading; it's one of those tales that leaves you holding your breath, dying to know what happens next. I don't want to say too much about any of the friends and enemies she meets along the way, because several of them are quite interesting and/or get more development as the two sequels to Hunger Games go on. I was with Katniss all the way, and liked how Collins created a heroine with common sense and the ability to take care of herself, as well as the flaws that come with those characteristics: Katniss could be cold, selfish, and thoughtless.

The only minor complaint I have is in that area where so much fiction by one gender tends to fall flat: writing the other gender. Collins sets up a love triangle where Katniss, virginal and totally unaware of her own attractiveness, is pursued by two men, one of whom is kind and new to her, the other more of a bad boy and a childhood friend. Both are totally devoted to her, put her first, and are of course totally hot. Gag. In such an original story with well-drawn characters, such a predictable romantic thread was disappointing. What would be so bad about letting Katniss and her childhood friend love each other like siblings? Or letting one of her love interests be ugly?

Fortunately, I say "minor complaint" because that love triangle took a tiny part of the overall book. The rest was about the most exciting thing I've seen from YA fiction since Harry Potter. Well worth a look.

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