Genre: Dystopian Fiction

Notes:  Yes, this is a re-read.  Still amazing.  Still kept me up at night

Review: Ohmigod, love love love.  However, on my second read, I paid more attention to the writing.  It’s not as well-written as I remember, but like Harry Potter, Collins writes herself into the series and the caliber of writing gets better as the novels continue. 

The Hunger Games

Sigh, Katniss rubs me the wrong way.  I know she’s the heroine in this series, but her “omigod, do I like Peeta or Gale?  Peeta or Gale?  Peeta or Gale?” makes me want to punch her.  She’s so self-righteous and thinks her family cannot survive without her. While, yes, she does take care of her mother and sister, they would survive without her.  She’s not the best thing since sliced bread, and Gale would take care of her family if the Capitol killed her in the Games.

However, even if she annoys me, Katniss’s character is like a breath of fresh air from  Bella Swan. Katniss takes care of herself.  She doesn’t completely rely on boys for her self-esteem, and she has her own independent ideas.  She questions the Capitol and life in District 12 rather than swallow the bullshit forced down her throat by Snow’s propaganda machine.

The strength of this book lies in the horror of the Games – the reaping, the fact that 12-18 year olds are fighting in a booby trapped arena to the death. And Rue!  Poor Rue, I actually cried again when she died – and I knew it was coming!

Catching Fire

This book is the best of the series.  Take the carnage of the 75th Hunger Games and double it.  The Quarter Quell oozes tension, blood, and even compassion.  We get a better look at the relationship between Katniss and Peeta, and in all honesty, Peeta becomes the hero in this series.  Katniss may be the main character, but she doesn’t get anywhere without Peeta.  Or Gale.  She’s a pawn throughout much of the series while her motivators lie outside herself.  And the way Catching Fire ends?!  You immediately have to grab Mockingjay to figure out what happens to Peeta.

Mockingjay

The first time I read this series, I didn’t like Mockingjay. Katniss walks around in a stupor for most of the book, leads a bunch of people to their deaths, and kills the president of District 13.   I liked it more the second time around, but I’m still sick of hearing about Katniss feels like a parent to Prim. She’s 13.  She’s young, but she’s not a toddler or someone who needs constant care and attention.  It’s old and  tired by this book and my sympathy for Katniss wanes.  Again, the characters I care about are technically secondary characters.  Finnick.  Annie.  Peeta.  Gale.  Beetee.  Even Haymitch.  They’re all a thousand times more interesting than Katniss.  She’s…predictable.  Irritatingly so.  However, I love that she finally makes her own decisions in this novel.  She refuses to play the part of a pawn and defies Coin.  That’s what I’ve been waiting for.

Bottom Line: Katniss isn’t the epitome of the strong female character or some godsend to young girls who have been force-fed fairy tales of knights in shining armor rescuing princesses.  She’s flawed.  She’s annoying.  She’s manipulative.  But she’s herself.  And that is the reason I love this series.

May the odds be ever in your favor

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