Saturday, October 23, 2010
The Hunger Games: Sort of a Book Review
A message came up on my email, that said a book I had requested from the main library to our local branch had come in. I rubbed my hands together in fly-like manner, satisfaction radiating from my heart. I was about to have in my hands the sequel to Finding Nouf, by Zoe Ferraris, entitled City of Veils. To my surprise and annoyance, the book that had come in was The Hunger Games, by Suzanne Collins.
I was sure that they had made a mistake, that they had sent me the wrong book, but when I went to the "request" page, sure enough, "Suzanne Collins" came up through Firefox's brilliant memory of field completion. I have no idea why I would have requested it. I only request books recommended by Wendy's blog. Indeed, when I looked at the book's flyleaf, I had a vague, vague memory of thinking, "Well, it's a book aimed at teens, maybe I won't be too offended by it."
We went fishing on Thursday, so I took the book along to read while I let my bait drift in the water. It was a shitty day for fishing -- no one we talked to had even one nibble, let alone a fish. So when I began to read The Hunger Games, not only was I annoyed to find that the whole book was written in first person, present tense (which is good for a bar story, but not for a novel), but in the first few pages, I was tremendously annoyed to have the narrator claim that she and her companion went to a pond and caught a dozen fine fish before noon. Poking the pages, I told the author, "You have never been fishing in your entire #!!@! life!"
In the post-apocalyptic story, outlying "Districts" are basically company towns bled dry by the company -- The Capitol. The Districts are there to provide for the Capitol, and nothing else. An insurrection in the past resulted in the installation of humiliating "Hunger Games" -- a chosen pair of children from each district are pitted yearly against other districts in a battle to the death, a broadcast reality show in which the winner is promised wealth and sustenance for the rest of his or her life. Katniss, despising the Capitol and its stranglehold on her people, leaps to volunteer instead for the Games when her little sister is chosen by lot to participate.
Katniss is a hunter, a profession strictly forbidden by the Capitol. That's the skill she brings to the Games. That's the skill that keeps her alive -- that and a caring heart. The games begin, and Katniss runs into the forest to try to figure out not so much how to triumph, but how to survive.
The action is continual, the pace of the book quick. There are lots of deus ex machina spots, but they're explained easily enough. The writing is colorful, though nothing I would envy as a writer.
The next annoying revelation is that I read the book in two days, and didn't want to put it down.
The final annoying aspect of this book is that as soon as I was finished reading, I requested the sequel from the library.
Will I own a copy of this book? No.
Will I read it again in the years remaining to me? No.
Will I switch my tail in annoyance at how long the library's copy of the sequel takes to get to me.