The Hunger Games (The Hunger Games, #1) by Suzanne Collins
My rating: 3 of 5 stars
I started to read an online version of this before I saw the movie. I didn't like it a lot. Partly, because I'm not a fan of first person, and practically detest present tense. I just don't get why anyone would do that. Though I suppose, in this case the author really wanted to use first person to get us in Katniss' head, and used the present tense to make us wonder if she was just going to die at any moment. It still disturbed me.
Another thing that is a problem with the writing is that it's not all that descriptive. It reads more like a script for a movie, than a novel.
I watched the movie, because everyone was talking about it on Facebook, and I was bored, nothing on TV, and I work in an office above a cinema. So after work one day I just bought a ticket. I didn't know what to expect from it. I'm a fan of dystopias in general, but it has to be done well. I actually wrote a review of the movie. Review
It has been a while, but I found myself thinking about the story, even after the hype died down on Facebook. I kept wondering what was going to happen, and I also wanted to watch the movie again, which I actually rarely do. So on Saturday I was looking around the small English sci-fi and fantasy section of Alexandra - a big bookstore chain in Hungary -, and just decided to pick it up. I didn't have a book with me, so I read on the bus home. At home, I washed my hair in the tub, and just read. I wanted to make it a few hours, but I ended up reading until bedtime. I finished the book when I next had the opportunity to pick it up a few days later.
I still don't like the present tense, and have a problem with the style, hence the 3 stars. But the story is exciting. The pace is fast enough for the modern reader, and there is very little junk in it. The technical aspects look well-researched. My only problem with the story was that in places it was said that she knew little of the world outside her District, but then she seemed to know a lot on the next page. Maybe it could have been better explained how she got the information she had.
Katniss felt very real to me. She was just the kind of person that I can relate to. Not the hearts and flowers kind of girl, but she would do anything for her family. Her confusion over her feelings towards the two guys in her life was very real as well. I just hate it when in novels girls fall in love at a drop of a hat, as it never happened to me, and I just can't be the only one in the world.
The other characters didn't feel like fillers. The mark of a bad novel, like Twilight, is that you have a host of characters that don't really contribute to the story, they just seem to be there to fawn over the main character. Everyone represented something, and brought an important human aspect to the story.
I've read a review where they said that the killings were pointless. I don't think that. The point was that those people had to die. The cruelty of the world needs to be shown by their deaths. Also, the point of a dystopia is to show the worst of the present society. I think it contrasted the absurdity of reality shows, and the real world struggles of young people really well.
I'm going to go on and read the next book, we'll see what I think of that.