The Hunger Games- Suzanne Collins 2008


I didn't want to like The Hunger Games. I wanted to be able to maintain an air of sniffy superiority and snobbishness about it. But I have to admit, it drew me in, and I ended up reading and enjoying the whole trilogy.

Its a compelling story, and one which drives you to keep turning the pages, even when- like me- you're a reluctant reader. It really did win me over. However, that's not to say that I found a few major problems with it:

The daft names. I found myself reading Peeta not as "Peter" but as "PEE-tah!". After three books, believe me, this gets bloody annoying. At the risk of sounding like Katie Hopkins, I don't know why they couldn't just be given more conventionally spelt names, which would have made the whole thing much easier, and less annoying to read.

Katniss can be a right pain in the arse. I found her frankly unlikeable at times. I know that's probably to make her more real, but at times I found myself losing all patience with her. It was only that I had already been drawn in by the story, and that I am a bit OCD about finishing books that I've started, that kept me going at some of those times.

The Futuristic Setting. Herein lies my main problem with the trilogy. All of the devices and descriptions of the futuristic setting distanced me from the action, which I believe lessens the impact of the horrific nature of the Hunger Games. I wanted it to be in a setting which is much closer to real life as we know it now- I wanted to think blimey, if we're not careful, this is what we might end up like. Instead, all the things like the daft hairstyles and fashion, the zoomy tubes to get into the Hunger Games, all the little details like that, made me really struggle to see the situation as a real threat to society today. It gives it an otherworldly setting which ruins the ability to relate to it, I found.

I sort of know why it has been done that way- its for a younger audience, so its probably purposefully done to lessen the impact. But for me, I want to be right in there with the action. I want to think about what I would do in that situation, and I couldn't, because I dont live in that world.

In short, it would have been improved by having a less futuristic setting- an island off the coast of Japan say. And maybe, instead of kids from different districts, its kids from a school having to kill each other. And maybe it would benefit from some more graphic violence.

Oh, hang on....

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