Alternate title: why do I keep reading YA when I couldn’t care less about YA characters? (Beware: I am writing this assuming that most of you have read the books and know what they are about, so beware of spoilers!)
The book: The Hunger Games, by Suzanne Collins
The edition: Scholastic paperback, 454 pages, plus author interview
The good: an interesting premise and a compelling (as in: easy and gripping) style. Makes me want to see where it is all headed to.
The bad: I cannot relate to or care about such a snotty little brat as Katniss, and I found all the arena adventures a bit on the boring side.
Wondering about: why all the Latin (Panem, Avox) and Latin-related culture (all those names, from Caesar to Cato; the chariots and the cornucopia)? And don’t tell me it’s just because of the “panem et circenses” reference.
Team Peeta or Team Gale? It’s not like Gale had any screen time up to this book, so Team Peeta it is (oh, wait, does it mean “who gets the lady”? Then I hope neither of them. They are both too good for such a fate)
The book: Catching Fire, by Suzanne Collins
The edition: Scholastic paperback, 472 pages
The good: an interesting number of twists in the story, and even the arena was more interesting this time around.
The bad: most of the characters. Even Peeta and Gale act silly. And all the oooh- and aaah-ing of Katniss over her feelings — feeling guilty about the people killed in the Games, even though she didn’t really kill almost anybody, and trying to decide who is the boy she loves. I know she’s 17 and acting it, but I can’t stand this kind of thing any longer.
Wondering about: I hope for an explanation of how the Capitol/Districts society came to be. Such an enslaving arrangement only makes sense if the people in control consider themselves different from the rest — if the people in the Capitol were really aliens from another planet — but they aren’t.
Team Peeta or Team Gale? May I say Team Finnick?
The book: Mockingjay, by Suzanne Collins
The edition: Scholastic paperback, 455 pages, plus acknowledgments
The good: I’m afraid I have little to say here, I felt completely let down. Style is still pretty engaging, though.
The bad: I felt let down, because there was much more promise in the first two than this did deliver. There was room for wonderful plot turns and symbols and explanations, but there weren’t. Instead we get horrible things happening (more than I could stand), more teenage geocentricism, a lot of useless and unheeded deaths, and no real explanation.
Wondering about: how could one life happily ever after with a hijacked husband? How could the former tributes (and Katniss among them) agree to have more Games? And also, all the little threads left hanging unexplained, such as: why did birds stop to listen to Katniss’ father? Why did Madge offer Katniss the pin? Why did Cinna want to stir a rebellion? etc. etc. etc.
Team Peeta or Team Gale? No, my man for this book is Boggs. I’m afraid that I’m showing my age here, by preferring the solid, affectionate adult over the overemotional teenagers, but he’s the only positive male figure in the whole book!