37. The Hunger Games 

This is really not the novel I currently want to talk about. But I have finished it and needs must. This is not my first time reading this. The last time I read the trilogy in a weekend but they made remarkably little impression on me. I believe I remember the hype being just hype and it’s… alright… I guess. Unfortunately this time, it has taken me a while to read through boredom. Yes, boredom, there is just no polite way to put it. This is another one of those rare instances where I believe I prefer the films because visually they work very well.

The Hunger Games – Suzanne Collins

I am usually a big fan of young adult fiction purely because it is a good pallet cleanser, it’s like eating junk food. As much as I enjoyed digesting something easily, perhaps this is not the novel that I need right now. It contains things which are good to get young people interested in like politics, strong female characters, and the gratuitous lengths the media will go to for purposes of entertainment. But personally this isn’t a novel I wish had been part of my formative years and I think that reveals a lot about this novel. Reading this has just been like eating crisps I don’t really want to eat because they’re tasteless but they’re there.

When I read Mortal Engines by Philip Reeve, it defied all my expectations of how this YA fiction novel was going to play out. I could also forgive the writing style and how annoying Tris was in Divergent by Veronica Roth because it had enough to keep me interested with the fractions. The Hunger Games, kind of feels like one of those novels that was churned out to follow a trend in YA fiction. But for me it also significantly lacks character development, some of the writing is clumsy, and I know exactly what this novel is trying to get at but it was executed so much better in the films.

This is not exactly a cheerful novel, it follows a young girl volunteering as ‘tribute’ for the national games. These games involve two children, male and female, from each of the twelve districts and the entire nation watching as 24 children murder each other for entertainment. When I write it like that, you’d think it would be horrifying, because as a concept it is horrifying. But instead it is successfully boring.

Perhaps it is because Katniss Everdeen’s sole character development in this entire novel is that she accepts she must play the rules of the Hunger Games to ultimately win them. One of those being acting like she is in love with Peeta for the audience of the games and the excitement of entertainment. I am not sure how I feel about this because Peeta seems like he’s getting the raw end of the deal by the end of the novel. But at the same time it also kinda seems like because he’s genuinely in love with her, she HAS to be in love with him too and that’s not really how feelings work Peeta.

And also as a final cherry on the steaming cake, perhaps I have a problem with this novel because even when things are at their most dire, I just can’t empathise because I know on the next page the conflict will be resolved and it’ll be sunshine again in thirty seconds. I do not fear for their welfare when they are in an arena severely bleeding, cut to the bone, and starving. Now either there is something pathologically wrong with me, or this is just bad writing.

There are lot’s of things that niggle and irritate me about this novel. But I don’t think I’m going to waste any more time writing about it.


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