marți, 23 august 2011

The Hunger Games : Book 1 - Review

As some of you know it, i finally finished The Hunger Games Book 1 yesterday. 366 pages read in a full day [ almost 24 hours]. And don't thing that this fact proves the book's easy to read.
But let's begin nicely.

Official Storyline : 
Could you survive on your own, in the wild, with everyone fighting against you?

Twenty-four are forced to enter. Only the winner survives. In the ruins of a place once known as North America lies the nation of Panem, a shining Capitol surrounded by twelve outlying districts. Each year, the districts are forced by the Capitol to send one boy and one girl between the ages of twelve and eighteen to participate in the Hunger Games, a brutal and terrifying fight to the death - televised for all of Panem to see. 

Survival is second nature for sixteen-year-old Katniss Everdeen, who struggles to feed her mother and younger sister by secretly hunting and gathering beyond the fences of District 12. When Katniss steps in to take the place of her sister in the Hunger Games, she knows it may be her death sentence. If she is to survive, she must weigh survival against humanity and life against love. 

Suzanne Collins - Jocurile foamei

Let's start with the storyline. It kinda sounded like Survivor and that's the first reason i said i would read the book. It's just a classic - enough people gathered in an arena in which they have to fight each other until only one remains alive and it's named the winner.  For this i would give the writer only 7/10 because it's just a typical storyline, with only the competition's end making the big change on the creativity thing.

The way she's telling the story. It's first person narration AND  this is the important thing - it's being narrated at the present tense. It's like "I'm doing this, and the meanwhile she's doing that and everybody else is doing that". I'm not quite familiarized with this type of storytelling, so this was a minus for the book. Because of this i simply couldn't "feel" the characters' vide - like feelings, thoughts, outbursts, etc. Also, it makes the book look a little fragmented with the interruptings of Katniss' memories told at continuous tenses, and then back to the story in the present.

The characters.
They were well-built physically, anyone could easily imagine their Katniss or their Peeta, Gale, and so on. I originally thought that thi book actually might be great. Told in Katniss' point of view - a feisty girl, a hunter, an  early grown-up child because of his fathers' death. But this wasn't helping. Everything is like a chaos, and maybe that's what the author wnated to suggest - the chaos from Katniss' mind. She's too confused, she acts on impulse, she breaks her own rules and even after the decisions from the finale, i think she doesn't realize what she wants.
And from the way Katniss describes Peeta, using her eyes and ears, and filtering everything in her mind, i realized in the end of the book that we actually don't know Peeta. We don't get to know the way he thinks about everything, we don't receive an explanation for his actions. We simply get a reason "he loves her". And i might ask at this moment, "is the author using ONLY love as the excuse for all of his decisions?".

I simply liked what Katniss did in order to save her sister. This was a plus to the book just like the realtionship  between those two, describes from times to times. I also begin to question if the relationship between Gale and Katniss is stronger than the one between Peeta and Katniss. This was the most confusing part of the whole story. Katniss describes both of them, periodically, confusing not only herself but the reader too. She like being with Gale, hunting, sitting in silence, talking. But she also likes staying with Peeta. From my point of view, i would say Katniss didn't realize what she had hime, with Gale, and created this relation between her and Peeta not only because she needs to stay alive and that would be something that would "feed" their sponsor's hunger for action, but for her own good and for her District's sake.

The relationship i thought was the strongest was Katniss' friendship with Rue, the girl that reminds very much of her sister Prim. That was indeed well-built, emotional and, in the end, touching. I think this was the best part of the whole book. And from this part i managed to realize that Katniss has a week spot and that's just her sister - Prim (her family).

Ok, actions' next.
A person like me would expect some violent "games", lots of physical confruntations, battles with weapons and so on. But these games aren't like any of these. The action is based on outsmarting one another, surviving knowledge, abilities to think and use everything that surround you in the woods. And here ther's something that doesn't fit. Miss Collins used a fancy notion - "Career Tributes" - people who trained their entire life for The Hunger Games, people described as smart, well-fed, who can use lots of weapons and who received enough support from the sponsors. Here's the catch - if they are training for their entire life, why aren't any of them capable of surviving in the woods like Katniss does? Because, boy, they have more than enough resources. When i read the "Games" part, i felt like i was reading the action from the very hunting period Katniss does at home. And that simply didn't disadvatage her somwhow. I would love to see how she gets accustomed to a new place using her abilities.

And the action didn't get that crescendo to the finale, in my opinion. It seemed rushed at the end, and slow-motion at the end and middle. It was like passing directly from summer to winter.
And the facts that the book is 1st person narrated, made another minus to appear. We didn't receive details about the other tributes progress. We didn't get the details from the fighting in Cornucopia, at the very beginning. We didn't get how the aliances were made, the aptitudes of everyone, and the list could continue.

Okay. Doing the recap : storyline, narration, characters, relationships, action, talked a little about the surroundings. I thinks that's enough for the final mark.

And that would be... *drum rolls* a 7.5 to 8 out of 10.

I need to say that this was due to my personal opinions and dificulty at reading the book. Some of you could absolutely hate or love it. This book won't make it to my favourite books list, but it was good enough to read once. I simply hope now that the rest of the books from the serie will be a little different (like somehow improved) and that the movie coming-up will be much better than the book.

What did you think about The Hunger Games? Did you like or not? For who are you standing there? Peeta or Katniss? Comment below.

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