I had the recent misfortune to finish reading the three books in the Hunger Games Series. Before reading further, if you have not read them and you plan to stop reading now. Final warning.
I started reading them because they came recommended by many of my friends and family. The first book was even mildly entertaining, if not very original. The characters had potential and there was the possibility of getting to know a dystopian future with lessons to learn. Ends up, the author was creative enough only to write the same book three times changing only the location and the names of the people killed.
And killing she did. The author seemed to delight in finding new ways of describing death and killing. The first book is not too graphic but each book after finds the author going deeper and deeper into a the dark impulses in her brain. Also, I knew going in that kids would be killed, I just had no idea a person could enjoy writing so much in such detail about the pain and suffering. I felt sad that the author could not find a better way to tell her story.
But then, she’s not a great story teller. Each book is essentially the main character Katniss going through the games teaming up with people and killing others. All the while we’re stuck in her adolescent head worrying about her feelings for two boys and not grasping her own worth. One may argue the books were written for a younger audience; however, the level of violence depicted would only be suitable for someone over 17 by which time the reader should ready for 3 dimensional characters rather than poor stereotypes. They should want a rich world and plots that don’t have huge gaps.
The plot gaps were worse than the tedium of reading the same book three times. Somehow, this is the only nation left on earth since the rest of the planet is polluted beyond habitation. There is technology enough to have flying machines, tv, holo-maps and control of remote weapons of fantastic capabilities, but no satellites to make any of that possible. They can create impossible biological creatures of mixed DNA fabricated to kill only, but somehow they can control the creatures. Finally, there is the gaps in logic that are required just to move the story along. Every time you think it’s bad the author makes it worse. The final scene where the author just starts shooting kids and blowing them up, then inexplicably all the characters seem to lose their sense of sight and good judgment resulting in the killing of Prim, the younger sister that started the whole thing off. My eyes rolled so far into my head I could see my brain shrinking from how useless that plot point was
It seems to me the author simply could not decide who she wanted to be; a young adult writer like Eoin Colfer or a horror writer the delights in killing main characters like Stephen King. She could not decide if her main character was strong or constantly self doubting. The only points that came across loud and clear is decadence, TV and wars are bad. I just found these books to be worse.