Okay, you’ve all read this one before. Some of you are Team Gale and some (like me) are Team Peeta, some of you hated it, some of you (like me) lovedOkay, you’ve all read this one before. Some of you are Team Gale and some (like me) are Team Peeta, some of you hated it, some of you (like me) loved it. Have you seen the official trailer? I have to admit, I was leery of three people: Jennifer Lawrence, Josh Hutcherson, and Lenny Kravitz. Lawrence sold me on her Katniss when she starts screaming for Prim during the reaping. Hutcherson sold me on his Peeta during that scene on the roof. Lenny Kravitz…I didn’t hate it as much as I thought I would. When Katniss salutes the people, I started to cry. When they all run from their platforms at the end, I sobbed so loud I scared my boyfriend. In fact, the trailer whipped me into such a frenzy that I just had to reread the series. I’m working on Catching Fire right now, and I forgot what glorious angst that book contains. The first in the series is no better on the angst front, but that’s why I loved it. This stuff is real. There’s no sparkly vampire showing up to whisk away a silly girl and be in love, this is death, destruction, manipulation, terror. There is a love story, sure, but it’s not even close to typical. I loved that the trailer didn’t even give you a hint of a love triangle. You wouldn’t even know there’s romance if you’d never read the books.
I’m not going to recap, I’m just going to give you a feel for how this book affected me, and the parts I think about the most. In Panem, there was once an uprising, and it was crushed by the Capitol. For revenge, and to keep the Districts in check, the Capitol invents The Hunger Games. Two children from each District are chosen in the reaping, and the results are heavily skewed toward the poor. The children are shipped to the Capitol and their parents are forced to watch as they’re waxed, plucked, changed, and then killed in the arena. And I mean forced. It is mandatory to watch the Games. If you survive, you’re given a nice house, but you’re also forced to mentor the new children from your District, train them, and then watch them die. That is also mandatory. That is so gloriously messed up, there isn’t even anything I can add. Did I mention that even if you’re a victor, your children are still eligible for the Games? And Katniss even mentions that the victor’s children are chosen too often for it to be a coincidence. So, to recap, you get chosen in the reaping, you go to the arena, you win, you come home, mentor doomed children until you die, and quite possibly watch your own get killed as well. Awesome.
In my boyfriend’s words, “That’s considered YA?” Yes! The very best kind of YA, the kind that makes you think, the kind that shows you the economic factors of being poor in the poorest District in Panem, instead of just focusing on some love story. I didn’t even back a ship until Mockingjay, because how can you, really? Katniss is in the arena, forced to pretend she’s in love with Peeta, and then she’s in Twelve, forced to face her feelings for Gale. This is no time for romance! People are dying because of the decisions Katniss made, and she knows it. Her feelings for Peeta are complex and a world away from her feelings for Gale, but those feelings are no less important. The post-traumatic stress that Katniss probably feels is so apparent to me here. Does she understand now why Haymitch drinks himself into oblivion? I do.
I had forgotten about the end, about the scene with Cato and how utterly horrifying that scene was to read. I’m not sure I can stomach watching it on the big screen. This book tears me apart. It’s got almost no happy moments, but that doesn’t matter, because it’s not full of banal platitudes about romance and love and forever. There is no forever in Panem. There is only now....more
Okay, remember how we talked about there being very little romance in THG? This one is different. There’s a lotOriginally published at Nose in a Book
Okay, remember how we talked about there being very little romance in THG? This one is different. There’s a lot of talk about choices and love and time, the last of which Katniss doesn’t have enough of. She’s confused about where she stands with almost everyone when she returns from the Games. Prim has grown up, her mother is better, and Gale is off to the mines, not allowing Katniss to help his family with her wealth. Peeta lives in the Victors Village, but he and Katniss have a cool relationship at best after the revelations at the end of THG. When Gale is caught bringing in poached game by the new Head Peacekeeper, he’s whipped and Katniss makes her first decision. She chooses Gale, and in a less messed up world, she would have had him. I fully supported her decision to choose Gale when I read the first time, because what she says is true. Her romance with Peeta is Capitol-created, and she can’t trust anything tainted by the Capitol. Sadly, her circumstances change, and her chances with Gale diminish if not completely fade away. By the end of this book, Katniss realizes something that doesn’t change: “I realize only one person will be damaged beyond repair if Peeta dies. Me.”
This book is so bittersweet because we get to meet other victors, real people with real lives and children and homes and dreams. Finnick is a particularly hard one to stomach, because he is awesome and hilarious and broken like the rest of them, and his life is not a happy one. Katniss has to make alliances with people she will eventually have to kill, and that is something that really struck me. Katniss is introverted, more likely to consider the scenarios most likely to win than to consider the feelings of others. Haymitch gave up on her in THG during the first round of interviews, calling her sullen and hostile. She still is, of course, and has even more reason to be now, but she finds she can care for people and want to help them while still being trapped in the hell that is the arena.
This book loses a star only because I wanted more horror in the arena. It’s not really the same when a bunch of adults are trying to kill each other. Part of the shock was that there were kids as young as twelve fighting and killing for entertainment. Sure, Katniss’ allies are killed and she kills in return, but there’s none of the uncertainty, none of the overwhelming fear, none of the dread. It’s not quite the same. And the cliffhanger this books ends on should be illegal, which is why I’m zipping right on to Mockingjay next. You’ll see it here soon!...more
And here we are, not even a week later, at the end of our Hunger Games journey. What is there to even say about MocOriginally posted at Nose in a Book
And here we are, not even a week later, at the end of our Hunger Games journey. What is there to even say about Mockingjay? Half the people I know loved it and half hated it, everyone cried at one particular death at the end, and everyone was outraged by the told-not-shown trial of Katniss. I noticed a lot of things about this book that I didn’t when I was rushing through it the first time around. I noticed how often people wondered if the odds were in someone’s favor. I noticed how often Katniss compared Plutarch’s machinations in the rebellion to his schemes as a Gamemaker. I noticed that, no matter how much the fandom made of him, we never really got to know Finnick. And finally, I noticed how much this book is about Peeta. Sure, Katniss is the narrator and she remains the same brave, oblivious, lovable moron she has always been, but this book is about rescuing Peeta and his recovery. The infiltration of the Capitol goes on for like thirty pages. That’s nothing. This book is almost 400 pages long, and the majority of it is spent with Katniss suffering from PTSD and wondering how to get Peeta back from Snow.
Peeta has long been my favorite character of the series, so reading about his torture and the propos aired by the Capitol was really painful the second time around. I mean, I knew what was coming, but that almost makes it worse. I am willingly going back to read about the torture and brainwashing of my favorite character, you know? But it was worth it, because it made me see the journey that Katniss and Peeta took a little more clearly. And this reread made me like Gale a whole lot more than I did before. I just told Lauren the other day that I disliked Gale to the point of never being able to reconcile his good with his bad, but… I don’t hate Gale anymore. I like how self-aware Gale is, I like how he understood Katniss better than she did during his late-night conversation with Peeta, I like that Gale can put aside his feelings and work for the cause, and I like how he knew that Katniss would never be able to forgive him for Prim’s death. He didn’t cry or beg or insult her, he just knew and he accepted it with more grace than Jacob “Nice Guy” Black ever did. So I respect Gale and, in another universe, under different circumstances, I would be okay if he and Katniss were together.
This book is also real, which follows considering the first two were so realistic as well. When they’re in the Capitol and some rebels kill that little girl’s mother and then the little girl, I had to put the book down. I forgot about that part, the rule that says there will be casualties of the greater cause. Some will die to save many, and some that die will be young. Is there any way to prevent that? Is there really such a thing as a Glorious Revolution when the Capitol has been reaping and killing children for seventy-five years? While I don’t agree with Coin’s (or Katniss’) judgment that Snow’s granddaughter should be a tribute, sometimes there’s just nothing that can be done. All is fair in war, even if we can’t stand it, even if it offends us, or breaks down our morals. What this book teaches us is that if we win, and we did in this novel, then we have to rise above. What’s the point of wresting power from Snow if he’s just going to be replaced with a female version of himself? Can we really abolish the Hunger Games, except for just one more, using children who were unfortunate enough to be born to the wrong people? Sound familiar? It’s outrageous.
So I know that for some people this book was a huge disappointment because of the ship and the epilogue, but I got so much more out of it than just ship fulfillment. This book is about war, plain and simple, and Collins does such a good job of getting that across, and making us see things in a critical way through Katniss’ eyes. The only reason I dropped a star is because of the missing trial. I wanted to see that trial, and it would have been awesome, I’m sure. So that’s that, my very own Hunger Games reread. I’m so psyched for the movie now that I can hardly contain myself!...more