I have an odd relationship with this book. Like every other devotee of the Hunger Games, I eagerly awaited the release date. I had an Advanced ReaderI have an odd relationship with this book. Like every other devotee of the Hunger Games, I eagerly awaited the release date. I had an Advanced Reader of Catching Fire, so it had been absolute ages since I had new adventures in Panem and I was rabid that Scholastic didn't give out ARCs at ALA Annual 2010. They really didn't need to in order to get the buzz going.
So, I should have been excited as hell to get my book in the mail from Amazon Preorder, I should have sat there reading (with no breaks) until I was done. Instead, my mother died. My entire world shattered, and I didn't enjoy anything to do with life for a really long time. Especially not reading. Especially a book about death. I am really good at avoiding spoilers, and I managed to do so, possibly the only thing I actually managed to do whatsoever that entire year. I handed the book off to my husband to read, as he was tired of waiting for me.
Finally, I was ready to read again, and I re-read the series finishing with Mockingjay in May 2011. And I loved it. But I will never, NEVER be able to separate this book in my mind from the fear, anger, and overwhelming desperation I felt on August 24, 2010. It felt like a cosmic joke, that I had been looking forward to the day for so long, couldn't wait for it to arrive, and it became the worst day of my entire life. I almost can't forgive the book, as if that had anything to do with it.
I am telling you all of this, because books affect your life. There are experiences tied to every word and sense memories. I can remember where I was sitting when I first found out who murdered Roger AckroydThe Murder of Roger Ackroyd, and I can tell you what I was frantically eating to keep me sane during the stress of Into Thin AirInto Thin Air. This is a good thing, usually. And in this case, I sympathized with Katniss as her world came crashing down. I felt bad for her, because as my world fell apart, I was able to cling to my husband, and she didn't have any one person she KNEW was hers. I understood the desire to die in order to save and protect the ones you love. In the madness of grief, I felt one with her.
Some people didn't like this book. I agree that it is not my style as much as the other two, since I prefer the survival stuff over the political stuff, but this 2012 unemotional reread really helped me see how well crafted it is. (view spoiler)[I think many people were angry at Prim's death. I wasn't, I kind of expected it. It makes sense, thematically, that Katniss entered this entire situation not to start a rebellion, but to save her sister and in the end, needed to lose her sister in order to save the rebellion. I was never too emotionally attached to Prim, I was much more upset by Finnick's death. If things had gone a different way, and Peeta died, I would have LOST IT. (hide spoiler)] I still think the epilogue sneaks up on you and goes too quick, but it does kind of make sense in Katniss' voice.
I honestly would not recommend this as a YA novel. With a little more emphasis on the scarier aspects and the viewpoint not in Anna's head, it may havI honestly would not recommend this as a YA novel. With a little more emphasis on the scarier aspects and the viewpoint not in Anna's head, it may have been suitable as an adult novel. Or with one intense scene toned down slightly, it would have been a fine middle grade novel. In my opinion, if young adults were the intended audience, the childish tone and tendency to talk down would make them throw this book across the room. Anna is supposed to be fifteen going on sixteen, but the voice used to portray her feels more like eleven. I wouldn't mind so much if I honestly thought this was a device to show how stunted her maturity was due to the inhumane conditions.
Everything is preachy, we are repeatedly hit over the head with the moral "your parents love you, you belong in the world yay" and are repeatedly told how bad the villains are. Anna has been indoctrinated her entire life, but she overhears one conversation and all of a sudden, OH that woman is evil! Anna was only the heroine because of who her parents are. She is completely passive and we never see why the clear hero, Peter likes her or goes through so much danger for her. I really found her weak character to be the last straw.
edit: Just remembered another thing that bothered me...the sci fi premise was very full of plot holes, often mentioned and passed over quickly, as if some editor noticed it so a line was thrown in. If this pill is so powerful you can grow a leg back, as is mentioned early in the book, why doesn't it work on skin? There are a few more giant holes like that....more
I'm reviewing this only an hour or two after finishing the book, and maybe tomorrow or the next day my feeling will be different. This is a great bookI'm reviewing this only an hour or two after finishing the book, and maybe tomorrow or the next day my feeling will be different. This is a great book. I can say that in an "obviously" sort of way. However, I don't know if I liked it, it is certainly not enjoyable. It is uncomfortable, that is perhaps part of the point. I hate to simplify it to a zombie novel, it is dystopian, it is a look at what will a society in turmoil rely on (this particular village relies on religion), it is post-apocalyptic. And I suppose The Unconsecrated are zombies. The society is very insular, part of the book takes place in high narrow fences, and the writing FORCES you to feel claustrophobic. You often feel trapped inside Mary's head. Occasionally something of high suspense and great import happened and it made no sense to me, I couldn't understand it, because we are viewing it through Mary and she wouldn't give me the information I needed. It was pretty powerful stuff....more
I want to say as little about it as possible, because the twists and surprises are the best part.
It works as a wonderful second act, I now actually unI want to say as little about it as possible, because the twists and surprises are the best part.
It works as a wonderful second act, I now actually understand why the first book ended where it did and not a chapter sooner as I (and many others) thought it should have. The pacing felt strange, but again, now that I am finished, I can see how superbly executed it was. If you enjoyed the first one, I don't think you will be at all disappointed with this.
The only note I want to point out is that you DO need to read The Hunger Games. One would miss an awful damn lot if one began with this book. The beginning rehashes enough of Hunger Games that I felt caught up even though I read it several months ago, but there's very little repeat and you will want to be on your toes, so to speak.
**spoiler alert** I'm harsher on this than other books, simply because these types of novels are my favorite, dystopian world building, coming of age,**spoiler alert** I'm harsher on this than other books, simply because these types of novels are my favorite, dystopian world building, coming of age, growing to realize that what you've been told your entire life is wrong...
This fell flat for me. I almost felt like I didn't know what story the author was telling. Is this the parent's story, or the child's story? I never felt invested in either. I kept feeling angry at the parents, recklessly putting their children's lives in danger, in most circumstances I admire the character who plays within the rules, and takes those rules and slightly bends them to his or her own benefit. Not the couple who ignore the rules and then get plucked out of their children's lives leaving them to fend for themselves.
I saw very little character growth in Honor, her as a ten year old and her as a fourteen year old were the same. Too much of the book felt like "here is an example of why the society is bad" "hey look an incidence of control", the society was never shown as evil, and instead of realistic subtlety, it just felt not fully fleshed out. I had a hard time believing that these "orderlies" were fully brainwashed into doing complex tasks with no rebellion, but Pamela could send a code in base two to her daughter. The ending wrapped up very quickly and easily, with no sense to me of immediate danger.
I guess I am enumerating the flaws because they so easily don't have to be there. It felt more like a draft to me than a finished book. Some more focus, attention to audience and which story exactly should be told. I think I should try the author's adult books, I think I might find ther focus matching the writing there....more
An interesting book with ideas that felt really new. Due to overpopulation, medical science, and a lack of organ donors, no one is considered a real pAn interesting book with ideas that felt really new. Due to overpopulation, medical science, and a lack of organ donors, no one is considered a real person until the age of 18, and until then can be "unwound", that is, harvested for parts. The government doesn't consider it death because every single part of the body is used, so the teen is technically alive through many people across the world. Shusterman creates an entire world for this concept and explores it fully. The three main characters are an orphan, a dteen, and a teen who was raised from birth to be an unwind for his religion, hitting all of the consequences of this society....more