WARNING: This review will contain spoilers not only for this book but for the series. You have been warned.
This is one of those dystopian book seriesWARNING: This review will contain spoilers not only for this book but for the series. You have been warned.
This is one of those dystopian book series that I really enjoy, and let me tell you I am pretty picky about that category of books. It is well written and thought provoking. It also has a pretty disturbing plot line, the government each year has the Hunger Games where they take a boy and a girl from each of the 12 districts. They put these kids in an arena and make them fight to the death. 24 in and only 1 out. Some of these kids are trained since birth to be killing machines and to participate in these so-called "games." But these games do their job of keeping the people subdued. The games started after a huge war pretty much destroyed the country and are now as a reminder that the government is in power and can't be defeated, or so they think. Yet when you take people's children every year and kill them it is no wonder why they people wanted to revolt. Come on President Snow you really think people are going to sit and watch their children be slaughtered by other children forever?
Reading this book for a second time was much more emotional especially when thinking about the ending of the third book. The first time reading the book it isn't as big of a punch to the gut when Prim's name is called. Yes, there is some emotion but it happens so quickly that you really haven't yet gotten the full emotional attachment to the characters. Really, the only reason Katniss goes to the Hunger Games is to save her sister from going who would most likely be an easy target to pick off. Always throughout the book she mentions that she is doing it for Prim, she has to survive for Prim, she promised Prim she would come back and so on. The only reason the whole revolution started was because of Katniss wanting to save her sister. The whole premise of the book is because she wants to protect her sister! Then the last book comes out and in a heart wrenching moment Prim is killed by the very revolution that Katniss started. Everything that the whole book led up to stemmed from that moment and in the end Katniss couldn't save her anyway. Just knowing that Prim dies makes the initial reaping that much more moving.
I'm going to apologize here, I know this is against popular opinion but I really just don't like Peeta. Now before people start going into a Team Gale and Team Peeta debate, which please don't cause those are annoying, I ultimately by the end don't like either of those characters. Peeta is just annoying to me, and even though I know it's not supposed to come off like this but Peeta just comes off as very fake to me. He reminds me of that kid in high school who was just way to nice, almost like they felt like they had to be that nice. The kid who you just wanted to rip the smile of their face and yell, "Stop trying to be so nice and just tell me what you really think! Get in an argument for once!" If you have no idea what type of person I'm talking about consider yourself lucky. Also if a boy who liked me acted like Peeta does to Katniss I would pretty much tell them to back off. I'm sorry world, I don't hate him, but I just don't like Peeta. Also his brother's are all jerks… who are never mentioned again.
Yet one character that I absolutely love, is Rue. I give Suzanne Collins props, Rue really isn't in the book that long and yet you really come to care for her in that short period. I remember crying so hard during her death the first time I read it and honestly I probably cried just as hard this time. Anyone else have fuzzy vision when reading the song Katniss sings her? Tears, lots of tears. While the whole death scene is extremely sad I would argue that it is also one of the most beautiful scenes in the book, maybe even the series. Even in a world where children are thrown into an arena to essentially die, this arena is not completely void of all human compassion. Katniss forgets about surveil for a few minutes to properly honor Rue by placing flowers around her and sending her off with a symbol of thanks.
While the book focuses on the berries being the initial spark for the rebellion, I think that this is in fact that moment. That is one thing I do like better about the movie, after this scene an uprising starts in District 11. Katniss shows the viewers in this moment that she cares, even in the games she respects the lives of the other tributes even though they are from different districts. Both of the sparks for revolution really revolve around love and understanding. The berries, while not about the undying love they pretend afterwards, is about Katniss loving Peeta enough to not want to kill him and would rather they both die by their own hands than to kill the other. Love pulls people together strong enough to even start a revolution. Killing 24 children a year while making the districts hate the Capitol wasn't enough to start a rebellion but a girl who refused to kill unless necessary, and who shows her compassion for several other tributes is the one that starts the revolution. In general this says that the power of love is stronger than that of hate.
Overall this is a very well written book. I normally don't read YA books anymore but this is one I'm happy to revisit again and again. The topic was pretty original when it first came out and caused a lot of controversy which is always fun. It also makes people think about their governments and what could happen in the future. It is a page-turner and you get very attached to the characters. I would recommend this series to almost everyone, it really is a good read. 4.75/5