So basically, The only reason I read this was because it was the free "Book of the Week" in the iBook store. I should have been more wary since last wSo basically, The only reason I read this was because it was the free "Book of the Week" in the iBook store. I should have been more wary since last week's free book was The Da Vinci Code, but I am easily swayed by the word "free" and the reviews were so high so I guess I shrugged and said to myself "Well, no matter how terrible it is, it has to be better than Twilight."
But it's basically the same book.
Right off the bat, the first thing that bothered me were the names. I don't know if names are different in Florida, but how come every character has to have an uncommon name? Now I can understand one or two special little snowflakes who's parents were being original, but this school seriously seems to be lacking in "Katies, Michaels, and Steves." And really, who in their right mind names their child "Pagan?" Clearly, her mother doesn't know she has this "I see dead people" thing going on so it's not really meaningful, it's just stupid. Not to mention it's creeping into Ebony Darkness Dementia Raven Way territory. Also, if you are trying to make your readers swoon over this "sexy beast" of a grim reaper, why would you pick a name like "Dank?"
Things that are dank: 1. Caves 2. Moldy basements 3. Murder dungeons
Are any of these things sexy? I guess everyone has a fetish.
But we know he's supposed to be sexy, because the main character keeps telling us he is. She tells us a lot of things actually, usually several times in basically the same way. I don't like to be told what to think, I want to be able to picture it myself.
It seems like a lot of Young-Adult novels use first person perspective as a crutch. They think "You're in her head! You feel what she feels! Feel her pain!" The problem is, it is almost never done well. Want to know something about the mind of an average teenage girl? It's really annoying. They are selfish and superficial, regardless of how many times they tell you they are not. There are ways to write from the perspective of a single character without literally being inside their heads, and other authors, even in the "Young Adult" genre have done them quite well. And if used correctly, there are a lot of wonderfully successful stories written in first person, this, unfortunately is not one of them.
This novel is also full of wonderful cringe-worthy dialogue that no one in the real world would ever say. Every line of dialogue felt awkward and unnatural to read, and the tiny linguist inside me began to cry. I think some of the problems in this book could have been solved by a good edit, but without one it makes the book seem lazy. It reads like a first draft, not something worthy enough to not only be published, but to be a "Book of the Week." Especially since I also found several typos in my version.
I think over all, this kind of book just makes me sad. Admittedly, I didn't read very many "Young Adult" novels when I was a teenager, so maybe it's always been this way and I'm just out of the loop, but books like this are generic and lazy and it seems like the people putting them out there think that teenagers are stupid. Not everything needs to be spelled out for young people to understand. People don't need to be constantly reminded that the love interest is "sexy." The ability to read between the lines and interpret the things that aren't blatantly spelled out is one of the things that makes reading exciting and it's a shame that so many good options are being bogged down under crap like this.
The one thing that made this better than Twilight? At least the main character has enough self-awareness to realize that she acts like an asshole to people....more
**spoiler alert** I wanted to like this book series. So many people told me it was great. I liked the first one well enough. (although it seemed start**spoiler alert** I wanted to like this book series. So many people told me it was great. I liked the first one well enough. (although it seemed startlingly similar to a novel/film called Battle Royale). I liked the second one for the new, and far more interesting characters that it introduced. But this book was disappointing.
I have to admit, I didn't feel much for Katniss even in the first book. She never seemed to have much of a personality on her own. But I understood the reasoning behind her actions. Her motivation was to protect her family and get back to them. It was at least something I could rally with her for.
But in this book, the only way I could describe her is pathetic. She spends most of the book drugged out or driving the few people that actually care about her away. It went beyond angsty teenager into a place where every word that came out of her mouth disgusted me. I wanted someone to slap her and remind her what she's fighting for. Light a fire in her, no pun intended.
It never happened. The part that is perhaps the most frustrating is that she knows she's being manipulated at every turn, she whines about it constantly, but never cares to figure out a way to stop it from happening. I could understand, perhaps even enjoy a book where the reader could figure out for themselves that she is just a pawn in someone else's agenda. But she has been aware of this since the first book. She mentions it several times throughout the series and on about every other page in this book. And yet, she doesn't even seem to know what she's fighting for.
It doesn't help that the reader almost never gets to experience what happens in each of the battles. Katniss is always conveniently injured, putting her back in the hospital and allowing the reader to be told what happened. Not only did this make the book insanely repetitive, but it also detaches the reader. I didn't really care about Peeta's rescue because I didn't get to experience it and all of its emotional impact. I didn't even care about the state of the world at the end of the novel. They ran so quickly over what happened to everyone in the end.
The main problem I had with this book is that the narrator is telling a story about fighting for a cause she doesn't really act like she cares about. The one person around her that I felt like I could rally behind was Gale. If the story had been told through his thoughts and actions, it would have been far more compelling. He believed whole-heartedly in the cause he was fighting for. You can tell by the way that he gets so frustrated with her all the time.
It made me angry that at the end, she seemed to write him off like he was unimportant.
I get why she would be mad at him. Prim was the entire driving force behind the first book, but when she finds out he is living in District 2, she doesn't even seem to care. He was her BEST FRIEND for years. She described him as being able to understand her thoughts. And yet, it was just a passing statement that didn't even warrant a reaction from her.
It seemed like the author conveniently moved him out of the way so Katniss could be with Peeta in the end.
I never really cared about Peeta. He was nice and charismatic, that was pretty much the only personality he was given. I never really felt romantic chemistry between him and Katniss. He obviously liked her, yes, but I never felt it reciprocated. Even when she told us she liked him too. I didn't buy it. It seemed like he was there so she could have a happy(ish) ending. And in the end, she was with him because he was there and Gale wasn't. To be honest, I didn't really want her to end up with either one of them. She took advantage of them both, and they let her. She didn't deserve them.
I feel like this is one of those books where the supporting characters are so much more interesting than the main ones. I loved Finnick, and found him to be a deep and compelling character. I enjoyed snarky Johanna and several others. It made me angry when they killed Finnick, Katniss barely gives us a reaction. It reminds me of the one major thing that annoyed me about Harry Potter, how Lupin and Tonks were killed off screen, barely mentioned, so soon after they finally found happiness with each other.
It seems like the author killed off most of the people that had something to live for, while leaving Little Miss Emo to whine about why she should kill herself. At the scene towards the end, I had more sympathy for the cat.
I don't mind a sad ending. In fact, I love them if they are done well. And I love a good story about a person rising up against their oppressors and trying to change the world for the better. Unfortunately, this was not one of those stories.