I'm not really sure what to think of this series. I really liked the first book, since it revolved around criticizing the reality show trend. It was fI'm not really sure what to think of this series. I really liked the first book, since it revolved around criticizing the reality show trend. It was fast-paced, colourful and efficient. But then The Truman Show (among other works) had already done something similar many years ago, so there's nothing new there, apart from the extreme physical violence meant by the Hunger Games.
As for the second book, there were a few moments that left me completely stunned and surprised. I have to admit I didn't see it coming, which is refreshing. However, I grew tired of Katniss, and her robotic way of thinking about Peeta, Gale, and so many other characters. A lot of angst that doesn't really evolve in a more mature character.
And then, there's the third book. Katniss spends half of it prostrated in a bed, sedated because she's losing it, a very credible reaction to all she's been through. And she spends the other half fighting and wondering how she feels about lots of stuff she doesn't understand, the least of it being that she should kill Peeta. Why not? Let's kill him because... I don't know why. Katniss doesn't know either. All we (she) know is that it seems the logical thing to do... doesn't it?
I'm a bit disappointed by the main character. I can't rely to her, I don't like her and, frankly, I'm astonished by the fact that so many people seem to like her. She's the new Bella. Someone who doesn't smile, doesn't love, is a ruthless killer that verges on schizophrenia, and can't seem to be able to take a good look at something else than herself.
I'll try to focus more on the positive thing I can hold on to. The underlying criticism of war and, most of all, of mass media manipulation, is a very important message to deliver to our youth.
Except that I would never recommend this book to our youth. It's so graphically violent, that I will certainly try to prevent my 10 year-old tutee to read the second and third books. Or she'll end up thinking doing drugs and trying to commit suicide are a good way to express your mal-de-vivre. No wonder the first movie toned it down....more
I found this third book a bit disappointing. The whole Mexican interlude seemed irrelevant to the story, despite what Westerfeld says in his afterwordI found this third book a bit disappointing. The whole Mexican interlude seemed irrelevant to the story, despite what Westerfeld says in his afterword. The story was predictable, and the new characters a bit slim. However, I liked the trilogy overall. It's a classic model of a book written for the youth, in which the readers discover an unknown sci-fi universe through the eyes of a young character that knows as much (or as less) as us. We discover how to pilot a walker at the same time as prince Alek, who has been sheltered in his castle all his life and doesn't know anything about the world, and we learn how the beasties are used with Deryn/Dylan, a new recruit in the British airborne. Rowlings had done the same thing with Harry Potter, a wizard that was raised by muggles and, hence, was as astonished as us by what he learned about the wizarding world. The steampunk universe created by Westerfelf is a very clever one, the vocabulary created for the occasion is believable, and the series is beautifully illustrated by Keith Thompson's drawings. I'd like to listen to Alan Cummings reading the books. Maybe I'll borrow it......more