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The Hunger Games (The Hunger Games, #1)
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Common reads > The Hunger Games (and HG trilogy), by Suzanne Collins

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message 1: by Werner (last edited Feb 21, 2016 02:38PM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Werner | 1526 comments This will be the thread for posting all of your comments, questions, reactions, background information, links or anything else related to The Hunger Games, our common read for this month. Participation is strictly voluntary, but I'm hoping for some vigorous discussion!

A long two-star review of this novel by one of my Goodreads friends can be read here: http://www.goodreads.com/review/show/... . It comes with a spoiler warning, but it might raise some interesting points for consideration (and maybe rebuttal, if you disagree) as you read through the book. I'll also try to soon post some links to more positive reviews (for the same purpose)!


Mike (the Paladin) (thepaladin) | 326 comments I actually liked this book, though I suppose it has some specific failings it's still very readable and absorbing. The sad thing for me was that I thought the third volume in the trilogy failed, it sort of ruined the entire story for me.

Still this one is, I think a good read. I'll post a link to my review later if anyone is interested...or you can check, LOL.


Werner | 1526 comments Yes, Mike, do post a link to your review! (Yours was actually one that I was thinking of when I referred to "more positive reviews" above.)

Based on my reading of the book so far, I have to say that it's compulsively readable, and actually quite gripping! Also, I'd expected to find the present-tense narration gimmicky and off-putting, but it's not, IMO; to me, Katniss' narrative voice flows quite naturally.


Mike (the Paladin) (thepaladin) | 326 comments Okay, here it is. Fell free to ignore it if yo want, LOL:

http://www.goodreads.com/review/show/...

I really liked the way the trilogy opened up.


 Danielle The Book Huntress (Winter Frost Queen)  (gatadelafuente) | 360 comments I plan to read this with you guys this month. I am swamped with review books, so I might not be able to start until the middle of the month, but I'll get here.


Werner | 1526 comments That's fine, Danielle! A lot of people don't start common reads at exactly the same time, and you've got all month. I'm thinking this book should actually be a pretty quick read.


message 7: by Jackie (last edited Jan 04, 2013 08:57AM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

Jackie (thelastwolf) I liked the series overall. One complaint I had is that the series is more of a two-book story rather than 3. It felt stretched, as seems to be the case in most SF/F trilogies. I don't blame the author, I blame the publishers since many require the 3 book commitment. "Why sell two books when you can sell three?" I detest that mentality because many stories are not worth a trilogy and it ruins the overall series.


Werner | 1526 comments As promised above, here are a few more links to reviews of this book, selected because I felt they might be thought-provoking. (The last one has a spoiler warning attached.)

http://www.goodreads.com/review/show/...

http://www.goodreads.com/review/show/...

http://www.goodreads.com/review/show/...

I'm finding this book really gripping, whatever else you can say about it! Barring anything unforeseen, I expect to finish it later this week, which will make it a pretty quick read (for me).

Some questions you all might (or might not) want to consider, as our discussion develops: Collins gives us an extremely dark premise here, teens and pre-teens being forced to kill each other for the entertainment of spectators. What do you think is the author's purpose, or message, in this novel? If she's condemning the kind of sick "entertainment" the ruling class of Panem goes in for, is her moral stance undercut by the possibility of the readers enjoying the same spectacle (though in a different format)? Is it credible (within the context of this fictional world) that a ruling class would use something like The Hunger Games as a control device? Would you characterize Katniss' world as dystopian? How are you reacting to the different characters? Are their actions and psychological reactions believable, to you? What should "tributes" do, when they're thrust into this intolerable and inhuman situation? (What would YOU do?) Is there anything in this novel that speaks to our present-day social situation? Do you think that, if a TV network could legally get by with airing a show like the Hunger Games today, there would be a significant audience for it? One of my Goodreads friends sees the Panem regime as having affinities to modern-day socialism; would you agree?

For me, one of the things that gives this novel a strong emotional wallop is the juxtaposition of human (and humane) responses with a inhuman situation, both in and out of the arena and by both tributes and other characters. I'm also profoundly impressed by the dead-on portrayal of what levels of oppression and moral compromise humans (or at least some humans) can adapt to if they're sufficiently intimidated and afraid for their own survival. :-(


Werner | 1526 comments Just a quick note to say: if you need to include material in your comment that's a spoiler, please remember to include the spoiler tags! That's done just the same way you italicize something, except that instead of the letter i, you use the word spoiler inside the hypertext marks, both at the beginning and end of the material you want to hide. (Click on the "some html is okay" link above the comment box for a clearer explanation.) That will hide part or all of your comment behind a clickable "view spoiler" link.


 Danielle The Book Huntress (Winter Frost Queen)  (gatadelafuente) | 360 comments I just started reading it. Very good (and heartbreaking) so far.


message 11: by Werner (last edited Feb 21, 2016 02:44PM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Werner | 1526 comments Hmmmm! I've just finished rereading the review of this book written by my Goodreads friend Bird Brian. [Note, Feb. 21, 2016: that review has since been deleted.] Even though I'm not finished with the book yet (I'll probably finish it on Monday), I have to say that by now, I've come to disagree with every major point argued in that review. Has anybody else read it? (If you're not finished with the book, it has spoilers, so beware!) If you have, do you agree or disagree with it? (Or some of both?)


Mike (the Paladin) (thepaladin) | 326 comments Frankly...me to, however everyone has their own opinion. I must say that the comparison to Star Wars seemed way off base from the start so from there I never got back to much agreement, but again, to each.


 Danielle The Book Huntress (Winter Frost Queen)  (gatadelafuente) | 360 comments I finished the book, and I thought it was very good. I'll have to read the reviews and get back to you.


 Danielle The Book Huntress (Winter Frost Queen)  (gatadelafuente) | 360 comments I saw your questions, and I'll write my answers to them when my brain is working again, Werner.

I agree with Mike that we all have differing opinions based on our own viewpoints. I think that reviews just show how different/similar we see things.

I often read reviews and think, "Wow, that didn't occur to me." Sometimes, I think "Did we read the same book." That's why it's so fun to read reviews!


 Danielle The Book Huntress (Winter Frost Queen)  (gatadelafuente) | 360 comments Jackie wrote: "I liked the series overall. One complaint I had is that the series is more of a two-book story rather than 3. It felt stretched, as seems to be the case in most SF/F trilogies. I don't blame the..."

I think publishers can be very manipulative in that regard. I've only read this book so far, so I can't comment on this series. But there was another YA book I read that had a TBC ending, and they could have just combined the next book with it. It was a blatant tease, and I was annoyed I spent $9 on that slim volume under those circumstances.


message 16: by Werner (last edited Jan 14, 2013 09:46AM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Werner | 1526 comments Danielle, I'll look forward to your comments! I should finish it myself sometime tomorrow morning.

This book doesn't feel a bit stretched to me! I'm guessing that the stretched feel comes in with the next two volumes, which probably could have been done as one (especially since, as I'm told, Catching Fire ends on a cliff-hanger).


Mike (the Paladin) (thepaladin) | 326 comments Not really a cliffhanger, at least I wouldn't call it that. I'd call it indeterminate. It's almost a non-ending, but then I've already stated my disappointment with that book.


Werner | 1526 comments Oops! Mike, I meant to say Catching Fire ends on a cliffhanger (and I've corrected my post above to read that way). I was thinking, from imperfect memory, that Mockingjay was the title of the second book, but it's actually the third.


Mike (the Paladin) (thepaladin) | 326 comments Yeah. I felt like Katnis sort of "relapsed" between book 2 and book 3.


message 20: by Danielle The Book Huntress (Winter Frost Queen) (last edited Jan 14, 2013 08:07PM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

 Danielle The Book Huntress (Winter Frost Queen)  (gatadelafuente) | 360 comments Okay. I answered all your questions, Werner. Here you go:

Collins gives us an extremely dark premise here, teens and pre-teens being forced to kill each other for the entertainment of spectators. What do you think is the author's purpose, or message, in this novel? If she's condemning the kind of sick "entertainment" the ruling class of Panem goes in for, is her moral stance undercut by the possibility of the readers enjoying the same spectacle (though in a different format)?


--Wow. You don't ask easy questions, Werner. I think that she probably struggled with writing this book. I mean, how could you not? I like to think she believed in the story she was telling. I'm not a big dystopian fan because I don't like to go there to that dark place in my pleasure reading. However, I think sometimes we have to be faced with this kind of question in literature. I think that you can see some really inspiring behavior in people forced into these situations. Maybe learn something in the process. Also maybe even inspire you not to let this happen if you can do something to avoid it.

Is it credible (within the context of this fictional world) that a ruling class would use something like The Hunger Games as a control device?

--Well, I’m no history scholar. I love history and as a novice, I believe that the Roman Empire used the Gladiator events to get rid of political prisoners and undesirables all the time. They threw innocent Christians in and tortured them to death or allowed wild animals to savage them. I think that corrupt political regimes around the world and through history have probably done worse. Yes, I think in this form in modern history, maybe not so much. But I wouldn’t put it past the Nazis to have done something like this on a smaller scale.


Would you characterize Katniss' world as dystopian?

--I’m not an expert on dystopian themes, but in my inexpert opinion, yes. It’s a future society that has devolved in a significant way. A dark future. That’s my definition of dystopian.

How are you reacting to the different characters?

--By and large, I reacted positively to Katniss. She was hard emotionally in a lot of ways, but it totally made sense. She had to be that way for the survival of her family. Peeta I liked as well. We don’t get to see into his mind, but I do get a picture of him as being a decent, kind boy, but also a very good strategist and a good student of human nature. Haymitch seemed to have some layers. I think he became an alcoholic because of having to see so many kids go off and die. Also because the Games brought out the worse and him. And you don’t come back from that kind of experience unchanged and without scars. I see him as a PTSD sufferer, like someone who fought in a war and hasn’t gotten past the memories. Effie seems like a bright bird, but I think she also bears some wounds. I guess my perspective is that a moral, thinking person couldn’t be unaffected by these events. Cinna seems like a good person, like he wants to do what he can to help these kids through this event. Maybe the adults all struggle in a world that they can’t change, just as powerless as the children they send off to die.

Are their actions and psychological reactions believable, to you?

--I think so. I can’t imagine how you can react in a perfect way in that situation, especially if you aren’t a professional warrior. Because this is a 1st person POV, you can’t really see what some of the characters feel, and you have to gauge them based on Katniss’ view. That renders a somewhat inaccurate analysis of the characters outside of Katniss.


What should "tributes" do, when they're thrust into this intolerable and inhuman situation? (What would YOU do?)

--Just figure out how to stay alive is all they can do. Prepare for almost inevitable death. The one thing that really bothered me was when they sent the handicapped boy. That no one would volunteer in his place, knowing that he was surely not going to have a fighting chance. And young kids like Rue going off to die, really bothered me. Also the moral decay that the Careers were subjected to, raised to be amoral killers. All tough aspects to this book.

Is there anything in this novel that speaks to our present-day social situation?

--In the US we are insulated to violence like this. However, in parts of the world, there are child soldiers who are expected to kill each other and grownups. There are also children starving in this world because of voluntary restriction of resources. That part did speak to me in the present day.

Do you think that, if a TV network could legally get by with airing a show like the Hunger Games today, there would be a significant audience for it? One of my Goodreads friends sees the Panem regime as having affinities to modern-day socialism; would you agree?

--Not to this degree. However, reality tv goes close. I admit I watch The Real Housewives of Atlanta, and you see people show their worse traits for money and start fights for entertainment. It’s kind of morally reprehensible on one level.

For me, one of the things that gives this novel a strong emotional wallop is the juxtaposition of human (and humane) responses with a inhuman situation, both in and out of the arena and by both tributes and other characters. I'm also profoundly impressed by the dead-on portrayal of what levels of oppression and moral compromise humans (or at least some humans) can adapt to if they're sufficiently intimidated and afraid for their own survival. :-(

--I agree. It was a real shocker to me as well.


Werner | 1526 comments Danielle, great answers; you gave this a lot of thought! I'll get back to this thread as soon as I get a breather (I've been spending a lot of my online time on other threads!).


 Danielle The Book Huntress (Winter Frost Queen)  (gatadelafuente) | 360 comments Looking forward to reading yours and others' responses to your questions, Werner.


message 23: by Jackie (last edited Jan 15, 2013 03:31PM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

Jackie (thelastwolf) Yes, Danielle, excellent answers and I agree with all you wrote. I love you guys, you always do all the work for me, lol Both Werner and Danielle have a talent for putting my feelings into words, better than I could do myself. TY

One thing I want say about reality TV. I don't watch it, but I could see it devolving into something like HG, maybe not in our lifetimes, (or maybe so, I just don't know) but the potential is there. Have either of you read the short story by S King under the pseudonym Richard Bachman, "The Running Man"? It had all kinds of game shows with crazy things, like running a treadmill but you had to have a heart condition to be a contestant, if you lived you got a lot of money. I wouldn't want to watch something like that if it was real but I think there are many people who would. TV has the ability to take the real and make it feel unreal, so that people would be able to accept it and not truly see it as real.


 Danielle The Book Huntress (Winter Frost Queen)  (gatadelafuente) | 360 comments Thanks, Jackie. I feel that way about Werner. He's so articulate!

I agree with you about reality TV. You said it very well. I think that we can rationalize bad behavior and objectionable acts easily because we feel removed from them.

I haven't read The Running Man, but I did read The Long Run, which sort of has a similar theme to The Hunger Game. I didn't care for it much. I hate seeing kids suffer like that.


message 25: by Jackie (last edited Jan 15, 2013 04:08PM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

Jackie (thelastwolf) If I remember correctly, both The Long Walk and Running Man were in the same book of 4 novellas. Another novella in that book was Rage, where a kid kills a teacher and holds a classroom hostage. I read it in 1977 when it was first published and these themes were so outrageous, so far fetched from what we knew, but looking back now, it seems that SK saw where we were going, so prophetic were these stories. Disturbing to say the least. Stories like that stay with me, bother me for a long time.

Kids, animals and old people, I can't take it when they're hurt, abused, etc.


Mike (the Paladin) (thepaladin) | 326 comments I have trouble with animals being hurt I think because most are trusting and humans have taught them to be so.

Ever watch WKRP in Cincinnati? Once this topic came up and Johnny (Howard Hessman) said "In a movie they can kill the whole Confederate Army, but let one collie get hurt...."


Jackie (thelastwolf) Hurting/killing people on movies and TV is so commonplace that we are desensitized by it.


message 28: by Jim (new) - rated it 3 stars

Jim (jimmaclachlan) Johnny Fever! He was great & right in this instance, as far as it goes. Remember when Less Nessman did the big Thanksgiving Day promotion & bombed the mall with live turkeys? In reality, Bronze turkeys can at least glide pretty well, so it wouldn't have happened, but it was funny. No hurting Lassie or Flicka, but it's often OK to kill birds & snakes.


message 29: by Thad (last edited Jan 16, 2013 06:19AM) (new)

Thad Brown | 58 comments For humans with any sensitivity to their conscience at all, violence against the innocent and helpless, who aren't doing others any harm, strikes us as especially heinous and hard to witness. Abuse and violence against children and infants is the most glaring form of this, though violence and abuse of old people is right up there, and most of us are also repelled by cruelty to domestic animals who depend on and trust humans, and can also feel pain and fear. As a rule, I don't like to read about that kind of thing.

Because of that built-in revulsion toward such cruelty, though, depicting it can be a way of making readers recognize genuine evil, in a culture where so many of the messages are geared to excusing it or conditioning us NOT to recognize it. One of my stories, "Sisters Dark and Light," has a small child in jeopardy from kidnappers, masterminded by a fiend who enjoys killing and has killed small children before (although that isn't directly depicted; but it's referred to at second hand, and comes across as pretty grim). It's probably a story I wouldn't read if somebody else wrote it; but for me it was a way of bringing what Barth called "radical evil" (evil at the root) to life for the reader.


Werner | 1526 comments Thanks for the kind words, Jackie and Danielle! I'm not sure if I'm really "articulate" or just long-winded. :-)

Here are the links to my review and Danielle's, for anyone who's interested: http://www.goodreads.com/review/show/... .
http://www.goodreads.com/review/show/... .

Danielle, I agree with your thoughts in message 20. And to add to Thad's comment in message 29, I'd say Collins definitely depicts a government that's sold out to "radical evil." I didn't have the kind of credibility problem with the premise that some readers have. The capacity of the human race for the abyssal depths of evil have already been amply demonstrated throughout history, and very often by those with political power. (Indeed, power freaks like those running Panem --the kind of people who are drawn to having power over others, and revel in it-- are probably especially prone to cruelty. In 1984, an Inner Party spokesman says words to the effect that the satisfaction in exercising power comes from forcing people to serve you while you're making them suffer; if you make them happy, they might be serving you because they want to, and then it's not truly submission to power. That way of looking at the world undoubtedly resonates in the Capitol. :-( ) And the Games serve a very real and insidious function, besides sick entertainment and rubbing the districts' noses in their own total helplessness before their rulers. They foster a mentality that it's everybody for himself/herself, that the best you can hope for is to survive yourself and that, in order to ensure that, you can't trust or depend on or care about anybody else. It's a tailor-made system for atomizing the populace, to prevent them from combining against their oppressors. And that mentality spreads out from the relative handful of kids who wind up in the arena, to embrace all those who face the Reaping over and over in their teens, a powerful tool for brainwashing the age group that's the most vulnerable.

I didn't think Collins, in the book, created any kind of voyeuristic effect that would exploit the violence of the arena for entertainment in itself, or try to desensitize readers to it. She handles the violence with as much restraint in direct description as she realistically could, and if anything her treatment makes you more, not less, sensitive to the monstrously unfair plight of the tributes.


message 31: by Mike (the Paladin) (last edited Jan 16, 2013 11:44AM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

Mike (the Paladin) (thepaladin) | 326 comments She made it clear that in spite of the struggle to live everyone seems to have a TV. This seems to be part on the government's action to hold everyone down, they can all watch the district's children kill or be killed. Seems also to be either only one channel or the Games are on all channels,

Commercially grown turkeys have their wings clipped Jim..also, remember the station getting in trouble for Herb's ad campaign where ducks in a store window would "dance" on the stage covered with aluminum foil...because there was a hot plate below the foil and when they wanted the ducks to dance they'd turn it on?


Werner | 1526 comments Yes, the forcible requirement that everyone watch the Reaping and the Games is to make sure everybody gets the message. And I'd be very surprised if there is more than one (government-controlled) TV channel.

Here's a link to a well-thought-out, though negative, review of this book by one of my newer Goodreads friends, Cecily: http://www.goodreads.com/review/show/... . She's much more optimistic than I am that no society would ever allow such an atrocity to be done to its children; but she raises some interesting points.

One issue that she (and some other reviewers) have mentioned is the possible relationship between this novel and Battle Royale (1999) by the Japanese author Koushun Takami. It has a very similar premise (though with some differences), and some people feel the later work shows its influence, maybe even to the point of direct literary dependence. It would be interesting to research whether or not Collins has indicated any familiarity with Takami's work; not many American writers or readers read much Japanese fiction (outside of manga graphic novels), our culture tending as it does to be rather insular.


message 33: by Danielle The Book Huntress (Winter Frost Queen) (last edited Jan 16, 2013 02:42PM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

 Danielle The Book Huntress (Winter Frost Queen)  (gatadelafuente) | 360 comments Interestingly enough, although I enjoy a/a media, and I am kind of sensitive to graphic violence and brutality. I will often cover my eyes on a very violent scene in a movie. I especially don't like to see children, animals, or anyone helpless getting brutalized. I am especially sensitive to acts of wanton cruelty.

I knew about Battle Royale. I won't be watching or reading it. I guess The Hunger Games is as close as I will get.

@Jackie, I read The Long Run and Rage out of the Bachman novels. I didn't like either one of them. I skipped The Running Man though.


 Danielle The Book Huntress (Winter Frost Queen)  (gatadelafuente) | 360 comments I definitely think forcing the Districts to watch The Hunger Games was a method of controlling them through fear. I wonder if there are people who refused to watch and got into trouble.


message 35: by Jim (new) - rated it 3 stars

Jim (jimmaclachlan) I read Battle Royale years ago & didn't think it was particularly imaginative. Kind of a cross between Lord of the Flies & the movie version of The Running Man. From what I saw of "The Hunger Games" movie, I'd say that it's just a different version of the same story, which is why I haven't been in a hurry to read it.

That said, everything's pretty derivative if you want to look at closely enough. "Frankenstein" is just a retelling of "The Golem" & so on...


message 36: by Werner (last edited Jan 16, 2013 03:06PM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Werner | 1526 comments Danielle, I'm the same way: I'm an action-adventure fan, and no sissy when it comes to a reasonable amount of necessary (for literary or cinematic reasons) violence. (Maybe we could say "violence between consenting adults?" :-) ) But I don't like gratuitous, ultra grisly-gory violence for its own sake, especially with helpless innocents on the receiving end of it, and I've been known to avert my eyes from the TV on that kind of thing. If I have to write about that kind of scene, like Ana's staking near the beginning of Lifeblood, I do it for a good reason, and see to it that it doesn't go on very long. Collins, I think, takes the same approach here, and to me that's a strength of her work.


 Danielle The Book Huntress (Winter Frost Queen)  (gatadelafuente) | 360 comments Definitely gratuitous violence is an issue for me. I think that violence can be used in a story effectively, but if it's done just for the sheer enjoyment, it's a turn-off. For instance, the torture porn movies.

I think Collins was sensitive and 'respectful' in the way she used violence.

@ Jim, you are right that fiction tends to borrow heavily (or slightly) from other fiction. It's just the nature of the beast.


Mike (the Paladin) (thepaladin) | 326 comments I read Battle Royale and while the young people forced to battle motif is the same the rest is a bit different. The rational and so on are different and people never "see" the battle. I think it's a pretty good book, some idiom problems from Japanese to Englis but not much.


Werner | 1526 comments It's worth noting that with some of the linked reviews above, the comments sections below can offer as much food for thought as the review itself! Some of these, like those attached to Bird Brian's and Cecily's reviews, can be very extensive, with hundreds of comments.

Some readers have found Panem's geography lacking in credibility. I don't, per se --we're not told enough about it, IMO, for it to lack credibility!-- but it IS mysterious, and raises natural questions. (At least, it does for me; you have to realize that as a child, I was fascinated by a puzzle-map of the U.S., and a big map of the world that I'd unfold on the floor and pore over, so I like to be able to visualize geographical locations in context. :-) ) Am I the only reader who wishes Collins had included a map of Panem, superimposed over one of the present U.S.? (Memo to Collins: consider that for a later edition!)


Werner | 1526 comments One topic that came up in the comments on Cecily's review is the apparent absence of religion in Panem, a subject I'd given some thought to already. I say "apparent," because (as one other person noted) we may simply not see it in the book. After the Japanese Shogunate adopted a policy of national isolation in 1616, for instance, the regime attempted to execute the entire Japanese Christian community, and believed it had succeeded. The survival of an underground Christian community, handing down its faith in secret for about 250 years, wasn't revealed to the surprised world until after the opening of Japan to foreign contact in the mid-19th century. We could easily imagine something similar being the case in Panem. The Scriptures of Christianity (the largest religion numerically in the pre-apocalypse U.S.) lay out a system of ethical and eschatological thought with a strong note of social justice. Wherever the laity have access to that book, that's historically made it a source of inspiration for popular resistance to injustice and tyranny, even in societies where most of the nominal Christian leaders and rank-and-file are co-opted or silenced. For that reason (as well as the realization that people who give primary loyalty to God can't give it to the State --ultimately, there can only be one Lord), the Capitol would want to see it eradicated, and we've seen what they do to people they consider "traitors." It's more likely, IMO, that they'd succeed in driving Christianity (and any other religion) completely underground than in wiping it out completely.

Be that as it may, any open expression of religion is never mentioned in The Hunger Games, and it forms no part of Katniss' consciousness. (The line about cakes in District 12 being for special days like birthdays and New Years is revealing --no religious holidays like Christmas are mentioned.) In the world-building of some writers of future-set SF, such as Anne McCaffrey, absence of religion is an expression of wishful thinking, a declaration that it's finally eradicated, and good riddance! Since Collins is a professing Roman Catholic, though, that's probably not the author's intent here.

My take on Collins' possible thinking here is this: she wants Katniss (and Peeta) to go into the arena with no ethical resources except conscience and natural moral instincts, without the burden (if we can call it that) of having to live up to revealed religious commands like the Biblical injunction against murder. She wants to see what they do on their own, without that complication; and she knows that secular readers will relate more easily to their choices when they're made that way. (In other words, she's not trying to explore how Christians would or should react to something like the Games; she's exploring how people in general would react.) So it makes literary sense for her main characters NOT to have any religious influences. (If that's the case, Collins herself could explain the situation along the lines I suggested in my first paragraph above, though that's not something that can be shared in Katniss' narration.) Does that make any sense, or am I all wet?


Werner | 1526 comments Another critical point that's raised by Cecily concerns the technology that's used to broadcast the Games. Given that today's "reality" shows apparently utilize technology that can film quite a bit in a variety of settings, the basic premise is easily credible. But at one point in the book, two characters inside a virtual cave with an almost invisible, narrow entrance think they're being observed on air --and there are indications later that they're not incorrect in that.

I have to admit that when I was reading it, that point struck me as a bit problematic, too. Still, the Capitol has demonstrated mastery of very highly advanced technology, and a willingness to lavish it on the Games; they've also had time to perfect it to levels beyond what can be done today. It's not too much of a stretch, for me, to imagine that given this situation, they might be able to achieve results that seem magical to us (Sir Arthur Clarke's famous dictum comes to mind :-) ). Maybe airborne nanotechnolgy, with micro-cameras trained on the tribute's tracking devices? What do you all think?


Mike (the Paladin) (thepaladin) | 326 comments Of the things that bothered me about the "trilogy" (as I've said I liked this book it was the third that really ruined the series for me) the tech wasn't one of them. I accepted that possibly there this "battle ground" had been specially prepared for the "show". Maybe the general "country" still suffered from the results of the "earlier war" and had not been rebuilt as much as the Capitol and the central areas? It was a sort of suspension of disbelief thing that didn't bother me.


 Danielle The Book Huntress (Winter Frost Queen)  (gatadelafuente) | 360 comments I got the idea like Mike, that they had engineered the arena. I could see them burying cameras in places like caves and assumed hiding places for the contestants. I could see them using fiber-optics and also infrared, heat-sensing machinery.

As far as religion, I think your theory has merit. She probably did not want it to be an issue in the storytelling.

I agree a map would have been an excellent adjunct. I am a visual person, so I love visual aids like maps and such.


message 44: by Jim (new) - rated it 3 stars

Jim (jimmaclachlan) I just started listening to the book yesterday & I've seen the movie. So far it seems the movie is pretty close. I immediately had to suspend my belief on a number of points, but I expected that.
- There are 12 districts with HQ in the Rockies (comprises the NA continent?) & this one, Appalachia, supplies coal, but only has a population of 8000 & everyone gathers in 1 town. That's too small, but it's YA, so this keeps the complications down.
- Katniss is 17 & has been running in the woods with a boy for years, knows his heart beat & touch, but comes off as a virgin? It's YA, no sex.
- No religion? It's just complicated baggage for this story.

In a lot of ways, it reminds me of the John Christopher books I read years ago. A lot of reality just has to be left out & belief entirely suspended for the simplified framework of the story. That's OK with me. The story needs to be interpreted within its simplified framework, IMO.

I like the origin of the Mockingjay. Mockingbirds are one of my favorites, even if they can be a pain. We have one that stakes out a small tree in front of our house, so I have to move the feeders to other trees. No other birds are allowed in their tree which is outside my bedroom window, so I like to see the feeders, but they make the neatest sounds. Years ago, we had one that sounded like a toucan. He came around for 4 or 5 years. As noisy as he was, I missed him when he was gone.


message 45: by Jim (new) - rated it 3 stars

Jim (jimmaclachlan) No one else seems to be bothered by the constant present tense of the novel. Maybe it's more apparent in the audio, but the constant 'I say' instead of the more usual 'I said' is irritating. It feels forced.

I do like the way her fear & common sense is warring with her desire to fit in. Yes, Peeta is nice, but they are there to kill each other. Since I know how it turned out in the movie, I find this constant battle a good setup.


message 46: by Alex (last edited Jan 22, 2013 04:46AM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Alex (goodreadscomalexsheridanwrites) | 10 comments I agree with you Jim. I don't care for the first person/present tense style. It takes a very skilled author for me to even like first person/past. Lee Child is one of the few authors that seems to pull it off well, IMO, and even he is smart to enough to have only used first-person in a small portion of his Reacher stories.

I loved the THG movie but couldn't get through the book because of the writing style.


message 47: by The Pirate Ghost (last edited Jan 22, 2013 04:52AM) (new)

The Pirate Ghost (Formerly known as the Curmudgeon) (pirateghost) Ann Aguirre's Grimspace was written like that. I finished it but I'm not a fan of First Person Present Tense either. I found that it limited how much more information we could get about the villains, the supporting characters etc. Rather than limiting us to the 5 (or six) senses of the main character.

Even in traditional First Person/Past Tense, the narrator has had time to think, process and learn what had really happened and could share more of that in the retelling. I found the missing information, though maybe not much, made a big difference in how much I liked and could hang with the story.


message 48: by Alex (new) - rated it 5 stars

Alex (goodreadscomalexsheridanwrites) | 10 comments I, Curmudgeon wrote: "Ann Aguirre's Grimspace was written like that. I finished it but I'm not a fan of First Person Present Tense either. I found that it limited how much more information we could get about the villa..."

Interesting that your issue with First Person/Past is the forced-filter it puts on the flow of info (and POV). As a reader, I hadn't thought of it that way.

As a writer, that's largely been why I've written in Third Person/Past. I'll have to stretch my inky wings one of these days and give First Person a go, but it will take the right story - one that can be told well in only one POV.


message 49: by The Pirate Ghost (new)

The Pirate Ghost (Formerly known as the Curmudgeon) (pirateghost) I think the difference is, in past tense through the MC's eyes we can learn that the guy's heart is breaking. In Present tense, he just looks sad.


Werner | 1526 comments As a writer, I've only used third-person past-tense narration, and I don't think I have the skill level to do first-person (even in past tense, let alone present). As a reader, though, I don't mind it in past tense --and I genuinely didn't mind the present tense here, even though I fully expected I would. Of course, I read the book; I think listening to it in audio form, as Jim did, would make the unusual tense more glaringly noticeable and irritating. As with most choices, there are trade-offs involved; besides the drawbacks noted above, first-person narration gets you inside one character's head in a way you can't otherwise, and the present tense gives the narrative a you-are-there immediacy that's hard to achieve otherwise.

Jim, I'm guessing that District 12 doesn't embrace ALL of Appalachia, or even all of the southern Appalachians. (That's one question a map would help resolve!)

Actually, Katniss is 16; but the difference doesn't change the point. Yes, if two healthy teens are open to the idea of romance with each other, and spend a lot of time working closely together in an otherwise unoccupied woods, they're apt to experience sexual temptation, and it's no stretch to imagine them giving in to it. But we also have to remember that Katniss is NOT very open to the idea of romance, even to the point of denying to herself that she has any inchoate feelings along that line, and it's not just a whim; she has a strong reason for it, in that she doesn't want kids, period. (And since this is Panem, not Xanth, she knows the stork doesn't bring them. :-) ) That gives her a motive to keep things asexual; and for his part, I think Gale realizes that romantic talk might drive her away. (And anything more than talk would wind him up seeing her mom, as a patient.) So I didn't have a credibility problem with her being a virgin.


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