Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Hungry for Less

Before I begin, I’ll be the first to admit that I was expecting a lot, going into this. With all the hype surrounding the then-upcoming The Hunger Gamesmovie and several members of my extended family gushing about how great the books are, I figured it would be amazing. Unfortunately, it just… wasn’t.

The Hunger Games is split into three parts: The Tributes, The Games, andThe Victor. (Note: while there are also three novels in the series, I am speaking only of the first novel, which is itself divided into the aforementioned parts.) What’s interesting is that while many books increase in intensity from start to finish, this one is more like a bell curve. Part I (comprising chapters 1-9) begins a bit slowly, as it necessarily lays the groundwork for the story ahead. This, of course, is to be expected, and by the end of Part I, I had come to know and love the main protagonist. As Part II (chapters 10-18) begins, I was finally fully engaged in the story, and I loved every minute of it, constantly clamoring for more.

But then I got to Part III.

I’m not sure what was going through Suzanne Collins’ mind as she wrote the third and concluding part of this novel, but it is, in a word, boring. It is so bad that there were several times I was about to close the book for good, just not waste my time on seeing how it ended. Still, I persevered, confident that since so many people think it’s so great, there had to be something worthwhile at the end, something that would make this tremendous monotony worth it. The problem is: there isn’t.

After slogging through almost 100 pages of boredom, I finally arrived at the climax of the novel, only to be presented with a ridiculous, contrived, final battle that wasn’t even exciting while it happened. And then, once it was finally over and I got to enjoy the results, there were still another 30 pages of slogging boredom before I finally read “END OF BOOK ONE”—as if I’d actually subject myself to two more novels of this.

I realize, of course, that I’m not in the “young adult” target audience, but I enjoy several other novels of that genre. “Young adult” doesn’t necessarily mean “catering to tweenage pop culture,” but the climax was definitely just that.

I’d also like to point out one of my three stars is because The Hunger Games is completely and utterly devoid of adult language and sexual situations, a feature I wish were found in more of modern literature. Even one of my favorite books of all time, Ender’s Game (the movie for which comes out in March 2013), doesn’t have that feature.

So, all in all, a book that sadly failed to impress, but one I might read again, someday. I’d still love to know what other people find so compelling, and maybe I’ll find it on the second time through.

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