The Double Phoenix

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Archive for the ‘The Hunger Games’ Category

The Hunger Games 2 & 3

Posted by spragujs on February 24, 2011

Mockingjay cover artOr more specifically Catching Fire and Mockingjay, books 2 and 3 in The Hunger Games trilogy by Suzanne Collins.  In these two books, Katniss and many others work to overthrow the Capitol’s current government.  But first, in Catching Fire, as the year after Katniss and Peeta’s victory is the 75th anniversary of the Hunger Games, a special plan is set for this year’s Hunger Games.  This year’s Hunger Games lottery will be made up only of the remaining living victors.  On the plus side, this means few kids will actually be subject to participating this time, but it leaves almost no question that Katniss and Peeta will have to go back in, and go back in, they do. 

As I hope to not do too much spoiling, I’d better not try to put together much more of a blurb for the books than what’s listed above.  I couldn’t decide what to write after finishing Catching Fire, and thought some commentary on the series as a whole would be much easier to do.  I’m not sure easy is the right word, but I definitely have thoughts! 

I’ll have to go with the ending for starters.  First, I really shouldn’t have listened to it at work since I’m a crybaby.  After finishing, I just felt sad and drained which is a tiny bit ironic since the story technically had my usual, wished for happy ending.  Overall, the entire story is just depressing, but then politics in general (especially these days) are pretty depressing for me period.  The Hunger Games in Katniss’s world are just a symptom of an unjust form of government.  Katniss (and others) eventually gets rescued by the previously-thought-to-be-destroyed District 13, which to me felt just as oppressive as the Capitol’s reign, only in a different way.  Inequality was the rule of the day for the Capitol folks while those in 13 just didn’t have any freedom.  ::shudders::  Talk about being stuck between a rock and a hard place.

Collins does a pretty good job of demonstrating how each side has its counterparts no matter which side is “good” and which is “bad”.  At the very end of the audio, Collins tells how she got the idea partly from the story of the minotaur where Athens had to send 7 girls and 7 boys to Crete to be devoured by the monster.  Katniss herself was inspired by Spartacus, and what immediately came to my mind of course, flipping channels and coming across various reality shows also helped the idea along. 


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Posted in Reading, The Hunger Games | 1 Comment »

The Hunger Games

Posted by spragujs on February 10, 2011

The Hunger Games cover artThanks to many sources (several also curious friends, GMMR and Ducky (normally a TV podcast I listen to), and a discounted first book in the series sale from Audible), I recently listened to The Hunger Games, first book in the trilogy of the same name by Suzanne Collins.  The blurb:

Katniss is a 16-year-old girl living with her mother and younger sister in the poorest district of Panem, the remains of what used be the United States.  Long ago the districts waged war on the Capitol and were defeated.  As part of the surrender terms, each district agreed to send one boy and one girl to appear in an annual televised event called, “The Hunger Games”.  The terrain, rules, and level of audience participation may change but one thing is constant: kill or be killed.  When Kat’s sister is chosen by lottery, Kat steps up to go in her place.

The concept of this story is simultaneously fascinating and disgusting.  The Capitol folks have taken the concept of a reality show and made it into a sanctioned snuff film, of children, 23 times over, once per year.  The fascinating part is how these kids manage to survive.  The rest is disgusting and frightening. 

But then, I’m hoping this series will turn out to be a political commentary and not focus so much on Katniss’s love life.  Her obliviousness to the fact that guys like her was endearing to me, but the relationship messes she got into in this novel, while not her fault, were predictable and disappointing to me.  That will carry over into the next one, but I’m hoping not too much.  Katniss also has this strange mix of naivety and mature thought that comes a bit out of nowhere toward the end of the novel.  Then again, having just been through the Hunger Games, who could blame her?!

Also, I never figured out why the show is called the Hunger Games.  Besides that some of the kids inevitably starve since they don’t have experience living in the wilderness.  Maybe that’s justification enough.  Or perhaps it has to do with how the Capitol supplies the various districts with food based on entries in the lottery.  One can choose to potentially starve rather than have their name inserted more frequently in the Hunger Games drawing.

As for the audio, Carolyn McCormick was the narrator for the audio version I listened to.  (She also narrates quite a few mystery novels, in case you might be familiar with her work.)  While I did get used to her reading, I found it to be overly dramatic in some places and not dramatic enough in others.  I think I’ve gotten used to it enough that I’ll probably get the next two on audio as well, but I strongly recommend picky listeners to at least listen to the sample first, if you think you might want to listen to these novels.

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