Monday, March 19, 2012


I've been catching up on my reading which include Steven King's 11/23/63 and Full Dark, No Stars; Bill Clinton's Back To Work, Ricky Martin's Me (still in progress) and surprisingly Suzanne Collins' The Hunger Games Trilogy. Yes, all three books.

I decided to read The Hunger Games, mostly on a whim (damn you Kindle! {shakes fist at sky}), to see what all the hype was about both the book and the coming movie. For those of you living under a rock, the movie starts this Friday, 3/23.

I knew three things about The Hunger Games before reading it:

  1. It is/was a wildly popular book series.
  2. Most importantly, it was written for the young teen market.
  3. There was a lot of excitement about the coming movie.
What won't hurt you to know:
  1. It takes place in the near future, 150 years or so, after some sort of war or apocalypse.
  2. The government is everywhere and knows everything. Hello big brother.
  3. The government controls everything - food, knowledge and your perception.
  4. Make sure you have time to read it because you won't want to put it down.

My spoiler free thoughts:
  1. It is a real page turner! I couldn't put it down and read the 378 page book in 1.5 days.
  2. Although it is sold as three books, it really should have been one. Unlike the Harry Potter books, the quality of the story and the reading level both decline. 
  3. The books are written much more like an action/adventure movie script - heavy on the action and light on the character development. This is fine for the first book but wears thin by the third. Maybe I read too much Steven King.
  4. Katniss is the heroine and becomes quite annoying but I had to keep reminding my self that she is just 14 and this book is written for young teens. I think most teens will identify with her self doubts, fears and loneliness. I think it will trigger many memories for adults.
  5. Katniss doesn't really grow or learn from her experiences, which is really frustrating even when you remember her age and that the books span less than two years.
  6. Josh Hutcherson perfectly matches the image I had of Peeta. We'll have to wait to see if he can portray Peeta's spirit and strength.
  7. The trilogy makes for quick, light reading and despite it's faults, I recommend it.


  1. I'm at least going to read the first book. One of my library coworkers has already read all 3 books, and enjoyed all 3 (the last not as much as the rest) but I honestly don't deal well with teen lit very well.

    As for the 3 books needing to be one: well that has a lot to do with the publishing industry. The obvious being that you can make more money from 3 books than from one. The other being that scifi titles are expected to be at least 3 books. Very few scifi authors are "allowed" to write one-off titles.

    So thanks for the review, Sean. :)

  2. I might pick up the first book but I still need to get Born To Be Brad too.

  3. After the writer for the Vampire Diaries novels got fired, I'm beginning to suspect that Collins, like LJ Smith, is a hired writer to create these novels that read like movie scripts. I've been finding that the most popular novels these days look suspiciously like screenplays (Robopocalypse being one of the latest I've read). Novels as screenplays means characterization is replaced with set pieces. I've skipped over these novels, and have no desire to see the films. I blame Stephen King as well. He's taught me that there is more to novels than hoping someone turns it into a movie (I mean, King is hard to adapt into a movie, you know)

  4. As much as I'd love to read them I just don't have the time, right now. Maybe after "Jeffrey" in June.

  5. I love reading about book recommendations, just like this one. It sounds like a set of books I would enjoy. I will throw them on the ever growing pile of “to read someday”.

  6. Read it. Enjoyed it. Great review Sean.

  7. Good notes. Thanks for sharing this. Your comments about the decline as you move through the series coincides with my feeling about movie #1 vs. movie #2.

    One bog aha moment for me. From the films I did not realize the books covered the period of Katniss' ages 14-16. The movies are definitely skewed older. I am not sure her age is actually defined but there appears to be a significant age difference between she and her younger sister. The characters are also clearly post-pubescent.... or perhaps only appear so because they used adult actors.

    I saw a stage production once of the Lord of the Flies with a cast of actors in their 20s - 30s. In that case it didn't work at all.


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