Top critical review
Good start with an intriguing premise
on August 10, 2012
Okay, so I picked this up to read it because I'd heard about the movie coming out and wanted to see what the fuss is about.And I read right through it and through both sequels in pretty short order.
SPOILER ALERT: the book is a LOT better than the movie! Do yourself a favor and read the book, leave the movie for one of those nights you're flipping channels and can't find anything else to watch. Yes, the movie is that bad.
Which is a shame, because The Hunger Games is a book that seems ready-made for being made into a movie. One thing I will give Suzanne Collins credit for, she can write some very dramatic sequences. I read this book and thought, wow, I can't wait to see how that looks on the big screen. And I was terribly disappointed. The movie was just flat, flat, flat. If I'd seen the movie before reading the book, I probably wouldn't have bothered with the book.
For those that liked the movie, I will offer this example. Read the portion where Petra confesses his love of Katniss on Caesar's TV show. Now watch the movie version. Can you honestly say it is anywhere near as dramatic? I was stunned that the director ruined what was such a tailor-made moment. I could give a lot more examples.
Anyone with a lick of sense will see where this series is going but as has been said many times before, sometimes the fun is how you get there not where you end up! There is a fair amount of silliness, particularly the Twilight-like flailings of the protagonist and her inability to decide whether she loves Petra or Gale. And yet, the book does manage to hold your attention. And it has those wonderfully written dramatic moments!
What did I like? It's a quick read. The premise is interesting. Some dramatic moments that are very well written. I also appreciated the angst suffered by Katniss, both in this novel and the sequels, resulting from the killing she witnesses or is responsible for. Too many times novels like this tend to brush off violence and repercussions, the characters don't see to dwell on what they've done. This series, to it's credit, does not do that. Katniss suffers considerably for her choices and actions (as do some of the other victors).
Bottom line: it's a good summer beach read. The book is recommended, the movie is decidedly NOT.