The Hunger Games
October 31st 2008
In the ruins of a place once known as North America lies the nation of Panem, a shining Capitol surrounded by twelve outlying districts. The Capitol is harsh and cruel and keeps the districts in line by forcing them all to send one boy and one girl between the ages of twelve and eighteen to participate in the annual Hunger Games, a fight to the death on live TV.
Sixteen-year-old Katniss Everdeen, who lives alone with her mother and younger sister, regards it as a death sentence when she steps forward to take her sister's place in the Games. But Katniss has been close to dead before—and survival, for her, is second nature. Without really meaning to, she becomes a contender. But if she is to win, she will have to start making choices that will weigh survival against humanity and life against love.
*this post will most likely contain spoilers, so if you haven't read the books, what the hell man?! Get on that! They're AWESOME.
You're probably wondering what I'm doing, reviewing The Hunger Games NOW. That is, if you've been living under a rock... Which if you have, the film came out just 3 days ago and I reread the book in order to make sure I could nitpick all the tiny details! Not really, it was just so I could remember what actually happened. And boy, did I forget how much I loved this series! I forgot how tense they were, I forget about the tension and the action, and Katniss and Rue and HAYMITCH and I should stop now before I fangirl myself to death.
I think Katniss will forever be one of my favourite characters from a book ever. And not because she's even particularly likeable, because when it comes down to it, she's not. She's not funny or snarky or anything, but yet you can still feel bad for predicament. You still care about her. Also, she's incredibly realistic and practical, two traits which I admire in her. I don't think she's brave, she just does what she has to do to keep her and her family alive. She does what she has to to get by, and while she may not like doing those things (i.e the whole killing other teens in a televised event thing she had to do), she still does them, with minimal complaining.
The relationship between Katniss and Peeta is an interesting one, and it was interesting to see how those dynamics in the film (Jennifer Lawrence was PERFECT as Katniss, just so you know). I wasn't quite sure if the lack of chemistry was just that, or if it was intentional to reflect the fact that Katniss was putting it all on to get support, especially as Jennifer and Josh have such a good friendship. Either way, it's kind of true. Even in the books, even in the cave scene, it never really feels like Katniss loves Peeta, yet. She wants to keep him alive, yes, and she wants to look after him, but in the first book it doesn't really feel like a romance. It doesn't feel like she wants a relationship with him. I think she just wants a friend, and he understands her because he's, you know, in the same predicament as her. But it doesn't feel like romance yet, which is something I'd forgotten about too. (Though it's obvious it grows into something more, it feels like all the love is faked on Katniss's side).
My favourite character out of the whole series will always and forever be Haymitch. I don't really know what it is about him, maybe it's that fact that he's like the after image of the games. He's the one who's suffered the nightmares and drunk them away, because he's so broken and represents all of the victors and how having to do that would affect children of that age into their adult lives. And since he's seen so many kids die since he won, since he led so many children into death, that spark of hope he feels when he finally gets to mentor some kids who might actually win. I don't really know what I'm saying anymore, but I hope I got across the fact that I love Haymitch a lot. He's not just a drunken clown who falls off of stages, okay! ;)
I'd also kind of forgotten about the actual games, like, how bad they are. I just kept on realising throughout the book that all of these teens are going to die at each other's hands. And then I'd remember and be like 'shit, this is some dark stuff'. (Also, quick note about the whole HG vs BR thing... I watched Battle Royale yesterday and intend to read the book soonish because the film was awesome, but apart from the basic concept, I don't really see why everyone gets so caught up on HG being a rip-off of it. They're pretty different and deal with the idea is vastly different ways. It's like for some reason people think gratuitous violence automatically makes something better, when really they both focus on different things about how this sort of game would affect young people. And I like them both, but just stop saying HG is a rip-off, or a kiddie version of BR, because it isn't. Sorry, petty rant over.)
I saw the film on Friday and thought that as far as book to film adaptations go, it was pretty great. I thought they got the casting spot on for most of the characters (wasn't Cinna brilliant!) though they did make a lot of little changes which kind of annoyed me a little, but at the same time I realise that they're just things it'd be very difficult to add to a film that's already 2 and a half hours with the unnecessary bits cut out. All in all, in was very, very good and I was really impressed. I must see it again soon! Also, they got Rue's death SPOT ON and I cried. Oh, indeed, I cried.
The Hunger Games. Do I really need to write a cheesy summary sentence for this book? You know how it is. The Hunger Games: Awesome.