Tuesday, 17 April 2012

Why I didn't enjoy the Hunger Games books

*Some spoilers below*

At the risk of annoying fans of the Hunger Games series, I have to say I was really disappointed by the resolution to the trilogy.

I'd heard great things about the series, so I got the books and started to read them. I thought the first book was really interesting, with an unusual premise, likeable characters and a good plot. My only complaint was that it was a touch too gory for my liking at times, like with Cato's death at the end.

The second book was also good, although it did feel rather unfinished, as second books are wont to do. I liked the character development and I liked getting to know some new characters like Finnick and Johanna. I also liked the way Katniss was having typical teenage issues with boys.

But I didn't enjoy Mockingjay anywhere like as much. My two major grips with the third book were:
  • I really didn't like Katniss any more
  • Prim died
All the way through the story Katniss had been fighting primarily to keep Prim safe. When she died, I felt cheated. If she wasn't safe then what was the point of Katniss fighting? Added to that the fact, I thought she was the most likeable and lovely character in the stories, so I was really annoyed with the author for killing her off.

I thought Katniss's character did get even more unlikeable after Prim's death, but even before that I was bored with her. The start of the book wasn't bad, and I was quite excited about the prospect of finally seeing the Capitol overthrown and Snow getting his comeuppance, but I started to get annoyed when Katniss went into battle. She suddenly started to become whiney, analysing her character, deciding she didn't like herself, but not doing anything to change what she didn't like. I'd been trying to give her the benefit of the doubt, but when she shot the civilian during the attack on the Capitol I decided I really didn't like her any more.

That feeling got more intense when she agreed to a final Hunger Games after judging the Capitol so harshly and after her own experiences in the arenas. I didn't think Prim's death justified her decision, because I didn't think Prim herself would have approved, and that should have held more sway with Katniss. She was also so disgusted with the idea of killing the children in the barracade that I thought she was just completely out of character - or out of the character that I liked to start with - that I considered stopping reading there.

I had a few other gripes, in that I wanted Katniss to choose Gale rather than the wet rag Peeta, and I wanted to know what happened to Annie and to Haymitch afterwards, but they were just little things, and by that point I really wasn't too keen on Gale either. I was also annoyed at how little a part Katniss played in the final part of the story, given that she was the main character. She seemed to be a spectator, and because she wasn't seeing everything, neither was I.

And the final part, with the children, also irked me. I wanted to know the childrens' names. Had she named them after anyone special? Was the girl called Prim, or Rue? Had Katniss's mother come back to 12 to see them? There were too many unanswered questions, and it just felt very unsatisfactory.

I still found the books very compelling, but I wouldn't say I actually enjoyed them.

Feel free to disagree?!

No comments:

Post a Comment