Devin’s Thoughts on the Hunger Games
I have now read the book, and it’s pretty good. I never expected to like The Hunger Games as much as I did just because my thought process was that any book super popular with teens couldn’t be that great.
That said it is not without problems. I’ll be popping SPOILERS and references to the film adaptation so if you don’t want to be spoiled go read/watch it.
The first thing that hit me as I read the book was that it is told in present tense which is an odd choice in my opinion. Especially since there are some sentences where it seems to forget that it’s a present tense book. It’s also told in the first person which works well because it allows the reader to see Katniss’ thought process which is something that I felt was missing from the movie. In my opinion the book tells a better story than the movie tells, but I also think the movie does what it sets out to do and does it wonderfully. In fact we do get some extra story in the movie with the Gamemaker and the President having larger roles.
Here’s what works. The narration works, getting us in Katniss’ head and giving clear descriptions, usually with short quick sentences. The idea of the Hunger Games is brilliant, and the world that facilitates the Games is created with care. I like that the thirteen districts could be seen as analogues to the thirteen british colonies, because in my mind the Capital is London(Let’s just hope the british never become that crazy looking). The action works well, and the way that Katniss’ back story is spread out works very well. The stuff about the Capital people having crazy makeup and hair is better in the book, when I don’t have to look at the stuff. In the movie it just bothered me. I think the fighting and healing process are pretty realistically portraid, and that was fun to see as most action movies that we see the characters are able to shrug off a slice to the chest. Here things aren’t so easy.
Here’s what doesn’t work. I think that after the Games are over the book should have ended more quickly. The movie did this well, we still got that Katniss was in trouble for what she did but we don’t need 20 pages of that to get the message across. The love triangle stuff, although not a full fledged love triangle at this point, we all know where it’s going is not something I can get behind. Also the way that the sequels are just so telegraphed. I would have liked to have not known where the story was going after this movie. But it’s so obvious that Katniss is going to either lead or get involved in a rebellion against the Capital.