Posted by Sari
Collins' best-selling series tells about post-apocalyptic America, divided into twelve districts of different status and affluence, and controlled by sinister government in Capitol. Every year, each district will send two teenagers as tributes to compete in Hunger Games, a reality TV-show where they have to kill each other, and winner gets fabulous prizes in addition to keeping his or her life. Our heroine Katniss is from the poorest district and the first novel follows her efforts to survive the games. She and a fellow tribute Peeta act out a romance to get support from the viewers and ultimately refuse to kill each other preferring to suicide. Capitol lets them live and announces them both as winners. In the second novel Katniss' actions are fermenting rebellion, and to neutralise this capitol arranges a sort of ”all star” Hunger Games where previous winners have to fight each other, including Katniss and Peeta.
I have really mixed feelings about the series so far – I have not read the third novel Mockingjay. I liked the first book a lot and was very pleased that WSOY decided to buy the rights. I thought it was passionate and clever and interesting look at how the “non-scripted” reality shows have changed our engagement with entertainment, and how people pushed to the limit might react. I liked Katniss as a protagonist, she was no passive victim but clearly aware of the ways she could manipulate the bad situation. The world was a bit sketchy, but as I read the novel more on the level of metaphor, that did not bother me.
The second book was a big disappointment. I thought the plot was not as coherent as in the first novel, I did not like the repetition brought by yet another go at the Games, and I thought he romantic entanglements between Katniss angsting over her two boyfriends was boring beyond words. But most of all, I found that Katniss had apparently had a lobotomy between the two novels. As the books are written in first person, Collins has to give us all information through her eyes and at the same time keep her ignorant of what is happening. The result is that Katniss seems to be thicker than the big print edition of complete works of Charles Dickens, and just wanders through the novel without any idea what is going on around her. She has much less agency in this book, and that really turned me off. I will read the last book because I care enough of to find out what happens, but it better be a real page turner to redeem the series after Catching Fire.