Suzanne Collins

Thoughts on… rereading The Hunger Games trilogy

Warning for vague spoilers for the Hunger Games trilogy by Suzanne Collins.

Over the last few months, I’ve been rereading the Hunger Games trilogy for the first time since I first read them around 10 years ago. I wasn’t intending to revisit the series but I was looking for an audiobook to keep me occupied on my way to work and found my library had the trilogy and it was narrated by Tatiana Maslany which is always a bonus.

When I read the trilogy the first time, I did really like it but I remember not being too impressed with the final book, Mockingjay, and how the series ended as a whole. I was never Team Peeta or Team Gale so that wasn’t the reason but as they were so similar, I thought Katniss would end up like Haymitch, bitter and alone, so any type of happy ending for her didn’t really work for me. Having reread the series now I like Mockingjay a lot more and I’m more content about Katniss’s “happy ending”.

As well as not having reread the books before, I’ve not watched most of the films since I saw them in the cinema so while I remembered certain big moments or things like how it ended, I didn’t remember how it got there and various character dynamics. So, in some ways it was like experiencing the story for the first time.

I really enjoyed rereading the trilogy with the benefit of hindsight too. Characters like Johanna Mason were mentioned in like the fourth chapter of the first book and when you don’t actually meet her until half way through the second. Also, as the books are in the first-person point of view, everything’s from Katniss’s perspective which can be both interesting and frustrating with the benefit of hindsight. There were so many times when I could see the rumblings of a rebellion, or what Haymitch or Peeta’s true intentions were thanks to my knowledge of the overarching plot but Katniss was oblivious more times than not. That’s not to say she’s dumb, she’s incredibly smart and impulsive but she’s not a tactician like those two, or like Gale. She has a single-minded focus on the people she cares about which is admirable but it means she’s a bit clueless about what’s going on around her and how she’s affecting it – consciously or not.

This could be because it’s been so long since I’ve read the books/watched the films but I think took in a lot more of the nuances of the story this time round. For instance, I’d completely forgotten about what Finnick had to do once he’d won his games so that was like a sucker punch when I got to that reveal. Also, I don’t know if it’s down to being older or having read a lot more books about tougher topics since, but I think I could comprehend and sympathise with Katniss’s trauma a lot more this time round. She, and so many other characters but especially the other Victors, go through so much it’s no wonder they have PTSD and at times their minds just shutdown because they can’t cope with the reality of their situation.

All in all, I’ve really enjoyed revisiting the trilogy and they are all 5 star reads – though Catching Fire is still my favourite. I’ve not read the spin-off/prequel The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes yet but I’m waiting for the audiobook to be available at my library. I’ve heard mixed things about it but after rereading the original trilogy I’m interested in seeing what Suzanne Collins did with a prequel. I’m also planning on rewatching (and possibly reviewing) the films too. Like the books, I remember enjoying the films and I think they were good adaptations so it’ll be interesting to see if that perception stays the same.

Have you read or reread the Hunger Games trilogy recently? Or seen the films? I always get a little apprehensive when revisiting a book or film I have fond memories of but I’m pleased in this instance I wasn’t disappointed upon reread.

Bookish Unpopular Opinions Tag

I don’t think I’ve done a tag before, or at least not on this blog, but then I saw BFTReviews do the Unpopular Opinions Tag and I just knew it was the sort of thing I wanted to do. So without further ado here’s my unpopular opinions.

1. A popular book or series that you did not like.
The Fault in Our Stars by John Green. I thought it was predictable (it had characters with cancer in it – someone was bound to die), it didn’t make me cry (it didn’t make me feel any strong emotion really) and I didn’t particularly like any of the characters – I liked Hazel’s parents but that was about it.

2. A popular book or series that everyone else seems to hate but you love.
Allegiant by Veronica Roth. I really didn’t hate this book like everyone else seems to. Maybe it’s because I wasn’t incredibly invested in the characters but I really liked the ending, it was surprising and unusual to see the hero not get the usual happy ending and I liked that. (more…)

Y is for: YA and my problems with it

YA or Young Adult literature is incredibly popular right now. Like any type of literature it covers many genres including contemporary, dystopian, fantasy, romance and many more. All YA books put a big focus on the plot, which is often fast moving, and the characters rather on the language.

This is great and sometimes a plot driven book is just what I want and need to get me reading in amongst my university work.

However I’ve sometimes been a little annoyed with the way some YA books are written. Now this is a bit of a generalisation though I will draw on two specific examples, one from The Hunger Games: Catching Fire by Suzanne Collins and Divergent by Veronica Roth so spoilers for those two books.

The main thing is that some plot points or potential plot twists seem to be blatantly obvious to me. I don’t know if this is because I am 22 (so in some ways you could say I am a young adult) when the target audiences are teenagers, so theoretically I have read more and am used to the typical genre tropes or narrative arcs so can see where something is going. But at the same time it sometimes feels like the author is being slightly insulting to its audiences (and sometimes its characters) by making something so obvious.

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