Posts Tagged ‘the hunger games’

I had intended to write this post earlier, and forgive me for the lack of real updates to this blog. As for now, here are some thoughts on the rest of the “Hunger Games” series. (Discontinue reading if you haven’t read the books, but I bet there’s hardly anyone who hasn’t read it by now.)

I finally finished “Catching Fire” and “Mockingjay” about a week or so ago. I wouldn’t make a recap of the plots of both books, but I’ll share a few things that stood out for me.

I love how the series explores the theme of government control throughout the series. The Hunger Games was the most blatant form of government control, serving as a reminder of what the districts have to pay for in exchange for their rebellion attempts from decades past. At every level of level of life in Panem, there is a form of control—be it to the industry that each district is in charge of to support the Capitol, to the barricades that surround each district, to the harsh forms of punishment that await those that openly disobey the ones in charge.

However, such control isn’t limited to the authoritarian regime that is the main antagonist in the book. Even stricter controls are put in place in the rebels’ command. Perhaps, what is even more chilling is the manipulation and underhanded work going on among both sides, in order to control Katniss Everdeen, who eventually figured out her role as a pawn in an even bigger game for control of Panem.

I also love how Suzanne Collins got inside Katniss Everdeen’s head, as she figured out the complications of such games (and here I refer to several games that are coming into play in the story). The character of Katniss isn’t far from many heroines that come out of young adult novels these days—a whiny type that’s torn between two equally dashing young men. What sets Katniss apart is that Collins not only manages to give her with an uncanny instinct for survival, but that she also manages to actually make her a thinking, sympathetic figure.

My only beef? I think Collins still has room for improvement when it comes to writing the action scenes. (That or as I wrote earlier, I still feel the material actually makes for a better movie. I can already see the Capitol bearing striking resemblances to Coruscant in Star Wars.)

There’s also the reality TV aspect of it—which will always call you attention to the fact that a lot of the images we see are carefully crafted images intended to elicit a particular response from its audience. Again, it is part of the manipulation.

After everything, you realize there’s a whole lot more to the Hunger Games that some teenage love story in the face of death and such. Much more can be said about power and how it is used to control and manipulate.

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Figuring out what I want to read next. After Mario Vargas Llosa’s announcement as the winner of the Nobel Prize of Literature, I think I’ll have to hunt down his works, and add up to my list of Latin American writers. (I just found out he had a falling out with Gabriel Garcia Marquez in the 1970s. Juicy.)

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“The Hunger Games” was brought to my attention by Blooey, during last year’s Manila International Book Fair. She had been raving about the books and already began a countdown until the release of “Mockingjay”, which at that time, happened 11 months later—or about a month or so ago, as of this writing.

Trust me to get on the bandwagon about a month after the series ended. On a whim (and largely because I can be a cheapskate when it comes to new books), I decided to pick up a copy of “The Hunger Games” last week. Needless to say, when I got around to starting the book, I lost more than a few hours of sleep.

(This is the part where you’ll have to stop reading, in case I reveal some possible spoilers

I don’t want to get into the details of explaining post-apocalyptic created worlds, but in a nutshell, consider the first book to be a futuristic version of Battle Royale, coupled with a Big Brother-ish authoritarian government. Figuring at the center of all these is a girl (Katniss) coming from one of the poorest districts of this created world—independent, resourceful, and oftentimes, stubborn, in a hugely endearing way. Throw in two possible romantic entanglements in the form of very likable boys (Gale and Peeta), and you have the perfect formula for another hugely successful young adult series.

OK, OK. Let me take a few steps back. I have yet to read “Catching Fire” (ah, when to get a copy?) and “Mockingjay” (Bloo, please give me na lang your extra copy), so whatever thoughts I have of the series to date are largely formed by the first book.

In any case, I liked the first book of the series—it’s fast-paced and action-packed—to the point it makes me think it might have actually been better written as a screenplay. I say this because there’s something about Suzanne Collins’ writing that when she breaks off the time in the novel, it just feels a bit out of sync in the novel (but would probably work otherwise in a screenplay—but that’s just me). I thought the concept of having a government that took “ruthless” to a whole new level for the antagonist was genius (though the thought of having this in real life is quite a scary, scary thing). I loved Katniss as the story’s central character—tougher than any 16-year-old girl I know, but a bumbling fool when it comes to the throws of young love. I rooted for Peeta, in his affections, in how he tries hard to win the girl (yes, Team Peeta all the way). And even though the thought of spears and arrows piercing through a body scares and disgusts me to no end, I turned every single page until a winner was declared.

I see a movie forming in my head, and now I can’t wait to devour the second and third books.