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The Mulberry St. Blog is a review and writing blog. I review mostly fiction/science fiction/fantasy sorts of books, with the exception of the occasional YA or nonfiction book. The blog is updated daily, excluding Mondays.

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Friday, July 15, 2011

Saturday Review: The Hunger Games

The Hunger Games (The Hunger Games, #1)
I know you really don't need me to add to the mountain of reviews telling how great this book is and how much people loved it. However, it was great, and I loved it so much I'm posting this anyway, though I'll keep it brief. I read this book in 4 hours. 4 hours straight through. I started it at 12:30 AM (not my best idea) and went to bed at 4:00 AM this morning. The last book I stayed up later to read was, well, I really can't remember.

Since the reviews have already been more than numerous and praising, I'll just stick to listing the things I loved about this book and the things I maybe didn't love so much.

From page one, I was hooked. Every word was like a magnet that I couldn't pull away from. This was no dreaded "you just have to get into it, it gets better" book. No, The Hunger Games was more than good from the very first word to the very last. 

Not Love:
This is just a nitpicky thing, but I've never been able to truly enjoy books written in first person present tense. It has its pros and cons, I will admit. I feel as if I'm in the story and it drags me along for the ride. Still, I can't get over the nagging sense of, well, I really don't know what. It just bugs me. Don't think I'm criticizing the book or the author for it, it's just a comment.

Katniss's relationship with Prim. It's the kind of sisterly bond I've always admired. Katniss will literally do anything for her little sister, and we know she's never out for the glory or recognition of it. It's just for Prim, and only Prim, and everything else doesn't matter.

Not Love:
Nope, I'm out of Not Loves. The thing is, The Hunger Games is an excellent example of what I believe Young Adult novels should be. This may be dystopian and hundreds of years in the future, but Katniss and Gale and Peeta and the rest of them are dealing with very real issues that young adults can still relate to, even if in a less life-threatening sense. They're dealing with injustice, with family issues, with being young in a world where you can't afford to be young, or just being young in a world where the youth get told what to do and never have a say in the matter. Do as you're told and you'll be fine. 

Here's The Thing:
About dystopians. They represent, as far as I can tell, a distorted and exaggerated view of our society. There's a message in every good dystopian; it screams at you to look at the world and see it differently. It's interesting that the Capitol pits only the youth against each other to fight to the death. See, the youth are expendable. The ones that survive are lucky and they get to carry the weight of their families on their backs. The rest, it doesn't really matter. They're just extras. Katniss proves otherwise. She is the sole provider for her family. There is nothing expendable about her. So much depends on her very existence, she has to win the games. For Prim. For her mother. It is this that drives her on. I feel like I learned something when I read The Hunger Games. Not to be sappy or anything, but I truly did. For me, there is a huge amount of power in good writing, in good storytelling. It's the difference between Twilight and Pride and Prejudice. No, I'm not referring to vampires versus contemporary, or classic versus recent. No, it's good storytelling versus bad. The writing makes all the difference.

So there you have it, that's all the reasons why I liked The Hunger Games. I'm not going to bother to rate it because I'm tired and I really hate rating books. See, reviewing books is more about having a place to vent my thoughts on a book. The rating is just kinda like the thing that everybody does. I probably won't do it anymore. I don't know. I'm going to bed first. I'll decide later.


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