The Hunger Games is probably as big as Twilight and Harry Potter. All three have been made into films and have all sold 50-450 million books. Phenomenal when you see series’ such as Discworld have sold over 55 million copies and have been written since the 80’s. The power of film has done this for these. Harry Potter would always have been a high grossing book series but Twilight and The Hunger Games have hugely benefited from the films. Having said that, I read this series long before it became a film.
We meet Katniss, our heroine, and discover a few important things. One, when her father died it was left to her to raise herself and Prim (sister) due to their mother’s depression. Two, she did this by hunting in the forest by her district. Three, the Captiol makes the district “give up” two of its teenagers to compete in a bloody and barbaric “Hunger Games”. These three points are important in understanding the start of this trilogy and indeed the end. Katniss loves her sister, can shoot with a bow and arrow and the Capitol leaders are evil. During the reaping (the choosing of the teenagers), Prim’s name is called. Katniss volunteers for her sister and in doing so puts herself into the Games. The boy tribute for District 12 is Peeta. They journey off together, along with their mentor, Haymitch, and battle against 22 other young people to be crowned victors. In a twist, Katniss severely undermines the Capitol and becomes the face of the rebellion.
During Catching Fire Katniss is in no better a position than before the Games. Yes, her family is now rich and have a fabulous new house but she is under severe scrutiny. Her freedom to chose who she wishes to be her husband has been taken away from her. District 12 now has new law keepers and is punishing the whole district for Katniss’ success. Snow wants her dead and makes it so Katniss has to enter into her nightmares, a second Hunger Game. This time she makes it her mission to keep Peeta alive, knowing she will never have a life with the Capitol in power.
Mockingjay brings us to the final and ultimate climax of the series. Katniss has been rescued from the
games but at the price of Peeta. She becomes the poster girl for the rebellion. Katniss is once again used by higher powers in their games of dominance when all she wants to do is stop fighting and live a normal life.
I loved these books. Obviously had to like the first one to keep reading the series. The films are pretty good too. This is a world not to distant to us. Humanity has basically torn itself apart and the Capitol is the area that won at the end of it. The Hunger Games were designed to keep the districts subdued and it is a very feasible path that is not out of the realm of possibilities humanity could take. I think the moral and political issues behind the book are very intricately woven into the plot and hold a hidden meaning; humanity could almost wipe itself out and what we are left with won’t be pretty.
The love triangle is exquisitely done and you never feel that it is forced or contrite by Collins. The fight scenes are detailed gruesomely and you feel Katniss’ pain and revulsion for what she witnesses and what she is forced to do. I definitely didn’t see the ending coming and was shocked when it occurred. However here comes my main vital flaw for this trilogy. The last chapter. Horrendous. It was almost as bad as “And they all woke up and it was just a dream”. Collins had built up this epic suspense and had us all on the edge of our seats and then boom, a very wimpy way to end it. However, I don’t really see any other end to the books. She wrote herself into a corner and this is the result. Unlike the Harry Potter books where I felt a kind of closure for the characters, here I just felt loss and confusion. If it wasn’t for this ending these books are excellent and very much a 10/10. Due to this my verdict is: 8/10. Still epic but just not there.