Top critical review
Wished I could re-write part of it
Reviewed in the United States on June 19, 2013
I read the Hunger Games so that I could talk about it with my son and watch the movie with him. I am also an author, so I try to read the really popular books to see what people are reading. The premise for the book seemed okay. It's not the first dystopian society book ever written, but it has a huge following so figured it had to be good. It was good, part of it anyway. Katniss has the potential to be a great female character, the premise of the book, fighting each other so as to not starve to death, oppression, the gap between the haves and the have-nots, all good stuff. I just wish the author had been a little bit bolder, a little bit edgier. It's a story where a small segment of the polulation treats the rest of the world as sub-humans, starving them into submission and using them for their own warped pleasure. Kids murder each other. The author needs to commit all the way, to the horrific violence, not shy away and try to keep it PG just for sales. Some of the parts that confused me were, why does Katniss feel bad that Rue is killed, yet nothing for the boy she kills with the arrow? Rue, despite their alliance would have eventually tried to kill her. Why can't doesn't she put flowers on the boy who killed Rue, too?
I was bitterly disappointed that Katniss did not fight off Clove herself, but is instead rescued by Thresh. Boo! Let Katniss be a bad ass, and using her wits, fight off and kill a stronger opponent. Can we ever get passed the male rescuing the female? Why would Thresh give her a pass, knowing he'll have to kill her eventually anyway? That was a glaring weakness in the story. Aaaarg! I really wish I could re-write that part of the book.
The part that I really hated was the weird Muttation creatures. First, let's backtrack. The Capitol has all this advanced technology, hover crafts, medicine that cures practically overnight, can build the arenas to control the temperature, the water, etc, yet they rely on coal for fuel from the mines in the Seam? Huh? I would think they would be advanced enough to develop solar and wind power and not be using fossil fuels anymore. They have an orchard district (Rue and Thresh are from there)? Wouldn't they be growing everything they need in hydroponic towers right in the Capitol? So how are we to believe that they are so advanced that they can inject human DNA and intelligence in huge wolf-like creatures? They can make them overnight? That was sooooo far fetched that I was dying to re-write that part. Why not just set real wolves on them and in a fight on top of the Cornacopia Cato falls and is eaten alive. Or better yet, Katniss and Cato face off and she wins through strength and cunning and the newly developed willingness to ruthlessly kill her opponent. Only it's not newly developed. Remember the kid she dropped with an arrow? Who was the content editor for this book? They really should be fired, or demoted back to picture books. Katniss had no problem shooting an arrow into the boy who killed Rue, so why does the author make Cato a "mercy killing." We've already seen Katniss can drop somebody without a thought. She did it to avenge Rue's death and she'd do it again to save Peeta and her own ass, right?
I have committed to reading the series and watching all the movies with my son. I am really hoping that the next book drops the YA namby pamby stuff and makes Katniss the lean mean, I-take-care-of-my-own, killing machine, she needs to be.
Just a thought for the poor district people... Um, why not rip up the train tracks and blow the tunnel, sealing the Capitol off from supplies. 'Cause they'll bomb you? Not for long without food and fuel, which they can't get because you have it all. Well, off to read Catching Fire!