My rating: 3 of 5 stars
Well, I know that I am in the VAST minority on this one but I just didn’t really care for this book. I would possibly give it 2 stars, even, but when in doubt I like to ere on the high side. It wasn’t that the concept of the book wasn’t good or that it wasn’t suspenseful, by any means. There are just some real issues that I felt the book has that make it seem way less believable, and I will attempt to explain them here. Please feel free to disagree (or agree) with me in the comments below.
My TOP complaint is character development (or lack thereof). Yes, Katniss has had an extremely difficult life which has left her kind of judgmental and flat, but she also has a rebellious side. I would have liked to have seen that more. I didn’t care for the way she begs for a quick death at the hands of Thresh yet listens to Cato’s seemingly never-ending suffering at the hands of the mutts because she feels the viewers will like it. WHAT?! I bet his parents would beg to differ on that one. I just didn’t really feel for her the way I should have.
Secondly, there were really no other characters to relate to. These kids are going to most certainly die. Why were there no parents throwing their bodies across their children at reapings, no people crying out in terror when they are chosen and why were there no children balled up in the fetal position in the corner in terror in the arena? I am just not believing that everyone follows along like mindless drones, no questions asked, just accepting their impending death – especially children.
Also, I would have liked to have seen more about the history of Panem. Just telling me that District 13 was obliterated (what exactly does that mean?) and that the games are a way of reminding the Districts of what they have to look forward to if they rebel isn’t quite enough. Even if Panem isn’t teaching the history of Panem to it’s people, people talk. It’s our fundamental way of learning, and I can’t believe that people don’t talk about their own history. This country is based on rebellion with our rich war history. I seriously can’t believe a few clowns in the Rocky Mountains could have stopped that with what amounts to simple fear-mongering and withholding of supplies.
Finally, I think this book is really a mash-up of “1984” and “Lord of the Flies” and a modern version of the Gladiators. I don’t really find it has any original ideas. Even the tracker jackers which could have been cool, fell flat. It seems they are just, essentially, killer bees. I found “1984” and “Lord of the Flies” thought provoking, realistic and scary. This book – not so much.