WARNING: THIS POST CONTAINS SPOILERS WHICH I DO NOT CARE TO HIDE SO IF YOU REALLY WANT TO READ THE SERIES ON YOUR OWN (WHICH I HIGHLY RECOMMEND) THAN YOU SHOULD STOP RIGHT NOW. EVEN THOUGH THIS MEANS NO ONE’S GOING TO READ THIS POST ANYWAY. OKAY.
NOTE: THIS POST IS FOR OWN PURPOSES (EG. PRESERVE MY SANITY) SO I WILL POSSIBLY WRITE A BUNCH OF CRAP DON’T MIND ME IF I DO SO.
I have heard people talk about how amazing The Hunger Games trilogy is a lot of times on Tumblr, and although I wasn’t entirely crazy about getting my hands of the books, I kept an eye out for it. That is, until one day Nikki saw me tweeting about wanting to read the trilogy and she tweeted back saying she has all three eBooks and asked if I wanted so of course I said yes with multiple exclamation marks after that. She sent them to me through email and I saved them on my phone, and started reading immediately.
It’s pretty obvious I’m elaborating everything I just typed above just so I could dawdle, taking my time, reminiscing the series, thinking of what to write and channeling all the emotions I’ve had since reading this book, and practically just bobbing my head while typing this for no apparent reason.
Okay, let’s do this. -gears up-
The Hunger Games
As I said, I started on The Hunger Games immediately after Nikki sent me those files. It was okay, the beginning, nothing was blowing my mind yet… doesn’t look like anything’s going to blow my mind for a few pages… However, I was starting to appreciate the plot Collins had in this book. It was a post-apocalyptic era, and two teenagers from every district are sent into an arena with the most terrifying challenges and obstacles you can imagine, and you have to fight, to the death. Only one person left alive, not just left standing. Mind you, I’m never looking at reality TV shows the same way again. The Games was initiated by the government, known as the Capitol, led by President Snow who is power-hungry. The story setting revolves around 12 districts, plus the Capitol itself. (Think North America with fewer states.) There used to be a District 13, but it was destroyed during the Dark Days, when all the districts rebelled against the Capitol for their cruelty. With District 13 defeated, the Capitol won, and they created the Hunger Games as a reminder to everyone in the remaining 12 districts of the Dark Days, of the consequences that would ensue if anyone were to step out of line. The plot was realistic, (the Games was sick and cruel, that’s what makes it realistic because we are reminded of how us humans are so barbaric) even for a young adult novel, at the very least, instead of just writing sappy romantic conversations between teenagers the whole 300+ pages of the book. Sure, one of the main themes of the books was Katniss and Peeta’s romance, but it wasn’t a romance novel, and for the first time I don’t find myself gagging when I read about their supposedly romantic exchanges.
God, where am I veering off to?
All was calm, and I admit I liked Katniss straight away, when she sacrificed herself for Prim’s safety during the reaping. I knew she was the kind of person I’d love to root for, strong, hard-headed, independent, but also loving and caring towards the people she loves. And then there’s Peeta. Sweet, kind Peeta who loves Katniss with his whole heart, even though it was unrequited at first, and protects her no matter what she thinks or does. Okay, yes, I do love scenes like this, don’t judge me.
So before all that, when Peeta admits he has a crush on Katniss in front of a live audience, I was caught off guard completely. Katniss was equally shocked too, which spices things up even more. But it was actually just an act to win them sponsors, to ensure they stay alive in the arena during the Games. This was one of the most memorable parts of the book.
Finally, all 24 tributes enter the arena, and Katniss is forced to survive alone. Her hunting skills are what kept her alive most of the time, and she was an extremely tough person. But soon she finds out Peeta is teaming up with a bunch of Careers (tributes who are absolutely determined to win the Games) to hunt Katniss down because apparently she scored the highest marks during private sessions even though both she and Peeta come from District 12, the poorest district, and they took her as a threat. Later she found out Peeta was actually protecting her, but he got hurt, and she ran away continuing surviving on her own, then teaming up with Rue, a twelve year old who is actually really talented who reminds Katniss of her sister Prim, but eventually Rue dies and Katniss sends her off not as a tribute, but a friend, thus gaining respect from the people of Rue’s district, District 11.
The story continues, Katniss battling to survive, until something unexpected happens. The Capitol announces that there would be two winners this time, so Katniss immediately thinks of Peeta, of course, since they were both supposed to be “star-crossed lovers” ever since Peeta publicly announced his love for her, but finds out that he is seriously injured and nurses him back to health, and eventually the two of them survive. But the Capitol, being the Capitol, turns around and announces again that circumstances have changed and there could only be one winner. So Katniss forms a plan, and suggests suicide for both her and Peeta so that there wouldn’t be any winner, so that the Capitol would be humiliated for once. The Capitol immediately take back their words and Katniss and Peeta are declared champions.
Katniss finds out Peeta’s feelings for her are real, contrary to her own which is a huge ball of mess, torn between two people: one is Gale, her childhood sweetheart whom she has stuck with for 4 years, and another is Peeta of course. So the book ends with both Katniss and Peeta returning to District 12, and Peeta saying, “Let’s do this one more time, for the audience?” and I couldn’t sleep the whole night.
By this point I dreaded continuing the next book because I didn’t want it to end so quickly.
Catching Fire starts with Katniss and Peeta going on the Hunger Games Victory Tour, a tradition for victors to visit every district after the Games. Before the Tour, President Snow visited Katniss, and threatened to kill the people she loves if she doesn’t make some “changes” to the districts, because when Katniss took out the berries during the Games, it was a sign of rebellion against the Capitol and the incident was starting to have its effects on some districts to rebel once again. So Snow wants Katniss to stop this uprising, by convincing everyone that her pulling out the berries was actually just an act of love towards Peeta. Peeta also did his part by proposing to Katniss, but she soon found out Snow still wasn’t mollified, so Katniss gave up trying to calm the citizens of Panem.
The time for the annual Hunger Games arrives again (It’s been a year wow that’s fast) and every 25 years, the Games are also called the Quarter Quell where it is somewhat different from the normal Games, and this year, the tributes are selected from the victors’ of every district, and that also means Katniss is in for another round in the arena.
Not surprisingly, Peeta volunteers to take Haymitch’s (their mentor in the previous Games and the only victor from District 12 before Katniss and Peeta won) place and both of them enter the arena again. This time, they make allies with the other victors/tributes: Finnick (His name alone makes my heart stop), Mags, Johanna, Wiress and Beetee. They get along pretty fine, and then Beetee (a genius inventor) suggested making a trap for the other tributes, but it was actually a plot to eliminate the surrounding force field of the arena, which was unknowingly carried out by Katniss. The force field broke, and a mysterious hovercraft picked up Katniss, Finnick and Beetee.
Later, Katniss woke up in a hospital on the hovercraft, where Haymitch explained everything to her. There was a plot to rescue the tributes, a plot formed by the rebels taking refuge in none other than District 13, which isn’t actually destroyed to the ground but is still up and running, led by President Alma Coin. District 13 runs underground, and is far more modernized than the other districts, since they handle nuclear weapons and all. Katniss found out that she was actually the symbol of the rebellion, the Mockingjay (courtesy of the mockingjay pin she wears during both Games). Unfortunately, Peeta, Johanna, and Annie Cresta, the girl whom Finnick loves are captured by the Capitol. Katniss is devastated and even more so when Gale tells her District 12 has been bombed to the ground by the Capitol, although both their families managed to escape.
At this point, I considered abandoning Mockingjay for the day, and continue the third and final book the next day, but obviously I couldn’t stay away so I started on Mockingjay.
I was pretty much in despair when I found out there were only 150+ pages in Mockingjay, whereas there were 300+ in The Hunger Games and 200+ in Catching Fire. So, I didn’t speed up when reading like I usually would, and Mockingjay actually took me 3 days to finish as opposed to the 1 day I knew I could achieve.
Mockingjay started off with Katniss adapting to her life underground in District 13, which is to say she couldn’t adapt at all. She was still labelled as a mentally unstable patient even after leaving the hospital ward, shaken by grief and shock. She was still reluctant to be the face of the rebellion led by Coin, still in terrible despair over her losses, until she saw Peeta on TV, and agreed to be the Mockingjay, the face of the rebellion. She started making all these propagandas about the cruelty of the Capitol and encouraging all the other districts to rebel too, with Beetee infiltrating the Capitol’s television network to air those “propos” to everyone in Panem. Then one day, Peeta appeared again, and was in time to warn all of District 13 about a bomb attack from the Capitol before he was severely beaten up by the Capitol, and Katniss vowed to have him rescued. District 13 survived the bombing, and Coin had people invading the Capitol. Peeta, Johanna, Enobaria (one of the victors) and Annie were rescued, but Katniss’s happiness was later extinguished when Peeta suddenly attacks her upon seeing her for the first time. She found out that the Capitol had been torturing him by feeding him terrible memories/images of Katniss being a dangerous mutt and she was heartbroken. Nevertheless, she gave up on him and sought ways to bring down the Capitol.
Katniss, Finnick, Gale, and eventually Peeta, became part of the ‘Star Squad’, a squad sent to assassin Snow. Peeta was slowly being cured, the doctors from District 13 extracting tracker jacker venom that was believed to have caused those images of an evil Katniss in his mind, but he was still unstable, lethal, and Katniss knew he would never be the old Peeta she knew so well, but everyone is slowly helping him to realise what is real and what is not real.
One day, the Star Squad was ambushed, and as all of them hurried towards the Capitol, heading for the president’s mansion to carry out the assassination, Finnick, along with six more soldiers were killed. At this point, I was shell shocked. How could Collins kill off Finnick? What would happen to Annie then? But eventually I didn’t find out. Gale was injured and Peeta was nowhere to be found as Katniss reached the front gate to the mansion. There were many people hurt from the commotion in the square, and paramedics from District 13 were lowered from helicopters into the square, one of them Prim. Unfortunately, a bomb was released right then among the injured, and Prim was killed. Another surprise. First Cinna (Katniss’s stylist), Finnick, and now Prim? What’s more, Gale was blamed for the releasing of the bomb, which was indeed released by the people of District 13, and not the Capitol. So of course Katniss blamed him too. By this time it was difficult to continue but I did anyway.
Katniss woke up, finding herself in the hospital once more. Coin had promised Katniss she would be able to kill Snow personally by her own hand, and she was granted that wish. Snow was chained and brought out to be murdered in front of the all citizens of District 13, and President Coin. However, I was astonished yet again when instead of aiming her arrow at President Snow, Katniss ended up killing President Coin. I thought I saw the words wrong, but it was true. She killed President Coin, president of District 13, the district she had taken refuge at.
Apparently, that’s what everyone thought so too, and she was imprisoned in a cellar for days, while battling her addiction to morphling, (an opiate, as we now call it) which she had consumed in large amounts when she was hospitalized. Therefore, it was a huge ball of confusion and mess all the time she was trapped, stricken with the grief of losing so many loved ones, including Prim. Then, Haymitch appears, to take her back to District 12, to her home, which was the only place left intact from the bombs. Haymitch and Katniss return to District 12, where Katniss lives alone all by herself in her own house, lonely and constantly haunted by nightmares and deaths. President Coin’s murder was blamed by Katniss’s instability (when the actual reason, I think, is that Coin was seriously corrupted after all those violence of the war) , and Snow died sometime after that, coughing up blood. Katniss was not punished, because she was the Mockingjay, after all, but everyone reckoned she was too unstable to continue living in District 13, and was therefore sent back to District 12. A few days later, she comes out to find Peeta has returned home too, and with his help, Katniss becomes better again, even though she knows she will always be damaged, from war, from death. Together they create a book recording every good thing of the people who have died for her. Cinna, Finnick, Prim, her father. In the end, Collins finish the book by having Gale take up a “fancy job” in District 2, while Katniss finds out she could only truly be happy with Peeta. The epilogue was tragic, and made me tear up so badly.
Upon finishing Mockingjay that night, I couldn’t go to sleep so long after that. There was this hollow feeling in my gut that I’ve discovered has only been experienced by few people, people who love books more than anything else. For a while I was just staring straight ahead, reliving every single thing in my head, feeling empty inside. It was exactly like what Ellie said, now that I’m finished with this series, what am I supposed to do now? It’s been about a week I’ve finished the series, but I still couldn’t move on, still keep rereading the books. Finishing Mockingjay was worse than finishing Deathly Hallows, and that’s saying something, Harry Potter being the only series I’ve truly been attached to, and now I guess The Hunger Games has had a huge impact on my life too.
However, there were many weak points in Mockingjay that I felt like pointing out:
- What was the point of creating the Star Squad, only to have all of them killed except for the main characters? Why not just have Katniss plus Gale plus Peeta and maybe plus Finnick have a direct assassination?
- Blaming Gale for the bomb was kind of a lame excuse for Katniss to choose Peeta over Gale. I actually preferred Gale in The Hunger Games & the beginning of Catching Fire, since they knew each other ever since they were so young, so of course they would know each other better, but everything changes after the Games, everything was bound to, anyway. I’d rather that be the reason Katniss chose Peeta, that, and the fact that Peeta was always there for her, no matter what, even though his love for her was unrequited.
- Again, “Gale takes up a fancy job in District 2”? Gale is never that type of person. For all I know, Gale cares about Katniss too much to ever “take up a fancy job”, so there was a huge loophole there and everyone just went “double yew tee eff”?!
- I really wanted to know what happened to Annie having to face Finnick’s death. But that would probably make me sadder so. BUT I still think Collins should have wrote that part.
- Katniss is the Mockingjay, but so far she hasn’t really convinced me that she is the Mockingjay. All she ever did was record propagandas, and I was waiting for her to be the Mockingjay for once, by taking down President Snow by herself or doing something that resulted in a huge impact on the country but no Collins failed to give me that so that was a huge let down.
All in all, the story reminds me too much of the current world we live in. War, violence, and its ability to damage and corrupt people, but in the end, it’s us humans who bring this kind of terrible fate upon ourselves. Despite the teenage love romance, this series is actually realistic compared to Shitelight or any other series. I just wished people would stop comparing Hunger Games with Twilight because THERE IS ABSOLUTELY NOTHING SIMILAR BETWEEN BOTH NOVELS. Sure they both have this love triangle crisis, but there’s where the similarity ends. Says Galaxie, a local magazine: “Where writing, storytelling, plotting and everything else is concerned, The Hunger Games is a far (100 times) superior book to anything Stephenie Meyer has ever written.” and that is the genuine truth. Not even a single sparkly vampire in that series how on Earth can they compare THG to Twilight remains a mystery to me. Just because a book series is about to developed into a movie doesn’t make it similar to Twilight, people. Recognize quality where it’s worth for heaven’s sake.
Lionsgate just announced that they would be producing The Hunger Games movie which should be released in 2013, and that has got me so ecstatic. Of course, dreamcasts are spread all over Tumblr, and this is my own dreamcast version of The Hunger Games.
- Katniss Everdeen- Kaya Scodelario
- Peeta Mellark- Hunter Parrish
- Gale Hawthorne- Adam Gregory
- Primrose Everdeen- Elle Fanning
- Finnick Odair- Alex Pettyfer
- Effie Trinket- Kristin Chenoweth
- Haymitch Abernathy- Robert Downey Jr
- Cinna- Adam Young
PS. Please ignore any spelling/grammar mistakes I wrote all this on an adrenaline high and in a rush.