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Saturday, January 12, 2013

'The Hunger Games' (Book 1)

Over the course of the past week, I've read the first installment of Suzanne Collins' The Hunger Games. Wow, what an adventure that was! A few people told me, when I mentioned I was reading it, that I wouldn't be able to put it down, and I have to admit, they weren't wrong. In all honesty, I couldn't sleep last night and ended up reading it from about 2:00AM until around 4:15AM.

While I agree it was a good book, I can't say I ended up as excited about it as I was hoping to be. I had too many issues, not so much with the story itself, but with the writing. Somebody told me, before I started reading it, that books written very simplistically are proof that you don't have to write very well to be a bestseller. I can't say I exactly agree with them, because I don't think simplistic is the same as not being able to write very well. But Suzanne Collins kept a very simplistic style of writing throughout The Hunger Games, and I felt that it was TOO simplistic, considering the themes it was carrying and the complexity of the situation and the characters. I understood what was going on perfectly, but I found myself disliking how easy it was to understand, because sometimes it felt like I was being told in dot-points. I believe that certain points in the story could have been more meaningful if the style of the writing had been a little less simplistic, such as character relationships. We kept getting the idea that Rue reminds Katniss of her little sister Prim told to us, but I didn't feel it being shown as well as it could have been. I don't mean that the author should have used every big words in the dictionary she possibly could. I just feel that the simplistic style of writing against the dark and complicated plot and back-story made it sound very childish, when the protagonist isn't so.

Go ahead, crucify me for criticizing a bestseller if you must. Go on, get it over with.

The other issue I found with this book could probably be credited to whoever did the proofreading and editing. As I want to be an editor myself, one thing I can't stand is continuity issues within the writing. And I notice them without meaning to. There was a point where Katniss was counting, and it was written, 'One, 2, 3' and I almost lost my shit. One moment, tracker-jacker was hyphenated. Suddenly tracker jacker was not hyphenated. I found myself criticizing sentences as I read them, for being clunky or poorly worded. Maybe it's my own fault for having such a good eye for catching such things, but it really bugged me!

Are you all gathered around my house with torches and pitch forks yet?

Please don't kill me. I promise that overall, I really did enjoy reading The Hunger Games, and intend to continue reading the sequels, although I've been warned it goes downhill after the first book. Katniss has done things in book one that cannot allow her to live the rest of her life without some sort of serious repercussions  and I do want to see how the reunion with her family and Gale goes, and how the romances play out in the long run. I've been forewarned *SPOILER ALTER* that some tragedy occurs regarding Prim and that Katniss isn't going to end up with who I want her to end up with *SPOILER OVER*

Am I dead yet? Well, I hope not, because I'm still typing and I don't want to be a zombie, so...

Thoughts, debates, arguments for or against my opinion of The Hunger Games? Talk to me in the comments, and please keep your deadly farming equipment away from me.

- Bonnee.

20 comments:

  1. Quick, hide in this crate labeled 'live scorpions'--they won't dare look in here! I'll tell them I saw you going into town, and you can join the rebels in the billabong.

    There's nothing at all wrong with criticizing a beloved best-seller where the criticism is justified. I didn't notice the inconsistencies in the book, but I don't have an editor's eye, either, or maybe I read it without a 'writer's eye'. I definitely agree with you: simple writing does NOT equal poor writing. It's often the best, most effective way to communicate, though not always.

    I enjoyed the book quite a bit, but never read the other two. I've become wary of reading all the books in a series in rapid succession, so I decided to wait. That was two years ago and I'm still waiting. Maybe it's time...

    Crud, they're coming back. Run. RUN!

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    1. I am actually quite the fan of simply written pieces of work, providing it's suitable to the plot. I definitely don't consider it poor writing capabilities on the author's behalf.

      I'm very much with you on the wariness of reading sequels immediately afterwards, though as long as I'm in a Hunger Games mood, and I have access to the books... well, we'll see if I can get stuck into Catching Fire or not.

      Running!!!!

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  2. I think, for me, it was an issue of being pulled into the story so quickly that I was able to zoom through it without that writer mindset (which is usually very difficult for me to do with most books now - frustrating at times!). It was more an experience of being utterly compelled to know what happened next. I'd like to go back and re-read the series (well ... maybe not MOCKINGJAY, because that one made me want to hurl the book out the window at points) to experience it from another angle!

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    1. I think being pulled into the story so fast was what led me to pick it up at 2AM when I couldn't sleep and had nothing to do. I definitely didn't want to put it down while I was reading it. I think a lot of that was thanks to the ending of each chapter, which now that I think about, I should have mentioned it during the post. I loved the way virtually every chapter was ended with a cliffhanger, or a vital part of the next scene in the next chapter. Ooh, I'm hearing a lot of contradictory talk about Mockingjay :) I'm definitely going to have to read the rest. Re-read them, Shari! There's nothing better than re-reading, and picking up things you missed the first time, or seeing it from a different angle.

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  3. Well, no farming equipment coming your way from me!! Lol, I deffinately agree with your second point, the polishing process was trashyyyyyyyyyyyyy! But I do have to say that I do not think the writting goes down in the other books, sure, they might not turn out like everyone wanted, but Mocking Jay is the best written out of them all in my oppinion. And, I am sooooo glad that Katniss ends up with... it is totally right!!! Lol Now I really want to read some of her other books.. Maybe some day~

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    1. I'm glad I'm not the only one who thought the proofreading was poorly done. I think what the people advising me against the sequels were talking more about the plot, but I'm sure I'll find out for myself in due time. Aaaand another contradictory opinion on Mockingjay... I don't know who to believe!!!! All I know for sure is it's different from the first two, whether that be good or bad. I'm not sure if I might have been misinformed about who she ends up with, but if it is who I've been told... hm! Go forth and read!

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    2. Ok, now I am dying to know who you want her to be with in the end!!! Just believe yourself after you read it!! Lol Obviously Mocking Jay is sad, and I can't exactly agree with some of her conclusions about life etc. but I still loved the last book.

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    3. I'm intrigued! But I have to wait until the end of the week before I can get my hands on either of the other books! Aaarrgh!!! :(

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  4. I only read parts of the book in order to learn how to write better. But I watched the movie and was mesmerized by Katniss. After watching the movie I started writing my second novel, trying to capture the essence of Katniss into another heroine, Petra. My writing is simple, so THE HUNGER GAMES' writing style is for me. Recently you asked for a sample of my writing. Today they analyze the first page of my second novel PETRA on blog.janicehardy.com so you can check my simple writing ..:)

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    1. I remember you mentioning that you'd only read part of the book and then watched the movie before you started writing PETRA. I'll head over there to check out your writing :) Stay tuned, because next blog post is where I do my rant about the book-movie adaption... Maybe you could provide me with some interesting comments there too! :) Thanks for stopping by Giora!

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  5. Eh? What's this? A post about The Hunger Games that doesn't mention Battle Royale? What sorcery is this?

    Well, whatever. I don't mind simple writing as long as the story and characters are good (honestly, I still read Animorphs from time to time -- ostensibly a children's series in spite of portraying the horrors of warfare). So as long as Katniss and company put up a good effort -- especially Katniss, by virtue of being our leading lady -- then I'd be willing to give it high marks.

    In any case, glad you enjoyed it. Presumably, that'd be more than enough to stave off any enemy assaults. If not, then...I dunno, try hiding in a tree or something.

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    1. What is Battle Royale? (Please, don't shoot!)

      I never had a chance to read Animorphs, though I did catch a few of the TV series' episodes. There's definitely no problem with simple writing, I just feel it was too simple in this particular case, for these characters and plot and themes. Do you think Katniss and company put up a good enough effort to score high? I'm assuming you've read the books?

      I'm going to take to the tree now and just wait and see if anyone comes for me. I'll come down slowly, in my own time... I swear, I really did enjoy it guys!

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    2. "What is Battle Royale?"

      In a nutshell, it's a lot like The Hunger Games...only set in an alternate-history version of Japan. And they're not competing for the glory of their districts, but just for the sake of...well, just for scaring people, I suppose. And...actually, now that I think about it, it's not a 1:1 copy of THG (in spite of coming out in 2000). So just have a look at the Wikipedia page.

      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Battle_royale

      Actually, I haven't read the books, but I did see the movie. Based on that alone...ehhhhhhhhhhhh. I wouldn't say Katniss and the gang are terrible, but the movie didn't do the book any favors. Well, that's not 100% true; it made me want to grab the (likely superior) book to see what was up. I couldn't shake the feeling that a lot of things were lost in translation.

      That aside, I'd highly recommend giving the Animorphs series a look. There's probably a wiki out there you can read; get on it ASAP, especially if you're in the mood for some alien action and cinnamon buns.

      Also, ignore the TV series. In my eyes, it never happened.

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    3. Battle Royale... interesting... I shall look into it.

      Katniss and co. are definitely not that bad, just... books are always superior to movies, full-stop.

      I feel like Animorphs might be a little too on the sci-fi side for me? Maybe? I'll give them a read if I stumble upon a copy anyway, and see what I think. Cinnamon buns are delicious :)

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  6. oh wow, i have never heard of anybody who has read the hunger games and not liked it.




































































    i would be annoyed at you, coz i am a big fan, but when i actually read your points, i kind of withheld myself. i never noticed any of the editing mistakes, because i was too engrossed in the story to even notice if they forgot a comma. but anyway, ill stop being mean now, coz im too nice c: ill stop and leave you to your opinion c: hehehehehehe

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    1. I didn't say I didn't like it! I just had a few issues with it. I loved it! Don't be mean at all! :p And omg, hahaha how much space do you want to put between the first and second paragraph?! I thought my blog was broken because I couldn't see the reply option D: Hahaha :) I'm glad you liked it and that you were able to overlook the mistakes.

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  7. I agree with you about the continuity issue. I read one part where she puts on her boots before her pants and for some reason that just really bothered me. But like you said it is a good story

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    1. Ooh I didn't catch that slip-up, but that's funny! I can see exactly why it bothers you.

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  8. Thank you Bonnee for your comment !
    I don't read this book ! and you ?
    xx

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    1. :) It was a good book to read. If you can get it in French, take a look into it!
      xx

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