This post may get very long and half of you will probably disagree with me.
But that's ok because this is my slice of the internet and you are as free to express your opinion as I am to express mine.
So I was a little late on jumping onto the Hunger Games bandwagon. I first heard about the books while at college. I saw several of my friends reading the same thing until I asked about it. I became very curious the more and more I heard about the plot from my friends so I finally bought myself a copy of book one.
I read it in two days.
The basic plot is this. There is a capitol that has divided it's districts into 12 separate communities. Each community manufactures something totally different and specialize in their product. District 12 manufactures coal for example. None of the districts can communicate with each other.
A long, long time ago there was an uprising of the districts and they tried to overthrow the capitol. The capitol was stronger than the primitive districts and won the war. As punishment, once a year there is a reaping in each district but the capitol (of course). Each district must give up one boy and one girl to the games.
The games are a inhumane survivor like game-show thing. The 24 children must battle each other in an arena until only one child remains alive. Yes, children are given real weapons and forced to kill each other in front of the eyes of the capitol and 12 districts. The last child standing is crowned victor and given riches and food for the rest of his or her life.
I say children because even though the heroin of the book is 14-16 ish years old, she's still a child in our culture. You're not an adult until 18 or 21. Even at 22, I still have some maturing to do.
Anyways, throughout the book, children are being killed by each other left and right and although this book is full of suspense and action...I kept asking myself "When is Katniss going to stop this madness!?"
I kept on reading and turning the page just knowing that Katniss, the heroine, would bring all of the violence to an end and bring peace to the world.
But she didn't. In fact, she kills some kids herself. Yes, you can say it was in self defense. But I just wish that the author would have made her triumph over the capitol by overthrowing the games altogether.
Throughout the entire series, the author places the young Katniss and her young companions in very hard situations placing too much weight on split second decisions. Katniss has too much weight on her shoulders, in my opinion, and I don't think that kids should be reading about other kids killing each other because "that's just the way things are" or "you have to kill to survive".
War is horrible thing were humans kills other humans. Why do we have to have children running around with swords and knives trying to slit each other's throats?
Remember way back in history class when you learned about the Children's Crusade?
The children went off to war and were either killed or sold into slavery.
Why do we need a book glorifying children bearing shields and armor?
I read the entire series, hoping and waiting for Katniss and her companions to take over the capitol and change things for the better. Get rid of the games! Stop the killing! Make everything better again.
But she didn't. In fact. At the end of the the 3rd book, Katniss actually agrees to continue the Hunger Games but forcing the capitol's children to fight one another. She actually wishes the same horrible and sickening fate on her enemies children that they had forced onto her.
I want children to have a heroin who would "turn the other cheek" and do good unto those who had wronged her. Instead, Katniss chooses to continue the violence and only change the face who suffers the pain. Real peace and happiness cannot come from revenge.
In fact, happiness is the last thing Katniss experiences in the final chapters of the book. Besides the over-drawn-out love triangle that was FINALLY resolved, Katniss is thrown into a deep and serious depression. I literally sat on the couch and cried my eyes out when I read the last 3 chapters. I felt horribly dark inside and like there was no good in the world. I felt sad and moody the rest of the afternoon because of what I read in those last chapters. I never want to even think about them again.
Imagine what's going throw a girl's mind as she sits in the corner of her dark bedroom and cuts her wrists. That's what was going through the mind of our heroin and the poor reader stuck on those pages experiences the same emotions.
My conclusion to the books
Hat's off to the author for the suspense and action. I know that it took a lot of time and effort to write the series...but I cannot and will not recommend this book for anyone. The end is too depressing and will only fuel the fire of the young readers already going through life's drama. Katniss had a chance to do the right thing in the end, but didn't. I was terribly disappointed and am now looking for another series to get the Hunger Games out of my system.