I got this as an audiobook from the library. I listened non-stop over the weekend, on bright sunny days working in my garden, cleaning up the house, so I don't know if I was operating in the proper sort of atmosphere to have the story work right. Anyway, the horrific situation the main characters were in didn't grabbed me by the throat any more than a reality show does, which is, of course, ironic, since that's what their lives were.
Basic premise: you got 12 Districts under the control of a decadent Capitol and every year, the districts are forced to send two people (1 boy, 1 girl, all kids aged 12-18 are eligible) to go fight to the death for public entertainment.
I got to say it was the reality show bits that gave me the willies more than the death--maybe because they felt familiarly creepy. I'm not fond of those shows so I wonder if the story would have had even more of an emotional connection/clout if I got caught up in them and knew them well.
The other bits ...., eh. The writing was pretty good, solid and not dumbed down or at least no more than the books I usually read. (I don't go for the challenging, as you may have guessed). Issues? I could sort of guess what was going to happen and I was usually right. I didn't love the main character/narrator but I think that's mostly me, not her. I felt removed from her in part because I didn't see that she changed much over the story and I'm used to huge character arcs. From the get-go, we knew she'd be competent and strong and so she was.**
It occurred to me that except for the ghoulish delectation of the deaths, I'm not sure the horror of the games is worth condemning more than any other war. Less in some ways, because there are at most 23 deaths a year and the homecoming winning soldier is treated beautifully--compare that to the thousands killed and the lack of care the regular soldier returns to. The touches that compared the hunger games to other wars were great: the way the "arenas" are turned into memorial parks and people "reenact" the battles. That really worked for me. The fact that those 12 districts are still at war and don't even seem to know it. . .
I'm glad I read it even though I didn't feel caught by it. Eh, I wouldn't have written about it except that it's SBD, I'm avoiding work.
Except just now, as I write this, I realize I'm caught like freaking crazy. The more I think about it, the more I realize I appreciated in this story. The next book of the trilogy isn't available on ebook and there's a wait at the library. I'm going to Borders to work today and I plan on buying book 2. I know I better wait until I'm done there or I'll sit and read instead of working.
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And also as I sit and write this, yet another Tiger Woods mistress is being interviewed and the throbbing concern in the interviewer's voice reminds me of folksy friendly interviewer, whatshisname, in the novel. Not quite the same level of horror as the novel, but definitely in the same family of entertainment glee at human suffering. Ugh. And wtf? Who are these women? And why aren't the interviewers giving them shit too? Like "and did you ever stop to think about his wife and kids?" IF they're going to get the fame from this stuff, they ought to get the heat, too.
No, I don't particularly want to hear those questions. I don't want to hear any of it. (click, it's off.) but if they're going to pummel Tiger with this crap, everyone should be getting the self-righteous airing, especially the women who are raising their hands volunteering -- telling us about their private lives that impacted a private family. UGH. I can't believe I'm writing about that idiocy. Ugh. Never again. I have to go wash my hands because I'm dipped in slime because I actually watched for a minute or two.
**although come to think of it, she does learn to perform for the cameras. That twisting the truth to win sympathy and stay alive is pretty compelling. And creepy.