alexandral: (The Painted Veil - Kitty China Day)
[personal profile] alexandral
I am sailing fairly quickly through "Hunger Games" trilogy, mostly because I promised myself to listen to THE WHOLE OF "Vorkosigan Saga" next and all the books are ready and I can't wait!

I feel very apologetic because I know so many of you on my friends list love the trilogy, but "Catching Fire" (the second book of the trilogy) left me not very impressed. I AM SORRY. But I must tell you the truth. :D

The first book of "Hunger Games" trilogy ("Hunger Games") had a really good idea, even though this was something that Susanne Collins can't be given the full credit for (in my opinion) because even if you take "Battle Royale" out of the equation there is also "Running Man" and "1984". This idea worked really well in the first book, but the second book (Catching Fire) feels like rehashing of the same story. Inventing the way to send Katniss and Peeta back into the Arena felt contrived and unexciting.

Plus there were a couple of points I found particular problematic:

1. Worldbuilding.
I waited for some of the more cumbersome aspects of the Hunger Games Universe to be explained in the second book but there was no explanation:

- Why do we have so many Greek/Roman names and terms? Where have they come from? This feels like pseudo-Chinese used in Firefly without any explanation as to how it has become so popular. How Greek/Latin language has become so commonly used in USA? I feel I need an explanation.

- Why in the world that seems to be highly technologically developed people are still using coal? Why are they using manual labour? Also, when technology is developed well enough the production of material goods becomes very cheap which leads to the overall increase in the quality of life. This is the law of technological development. Why not in Panem?

2. Love triangle

I have heard that "Hunger Games" is anti-Twilight. I agree to a certain degree because Katniss, in some ways, is anti-Bella (apart from the "boy magnet" quality they share).

But I must point out that the love triangle part of "catching Fire" is taken out of Twilight. Some of descriptions of Gale's hot skin being warm and sunny made me think directly back to Jacob, the hot blooded werewolf.

I think I have made my mind up about love triangles. I do not like them. All that "blah blah blah, it feels so good to be kissing Gale" and "blah blah blah, I like Peeta sleeping with me and holding me too" is just so.. not my thing at all. I want Katniss to make her mind up as soon as possible. I am getting close to becoming annoyed; this is so not my thing.

For the record, my money is still on Peeta to "get the girl" at the end.

3. I am getting a little bit tired with too many descriptions of various frocks and jewels Katniss "is made to wear against her will".

This is not a fashion magazine! Continuous lavish and loving descriptions of dresses and outfits make the author look hypocritical because she tries to criticise consumerism, in the same book. I hope to see less of descriptions of various outfits and more of character and worldbuilding development in the book 3, "Mockingjay".

Overall, after two books I rate this series 7/10, mostly because the first book was really good. I am giving the series some time and may be everything will be explained in the book 3 and the love triangle will be resolved soon.

But I definitely don't understand why so many people are so in love with this series (I would really appreciate any explanations). WHY??????????

For me, the series feel like a patchwork with the best bits taken from various sources (for example, Rue's death scene brings Ophelia painting to my mind, etc.).

PS: Somehow reading "Catching Fire" made me appreciate "Harry Potter" much more. I think Harry Potter is a much better series, especially in the worldbuilding sense. You might see me eating my hat and admitting that may be I have always been a bit unfair to "Harry Potter". :D
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January 2012

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