alexandral: (Powerful opponents - hard day)
"Hunger Games" is a big disappointment of 2011, something I expected to like following almost universal praise this series receive in Lj land.. This disappointment goes quite deep covering many different levels and I feel compelled to write this down while I remember, even though I am probably re-capping some of the things I said previously:

Hidden because this is may be too long and might contain spoilers, even though I tried to be vague and not disclose the ending )

Overall: Book 1: 8/10, book 2: 6/10, book 3: 4/10, on average: 6/10

PS: I always welcome a discussion, but please don’t comment with statements like "You read it all wrong". The way I read it is the way I read it, and although I respect opinions that differ from mine, and I am 100% sure that all opinions are valuable, I lived half of my life in a place where I was told what to think by other people, and unfortunately this made me quite sensitive to anyone’s attempts to tell me what to think. So – your opinion is yours, mine is mine and if you think that your opinion is somehow more valuable than mine we differ on a very fundamental level.

On the happier note: Lois McMaster Bujold! Vorkosigan Saga! HERE I COME! Cordelia and Miles and everyone else!!!!!!!!
alexandral: (Sita sings the blues - Wink)
I am still mostly doing RL things: spending the time with the family, eating cakes, shopping and enjoying myself. Tomorrow is the New Year Eve, the biggest holiday of the year in Russia. This year we are not going to Russia for the New Year holidays, we will be going there this summer instead, hopefully in time for the mushroom picking season (I LOVE MUSHROOMS).

I am just dropping by to post a happy ramble about "Warehouse 13". I tried the show last year, but for some reason the first season didn’t call to me immediately and I dropped it. This year my daughter wanted to watch the show together on holidays, and after dragging my feet a little bit I agreed! And how happy I am now that I did, especially after the two biggest let downs of this month: I mean the ending of "Hunger Games" book trilogy (I hopefully will tell you more once the good cheer period is over) and the ending of the season 3 of "Misfits". Now, the ending of the season 3 of Misfits was a Very Bad Ending of The Season, but really, I wasn’t too invested anyways.

But onto happier things! Unexpectedly, "Warehouse 13" is such a delight: gender balanced, funny, feel-good and stereotype-avoiding! Well, there was that one episode about Moscow, but I am going to forgive the show because otherwise this is like the good old times of good assembly cast shows! The abundance of fabulous and various female characters is particular nice. The abundance of characters that aren’t young and gorgeous, but are still interesting and engaging is very welcome too. Plus there are so many non-standard relationships in the show! Even women are having meaningful friendships! :D

This is exactly the kind of thing that makes my holidays perfect (we are already in the middle of the season 3) and makes me forget the disappointments of yesterday (Hunger Games, I mean you). All is not lost. If Sci Fi channel is continuing a show like this year after year – I have hope in the future of TV. :D And it is not as if there is anything particular special about "Warehouse 13" (apart from the gender balance which is indeed a rare thing).. It is .. just good fun!

PS: My daughter says that I am like Irene Frederic, and a little bit like Myka. :D And she sees herself as Claudia.
alexandral: (Star Wars - Leila fighting)

I am through about 40% of "Mockingjay", and dear friends list, I am getting seriously annoyed. Katniss is undergoing what is probably the worst ever character development in the history of fiction.

Spoilers )

PS: Shall I keep listening? There are 6.5 more hours of this! Or shall I give up, find the spoilers, and move on to some better books?
alexandral: (The Painted Veil - Kitty China Day)
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: )

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
alexandral: (Winnie-the-Pooh - scratching his ear)
I am living a pretty uninteresting life at the moment, much work is done and nothing else. Of interesting things, I have embarked on a full re-watch of "Jeeves and Wooster" with the family and so far this has been a great fun.

I am also listening to "Hunger Games" audiobooks. As expected, I love the series: it has lovely energetic writing, fabulous lead characters (especially Katniss), and is very comforting. After few months of "A Song of Ice and Fire" obsession it is nice to read something that is scarily realistic and tame at the same time. I am still in the middle of the first book of the series, but I have no fear. I am sure everything will be fine at the end, and Katniss and Peeta are going to get married and live happily ever after. I will be VERY surprised if this is not the case..

For the record, these are my predictions:
1. Katniss' sister and mother will die.
2. Gale will turn out to be evil
3. Katniss and Peeta will marry and have babies.

Among the interesting things in this series, I like the gender reversal with Peeta and Katniss where Katniss has traditionally more "male" role and Peeta has traditionally "female" role. Even the names sound in this way: if I didn't know who is who I would have thought Katniss is a boy name and Peeta is a girl name.

But!! (there is a BUT) From what I have heard of the series I was ready for something that heavily references "1984" and "The Running Man", but to add to this, the book seems to be very closely following Japanese novel "Battle Royale" (please see the picture below) . In fact, the resemblance is so noticeable that I had to Google the issue and to my disappointment discovered that Suzanne Collins maintains that she "had never heard of that book until [her] book was turned in,". Call me a cynic, I just can't believe it. "Battle Royale" was published in 1999, it has been adapted into a high-influence film ("Battle Royale") and manga of the same name, and Suzanne Collins (and her editors, etc.) have never heard of it?

PS: I am also finding out that there is a "Hunger Games" movie in making, with a 21-year old Blond actress playing Katniss. This sounds terrible!!!!!!!!


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