<3 <3 <3 <3
I had planned to avoid this book the way I would avoid an infectious disease. For some reason I was under the impression that dystopian fiction meant that the book required an unhappy ending. That's not something that I, personally, look for when I am sitting down to hear a story. (We have newspapers for that, thanks.)
But WalMart had nothing else that caught my interest the night I picked this up. I live in a small town, we don't have a real bookstore and I had just finished the first draft of Moon Dance so I was "hungry" for new words. I was going to get the Fallen books, but they did not have the first one (Fallen) despite having Torment and Passion, so that got scratched for now.
I took two days to even open this to the first page. "No! No! You're going to hate this." was going through my head. But I decided that I would read just one chapter. After all, I had paid for the darn thing.
One became two, two became three, you get the idea. I finished this book within 24 hours. I was that interested. And then I recommended my brother read it and he finished it in an afternoon, then went and picked up Catching Fire and Mockingjay the next day and finished those. (I'm not that far. I'm still weary of going further, truthfully. I can take the way I have this ending in my mind, but whether I'll be brave enough for the truth is yet to be seen.)
What I really liked about this book was the way that in a world that is so violent and so brutal that it is ultimately love -- or at least the illusion of love -- that ultimately saves (and I would assume dooms, eventually) the characters. I found myself wondering what I would do in Katniss' situation, torn between Peeta and Gale. I suppose that initially I wouldn't even be aware of their feelings or my own (she isn't). But as everything came to the front I think there would be a very difficult decision to be made. I certainly would not be as brave as her from a physical perspective. (Laughs).
What bothered me about this book is that we get two love interests and that we have one who is present and one who is in her thoughts. I feel very sorry for Peeta -- I think he is going to lose. Why? Because he is keeping up his end by being present, whereas Katniss is keeping up Gale's end by relying on their past together. And given her situation, the isolation she experiences for part of it where she is stuck waiting and watching for enemies several times, it only makes sense that she really gets to think about this now. And we see her struggling with it. She is worried about what Gale will think of what he sees on the cameras, she hopes that he will realize she is doing all she must in order to survive.
My money is on Gale because of the above-stated and because I have noticed that most books that feature a love triangle tend to follow an unwritten code that I call the "First Boy Rule". While we spend most of the book watching what happens between Katniss and Peeta, we are introduced to Gale before the Reaping happens and his closeness with Katniss is established right away. He is "First Boy". There is also the fact that he and Katniss have built up what they had on their own, naturally, through means that would be at least somewhat understandable to the reader. Despite Peeta's bread when he and Katniss were children, we are shown their relationship as fabricated and unnatural. It would go against the order of things for them to be together in the end because of this. (Although if they did have to, in my opinion, that would clinch how twisted this world is.)
Anyway, I cannot speak for Catching Fire or Mockingjay yet; but The Hunger Games, as a novel, captured and held my interest. I truly enjoyed reading it and am now actually considering reading some more dystopian YA. (Matched? Wither? Divergent? Delirium?) There are a lot of these that rub me the wrong way, but after reading The Hunger Games I'm starting to question if that might be a good thing and a healthy change of pace. I usually read paranormal or fantasy romance and found The Hunger Games to be a refreshing change. (Clearly I still care about romance -- it's my favorite thing to read and I spent a great deal of this post talking about it within the book -- but having new stages for it to be set on is welcome.)
Overall, I really enjoyed this book.
So, did anyone else have to pause before they picked up The Hunger Games? Should I read Catching Fire and Mockingjay? What other dystopians would you recommend (or recommend avoiding)?
Thanks for dropping by. :)