Thursday, September 2, 2010

The Hunger Games, Catching Fire, Mockingjay

I just started “The Hunger Games” series. I just finished it as well. It’s all over and I find myself slipping back into the arena. I really don’t feel the need to give you a summary, or a review, just know that all you’ve heard is true. Your incentive for reading this series is this- just do it. Oh, and bring kleenex.
I really just have to talk about these books, I really just have to pour my heart out, and if you haven’t read these books please stop reading, go buy all three and then come back so we can feel the after-affects together.
This world that Collins created is our world, just aged the tiniest bit and broken down so you can see the cracks present even in our current lives. The characters are raw, real and will resonate over and over and over. If you want a happily ever after don’t kid yourself and open up book one, it’s a non-stop train ride. It’s a full on Hunger Games.
The best part of any book, for most women, some men, is the love story. It’s the heart-wrenching, gut-twisting, emotions-I-Can’t-Control love that keeps us motivated to flip the page. There are several love stories all converging here. There are a few of those heart stopping moments. There is a subtlety that Collins possesses to foreshadow whats coming and still throw you for a loop. There is a memory that can outlast the brutality of the Hunger Games.
I fell in love with Peeta the way Katniss did, from the beginning, though I wouldn’t tell myself. There were still games to play, and I wanted to survive to read the end, not have my heart torn open by loosing my literary love. I have caught glimpses of the Gale vs. Peeta battle, which is, in fact a very realistic debate, given one is her match and one is her equal, and had heard all this “Peeta is a weakling” talk. He’s not weak, but he doesn’t have Katniss’s strength, he has words, where she fails to communicate, he rests as the eye, in the storm of The Hunger Games, though he wages the war as well. He is the memory, when Katniss forgets who she is, I think that’s why “Mockingjay” will tear you up so much! He does fight, however, but she refuses to viciously cut throats, or tear out hearts, but he will play the games, at all costs, to keep Katniss alive.
On a very personal note, I knew Katniss from page one, I could feel her, and I heard her heart beat, because we are truly one in the same. I also knew who she would pick, because he was the one who tested her weaknesses, who relied on her strengths, who called her bluffs, who reminded her that though she can’t go back, there is hope for tomorrow and this is the place where I love you. Katniss loves to a fault, meaning she fears and forgets to love at all, she feels pain to a point of self-pity and hates her weaknesses, refusing to see them for anything but the ways The Capitol has turned her into a monster. She wants the life she had before back, she wants to return to be like Prim, and she hurts to watch that little girl age into a woman who has witnesses death, destruction and fear. That is the reason Gale is ever on the table.
Gale, oh, Gale, what can I say about you? Everything. In the first few chapters of The Hunger Games, Katniss has nothing but a symbiotic friendship with Gale, she loves him because he has been around long enough to trust him, and for no other reason. Once she volunteers at the reaping her mind is already creating a protective shield, she repeats and reminds herself she won’t marry, or have children, and at the same time she considers that if this thing, these games, weren’t happening to her, Gale would be the natural turn for her life, though there had never been anything romantic between them. When The Games end and she watches the train speed back to District 12, she tries to go back, and forgets that she spoke candidly on the show only hours before. She forgets she loves Peeta, because Gale is waiting, and Gale may be able to quench the nightmares, stop the blood from flowing and reverse time, leaving the horrors of the Hunger Games in the arena. But we know she never really leaves the arena. In the end she realizes that fire cannot burn away fire, that it will only catch, ignite and destroy. Which it does, Prim dying completed the circle of the arena, tick tock, tick tock she became the Mockingjay when she volunteered out of love, not glory, for Prim, and then, it was all for nothing, so how can she go on? She reaches for the nightlock, and his hand is there, it isn’t shiny. She needed an orange colored sunset, if they refused to give her a necklace of rope. She needed the peace of a painting, if there is no arrow to pierce her heart.
And then Katniss goes forward, but she doesn’t move on, I’ve always hated that saying anyway, you don’t move on from those places, because they come again, and again, because you never truly leave the arena.
“I’ll tell them how I survive it. I’ll tell them that on bad mornings, it feels impossible to take pleasure in anything because I’m afraid it could be taken away. That’s when I make a list in my head of every act of goodness I’ve ever seen someone do. It’s like a game. Repetitive. Even a little tedious after more than twenty years.
But there are much worse games to play.”
The End
And that says it all, because sometimes that’s all you can be left with when the fire burns out, and the meadow is not yet green again. Sometimes all that’s left are the things you want to remember.
Thoughts on the covers: Super cool, I suggest you get the hardback versions, when you remove the paper cover, there is a surprise!
Thoughts on the names: I thought it was omnastic genius the way that Collins gave everyone in the capitol Roman names. Because Rome fell. I also love how Collins hearkened back to this time in history, because in ancient Greece the city-states had to send boy and girl offerings (virgins) into the maze of the minotar. Good effect.
All the names were effortless and perfect, the way she withheld some names was even better. What do you think Katniss named her children? If I had to guess there names would be Primrose Rue and their son named for Katniss’s father, because he was the original Mockingjay.

Gabrielle's bookshelf: currently-reading

Gabrielle's currently-reading book recommendations, reviews, favorite quotes, book clubs, book trivia, book lists

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