Not since “Twilight” have I been asked so much about a series. Practically everyday someone asks me if I have read the “Hunger Games” and if so, what do I think about it? Unlike with “Twilight,” my feelings on this series are not so clear-cut. My emotions were really mixed after reading the first book in the trilogy so I decided to wait until I’d read all three before attempting to articulate my feelings. I felt very differently about each book, so I’m glad I waited before writing the review. There were things I loved about these books and things I didn’t love so much. I will start with the things I loved:
Collins’ characterization was spot on. I connected almost immediately to Katniss and understood the depth of who she was and what she was about. I wasn’t at all surprised when she took her sister’s place in the reaping because Collins had done a great job of setting this up. I knew Katniss would do whatever it took to protect Prim. I also deeply connected with Peeta. Can I just take a minute and say that I loved him? I was a fan of his from the get-go. Haymitch was another character who was greatly developed. And, while we didn’t get to know Gale much in the first book, by the third book I had a good understanding of him as well.
If you’ve read many of my reviews you know that I’m a sucker for love triangles and this one was superbly done. I definitely felt the conflicting emotions Katniss had for both Peeta and Gale. While my feelings were clearly in Peeta’s favor, I felt like the love triangle was believable and it kept me glued to the pages.
The last thing I loved about the books was how compulsively readable they were. I couldn’t put them down. However, I’ve read numerous books that I couldn’t put down. The difference is that oftentimes I feel a sense of loss when I finish a book or series I love. I wish so badly that I could keep reading about the characters I’ve grown to love. Not so with these books. I read them quickly because I desperately wanted them to be over. The premise was so disturbing that I had to know if Katniss would survive and at what cost.
The thing I didn’t like about the books was how sick to my stomach I felt while reading them. The premise was extremely dark and depressing and I didn’t feel like there was ever any hope. I felt this mostly in the first book, which was my least favorite. In “Catching Fire” I almost abandoned it halfway through when I thought it would just be a regurgitation of the first one but then Collins surprised me and the book started going in another, more hopeful direction. This made my happy and I loved how this book ended. The third book started out great, but about halfway through the story took a turn that angered me. It redeemed itself though and I did love how it ended. I wished some of the things had happened differently but overall, “Mockingjay’s” ending was very satisfying.
Overall, I think Collins did an amazing job with this trilogy. I wouldn’t have had such strong feelings about the novels if she hadn’t done such an awesome job with the characters, imagery, action and details. I would recommend these books, but be warned – they are difficult, gruesome reads and are not for the faint of heart.