‘The Hunger Games’ is better than ‘Twilight’
I don’t really like tween fiction. Why? Because it’s often written with an utter lack of complexity that borders on apathy. Twilight was about as complicated as an oversized bowel movement, and really my experience with tween crap ends there because I have both a soul and manhood.
Well that ended today when I read an entire book in one sitting. I haven’t done that since The Girl Who Played With Fire, and the toll on my body was entirely too high. Sure, Hunger Games wasn’t precisely the lengthiest tome to have crossed the screen of my Kindle Fire, but for something to have captured my attention for so long is a feat of some strength. It wasn’t until the final few pages when I felt as if I’d been deceived and I choked up a little.
The Hunger Games moves with a stark pace allowed only by novels with superior intellect or by those whose simplicity is inherently linked to their bare narrative. Hunger Games falls into the latter category. It’s straightforward from beginning to end, and Suzanne Collins makes not the slightest effort to spice up the language. However, where such vanilla offerings usually tend to reflect a lack of literary talent, Collins at least has the decency to make the plot clip forward with interesting pictures. Our heroine, Katniss Everdeen, is fairly shallow as a protagonist, but she’s at least intriguing enough to become progressively more interesting as the story proceeds. She’s the breadwinner for her family, she’s portrayed as an inelegant simple-minded individual with subtle beauty, and she’s subjected to the lamest attempt at a love triangle I’ve seen since I couldn’t decide whether to masturbate to Katy Perry or Jennifer Lawrence (Katy Perry won).
The dystopian climate Collins has engineered is bare-bones. We’re told that seventy-four years ago all the Districts rose up against the Capitol, and the evil minds from the Capitol resorted to genetic engineering and a superior air force to quash the insurgents. In the wake of the rebellion, the Evil People from high society created the Hunger Games as a way to remind the Districts of their defeat. That’s all well and good, but Collins never makes any attempt to show how vicious and bloody the concept of children (aged 12-18) killing each other really would be. It’s presented as ‘just another happenstance of life,’ like having a job or death. I understand it’s supposed to be a bleak reality, but at no point was there mention of the unbearable brutality of the situation. Yeah, it’s a young adult book, I get it. Still, it’s as if it was No Big Deal that twenty-four kids would be chopping each other up with swords and spears and bows.
The actual Hunger Games and Katniss’ journey through them were interesting enough to keep me entertained. There was no chunky inner dialogue scenes or any mention of her real response to the situation at hand. Collins just sort of floats Katniss through the Games with her simple writing.
Towards the conclusion, we’re really blasted with the fact that Katniss now has two lovers and she’s just so CONFUSED between the two of them. It’s quite literally the lamest and most half-assed attempt at a love triangle I’ve ever read, and it makes for a very disappointing denouement. I repeatedly shouted at my Kindle and almost stopped reading altogether at 95% completion. It’s so utterly shitty a finale that it really does spoil an otherwise-good novel. I know that there are sequels and the device was meant as a bridge between them, but for boiling-hot-fuck’s-sake, why?
In all, The Hunger Games is satisfying. It’s not great, it’s not bad, it’s just sort of average. It moves fast enough to be a quick read, and that’s about the best thing I have to say, besides that it’s leaps and bounds above the disaster that was the Twilight series (yes, Curious Reader: I did read all of the Twilight books). As far as tween fiction goes, it’s probably the best thing since free condoms at health clinics.
That analogy brought to you by Superchick.
Conclusion: According to measurements, my penis shrank by one inch after reading this book. 2.5/5.0