Jump to content
Objectivism Online Forum

Hunger Games Trilogy

Rate this topic


SapereAude
 Share

Recommended Posts

Does anyone have an opinion on these books?

I generally am not into the whole adults reading books intended for younger audiences thing, but when I heard it was a rip-off of Battle Royale I was curious enough to check the first one out. I read it in two hours so I'm still mulling over what I think about it- but I know I didn't hate it and think that if I was 14 or so I'd actually quite like it.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I liked them very much, and based on the casting so far I'm eager to see the first movie. They're really well written (though I usually don't like first-person narratives), and I wouldn't necessarily categorize them as YA. From an Objectivist standpoint, there are some themes that really resonate: rugged individualism, out-of-control government, using one's rational mind to solve dilemmas. On the other hand, the moral conflicts aren't as clear-cut as a Rand novel. However, I think this is a good thing given the characters make realistic moral decisions that could be seen as rationally self-interested.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

:thumbsup:

I wouldn't necessarily categorize them as YA.

That's how they're categorized in bookstores.

Its why I had so much trouble finding them.

I finished the rest of the series the next day and overall I really enjoyed them. I agree about the first person narrative-generally not my favorite.

POSSIBLE KINDA SPOILER I started worrying about where the book was heading philosophically into the second book- all the hatred against the idle wealthy elite but the third book really turned that around. END OF POSSIBLE SPOILER

As far as works of fiction go, I thought the first book was the strongest (stand alone) and probably wouldn't have enjoyed the third book at all if not for its association with the first.

Agreed about looking forward to the movie. The part of Katniss seems well chosen-her acting in Winter's Bone was fantastic (recommend checking it out if you haven't seen it). My main concern is if they are going to be aiming for a PG-13 rating. I think the point of the books will be largely lost if the brutality is toned down.

Edited by SapereAude
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Does anyone have an opinion on these books?

I read the first book the past couple days between work after seeing this thread. In summation: great plot, decent character (not super flawed... yet), so-so themes, annoying style (poor grammar and written like a movie script), confused philosophic undertones, not great handling of premise, terrible ending.

I really enjoyed the plot, which is what got me hooked on the Amazon Kindle preview and got me to buy and read through the rest of the first book (5 bucks is a good price for entertainment, too). Despite her skills at pacing and plot development, the book's great flaw is the author's understanding of a totalitarian dictatorship. According to her, major technological advancement is achievable on the backs of oppressed slaves. According to her, a whole population of modern civilized people could actually get enjoyment out of watching kids slaughter themselves. Or put another way: a dictator and its huge population of privileged friends could be both civilized and completely barbaric all at the same time. The book rests entirely on this political view, so a lot of it just struck me as silly.

Probably related, I didn't understand how she put so little weight on the seriousness of making a spectacle out of child brutality. To me this is about as horrific as it gets: innocent kids who have hardly lived, forced to become bloodthirsty savages for the supposed entertainment of an (I guess pathological) audience. To the author, it must make sense, but in some world unlike the one I know, to treat this like any other difficult life obstacle. But I couldn't believe how quickly she glossed over the brutality and the cause: the government. Maybe it's because she didn't really understand the government she created, and she was just worried about showing "the effects of war on adolescents" or something like that, as described on the back cover. Anyway, I couldn't get past her attitude about this.

Finally, the ending was horrible, including her portrayal of the "love" relationship, and I wasn't inspired to read the other two books. I DID Amazon-review-read them, though, and now I'm glad I didn't really read them. She loses it even more, if the reviews are accurate, and doesn't even manage a good plot.

Oh well, all-in-all I did enjoy the first book. I was able to twist it around in my mind a little, coupled with the great plot, to make it worthwhile.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 2 weeks later...

Or put another way: a dictator and its huge population of privileged friends could be both civilized and completely barbaric all at the same time.

Rome? It was at the time the greatest civilization mankind had built and the author admits that the basis is in this.

On my first read I found irritation with many of the same plot holes you found so I reread it. Mind you-if I didn't read so quickly I probably wouldn't have bothered. Sometimes I find a tendency in myself to miss details that would correct the thing I'm aggravated about because my irritation in blinding me.

It is still a very flawed book but I'll point out the couple of things that you took issue with that I thought well enough explained by the author:

>>Spoilers<<

According to her, a whole population of modern civilized people could actually get enjoyment out of watching kids slaughter themselves

Point one: it wasn't actually a whole modern civilization. Only the ruling city of politicians had modern technology. The rest of the country were kept as serfs, the majority not even enjoying hot water or electricity. No one had motor vehicles and no one was allowed to travel. All districts but the ruling politicians lived in a society that seems much like feudal Europe.

Point two: it was made clear that no one but the ruling elites and their chosen enforcers actually enjoyed the games. The rest of the population was forced to watch. She makes mention that showings of the games were mandatory in attendance and thatthe police would visist the homes of anyone claiming to be too sick to attend.

According to her, major technological advancement is achievable on the backs of oppressed slaves

She makes it pretty clear that much of the technology was left over from the previous civilization. This is then clarified in greater detail in the third book.

Probably related, I didn't understand how she put so little weight on the seriousness of making a spectacle out of child brutality. To me this is about as horrific as it gets: innocent kids who have hardly lived, forced to become bloodthirsty savages for the supposed entertainment of an (I guess pathological) audience. To the author, it must make sense, but in some world unlike the one I know, to treat this like any other difficult life obstacle

I don't think I saw her glossing over it. In fact, some school systems are trying to ban the book because of the brutality she depicts. I think what she is showing (and probably the way she shows it is more effective than much of the rest of her writing style) is the apathy that sets in on people who are so brutally oppressed as to become hopeless. I'm not sure if you recall that the reason the "games" were put in place was because of a rebellion against the the government in which one of the districts, to set an example, was completely annihilated with nuclear weapons. I also think that her showing of the apathy of the populace is consistent with many dystopian visions, not to mention historic government atrocities (Stalin, Mao, Hitler).

The interesting thing to me about the trilogy is that even though the 2nd and 3rd book are even more flawed from a writing standpoint her political vision becomes much more coherent, IMO.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 3 weeks later...

Thanks, SapereAude, for taking the time to get me to read the rest. I'm glad I did, and I now agree with all of your points.

My reservations and criticisms were put to rest with the elaboration in the 2nd and 3rd books. In fact, this series should have just been one book, it's such a fast read. I read two and three continuously, and can only separate them because of the major event differences: 2nd games vs. rebellion. The only criticism that remains is about the writing style. I still don't like it much... but I just tuned it out.

An amazon.com reviewer hated that the main character was drugged for a good portion of the last book, and also that she wasn't some Incredible Hero by the end of the series. Well, what did the reviewer expect? The book is about a horrible, gory government oppressor. All the main character ever knew was this oppression, and the plot is about her struggle against the worst of it. By the end of the third book, I more or less thought that the ending was as happy as it could have been. I was even satisfied.

In short, the second two books exceeded my expectations and presented a pretty consistent story. I enjoyed all three books together. And the author can write one helluva plot.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

One small point/question and a MAJOR SPOILER:

It wasn't clear to me whether Katniss shot Coin instead because Coin was responsible for killing Prim, or because Coin was not different enough from Snow to make the rebellion mean anything. Was this clear to you?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 3 weeks later...
  • 4 years later...

I watched Mockingjay2, (finishing the Hunger Games series), and was struck by a similar sense of the shooting of Coin. Katniss met with Snow in the greenhouse prior to the event. He pointed out that he had been as focused on Katniss as Katniss had been focused on him while Coin had been playing them both. It was obvious, to me, that by the time she drew her bow on Snow, that she was to shoot Coin instead. At that point, Coin was the dictator (interim president, I think she called it)  in the making, waiving the election because the people were far too emotional to render a fair and impartial election.

With Snow disposed of by the mob, and Coin removed by the arrow guided by a "pure heart", the audience is encouraged to draw their own conclusion about what the political results of the election might yield.

To gain a sense of politics as a magnifying lens focusing the ethics of the electorate, consider this assessment of how the electorate "built this." In the movie, lip service was paid to how the election was going to secure individual rights, but the series did not project a clear message of just what this was specifically supposed to mean.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

enjoyed the plot overall. Especially enjoyed Peetas battle for truth in reality. And the empowering of the individual; Katnis's need to to kill the status quo.  But there were too many forced side stories. Lot of fillers to grab attention. Story would have been better had it been told in one book. 

Sensationalist qualities is what's given it its fame. Which I understand is a bit of the point of making art/movies. But it was over the top trying to tug at emotions. Wish there would have been less dialogue by Katniss trying to prove her motives.  Although, can't bitch about the ending. Certainly not idealized as the perfect comfortable ending, which is true after a brutal war among classes.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

Loading...
 Share

  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    • No registered users viewing this page.
×
×
  • Create New...