Friday, October 7, 2011

Book Review Friday #1: The Hunger Games (and other stuff)

*NOTE* If you are here because you are looking for me talking about the Hunger Games, please scroll down. :)


First, I have about a weeks worth of blogs with art to 'catch-up' with what I've done, and then I will try to post art 1-2 a week. I want to expand my blog to include other things, but it will still involve a lot of art/writing/photography because I love it a lot. But, ideally I want to post art/swaps 1-2 a week, and book reviews on Friday. I don't know if I am going to try doing anything else. I will talk about any interesting places I go to, but they are almost guaranteed to be accompanied by photo's.

Speaking of photo's I am working towards getting a body for my floating head, and I have decided that my next investment will be a camera. A nice camera. A DSLR. My point-and-shoot is no longer cutting it for what I want from many pictures, although it will be a go-to for carrying around everywhere. Right now my contenders are a Canon Rebel and a Fujifilm (can't remember the model). I have been wanted a Rebel for a while now, I have read reviews and honestly never found many negatives towards (at least none that would matter to me). However, I LOVE my Fujifilm point and shoot, I think it is an awesome camera, and I went for a Rebel because at the time I first started considering DSLR's fujifilm didn't have anything comparable, but I missed something and now they do. I read a review online and it seemed very positive, but I have a lot of time and will do much more research.

I am considering starting a Girl Scout blog/website because I think I have a lot of good ideas to share. My only thing is, I want to wait until I get the new, back-ordered badge book because they are re-doing the program. I got to see it last night and thought that it looked awesome, but I will see more when I actually own it.

Okay, that is all the rambling I have for now, I shall proceed to the bookness!!


So since I have an opinion on everything, I thought I would share more with the world wide web with doing some reviews and since I am a big huge nerdy nerd for books I will start with them. I applied for two sites that give you free books in exchange for reviews, which I thought would be nice for when I can't afford to have new books and want something to read.

Book Review #1 The Hunger Games

The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins is a Young Adult Dystopian fiction book. The Series take place an unknown time in the future. The world was ravaged by war, tragedy, and natural disasters and out of the ashes of North America, Panem was born. Panem is a country divided into a capitol and twelve districts. There were thirteen districts but District Thirteen was destroyed  seventy-four years ago during the 'Dark Days' when a rebellion took place. As punishment for that rebellion, every year each district must provide one boy and one girl between the ages of 12-18 to be sent to an arena where they will be followed by camera's every move they make while they fight to the death until one victor remains.

The story follows Katniss Everdeen, a sixteen year old girl from District Twelve. She has taken over the duties of providing for her mother and twelve year old sister Prim after the death of her father in a mining accident five years ago. She is a strong independent girl who uses the skills her father taught her to illegally hunt and gather food outside of her district boundaries in the 'forbidden wilderness'. Her shock comes when her younger sister is chosen by random at the annual 'reaping' for the Hunger Games. She immediately volunteers to take her place, although she considers it a death sentence. Her fellow tribute is Peeta Melark, a sixteen year old son of a baker who saved Katniss' life five years ago when she was starving by intentionally burning bread and giving it to her. 

They are both whisked off to the capitol where before they fight to the death they are dressed up and presented as a team to the eager capital audience. Katniss is opposed to the idea of them being presented like a team, because as tradition dictates, only one can survive. Dressed up by her stylist Cinna, Katniss is an immediate favorite, and becomes immediately known as 'The Girl on Fire' due to the real-looking flames on her outfit. Before the games, her fellow tribute Peeta reveals on a national interview that he is in love with Katniss. She is in disbelief and believes it to only be a ruse to protect himself. 

In the arena Katniss must use every skill she has to try to outwit her enemies as she struggles with the terrible acts she must commit, her humanity, her feelings for the games and the other players, particularly Peeta. Eventually it comes down to Katniss and Peeta, and through an act of defiance and an attempted double suicide, they are both declared victors, but the capitol, is not happy and a dark future awaits.



Suzanne Collins immediately pulls me into the world of district twelve. I instantly want to know more and more about it, and the fact that many of my questions are left unanswered at the end, makes me want more. I think Suzanne Collins writes in a way that is easy to understand and appeals to a wide audience (the books are rated for ages 12 and up, I am 24 and not the oldest reader by far).

.The book does feature a lot of graphic violence. The majority of the story is spent in an arena where 12-18 year olds are trying to kill each other. But Collins does a great job of narrating in a believable, raw way. There is no glorification of violence, Katniss takes no satisfaction in killing the others, even though they are trying to kill her. That is the second thing I enjoy about the book. The characters are believable. Katniss is strong, skilled, but she is a teenager, she is confused about many things and struggles with her decisions and morality. Killing or not killing is not easy for her. 

Collins even challenges the reader to question the authenticity of her characters through the narration. While Katniss is being groomed for presentation before the games, she wonders about her prep team. All they seem to worry about is frivolous nonsense, but Katniss wonders at times what she would be like if raised in the capital. This gives the reader the prompt to question those and other characters. I have to give any author  kudos for that, because the characters really do make the book, and the characters here are strong.

Prim is an instant like for me, as was Rue, and then comparing the two, I absolutely melted when Rue died. I cried. I was singing the song as I read to myself, and my voice broke, I felt as If I was there, holding her tiny hand as her skin went cold.

I really can't find much to complain about about the book, and I could talk about philosophy of them all day. The absolute perversion of the games is frightening. First the contestants are children. 12-18 year old children, made to fight for the death. Second, they are dressed up and paraded around before the world they are sent to slaughter. Third, people place bets on the outcome and it is honestly viewed as good entertainment for the people in the capitol. Fourth, I find none of this to be unrealistic. The way the world is heading with reality TV, child soldiers, and video-taping fights instead of helping people. I could see this as a reality, and that is part of what chills me the most.

Ok, one complaint. The ending left me wanting more and my library had NO copies of Catching Fire. Every. Single. Copy in my ENTIRE county library was checked out and many of them were on hold. Not fair. But honestly, if you are a fan of YA or distopian fiction, I would recommend it. :)

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