Author: Suzanne Collins

Type: Fiction, novel

Part of series: The Hunger Games (#3)

Published: 2010

I read it: July 2011


You don’t want to read my thoughts if you like this series. If you haven’t read it, then you’re not missing out.

The first book was okay, and then things got worse–a lot worse. Collins writes in outline form. She dictates plot points without ever injecting any personality to the story. It’s like reading a book-length summary. Punctuation is tossed onto the page and left to lay where it lands, facts simply don’t match up from one sentence to the next (a “spray of bullets” occurs at the same time as the “silent night air”), and the aggravating and unnecessary first-person-present POV slips into near-omniscience for exposition purposes at the author’s convenience. The writing is not just kinda bad…it’s plain bad. Katniss says of her father, “I miss him so badly it hurts.” It really hurts.

Oh, Katniss. Predictably defiant but never really capable of blazing her own trail. She describes one of her actions as a “noble impulse” in case the reader wasn’t capable of picking up on obvious character motivations. Katniss spends most of the book being shuffled around, getting drugged or knocked unconscious, and waking up in hospitals. Maybe it’s not all her fault because she’s stuck in a silly plot, one that revolves around a manufactured revolution. I didn’t buy it from the start, but kept thinking maybe there was a huge underlying angle I didn’t see coming. Nope, it’s just that the characters really do exist in a video game world where the streets fall on hinges while they dodge lizards and bombs and buckets of hot steam. There’s even a wedding and a useless epilogue—but Collins ain’t J.K. Rowling, as much as her fans want Katniss to be a female HP. Not happening.

I’d offer some apologies for all this negative energy, except for the fact that I had to put so much of my own energy into finishing this trilogy. I had heard so many supportive “you can read it in a day!” reviews that I expected it to be an actual page-turner. The first book, maybe. By the third it was a huge blue-bound stack of paper I forced myself to get through so I could go back to reading other fiction, the kind where it feels authors actually leave a bit of their own blood—not just their characters’—on the page.

See also: The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet’s Nest.

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