Monday, October 11, 2010


After walking into bookstore after bookstore and seeing nothing but that bloody bird on a red cover, I finally picked up The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins. Filling me with memories of The Running Man, I was instantly hooked, burning through the pages in a matter of a day.

Always finish with a bang. (SPOILERS)

Now I love young adult fiction, but what to do when you feel you can only recommend two of the three books in a trilogy??? I can't tell you how disappointed I was when I read Mockingjay.

Katniss Everdeen, the tough, young, single-minded, heroine who defies the government and manages to navigate the dangerous world of Panem began with a very promising start in The Hunger Games. Similar to Princess Leia, Anne Shirley, Lisbeth Salander, or Lirael; Suzanne Collins created a female protagonist with the spunk, perseverance and the elusive universal appeal.

And then it all came crashing down.

Similar to World War veterans, Katniss witnesses one too many acts of violence and destruction that dissolves her world into a living hell. Yet unlike Lord of the Rings, a prime example of the bittersweet victory of war, Mockingjay leaves a rather sour aftertaste. Lacking the insight or humor of the final book in the Bartimaeus Trilogy (Jonathan Stroud) or weight of The Book Thief (Markus Zusak), the turn of events felt contrived and at times, out of place. As I turned page after page, I started to become frustrated. Not from the unfair losses and crimes of war, but from the constant stream of whining... and even worse... from our heroine Katniss herself!

I wanted to slap her, having invested time reading two novels I could see the story ebbing away into a mediocre melodrama rather than a satisfying dish. To my astonishment, Katniss had evolved into her mother, an inactive, weak-willed, shell of a girl, rather than emerge into a burning spirit rising from the ashes.

For the first time I actually believe Hollywood could do it better.