Today, I'm going to ramble on about some of my thoughts regarding The Hunger Games series. I will try to be as spoiler-free as I can, but I really can't guarantee anything. So read at your own risk.
I originally read The Hunger Games in the fall of 2010. Mockingjay has somewhat recently released, and I finally gave in to all of the buzz. I hadn't delved into the world of Dystopian YA at that point, so it was something completely new for me. I remember finishing the novel thinking that it would make a great movie (although I don't know if I knew there was going to be a movie at the time), but wasn't overwhelmed by it's awesome-ness like everyone else seemed to be. Since then, I've read and enjoyed a couple other Dystopian YAs (and had a couple disappointments), and now include it as one of the genres I enjoy to read.
Two weeks ago, I decided to re-read The Hunger Games in preparation for the movie. The more I saw the trailers, the more I realized that I didn't remember a lot of the details. After reading it a second time, I am now totally in love with it. I was able to enjoy the book so much more this time around since Dystopian YA wasn't new to me anymore. I was originally going to wait until after I saw the movie to start book two, so that it didn't cloud my enjoyment of the movie, but that lasted less than 24 hours. I stayed up until 3:30am when I finally picked up Catching Fire, and finished it by the next afternoon. It is officially my favorite book of the series.
Knowing I wouldn't be able to concentrate on anything else until I finished them all, I dove straight into Mockingjay. At first, I was a little thrown off, because of how different it was from the other two. The first two each included a game, so it was weird for the plot to be so different. I don't like change. Come to think of it, the last Harry Potter was my least favorite for the same reason: after six book of them going to school, book seven brought them somewhere else. I just really don't like change.
I'm not going to review or summarize or dissect these books. But I am going to ramble about a few points that I just need to get off my chest. (I can't talk with Christen about all of them because she hasn't picked up Mockingjay yet, so I came here.)
1. The wolf mutts at the end of The Hunger Games seemed out of place to me. I don't know why exactly, but they just didn't fit into the rest of the game in my head. I realize they aren't much different from Tracker Jackers and Jabberjays, but something about their sudden appearance threw me for a loop. I understand that there were other circumstances that were controlled, such as the fire, but these just seemed like it was overreaching what we knew about the Gamemakers. (Although they made a little more sense while watching the movie because we got to see the Gamemakers in action.) After reading book two and learning about all of the different traps and mutts in that game, the wolf mutts weren't nearly as off-putting.
2. I went into this series knowing there was a Team Peeta and a Team Gale. When I finished book one, I was totally confused. How could I be Team Gale when he had barely any face time? Although we did learn about him through Katniss, I still felt like I barely knew him. And when I finished book two, although I felt like I learned more about all three main characters, I still didn't understand how anyone could be Team Gale because I still barely knew him. Granted, I wasn't necessarily Team Peeta. I don't think I picked a team until the middle of Mockingjay, and I'm not really sure why I ended up on Team Peeta. I can't pinpoint what it is about Gale, or what he did, but I found myself rooting for Peeta.
3. I can't imagine my 14-15 year old self reading these books like so many teens are. I was reading YA when I was a teen, but there were not a lot of choices and there weren't nearly as many risks being taken by authors. It wasn't until I was around 19 or 20 that the YA market took off. I was basically reading Harry Potter, Harry Potter, and more Harry Potter. And we were only up to book five. I'm not saying these books would've been too violent for 14-15 year old me, but I was a pretty sheltered kid. The deaths in Harry Potter didn't affect me the way I think the death in The Hunger Games would, because of the magic. Although The Hunger Games is science-fiction, there's nothing magical about a bow and arrow or a knife.
4. Was I the only one that forgot Katniss and Peeta were still kids in Catching Fire? There were so many other adults around, and no one looked down on them due to their age. I kept having to remind myself that they were still 17 (I think). It didn't bother me, because these had to grow up too fast given their circumstances.
That's all for now. I'll probably ramble about the movie in the next couple of days. I'll give you a hint: best book-to-movie adaptation I've ever seen.