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Hello, my name is Valorie. I have a Master's Degree in History and a license to teach-- I have been both university professor and public school teacher. Currently, I am a middle school social studies teacher. I love horror movies and spooky things. Every day is Halloween. I am also a passionate book blogger.

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Book Review: 23:27 by H.L. Roberts

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Book Review: The Hunger Games (The Hunger Games, #1) by Suzanne Collins

Title: The Hunger Games 
Series: The Hunger Games
Book Number: 1
Author(s): Suzanne Collins 
Genre: Dystopia Sci-Fi 
Finished: August 21, 2012

Most of the popular books of late have been tales of little substance. The female characters are weak, silly, or co-dependent to some male who has emotional problems and treats her rather poorly. I will refrain from getting into a long dialogue about how this may negatively impact a few generations of young girls, but I will say books like Twilight and Shades of Grey have little to nothing to offer people in the way of true importance and meaning. With that being said, the one thing that I liked immediately about the Hunger Games was the female lead, Katniss. She is independent and strong, yet she still displays a weakness that she cannot admit or make sense of, which I think shows her complexity and depth. She isn't some generic caricature of the strong female that can do all, and neither is she weak, weepy, or vapid. Fortunately, since the Hunger Games is not only an immensely popular book, but also a movie, I don't need to repeat the plot. But to give a very succinct summary: it is a dystopian future of an undated era. What's left of civilization is called Panem and is situated into a number of districts, 12 in total, and a Capitol city that is pretty much the center of money and power. There was a rebellion years ago that failed, and so every year in remembrance each of the districts must give a boy and girl as "Tribute" to fight other Tributes from all districts in the annual Hunger Games. It's a reminder of the power of the government, you know? The power of life and death. Poverty and want are rampant throughout this world. So is fear. Enter Katniss Everdeen from District 12, a depressing and poor mining area. Most people there are starving and impoverished. To put food on the table Katniss has become very capable with a bow and arrow, which she uses to hunt food. When her little sister is drawn in the random lottery that selects Tributes, Katniss volunteers. The rest of the book contains the trails of training and then finally the games themselves, completely bloody and violent affairs. I suppose when it is die or win, the natural desire is to live, even at all costs. I can't say that I completely hate the other Tributes for their brutality. When your only choice to stay alive is to kill everyone around you, I think it would bring the worst in a person out. And I also think there is a lot more psychology and human nature there than we really need to ponder, but needless to say, it says something about how strong the will to live is, and what fear and pain can bring out in a person. But when a book makes you ponder human nature and even question yourself it is a good book. I love dystopia novels because I think they are more accurate as to what a true "utopia" would become. I'm not bothered by violence or gore, and I certainly don't hold it against an author when there is a copious amount of both. To be honest, I respect an author who doesn't shy away from graphic detail. There was a point during the romance that I wanted to shake her and make her pay a little attention to the fact that the dude (Or Peeta, as he is called) really does like him. But then I realized that I was being unfair to her development as a character. First off, she is fighting for her life... boys aren't a priority. Secondly, she has always had to struggle and fight and care for those she loves. When you live day to day, you aren't afforded the time to ponder your future. And living like that has a way of sucking the feeling out of a person, giving them only what they need to operate at a basic mode of survival. Unnecessary feelings of want or desire or frailty just don't fit in, so they have to go. She wasn't blind for not being a silly girl when I wanted her to be. She was even more real of a person because she didn't see. And I liked the parts where she was close to giving up the most because it threw a kink into the typical "badass girl" scheme. I mean, come on... we can't be brave and strong and capable all of the time. I know most authors like to Mary Sue and live vicariously through their characters, but this isn't one of those cases. Thank God. That is on my list of things that grate on my nerves... it's a long list. I will read book two and three, and I am certain I will enjoy them.