One of the ways I celebrated the 2010 holiday was reading The Hunger Games trilogy by Suzanne Collins consisting of the titles and order of The Hunger Games, Catching Fire, and Mockingjay. Though I prefer leaving the book reviews to Miss Elizabeth and her Never Ending Reading List, these books moved me so much I felt compelled to blog about them.
First, let me say this is one of the best, most powerful set of books I've read since Harry Potter. It has definitely entered my top 10. In fact I would use Collins's futuristic society and mores as teaching tools over Orwell's 1984 and Huxley's Brave New World. This is a story about survival, politics, power, struggles, rebellion, and most of all, love. The characters are engaging, the world is unbelievable and there is a richness of themes that require repeat readings.
For myself, Catching Fire is my favorite, but The Hunger Games paves the way for the powerful story of the second. And the twists and turns. However, I am still struggling over Mockingjay. Though the very last pages brought me to tears, three quarters of the book feels like a struggle. Collins unravels the main characters she spent the two previous books building. Thus, Mockingjay is inconsistent with the trilogy's overall tone... almost a separate story entirely. Some of the changes work once you reach the conclusion, but others are unnecessary. Plus there is more gore in the third so be wary about giving it to young children.
Actually, I should confess that the whole series put me in such a head space that I had nightmares-- like the main character-- until two days after completing the trilogy. My husband had the same issue. Perhaps the result of overactive imaginations. Despite my odd reaction, read these books. They truly are wonderful.