When I first heard about the Susan Collins novel, I decided not to read it. The last time I boarded a bookfad train I wasted precious hours of my life suffering through Twilight, driven only by morbid curiosity, "Can this get any worse? Let's see....yep."
Thankfully, The Hunger Games was a much better experience. But not the best.
I couldn't put the stupid thing down. As a result, I finished it within 24 hours. I was warned that I would want to read the sequel immediately after it ended, but oddly enough, I wasn't the least interested in reading it. I don't give a crap about what happens next.
Before you nutjobs try to burn me at the stake, let me break it down for you:
Reason #1: I was not compelled to like any of the characters for 2 reasons: I was warned most of them die and none were particularly likeable/memorable.
I have to be in love with at least one character for a book to carry me along. I wasn't even in 'like' with any of these characters.
Reason #2: It was predictable. Call it as original as you like, but IT'S BEEN DONE BEFORE:
May I refer you to Arnold Schwarzenegger's Oscar-worthy/awe-inspiring/tear-jerking/pants-wetting performance in 1984's The Running Man, in which the scum of a futuristic society are set loose in an arena for a televised battle to the death game.
(The only reason I know of this monstrosity is because my dad was watching it one day and I wondered why he was laughing so much...)
Or, even earlier than The Running Man, may I refer you to Star Trek's 1967 episode "Bread and Circuses" wherein Spock and McCoy are forced to battle to the death with two other competitors in a televised gladiator arena game.
(It's on Netflix. Watch it. Now.)
Reason #3: The writing was too simple. I could tell it was written for youth. Normally this wouldn't bother me (Harry Potter, Narnia, etc...), but there was no depth to it. There isn't a single quote worth remembering in the entire book.
For instance, I can't imagine one of the general authorities referencing it in a conference talk. What could they possibly use from it? "Brothers and sisters, we're going to have a big big big session!"
The Hunger Games was meaningless to me. I have to take something relevant away from a book for it to mean anything.
And for those of you who would argue that The Hunger Games is relevant because it's a so-called social commentary, lemme just say this: Shut up and read Les Miserables.
(Or The Hunchback of Notre Dame. Or anything by Isaac Asimov.)
But despite all my complaints I actually think The Hunger Games will make a great movie. In fact, I often felt like I was reading the novelization of a movie as I read the book. The one semi-redeeming quality of the book is its action sequences. I think they'll translate perfectly to the big screen. And the gouge-your-eyes-out relationship between Katness and Pippin (or whatever his name was) is flat and pointless enough to make an acceptable onscreen romance.
(Bella, Edward and Jac--er, I mean...)
But seriously though, I plan on seeing it when it hits theaters this March.
In conclusion, lemme give you a glimpse of my condition after I finally finished the book:
Ears ringing, head spinning, time wasted, patience hemorrhaging. Physical recovery, 6 weeks. Full psychological recovery, 6 months. Capacity to read crappy books, neutralized.