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Posts Tagged ‘Suzanne Collins’

Top 10 Books I read in 2012

December 27, 2012 Leave a comment

Comments on this list before I begin.  First of all, this is not a top 10 list of books published in 2012 that I read.  This is a top 10 list of books that I read in 2012, regardless of year published.  Only books that I read for the first time in 2012 qualify for the list.  For example, I reread The Black Company by Glen Cook. which I have rated at 4.75 stars and my #18 favorite book.  However, because it is a reread, it does not qualify for this list.  Lastly, these are my opinions, and my opinions alone. Read more…

Yeah … Suzanne Collins Should Have Thought About That …

July 30, 2012 Leave a comment

So, who want to go to The Hunger Games styled theme park?  Anyone?  No?  Aw, come on!  What do you mean you don’t want to be chased around and hunted down in a replica of the arena?  What do you mean you don’t want to dodge arrows, knives, tridents, etc in a fight for your life?

Yeah, not very likely that such a thing would be a big hit.  Damn, a whole potential revenue stream down the drain.  Oh well, good thing for Collins that she made a boatload of cash off the books and the movies.

But still …  nah!

Book Review: Mockingjay by Suzanne Collins

July 28, 2012 Leave a comment

Warning! Contains spoilers!

Mockingjay is the final installment of The Hunger Games Trilogy. For one last go, we revisit post-apocalyptic Panem where Katniss Everdeen and the rebels are fighting against the tyrannical government. The book has moments of promise, usually when Katniss gets away from her brooding, who does she really love internal monologues. But it also makes me, as a fan of the first book of the trilogy, find it as a less than fulfilling end to the saga.

Look, we all know Katniss loves Peeta by now. Gale is just a distraction for her. But still, this little love triangle consumes so much of the book that it takes away from the final story of the saga. In the end, when Gale essentially gives up on Katniss and never returns to be with her, and Katniss realizes she loves Peeta, the whole thing is so anti-climatic that you wish the author had thrown a curve. But, you also know that if that curve had been thrown you would be just as disappointed had she wound up in Gale’s arms because it was just so wrong on every level. Read more…

Current Reading List

July 3, 2012 Leave a comment

So my current reading list looks like this:

Nearly done with Feast of Souls (Magister Trilogy Book 1) by C.S. Friedman

Then I have The Innocent Mate by Karen Miller, The Snow Queen by Joan Vinge, and finally Mockingjay by Suzanne Collins.

That should handle me for the rest of the month I think.

Book Review: Catching Fire by Suzanne Collins

June 25, 2012 Leave a comment

Warning! May Contain Spoilers!

Catching Fire is book two of The Hunger Games trilogy by Suzanne Collins. It continues the story of Katniss Everdeen and her trials and tribulations after being a victor in the Hunger Games, a sadistic competition put on by the totalitarian government of a post-apocalyptic America. The games pit children against children in a yearly fight to the death.

First off, and bluntly, Catching Fire is not as good as The Hunger Games, the first book of the trilogy. Secondly, it is not a bad book and is quite above average. Thirdly, it suffers from, and even magnifies, one of the major problems with the first book – its predictability greatly detracts from the story. Read more…

The Deadly Sin Of Not Giving A Book A Five Star Rating

June 7, 2012 Leave a comment

There are seven commonly recognized deadly sins.  They include wrath, greed, sloth, pride, lust, envy, and gluttony.  But there is also an eighth deadly sin so cardinal that is often over looked.  That sin is daring to say that a book is not “5 star” quality.

Yep, it is true.  Honesty is not looked upon kindly in the world of book reviews.  In that world, glowing, five star praise painting every novel written as the next best thing since Lewis Carroll, J.R.R. Tolkein or C.S. Lewis put pen to paper is the order of the day.  If you give a hedged four-star review while heaping praise, you can usually avoid most ofthe inevitable aftermath.  But, dare to give a book three-stars or less and you better be ready for scorn to be heaped upon you and the personal attacks to ensue.

When I said that Ian Irvine’s latest fantasy novel Vengeance, The Tainted Realm Vol 1 was only worth three-stars saying it read “like I was in the middle of a Tuesday night AD&D session” and it was not for anyone with “discriminating tastes in epic fantasy” it was on.  I received angry emails calling me a “worthless piece of s**t” and accusing me of “being jealous that I could never write such a wonderfully contrived novel as Mr. Irvine does time and time again.”  Well, excuse me for having an opinion.  Excuse me for thinking the book was mediocre.

Even when I recently posted my review of Suzanne Collins’ The Hunger Games, which I gave four out of five stars, I was not immune from attacks.  While I recommended the book, I also said that some things disappointed me such as the “simplistic prose”, its predictability and the fact that the basic premise was not very original even if the story details themselves were.  That caused fans of the book to unleash upon me because I did not think it was worthy of five star praise like they did.  Again, sorry for having an opinion that you did not like I suppose.  Please note that I did give it four stars.  Geesh!

It is an odd thing to experience, especially as an aspiring writer seeking publication.  One person upset with my review of The Hunger Games whined at me in a long, meandering email, “How would you like it if someone called something you wrote ‘simplistic and predictable’ and did not give it five stars?”  Well, honestly, as long as they are being honest and not vindictive or just a generally ignorant ass?  Then I do not care.  Opinions are, as they say, like butt holes.  Everyone has them.

I’m not one to toss around five-star ratings for anything, least of all books.  I’ve only ever thought that three books I have ever read deserved such an honor: Bram Stokers’s Dracula, C.S. Lewis’ The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe, and Lewis Carroll’s Through the Looking Glass.  Sorry.  That’s my opinion.  Others have come close, but none has quite hit those heights.

I’m honest.  If you do not like it, don’t visit my site any more.  It is still a free country.

Book Review: The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins

May 26, 2012 Leave a comment

Warning! May contain spoilers!

The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins is the latest iteration of an often-told story; how people who have no beef with one another behave when forced to for survival. Whether it is any number of tales of gladiators, Koushun Tukami’s Battle Royale, William Golding’s Lord of the Flies, Steven King’s The Running Man or the movie adaptation, it is impossible to say that this topic has not been explored and that the concept is unique in any way. In fact, Collins’ tale of Katniss Everdeen is not unique in the grand scheme of story telling and The Hunger Games reflects many similarities to the stories I just listed. However, despite these similarities the story has enough significant differences from any of them in particular to stand on its own.

In a post apocalyptic America a totalitarian government reigns over twelve districts where residents slave to produce the goods demanded of them. Every year, as punishment for a revolt against the Capitol decades prior, The Hunger Games are undertaken. Sadistically the rulers demand that two children, a boy and a girl, from each district fight to the death until only one remains as a reminder of the power held over them. Katniss volunteers to take the place of her sister, who is initially selected, and thrown into a fight for survival along with her other Tributes from the other districts.

What I liked about the story is that it is told in the first person. Normally I find novels written in such a point of view dull and monotonous. And while the prose of this novel is extremely simple, the first person POV helps this story immensely. So many authors, when dealing with so many characters have the habit of resorting to head popping and flooding the reader with information that comes from too many sources. This has the annoying habit of turning a story into a long, drawn out trilogy of books. Had The Hunger Games adopted such an approach I dare say it would have been unbearably long and dull. Also, what I liked was how Collins kept a good pace to the novel from the mid point to the end. Even the slow points early on have purpose in the story telling.

What I liked least, I won’t say hated because that is too strong of a word, was, again the overly simplistic prose. It worked but there were many points where I felt it could have been better and more detailed. The book was, also, alas fairly predictable. The problem with first person narratives is that you are pretty much locked on to a particular character who you know is going to survive and that death is not going to touch. Sure, Katniss is in danger often, but you never fear for her and the question only becomes how will she escape this time right up until the very end.

Another thing that I liked was that Collins, while she focuses on Katniss throughout the narrative, never really makes you hate any of the other tributes, kids, fighting for their lives against her. Sure, you catch glimpses of Katniss’ disdain for the “career tributes” who, unlike her, are trained for this sort of thing out of pride, but you realize throughout the book that these are just other kids who are fighting for their lives as Katniss is. You are not given insight into the other tributes reasons, desires or particular situations except for when Katniss interacts with them. For example, late in the book, even though you have been drawn to care about Katniss and even Peeta’s, her fellow tribute from District 12, survival you catch a glimpse at how Cato, from District 2, rushes to the aide of the fallen Clove, also from District 2. You do not know what his motivations are, does he really care about her or is he just worried that he will no longer have an ally and be at a decided disadvantage? But you see that he does care about something and is not some faceless foe.

As for rating The Hunger Games as a novel I have had to consider this for a few days since penning this review. It is a good book. Part of me wants to give it three and three quarters stars just because of the simplistic prose, predictable plot and glaring similarities to previous stories tackling similar subject matter. Another part of me wants to rank it at four and a quarter stars because I still found it interesting and a good read from start to finish and one of the best books I have read in a long time. But, to give it such a high ranking would put it in league with some fabulous books I have read in the past which it really is not in the same category with. So, I have decided to split the difference and give it four out of five stars. This means that it is not in the same category as truly great books but certainly much, much better than most of what is published these days. I would highly suggest The Hunger Games.

   

Note: I have not seen the movie adaptation at this time.