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I wish this WAS a Battle Royale rip-off
Feels a lot more like a Harry Potter fan-fic with some Twilight-esque romance thrown in for good measure. I’d say a Battle Royale rip-off would have been more ideal, and I'm not even a particularly big fan of Battle Royale in the first place.

The first Hunger Games had 24 participants, of which we only know of Katniss and Peeta. The rest can be summed up as being either a bunch of obviously evil psychopaths, or expendable good guys for the former to prey on. Most of them don’t even have names and are killed off immediately anyway so they clearly don’t even matter. The entire premise hinges on the fact that Katniss needs to kill or be killed in order to survive, which means to kill whether you’d like to or not. None of this actually comes into play since all the “good guys” are killed by someone else. The only ones that are killed by Katniss are the evil psychos whom lack any semblance of humanity, and are obviously only written that way to justify the fact that Katniss kills them. Collins doesn’t have the guts to force Katniss into a situation where she’d be forced to kill a character like Rue for instance, therefore she contrives the story in such a way that such situations never arise. Even when it seems like she and Peeta have to kill each other after all, it doesn't last because the capitol immediately takes it back because of some ass-pull rebellion mumbo jumbo that makes no sense and proceeds to become a plot tumor that hijacks the entire rest of the series.

The biggest problem I have with this series is that it lacks structure and that it doesn’t know what it’s supposed to be. Collins chooses seemingly arbitrarily, to write about whatever the hell she wants to, paying no thought to how it fits within the context of her story, or what she’s trying to convey overall. If this is supposed to be a dark story about needless murder and suffering, then what is up with the colorful townspeople and the mary sue-ish names of the characters? Is that supposed to be whimsical or what? Is the whole “kids killing each other for entertainment” not enough to work with for a premise? Is that why she feels the need to instead turn the whole thing into a dumbed down Star Wars vs 1984? I suspect she didn’t even have the whole “rise against the capitol” side of the story thought out until after she finished the first book, but hey, that’s just my speculation.
I suspect a lot of authors make stuff up as they go, and try to make it all make sense. I agree about the contrivances that prevent heroes from having to make morally uncomfortable choices. I would have liked to see two people who get along well spot each other, and uncomfortably try to figure out what they're going to do.

I wouldn't call the characters' names Mary Sue-ish, but instead I'd just say that they're Future Names. After all, we live in a world where there are girls named Ryan, where Madison became a first name only because it appeared in a movie, where last names (Mallory, Mackenzie) are first names, where the TV show Jeopardy had a contestant whose name was literally Kobra, where common names like Katie/Katy/Caty, Zach/Zack, etc. are being given unique sellings, and I wouldn't say it's too hard to believe that in the future, names like "Katniss" will be common.
comment #22966 BonsaiForest 21st Jan 14
I agree that the plot was a little contrived in that it avoided the characters getting into...interesting situations. It certainly would have been more enriching if Katniss wasn't atop the white shining horse in a suit of stainless armor atop the moral high ground for the vast majority of the series.
comment #23750 Mr.Movie 9th Apr 14
Wow, where to begin, frankly I think you didn't understand the trilogy at all. The author did have a very clear purpose in telling this story, personally I think it is obvious this was conveiced as an anti-war tale from the start, but even if it wasn't clear, you just have to read a couple of interviews to confirm it. It is true that, for storyline reasons, Katnis never killed any of the "good" characters. Should she had been confronted with the choice of killing Rue or leeting herslef be killed, I think she would have comitted suicide, which would have ended the story and we wouldn't be here discussimg the books. Basically, Rule of Drama is full on. Anyway, a bit later she actually kills innocent people when necessary.

The romance subplot is completely central to the story and to the characters' psychology, as is the rebellion... I think the problem here is that you actually EXPECTED and wanted a Battle Royale rip off. The story doens't try at all to exploit the "children killing themselves" as something entertaining - the capitol citizens (with their colorful, frivolous clothes, *HINT*) see the games that way and THAT's what the book trying to denounce. You were reading the books as if you yourself were a capitol citizen and were annoyed when you weren't given the superficially entertaining and shallow spectacle you were hoping for. Regarding the "Mary Sue ish names", well, I pretty much agree with the previous poster. One lasrt thing: the names actually reflect the culture of their respective society: Distric 12 is humble and they have simple or nature-related names names (Katniss, wich is a root, Primrose, Gale, Madge...), District 1 have pompous, flashy, Mary Sue-ish names because their District is rich and their parents want them to be superstars in the Games (Glimmer, Cashmere, Marvel), and Capitol citizens have Roman names because the Capitol is an obvious metaphor for ancient Rome, with the games being explicitly their "circus".
comment #25151 Skuhm 8th Jul 14
Given the fact that this reviewer mentions that he noticed Katniss never committed any more questionable acts in the book/movie, I don't think the problem was that he missed the message of the book. While I can agree with this review on some points, ultimately, I still like both the book and the movie. Quite notably for me, it was the first book I ever read that I absolutely couldn't put down, and I stayed up until three in the morning trying to finish it. Now, I have read better books, and I've read books that I've enjoyed more, but never ones that commanded my attention like those did. So, if you didn't like it, well, I'm sorry you had a bad experience with it. But at least for me, they were really good.
comment #25155 JamesPicard 8th Jul 14
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