First, before the Micro Review, a word about Micro Reviews in general.
Basically, I’ve decided to review the films and books that I take in over the course of this year. This will help my memory, a major point of this blog. I have already forgotten whether or not I finished reading Neal Stephenson’s Quicksilver series of books. If I had a micro-review policy in place when I was reading them, I could simply search my site, and learn that I did, in fact, read them, and scored them 4 out of 5 Half-Cocked pirates. (This is an example, and not my real score for the books. I can’t remember if I even finished them, much less what I would score them.)
So, on to the Hunger Games Micro Review (of the novel)!
I read The Hunger Games in one day, in a paperback edition that I picked up at Walmart, off an endcap, during the second week of the movie release. Besides the reading it in one day facet, I believe that my Walmart-based experience is entirely typical of the Hunger Games reader nowadays. It is probably fortunate that I read the book in one day, at home, thus I didn’t have to take it out in public anywhere. My 12 year old cousin was reading the sequel at Easter, you know. Basically, what I’m saying is that there is a significant social pressure against a thirty year old man who considers himself educated to not read the Hunger Games.
(Oddly, I don’t feel the same societal pressure against going to see the movie, eventually. Odd. Probably a hangover from when I was ten and reading in general was frowned upon by certain peers – except for Jurassic Park, which every single boy in fifth grade in 1991 read. We all rued the fact that Timmy was switched in age (and competency) with Lex for the movie- but we also were oddly pleased with the switch as well. Or at least our hormones were.)
Did I enjoy the novel? Yes. Did I resent myself for enjoying the novel? A little bit. I had to turn off the hard sci-fi part of my brain that wanted explanations for just how many people live in Panem, how there was a running cross-continental railroad still working after world wars, global warming and a post-apocalyptic rebellion, indignation with Tracker Jackers and the wolf mutts (why would a society that can genetically engineer those things still be dependent upon hand-maintained agriculture is beyond me). Also, the Hunger Game’s arena was a bit too controlled by the game masters. They can drain all the sources of water? Really?
However, the story was rollicking (a word that only seems to be used in reviews), and drug me along. I found myself liking Katniss, even though she was hardly a perfect likable character. There wasn’t too much of the ‘ohmigawd, he really likes me’ that can overwhelm fiction written primarily for tweenage girls. It was certainly convenient how Katniss, despite being thrown into a death arena with 23 other competitors, only had to personally kill two, and only one with a name (who just happened to be a sadistic psychopath).
The story ends on a bit of a cliffhanger – but it’s a cliffhanger that concerns Katniss’s love life, and not really the action or setting of the books, so it wasn’t one that absolutely demanded that I pick up the second book immediately. My wife, however, and millions of other women and girls (I imagine) felt compelled to do so.
4 out of 5 arrows to the throat.