I'm not one for trendy things, especially trendy reads. I've done my best to avoid the whole Harry Potter thing; I figure if people are still talking about him in another forty years, I may give in then. Twilight, no chance. But it would be priggish of me to deny any book simply because it is “the thing.” Enter The Hunger Games. It came out of nowhere and became a sensation. From the beginning however, I was open to the idea of reading it. It didn't sound “that bad.”
And it's not. When The Hunger Games is at its best, it excels. As expected with an action-based novel for young adults, the novel is story-centric. The characters are wonderful, but they don't grow much. There's not much rumination between events. Things just kind of happen, but it works. I was pulled in. For the first two hundred pages, I kept asking “what happens next?”
Then it all became a little too predictable and repetitive to me. Really it was mostly predictable all along, but I went along with it because the story was really, really compelling. But it lacked the strings that could have pulled it all in together and made it such a tight piece. I think Katniss and company really could've spent so much more time having to make tough decisions and then living with them. It would've made all the difference. Alas, it would've slowed down the action.
The Hunger Games works well as a YA novel. I think it's probably better as a film, however (note, I have not seen the film, but the trailers for the movie point to a much more persuasive piece). There's just so much you can do in film while showing action that you cannot do in a book without slowing down the pace.
I'll definitely read the second book in the series, and I'll probably be drawn into the third.