posted 2012-03-07 20:03:05

The Hunger Games Trilogy

Is the series worth all the hype?

Duwa Alebdy, Staff Writer

Image courtesy of monkeyinthecage.com.
It would be difficult to find someone who has yet to hear of the Hunger Games trilogy. Fans of the book are swarming the nation, spreading their love in anticipation for the film adaptation, which will be released on Mar. 23. Many wonder whether these books are worth all the hype surrounding them or if they are just another young adult series.

Ladies and gentlemen, this trilogy is certainly worth reading.

Written by Suzanne Collins, The Hunger Games, Catching Fire, and Mockingjay make up a trilogy you will not be able to put down. The books take place in the fictional country of Panem, which is controlled by an evil Capitol that televises an annual event called the Hunger Games. Each of the country’s twelve districts sends two tributes, a young male and female, to fight in the Hunger Games until just one survivor remains alive. Katniss Everdeen, the protagonist of the trilogy and the tribute from District 12, must find a way to survive the Games while also juggling a love triangle between the characters, Gale and Peeta.

Collins creates an interesting dystopian society with its own distinct characteristics. The futuristic Capitol is just as corrupt as governments written in other dystopian novels, but the depiction of the media is refreshingly different. While classics like Brave New World and 1984 portray the media negatively and out of the control of the majority population, Collins uses present day media, like reality television and constant news coverage, to show that the oppressed people have as much control over what information is sent out as their government does.

Collins also nobly implies that sometimes one has to break away from what society thinks is right in order to survive. Even when Katniss is doing something wrong, Collins often paints her as an exciting, powerful character who is willing to break the law for what she feels is just.

It is both clever and cruel of Collins to consistently put cliffhangers at the end of most of the chapters. The trilogy manages to intertwine major themes, such as the complications of love and the rise against oppression, into a cohesive narrative. Katniss struggles to concentrate on the revolution against the Capitol when her feelings for Gale and Peeta fight for her attention at the same time. Although Katniss always ends up putting the revolution first, Collins still has her character go through the relatable struggle of setting priorities.

Collins does many things right in this trilogy, but it’s not perfect. For example, Katniss’ decision between Gale and Peeta feels rushed. It seems as if Collins shoved the decision-making process into the last few paragraphs of Mockingjay. Though Katniss’ choice makes sense, it’s disappointing that such a crucial moment of the trilogy is not drawn out more.

Many have criticized the Hunger Games for being a rip-off of Battle Royale and Twilight. However, that is not the case. The only similarity Collins’s trilogy has to Battle Royale is the youth fighting to survive in an arena. How the youth got there, the personalities of the characters, and many other aspects are completely unconnected. On multiple occasions, Katniss is as whiny as Bella, the protagonist of Twilight. The love triangle idea is also a similarity between the two series, but to say the idea was stolen from Twilight is absurd. Love triangles have existed in novels for centuries. The similarities to Twilight are slight, and ultimately, the genres and writing styles are incomparable. Twilight is a romantic fantasy series written in a simple, limited style whereas the Hunger Games is an adventurous science-fiction trilogy with more developed characters and storyline.

That being said, new readers curious about the upcoming film adaptation will not be wasting their time reading the Hunger Games trilogy. With relatable themes and an addicting, pleasurable plot, this trilogy does not disappoint.