Hunger Games – Books 2 and 3

I was extremely excited to get to the beach for Memorial Day weekend — and not just because of the joys of vacation and being out in the sun — I could not wait to read the final two books of the Hunger Games series. I have had them for a couple of weeks but was saving them for vacation and it was an excellent choice. The two books, Catching Fire and Mockingjay, were just as fascinating and incredibly creative as the first and I could not put them down.

The story picks up with the same beloved characters, the same love triangle, the same control of the Capitol. I really want to keep the plot details hidden because the fast-paced storyline is what makes this story so wonderful. However, I will say that I was incredibly impressed with Suzanne Collins’ ability to captivate the reader consistently and intensely throughout the duration of the two other volumes. She never lags in creativity or wastes a page on a dull moment. Every paragraph is intentional and leaves you on bated breath as you turn the page to see what will happen.

I will say, there is a lot of gore and violence in this series. I was surprised with all of the ways Collins develops to kill various characters in the book. I will be curious to see how this translates to film because the series is in production (and nearby in Asheville!) from what I hear. With that in mind, I would be hesitant to let too young of kids read this series. I even had a few inspired dreams that were frightening at times because this is a series you cannot get out of your head. It captivated my mind even when I wasn’t reading.

Overall, this was an exhilarating series. It was similar to Harry Potter and Twilight as it captures an element of the supernatural because it is so futuristic, but it also takes a deeper look at human nature in ways that set it apart. It reminds me of a quote we had to memorize in school by Thomas Hobbes when we discussed the Leviathan and the social contract suggesting that man is by nature “solitary, poor, nasty, brutish, and short.” If I were to teach this series in a high school English class, I think I would use it to explain the Leviathan and other basic philosophies attempting to explain and understand humanity. I could go on and on with the symbolism and teachable moments of Hunger Games, but for now I will just recommend that you read it. It is definitely worth your time!

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