Monday, May 21, 2012

Book Review: The Hunger Games Trilogy {Part 2}

Now, after all the criticism of the last post, what did I actually like about the series?  Well, I have a confession.  I always insist that I hate post-apocalyptic fiction - it's absurd, sensational, depressing, etc.  But the truth is, it's terribly interesting.  I like thinking about the scenarios and trying to discover if they could really happen.  Quite intriguing.  So I liked The Hunger Games because I felt that some of it was applicable to real life, or how real life could be, eventually.  Also, despite my earlier condemnation of Katniss, there is one aspect of her character which made me realize something about myself: her dislike of owing people.  Kindnesses can make me very uncomfortable, and I always wondered why.  After reading this series I realized that it's because, like Katniss, when someone goes out of their way for me or my family, I need to try to pay them back, even out the score.  And it's silly, because a true kindness looks for no return, especially if it's something I really can't repay.  But it happens, nevertheless, and knowing the problem is always the first step towards fixing it.  So I'm grateful to Katniss for that.  (But I don't feel the need to repay her.)

Another thing I must mention is that I loved the songs included in the story - the valley song and The Hanging Tree.  The valley song is quite pretty and The Hanging Tree is creepy and intriguing, getting both stuck in my head even without tunes.  I wish there were tunes.

 Deep in the meadow, hidden far away
A cloak of leaves, a moonbeam ray
Forget your woes and let your troubles lay
And when again it's morning, they'll wash away.

Taken on a shallow level, (a.k.a the level normal people would take it on), the series was enjoyable and fast-paced enough that it didn't start dragging at any point.  It was easy reading but, because of the content, didn't feel like reading an eighth-grade book.  

Overall, here's what I'd rate it:

Four stars out of ten
Two-and-a-half out of ten morality points
If it were graded the way movies are, I'd say PG-13
Recommended for mature readers age twelve and up, ordinary readers age fifteen and up.

Have you read this series? What did you think of The Hunger Games?

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Book Review: The Hunger Games Trilogy {Part 1}

**Note: I have tried to keep this post as spoiler-free as possible, but it is difficult.  Minor spoilers may be given away, and I think I have made the ending rather obvious.  If you have not read the series,you somehow don't know the storyline yet, and you don't want to know what happens, you mayn't want to read on, especially where I discuss the plot.**

Oh, and just so you know, I'm having strange font-size problems, so if it's too big or too small, I apologize.

When a bunch of people in the writer's club I belong to said how much they loved this series, I became rather interested.  When I found out they were making a movie of it, I got more interested.  When two close friends of mine read the series and liked it (one loved it), I became desperate to read it.  Finally one of those two friends lent me the books.  (I finished them in four days, of course.) I was extremely curious as to exactly why these books are so popular.

Well, I am glad to say that once again I am not obsessed with what the rest of the world is obsessed with.  *pokes nose in the air*  It's an okay series, but it's definitely got problems. Like most things, it has good points and bad points.  I shall now proceed to ramble on about it all in no particular order.

Before I begin, I must say one thing.  WHY did Ms. Collins give her characters such odd names?  Some of them are okay, like Gale and Prim, but Katniss? Even worse, Peeta???  *shudders*

Apart from the names, I found the majority of the main characters to be largely unlikeable and a bit flat.  I did understand them, which is important, but I didn't particularly like most of them.  The one exception was - you probably guessed it already - Peeta.  The boy with the bread, he-whose-name-is the-worst-in-the-entire-series, the one truly good character.  Peeta is the only one whose love is true and unselfish.  (This goes back to the true love post, if you missed it.)  Oh, and I also liked Rue, but she's not really a main character.  I didn't like Katniss.  I understand that she had a shocking amount of hardships to bear, but I still couldn't stand her selfishness.  Most of the time she only does what will help herself, not taking into account anyone else.  The only one she seems to truly love is her sister Prim.  

 The series has a lot of morality problems, even if one leaves out the fact that nudity seems to be entirely acceptable in the world of Panem.   Supposedly the books are meant to protest violence, and to a certain extent I can see that, but the thing is, violence doesn't seem to be protested against if the "good" characters commit it.  Katniss's countless killings.  Gale's ruthless traps that play on human sympathy and charity in order to murder the most people possible.  (One may argue that the traps were not presented in a necessarily good light, but I don't think it was clearly against them, either.)  It's hard to explain it properly without giving away major spoilers, but you probably get the idea.  The books seem to subscribe to the philosophy of the ends justifying the means, which is of course wrong.

 Now for the fun part - style/plot/characterization critiques. (Mwahahahaha...)  The first thing that struck me when I began The Hunger Games was the first person, present tense writing.  It took about a third of the book for me to get used to it.  I'm not necessarily saying it was a bad choice, just different.  It actually makes sense, really, given the action-driven plot.  It adds to the feeling of immediacy in the series.  I don't think it's something I personally would have chosen, but I didn't write the book, so it doesn't matter.  It was quite interesting.  I've never read a book written like that before, so points to Ms. Collins for originality there.  I did find the actual writing to be a bit simplistic and limited, but given the audience and, once again, the plot, that is understandable.  There were some nice descriptions, mostly in the first book, but for the most part the vocabulary was unremarkable.

As for the plot, in general it was pretty tight.  I do rather believe in history repeating itself, so I find the idea, mentioned in Mockingjay, of a Panem et Circenses world believable.  The Romans kept it up for a while.  It's not like it's unprecedented, though the Romans didn't use children.  They were not averse to killing entire families, though, if sources are correct, so it makes little difference.  I shudder to think what they would have done with modern technology like that in The Hunger Games.   Anyway, enough with the history lesson.  The one MAJOR problem I have with the plot is District 13.  It's part of what makes the series so depressing: the leaders of the rebellion which is supposed to free Panem don't seem much better than the Capitol.  The monotonous, gray life led by the residents of Thirteen is not something I'd be happy about!  Sure, they're warm and they don't starve to death, but they are allowed no individuality, no self-expression.  Realistically, I doubt people could live like that.  Humans have an all-too-apparent need to express themselves.  Perhaps I am reading into it too much, but by her characterization of Thirteen Ms. Collins seems to degrade humanity into something that needs only the basics of bodily survival - food, clothes, shelter.  At least the Capitol made some twisted sort of concession to beauty, and it did not meddle in the daily life of its subjects.  Thirteen seemed to be, far from a savior, only a new power ready to take total control.  It is very sad.  

Well, that's all for today.  This was beginning to be one of my excruciatingly long posts (and perhaps already is), so I've split it in two.  Tomorrow I shall post the second part, where I discuss what I actually liked about this series and give my final evaluation.  I promise that it's shorter than this one.

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Mothers' Day + Feast of Our Lady of Fatima

Firstly, today is the anniversary of Our Lady's first appearance at Fatima.  Everyone should know the basics of this story, so I shan't repeat it.  Just thought I would remind you all. :)  Happy Mother's day, my dear mother in heaven!

So it is of course Mother's Day.  All my blogging companions write beautiful posts to their mother on this day... I am not even going to try to measure up to their standard.  (My mom doesn't read my blog very often anyway.)  Suffice it to say, happy Mother's Day to my dear mommy, I hope you liked your chocolate, and I am aware of how very much you do for me and all of us.  Thank you. I love you so much.

And a very happy Mother's Day to all the mothers in the blogosphere, just in case any of you happen by this post!  May our heavenly Mother bless you all - I know you need it! 

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

*le post of randomness and pictures*

I can't help it.  I'm writing a semi-intellectual, very involved review of The Hunger Games for y'all, and the effort of thought has made my brain melt.  You have no idea how hard it is for my poor little mind to concentrate on one topic for so long.  So I am indulging myself.  Cause I like saying things that have nothing to do with anything.

There are two coffee cups in my room at the moment.  Do you think that means anything?

But coffee makes me sick as a dog sometimes.  Just sometimes.  Because my body is as random as I am.

Who came with the saying "sick as dog"?  Why not "sick as a parrot"?  Or even "sick as a cat", if you don't want to get all exotic?  People are discriminating against dogs here!

Tea is better than coffee.  Sometimes.

I got a shirt today.  And it's pink.  I, Victoria Annette, bought a pink shirt.  Shame on me.  But it's nice.

See?  This is it.

It's raining right now.  My room has a skylight window, and the rain drums on it and makes such a lovely cozy sound!  I do enjoy rain.

If there were such things as fairies, and they really were itty-bitty things, wouldn't a raindrop drown them?  I suppose they'd have to be very itty-bitty indeed.  You'd think it would at least make them uncomfortably wet.

I don't think I'd want to be a fairy.

They are pretty, though....

 I seem to have progressed from the hyper ADHD-ish state produced by coffee into the sluggish frame of mind which is the fate of those who consume stimulants.  Woe is me.

I like high-falutin', flowery sentences.  Which is why I like Shakespeare.

*fangirl squee*

I am totally going to buy The Taming of the Shrew and Much Ado about Nothing.  Those are my favorites, and nasty old Seton didn't include them in its Shakespeare course.  (I got a 91 on that course.  I was shooting for 100, but I guess it's not bad.)

I was in seventh heaven with that Shakespeare course.  I got to sit around and read during school hours, and the tests were mostly rather interesting.  I'd love to post some of the essay answers I wrote, but I wouldn't want people to cheat off me.  Do you think people would cheat off me?  I mean, it's not like I got a perfect score...

Does liking Shakespeare courses make me a total nerd?  I think, if taken in conjunction with my other characteristics. it doth.  Methinks I am a nerd.  It is awesome.  I've got reading glasses, too, you know.  And I love them and end up wearing them most of the time, because I'm always reading or using the computer or doing something else that requires glasses.

I like being a nerd.

*cough* I read in the dark...still do.

It's almost dinnertime.  I must flee to yonder shady grove dining-room table.

Well that was fun.  I'm sorry if it just annoyed you.  Think of pleasure I had in creating it and you'll feel better.  (By the way, I do cringe when I think of my dad reading this.  He always compliments my "thoughtful posts".  This is anything but.  Oh. and all the pictures are from the One and Only Pinterest and I don't own any of them and blah-de-blah.  I think I'm still hyper from the coffee after all.  And Shakespeare.  Cause Shakespeare makes me happy.


The end.

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Wuv, Twoo Wuv

About the title - I just couldn't resist.  But I promise, I will try to make this a serious post.

True Love.  It's a common phrase.  "True love" is everywhere - music, films, stories, and especially daydreams.  But what is true love?  What makes the difference between true love and false love?  Perhaps you already know.  But do you?  Here's an example.  We tend to think that love and like are synonyms.  "Oh my gosh, I love your dress," or "I just love pizza."  Really?  You do?  You are willing to sacrifice your life for the dress or the pizza?  Hm.  I should hope not.  No, darling, you like pizza and you like your friend's dress.  "Love" is so overused nowadays, it's not going to add any extra conviction to your sentence anyway.  (Note: I myself am not always innocent of this transgression.  Just thought I'd make that clear.) 

The same goes for love and romanceRomance itself has been degraded to mean something much worse, but never mind that right now.   Love doesn't just mean walking on air and chocolates and roses, people.  You can be "in love" without truly loving the person at all, because true love is not an emotion, not a feeling.  It's an act of the will - something that you choose to do.  This is why, as a certain rather brilliant acquaintance of mine once pointed out, the arranged marriages so common in the past actually worked out when the couple sincerely made an effort.  They made the choice to love each other. (Note: I am not advocating arranged marriages.  I would freak if someone arranged a marriage for me.)

If I have true love for someone, my greatest aim is not to be with them forever.  My greatest aim is to do whatever is best for them, even if it means being with someone else, because my love isn't selfish.  All that matters is their welfare.  I am unimportant except where I can be of use, and I will do whatever it takes to for that person's true happiness.

Also, true love is not reserved for just a man and a woman.  One can truly love anyone - parents, friends, siblings, students, whatever.

True love is not a feeling.  It's not destiny.  It's not a chemical reaction.  It's a conscious choice by which a person puts someone else above himself or herself in all things.  It's what Our Lord has for each one of us.  And it's very beautiful.

Made with Pixlr and Picmonkey.  I quoted from memory, so I apologize if I got the wording wrong somehow.

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...