Sunday, August 29, 2010

The release of the 3rd installment of the fantastic The Hunger Games trilogy brought me back to my Deathly Hallows days where I even had the book pre-ordered in our local bookstore. The anticipation was almost tangible in the air and I must say I was really lucky to be able to acquire a copy so easily, without charge. :)

The beginning to about three-quarters of the book was pure brilliance. Again, as a Harry Potter fan, I am aware of the expectations and hype surrounding the last installment of a series. This book certainly did not disappoint. The plot was even reminiscent of Deathly Hallows as the author was not afraid to kill of major characters and and write surprising twists. I loved how the book isn't as black and white as it seemed. It was not the traditional good vs. evil. The shades of gray became more apparent and more interesting as I drank up every page and chapter.

I have this own criteria on what defines a good book and it is when I can read scenes where there is not much happening and yet they are as interesting as the action-packed ones. Like with Harry Potter, I am as contented reading chapters were Ron, Hermione and Harry are just hanging out at the common room as I am with duel scenes. As with The Hunger Games trilogy, the world just absorbs me and I relish every moment I spend in it.

The book was almost perfect if not for the last few chapters, unfortunately.

The ending was a little unsettling for me. I expected a strong climactic finale, probably where Katniss will be having her awaited for battle with President Snow or something similar, because the first two books were definitely building up to one. Instead, it was a disappointment for the action to end abruptly and then followed by chapters of gloom, depression and internal conflict. I mean, I know it's essential to character development but did it have to end so overcast and gray?

I also thought that, since this is a series finale and not just a simple ending of a novel, it was not wrapped up well. It was like the author was itching to end the book, so that she will not miss her deadline, that the entire relationship between three characters were resolved in just a couple of sentences. I didn't think it was fair to develop all these relationships throughout hundreds of pages and yet end/establish them without a proper scene or even a substantial dialogue between the characters. There was hardly any closure, hardly any sense that the these characters who have grown in us are well and is living happily ever after, like they should. I think this is one of the major disappointments of the book, if not the series.

Even with these drawbacks, I am still a fan of the series. I love how it portrays a strong female protagonist even though she kind of went loopy at the end. It was apparent that writing romantic scenes is not one of the author's strong points but her knack of conjuring up a magnificent post-apocalyptic world and orchestrating sudden turns and leaps within the plot makes up for it.

That said, I am waiting for this series to be the next Twilight Saga, especially with the movie coming up soon. At least, unlike Twilight, this is a hype I can definitely put up with.


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