Just the first one, because even at the breakneck pace that I manage to devour books I can’t get through three of them in an afternoon, but I’m surprisingly less disappointed than I thought I would be. When people build things up, I often find myself going “…okay, what?” And everyone’s been telling me I need to read these. Friends, Entertainment Weekly, all of it.
For what it was, though, it was a pretty solid book. The characters… weren’t all super-developed, but Katniss was, and being as she’s the narrator, it made sense. She wasn’t too painful to read: she didn’t dither and moan over a lot of things. She went occasionally confused about things, but the confusion wasn’t pages and pages of angst angst angst, it was a couple of lines in a paragraph that was otherwise about kicking society’s ass or something. She wasn’t entirely cardboard, which is good.
The other characters were slightly less three-dimensional, but a lot of them didn’t have to be. I think I’m just spoiled, because I’m one of those “attach myself to every minor character” types, and I like it when they’re attachable. I didn’t feel attached to the other tributes, at all, but that was the point. They weren’t that interesting, but they served their function. I remember Entertainment Weekly saying that Kiernan Shipka should play Prim at one point, and though some girl named Willow Shields was actually cast as her, I kept imagining Kiernan anyway, so I developed a fair amount of fondness for her. I didn’t give a damn about either of the boys, the predictable love triangle boys, but they served their function, too.
I mean, I would have been into it if we could get a few more wacky details about the other tributes. The who/what/why/when of their lives. But again, that’s me being spoiled, and it didn’t detract.
It was fast-paced. The lingery “we’re being cute in the arena” scenes later in the narrative were admittedly just sort of skimmed (because I am the most selectively romantic person ever, and I only care about romances when they involve people I’m emotionally attached to; though I was enjoying the book, really I was, I don’t know if I was particularly attached to anyone). But it started with “okay, kids, have fun fighting to the death” and the vast majority of the book was “okay, kids, we’re fighting to the death.” And the stuff before that, the getting ready and interviewing and social business, that was all necessary, I think.
(I mean, I’m pretty sure it was helped by the fact that in my head, the Capitol was like… Sailor Moon’s crystal Tokyo crossed with a steampunk Emerald City, and the denizens were similarly ridiculous, and Effie Trinket was a younger Dolores Umbridge on crack, and everything was sparkly… but that’s neither here nor there.)
It was exactly as long as it needed to be. Each section lasted as long as necessary, the book itself was as long as necessary. I intend to be done with the other two before winter break is over, because I have all this time to kill, and we’ll see how that goes (because, as I’ve avoided all synopses, I have no idea what happens next) but overall, I’m happy. It wasn’t necessarily ohmygoshamazing, but it was good. It was straightforward. And that’s always nice.
–your fangirl heroine.