I just started this series a little over a month ago, on July 19, 2010. Just since July 19 I have joined all of you in becoming completely engrossed and mesmerized in this incredible series. Not even exaggerating in the least when I say that the Hunger Games has turned my Top 3 Series of All Time into the Top 4 Series of All Time (made up of LOTR, Percy Jackson and the Olympians, and The Chronicles of Prydain).
Why do I love the Hunger Games? First of all, the characters. Katniss isn't ideal - she could be a little more empathetic - but she's the kind of girl you can't help but care about, and the kind of character you love to cheer for. And maybe that's what makes her special to me. Since first meeting her on July 19, I've come to truly care about her. And yeah, I know, she's a fictional character and there are some in this big, silly world who think it silly to have feelings for anything that doesn't tangibly exist, but we're all book bloggers, we all love stories and the characters that inhabit them, and so maybe it's not so strange or silly.
But Katniss isn't the only rich character in the Hunger Games cast. Let me start off with Gale: I love Gale. I love his determination and his strength of will. He reminds me a lot of Enjolras in Les Miserables: he's a visionary and he's just dadgum tough. Even considering his rough exterior, though, he still has a soft sensitive spot, which I not only love but consider a very good trait to have. Gale is definitely a character you can look up to, and one you can admire...even if he is (ahem) absent from a big portion of the books.
And then there's Peeta. I would say that out of all of the characters in the HG series, Peeta is the most 3-D. What I mean is, he really does have way more to him than meets the eye. On the surface, he seems/he is a kind, sensitive, and kind of dopey-eyed lovestruck boy. BUT I was shocked and impressed but how much intrigue he displayed once the Games started. Peeta is cunning. Peeta can think on his feet and most importantly, Peeta has a way with words. And what book connoisseur doesn't love a character (or author) with an affinity for WORDS? In fact, for most of THG, I was suspicious of how much of Peeta's character was an act and how much was genuine. Looking back, I'd say that most of it was genuine, but still, he was able to use his circumstances and his feelings to his advantage in a way that Katniss never seemed to. Yes, I am TEAM PEETA mainly because I think that Katniss & Peeta make a better couple. Much as Katniss seems to discount Peeta in Catching Fire, and much as she pretty much likens him to a helpless loser in some narrative passages, I truly think that Peeta is smarter than her. Katniss is a survivor in a physical, huntress sense, but Peeta seems like a sharper mind, and I think that they would make a great combination.
And then finally, there's the world of Panem. I do love Suzanne Collins' characters, but what really pushed The Hunger Games series from 'fun and enjoyable' to 'right up there next to PJ and Prydain and LOTR' was the unforgettable world of Panem, and the story itself. Actually, it surprises me that this is only a 3-book series, because personally, I think Panem is so incredibly screwed up and in need of MAJOR reforms that might be hard to tackle in just 1 book (because the first two really weren't "proletariat-angst" driven, like Les Miserables or some other adult dystopians). Suspense has a lot to do with it as well. I really have no honest-to-goodness idea how it will all end!
So I have Mockingjay sitting next to me. Right now I'm re-reading passages from the first two books just to jog my memory...but I do feel reluctant to start up this last book. Once this is over...it'll be over. I don't foresee Collins pulling a Cassandra Clare and going "JK! More books, meeeheehee!" And so it'll be bittersweet, yes. For those of you who have gotten on the ball and finished Mockingjay - NO SPOILERS! - how did you feel? Sad? Happy? Relieved? Was it bittersweet?
My literary life changed on July 19 when I started this epic masterpiece of a series. No, I'm not being emo, and I'm not exaggerating. This is YA at its absolute finest.