Tag Archives: hunger games

Red Queen is Bloody Good

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If you love a good dystopian YA, Victoria Aveyard’s debut novel,  Red Queen is for you.  With a lot (and I mean a lot) of parallels to The Hunger Games & Divergent, the characters and plot twists make this read different enough to still be enjoyable, without feeling like you’re just reading on repeat. If you have read Pierce Brown’s Red Rising, this is like a weird parallel universe to that book.

Red Queen is a little more rooted in fantasy territory, and has a unique take on the dystopian theme.  The nobility of Red Queen‘s world is distinguished by their innate ability to channel fire or electricity, or possess extreme strength or psychic powers.  Their control over the lower class is absolute, who don’t possess any superhuman talents.  Imagine the uproar when Mare, a girl of perfectly common blood, suddenly displays her own power – and no one’s surprise is greater than Mare’s.

I won’t get too deeply into the plot  and spoil it, but there are some great twists, a little romance, lots of intrigue. Lots, and lots, of intrigue.  Like baby Game of Thrones.  If you have a teen who is looking for an entry to more sophisticated story lines, this is a good place for them to start.

This is clearly the start of a series – it should be a fun ride.

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Panem Propaganda

Here is the amazing first trailer for Mockingjay Part 1:

Chilling, n’est-ce pas?

 

Christie

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Divergent Trilogy Finally Finished!

I love Veronica Roth, but that cliffhanger at the end of Insurgent was just mean. Thankfully, Allegiant was released yesterday, and I came home from work last night with it.  And at some point later last night (not telling how late, except it was no longer technically “last night”) I finished it, with some minor assistance from a bottle of rosé.

I really highly recommend this series.  It’s a great read for adults as well as teens, and the pacing of the story is superb.  The main character Tris is a kick-ass heroine, not just because she can literally kick ass, but also because of her struggles to determine how, when fighting for a cause, you determine the right actions… especially when multiple lives are on the line.

I won’t get into the plot too much, because I’m hoping some of you have the delight of just discovering the series.   I will say I envy you not having to wait between books to read the trilogy, and this is a book that crosses genres so don’t dismiss it if you don’t usually read sci-fi, or YA, or any other silly reason not to read a good book.  Honestly, buy the trilogy, you won’t be able to buy just one.

Unlike my dissatisfaction with the ending of the Hunger Games trilogy, Roth does not wuss out on the ending here.  Wow.

If you liked Ender’s Game, particularly in terms of the ethics and moral dilemmas, try this one on for size.  And that’s a big recommendation from me, because I loved Ender’s Game.  Divergent is just exactly what I like out of a good sci-fi series.

Okay, go read it now, and then tell me how much you loved it.  Or hated it.   I love talking books.

Happy (excited) reading!

Christie

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New Catching Fire Trailer from Comic-Con

I knew you’d be excited with me.

Christie

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Freedom to Read Week

 

On the second last day of Freedom to Read Week, I am actually reading a book that was banned at one point.  Battle Royale, by Koushun Takami.  When this book was first published, it was widely criticized as being violent and exploitative, as well as presenting an “improper” story about young teens.

The story?  Teens forced by the government to participate in war games, where the winner is the last survivor.  Sound a lot like Hunger Games?   Very similar plot lines.

It was extremely popular nonetheless (there’s no such thing as bad publicity), and was made into a graphic novel serial, as well as a film.  The film was never released in North America, because they thought audiences would be repulsed by the premise.  Obviously, not the same people who decided to create the Hunger Games franchise.

Yesterday’s smut is today’s zeitgeist, apparently.

I’m enjoying the book – it’s darker than the Hunger Games, and delves more into the moral decisions and instincts of all the players, not just the main characters.  Granted, there are a lot of characters to keep track of at first, but it doesn’t take long for them to start being killed off.  I also found the differences in a book written from the perspective of Japanese teen culture interesting – I almost feel that I need to read it again now that I’m used to the slightly different references and relationships, which at first I had some difficulty with.

Also, there are no pulled punches here, and don’t expect a lot of happy endings.  I recommend it highly, but make sure you’re in the mood for something very very dark.  I haven’t managed to track down a copy of the movie yet, but I hear it’s worth watching.

If you get a chance, grab a copy of this, or any other book that’s been banned or censored.  I believe in the right to make my own choices about what I read, and what my kids read.  I don’t want anyone else to do it for me.

(un)Happy reading!

Christie

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The Maze Runner

I finally got around to reading The Maze Runner, the first of the trilogy by James Dashner.

It slots neatly into the trend of dystopian teen novels, and has been a huge seller, along with Divergent (excellent) and Hunger Games (if you haven’t heard of it, you’re not only living under a rock, you’re living under a really remote, subterranean one).

The book has a teenage boy as a protagonist, who at the beginning of the book wakes up with no memory of his past life, knowing only his name.  He is in a place with other teens, in the middle of a giant, deadly maze.

Dashner does a great job of maintaining the suspense of the mystery, while advancing the plot.  I was a little surprised at how violent the book is – this is definitely for older teens, considering how quickly the body count mounts.    That same body count does a good job of illustrating what it’s like to make decisions when your decisions can get someone else hurt or killed, however, and is not purposeless.

In many ways the book reminds me of Ender’s Game, by Orson Scott Card, which is one of my favorite sci-fi novels (see previous review).    I will be reading the next two novels in the series, plus the recently released prequel, next, so I’ll let you know how they go.

I recommend this for anyone who likes the dystopian genre, although I would say that this is aimed, despite the violence, at a fourteen or fifteen year old, from the style of writing.  If you have a teenager who loved Hunger Games or Divergent, or The Knife of Never Letting Go, this will probably hit the spot.

Christie

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Racism from some readers of The Hunger Games

I’d like to hear thoughts on the following article.  My main thought is, “Yes, yes you are racist.  Racist idiots.”

http://www.newyorker.com/online/blogs/books/2012/03/hunger-games-and-trayvon-martin.html?mbid=social_retweet

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The Hunger Games: What’s all the fuss about?


Pretty much anyone not living under a rock, and probably some who are, have heard the phrase “The Hunger Games”  lately.   With the movie about to release, and the merchandise going crazy (check out the display at Chapters if you doubt me), it can be a little tough to tell whether the trilogy is really worth reading, or whether it’s just Hollywood sparkle.   As someone who has actually read The Hunger Games, and, in fact, read it when it originally came out, I think I can give you a review minus the hype.

The Hunger Games was published as a teen book, but I think that it’s a good enough story that adults can enjoy it too.  This is a classic adventure novel, full of action.  There are moral quandaries, questions of ethics, but they are fuel for the drama.  The setting is a classic dystopia, a post-apocalyptic world where all wealth is centred in The Capitol, and everyone else lives in one of twelve districts, where all food and resources for The Capitol come from.  The people in the districts are little more than slaves, and their lives are short and bleak.  The one event that can change that: The Hunger Games.  Teams of two, one male and one female, chosen from each district, compete to the death in an arena full of genetically altered animals and horrific booby traps.  At the end of the games, only one person will stand.    The whole thing is televised, and winning partly depends on capturing the attention of the audience, since audience participation is encouraged, and audience members can send food and medical supplies to favored competitors.

The story follows one of the competitors from district twelve, a girl named Katniss Everdeen, and how her life is changed dramatically when she volunteers to take her younger sister’s place in the games.  The victor’s district will receive additional food supplies.  Imagine suddenly being the symbol of everyone’s hopes – especially as a teenager.

I’m not going to get into the description of the other two novels, since that will essentially act as a spoiler for the first one.

I do recommend these books.  The storyline is interesting, and offers some great visuals.  Once the story hooks you, it becomes one of those books that you drag everywhere with you, and don’t go to bed, because you  need to know what’s going to happen!  The other two books are excellent as well.   There are many debates about how the trilogy is ended, not everyone likes it, but that’s not unusual.  No one ever really wants a series they enjoyed to end, and in a story like this one, there are probably a lot of different ways people would have liked to see the story end.

Trust me, buy the trilogy, because odds are you’re not going to stop at one.   And from the number of adults snapping up mockingjay pins, I’m definitely not alone in enjoying the series.  It’s a fun read, is really what it comes down to.  Don’t read it for great literature, or thought provoking philosophy.  Read it for the book equivalent of an Indiana Jones movie, or Star Wars.  It’s a great adventure story, and well worth the purchase.  It is available on e-book, too, which is nice.

C.

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