Sunday, February 19, 2012

Reflections on The Hunger Games & The Hollows (parts 1 & 2)

This is a new one for me, but I've been thinking about blogging about books I've read that had enough of an affect on me that I think of them long after they were read. goes.

So this post is going to be about three different books:  The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins, Hollowland, by Amanda Hocking, and Hollowmen also by Amanda Hocking.  And I have to say first and foremost that these two ladies wrote extraordinary stories.  Their writing style is extremely engaging and I will be reading more of their books.  But these three books were very dystopian and at times hard for me to read.  So I thought maybe I should explore that because obviously I was reacting to something in these books.

Spoilers will follow so if you haven't read these and want to, you might want to stop reading.

I read Hollowland first and absolutely loved it.  Remy is the heroine in a post-apocalyptic version of our world.  She kicks much ass and I loved her from the very first chapter.  Zombies have over-run all major cities and humanity is definitely on the losing end of a war with the undead.  Which were created based on a virus...I don't think it ever quite says whether or not that virus was created by humans, but please chime in on that one if it did.  Anyhow...the entire premise of the book is that Remy is trying to find her brother Max who is immune to the virus.  During the journey from point A to point B, Remy picks up a crew of sorts who follow her across the country.  Mostly she ends up protecting all of them from zombies b/c none of them are really any good at fighting zombies.  And she also picks up a somewhat domesticated lioness (around the Las Vegas area, so presumably one of the cats from the MGM Grand) on the trip, which is awesome because animals are immune to the virus and because I LOVE big cats.  

Eventually Remy & crew reach a compound set up by the military (because only the military is really ready for a zombie apocalypse.  No really, I'm serious.) and Remy discovers that she is also immune to the zombie virus.  Which means that she gets to trade her freedom to get her brother Max out of the doctors' experiments which are being performed on the little guy non-stop and practically killing him.  Oh yeah, and there's a romance between her & one of the guys she has to constantly protect from zombies while crossing the country.  This book was very high energy and even though it was dystopian I could not put it down.  I couldn't wait for the second book in the series....but it wasn't out yet so I had to.

Leading into the Hunger Games I knew absolutely NOTHING about the premise of this book.  I was actually looking for something light to read when I started it.  :-/  So....the premise of this whole world that Collins created is that the Capital (please forgive me if I get parts of this's been a few months since I read it) is the ruling power amid several "districts" that it controls.  It enforces that control by choosing 2 children each year from those 12 districts.  These children (who must be one male, one female from each district under the age of 14) are forced to fight.  To the death.  And it's televised for everyone to see.

I don't think there's any way I COULDN'T have a reaction to this premise.  I understand that Collins writes her tales to get people to understand the effect that war has on children.  I even applaud that effort and it was my own fault for not reading what the story was about before I started it.  But Oh My was horrible.  Staggeringly horrible to see what Katniss had to do to protect her family and then just to survive to get back to them.  I had dreams about this book for two weeks after I finished it.  The somewhat humorous thing about it was the dreams blended into the previous book in this post.  So I'd be having dreams about people who had to round up people who had been bitten by zombies and hadn't turned yet, but most certainly would & basically take them to interment camps where they could become ravaging monsters.  

There is a movie coming out based on The Hunger Games and I can't really believe that everything in the book is going to go into the movie.  Because it would end up being NC-17 or some rating higher than least I think it would be.  And if the movie wants to stick with the targeted young adult audience I just don't see how it's possible to portray everything in the book.

Moving on to Hollowmen.  I was really looking forward to the energy from the previous book and it JUST WASN'T THERE.  It was almost like once Remy busted out and found Max she didn't know what to do.  And really, I can't blame her.  Every single person she grew close to in the first book died.  EVERY SINGLE PERSON.  With the exception of her "romance" who took off and left her.  Now there's a very plausible explanation as to why he took off and left her.  And in all honesty I think the guy she meets in Hollowmen is a much better fit for her because he can take care of himself and she won't always have to save his butt.  (It is a zombie apocalypse after all - you're going to want to be with someone who can watch your back.)  But it was so depressing I almost couldn't get through it.  At least both of the kids survived, but I seriously doubt that Serg, Stella, and possibly Boden will live to meet the end of the third book.  If there is a third book - I'm assuming there will be because Hocking tends to write in trilogies.  

I haven't had any dreams about Hollowmen.  Maybe by the time I read this one my brain had worked out all the issues it had with the other two.  I think the finality of the last book had such an impact on me that my brain can't see any other way for the series to end than the zombies kill everybody.  Maybe I should be more disturbed that I'm not dreaming about that...I don't know.  But one thing that book did made me feel hollow.  Just like the I have to wonder if that's what Hocking intended.

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