I somehow avoided reading this series of books and watching the movies for a long time. Not sure what prompted me but I reached out to reading this set of books recently. And as it happens more often than not, I was surprised by the book. The concept of the book is abhorrent to me. The whole idea of putting young children into arena to kill each other is as disgusting as it can be. It is like playing video game with characters and assuming them as characters. It is like animal fighting in arena but here you also play with the emotions of victims and their families as well. On top of that you make a TV spectacle of the whole event.
Even with that disgusting idea the book is written well and character of Peeta and Katniss are refreshing in the madness of the games. They are playing the games but are refusing to be played. They are fighting to survive but almost refuse to kill and definitely not take pleasure out of it. The combination is also great. Katniss is impulsive and brash with great survival instinct. Peeta is cultured and very patient and more importantly ready to die from the time of his selection for Katniss. It is his willingness to sacrifice that moves the story than the Katniss’s willingness to fight and win
What amazes me is the voyeuristic pleasure that citizens of Capitol derive from the whole charade. You are left wondering whether it is forced or could people be really that evil. How easy it is for people to go from being moral and sane to start enjoying the killings. It is not very different from what has happened in different parts of the world under dictatorships.
Overall, this book does invoke strong emotions. I wonder why the book with such gruesome killings involving young kids be considered a book for kids. I will write about the sequels and movies in coming days as well.