Tuesday, December 27, 2011

BOOK REVIEW: The Hunger Games Series by Suzanne Collins

Posted by Carla B. at 10:04 PM
Mockingjay by Suzanne Collins
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I really enjoyed this book, as well as the entire series. I thought it was a good, if somewhat predictable in some ways, ending to the series.  Please watch out below - SPOILERS APPEAR!! If you have not finished the series, then please proceed with caution.

Thank you.... remember, you have been warned....

Just one more SPOILER ALERT in case you have not finished the series and don't want it spoiled.....

Okay... keep scrolling, and it will be right here.....

I knew on some level that Katniss would see Coin for who she really was, as her character had already developed enough to catch onto that. I think she could have caught on more without so much input from Snow, but I give her character the benefit of the doubt in grieving her younger sister. That was an unexpected twist, although it made sense in the storyline. Since children had always been used as pawns by both sides, it should have been no surprise either one would have used the ultimate weapon - Prim.

The love triangle left me a bit conflicted. I personally love the fact that she ended up with Peeta. However, I am not as comfortable with his "rapid recovery" as it appeared in the book. It makes it sound like he was slowly recovering, then her kiss jump started the remainder which was then finalized by his fire experience. This left me with several questions. One, if Coin was using him to assassinate Katniss, then it would stand reason that she was not helping him recover but was instead reinforcing the idea Katniss was evil and needed to be destroyed. This would make it harder, and not easier, for Katniss to overcome the damage done. Unless we are to believe his love for her ran true and deep, to the point he was never thoroughly corrupted. Two, if Coin didn't feel she could actively do that (reinforce his attitudes towards Katniss), then I still find it difficult that he could overcome them that easily. The reader is led to believe the damage is deep and almost impossible to overcome. So how can they almost completely cure him in the short time span allowed in the book from when he joined the team? Three, what about her Commander? He left instructions for her to kill Peeta, abandon and not trust anyone on the team, and then kill Snow. So, what was that about? It appeared as they moved through the Capitol that she actually could trust the team. Again, I can understand if some of her actions led them to be more supportive of her role - it still isn't enough to completely turn them into an avid supporter and have them sacrifice their own lives for her agenda if they have been routinely trained for one mission and led to believe certain things about Katniss. Some of that just doesn't ring true.

I did find the development of Gale's character completely believable. Throughout the book he appeared to love Katniss more out of jealousy than an original love. It appears he was always spurred by some external event to realize his love. While that can happen to some people and be valid, many times it is not a true and lasting love. It is a reaction to an event, and once that event has passed they are left with at least some confusion. I do believe he loved her, but the romantic aspect was what was spurred by the external events. This is what made his character somewhat tragic, because it seemed he was not capable of fully giving himself to another person. You kind of realized he was not going to go on to another District and find love. It was Katniss or nothing, and quite honestly his love for her was not deep nor true enough (in my opinion) for her to settle just so he was not alone. He was a hunter, and hunters are often loners. While hunters can go together and certainly they can help one another as Katniss and Gale did, it is often much more lonely. Think of how silent you must be, or of the lone hunter sitting in a tree stand for hours on end. When they tracked, it was sometimes more like fellow soldiers than fellow hunters. I think this translated over time as they moved through missions, and it made perfect sense. Also, at crucial decision points in the story, Katniss chose Peeta even when she knew it would hurt Gale. While she obsessed over this like many teen girls do, and sometimes judged herself a bit too harshly, it was evident she was typically "picking" Peeta. It would have felt hollow and untrue had she chosen Gale as a life mate at the end of the series.

All in all, I liked the series and the book. I liked reading it from a literature standpoint, seeing the allegory and motifs. It was written far better than Twilight which was enjoyable as long as you channeled your inner 14-year-old. This book had more depth, which I enjoyed as a an adult reader. However, it was accessible when looked at through the eyes of my inner teenage girl.

I give this one four stars out of five, as I would have handled some of the last few chapters a bit differently. The entire series is a 4.5 out of 5, for keeping the tension, character development, and providing talking points with teenagers.

View all my reviews

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

BOOK REVIEW: The Shroud by Dallas Tanner

Posted by Carla B. at 7:29 PM
It was okay. I liked the general concept and the story line, as well as the characters. I do believe the characters needed more depth and for as well as I could "know" them, I sometimes found them acting against how they were developed.

Overall, I think this book could be very good if it had a good editor. It proves how essential that is, especially for an author that is published independent or by a smaller house. In this case, there were several large chunks of "info dump" which slowed the pace of the book considerably. This information could have been provided as an addendum at the end of the book, as several larger chunks of information were not essential to the storyline. Where the information was essential or quite helpful, I believe it could have been written as dialogue between characters or woven into more action-oriented scenes.

I also found at least once where the main female character had an entirely different name. It was confusing enough to see the author randomly switch between using her last name, her first name and her nickname. However, at one point he used a totally different name which makes me think an earlier draft (or perhaps a middle draft) changed her name entirely from the one in the final publication - only this one time it did not get caught. Those things are confusing and again interfere with the pace of the story.

While the story did follow a systematic flow through approximately the first two thirds of the book, the last third seemed to jump around and was very awkward. A few scenes were entirely unnecessary, to the point one made me cringe a bit in embarrassment for the author. By the end of the book, I found myself skipping large segments and scanning the pages for essential information. I just wanted to get it finished. While I was sometimes bored through those first two thirds, I was interested enough in the storyline to see how the author was going to solve the problems and explain some of the situations. I did find it fairly predictable in some ways (such as the identity of Boangeres), which was slightly disappointing.

I think the author has promise, but I found myself wishing I could edit this book and perhaps other future books of his. I think with good editing his writing can be tightened, his characters made more consistent which would add depth, and basic errors (such as consistency in names, and double checking timelines, etc.) would be immensely helpful. With that, I think he could find a home at a larger publishing house and get recognition for his unique storylines and story concepts.

If you are interested in reading it for yourself, please click here:

The DomestiChick Copyright © 2010 Designed by Ipietoon Blogger Template Sponsored by Emocutez