Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Reviews and some personal issues

I have been on a bit of a reading spree lately. I finished the entire Percy Jackson series in about a week, and was well on my way to finishing The Prestige, when the book was sadly stolen. After the loss of that book I picked up The Hunger Games to read.

Now this book series has only been on my radar for about 9 months now, maybe a year at most. It was fairly low on my To Be Read list, but considering there is a movie coming out in a few months I figured I would bump it up on my list. I tend to like to read the book before seeing the movie. While I typically can enjoy both the book and the film version of a story, I like to read the book first because I find it easier to accept the movie images over the ones I have created in my head, than to create my own images over the movie images that have already been planted.

So I had picked up the first book in the trilogy at Half Priced Books a few weeks ago, and decided to give it a go. It wasn't long, but I was told it was an excellent book. I think that might be a little bit of an understatement. While it lacked a little in places, I found that overall I loved the book. It managed to keep me in suspense up until the last paragraph, but not so much suspense that I got frustrated with the book. It had a great pace and a great story, and I wanted to know how it all ended.

I splurged by buying the second book, but I just couldn't help myself. I devoured it in a day and found that it was again a very good book. It kept me on the edge of my seat through a lot of it, but it felt a little like middle movie syndrome. You know the second movie in a trilogy always seems to be exposition for the final one. It is a necessary evil that can most of the time be amusing if not just tolerated as a means to the end.

This book was good but it felt rushed in points. I felt like there was more story that could have been told but was omitted due to the thought of the length of the book, and fear of losing the audience to more banal details. Considering the audience this was geared towards I totally get it. They still got in all the major points so you know it isn't all bad.

Only I really wanted to know how it ended and I didn't have the third book. While I really shouldn't have bought it, I was being plagued by dreams about what would happen next. I had to know. I think this a sign of good writing. So I broke down and bought the third book and again devoured it in a day.

The last book was certainly my least favorite of the three. It was good but it paled in comparison to the first one, and almost didn't measure up to the second one either. I think part of it was that by this point we all knew what was going to happen on a very grand scheme of things, it was the smaller things that we were hanging in for, and that is what I feel was lost.

The third book spends a lot of time building on relationships that I felt were in the end sort of brushed off. There were of course deaths I was upset about, but they didn't evoke any sort of dramatic emotional response as I felt they should have. By the point the deaths started rolling in she was moving so fast and breezing by them with so little care for detail that I almost had to stop and go back to see if I had missed something.

I know not every death has to be grand and dwelled on, but there was a sort of disconnect that didn't sit well with me. Then everything sort of spiraled out into the end. The entire end of the book sounded like one long lazily strewn out summary of events. I do realize that a lot of it had to do with the main characters mental state, but for me it was very dissatisfying. I am not sure I wanted to sit through lengthy descriptions of her insanity state, I do think that would have been boring. I just feel like the author got bored and lazy and just finished it to be done with it.

I don't say this to belittle the author or her books. I again say that I think that book series was excellent, and enjoyed reading all three. I suppose what that I am comparing the author to myself in some ways.

Stick with me here a moment, because I am having trouble articulating my thoughts.

When I write something, ever since I was a little girl to now, I have a huge problem finishing anything that is longer than a short story. I have only managed to finish one large work ever, and even then it took me a year of silence to write the last few installments.

Its not that I get bored with my stories, that would be the wrong word for it. I think it is more that I get tired of writing it. I know how the story ends by that point so there is no longer any surprise or excitement factor with it. By that point I am just trying to get out what is already pretty much set in my head and it frustrates me.

Yes it frustrates me to have to get out what I already know is going to happen. It is like listening to someone retell a long story you have heard a dozen times and you just want to shout out how it ends so you can just move on and get to a story  you are not so familiar with. Only if you just shout out the end you know something will be missed and it won't be as good.

My endings always feel rushed to me, like I am just blurting out the end so I can move on to something new. That is how I felt about reading the end of the third book. It felt as though the author knew the story so well, and was just tired of the details and wanted to blurt out the end. There was two and a half books of tension and she just had to let it all out in one breath and be done with it. I don't know if this is what happened, but it is certainly what it felt like to me.

Do I think the ending could have been done better? Perhaps.
Did I feel satisfied in the end with how the story was left? Yes.

So all in all I thought it was an excellent book series and can not wait to see if they can make the movie measure up to it. While I still have lingering images and thoughts for the Hunger Games I move on to the next adventure in reading.


  1. I've just realised, I haven't read the third book yet. How can I have missed this?

  2. I devoured all three in a week which is insane for me considering how slow I read typically. The last book tied up the series nicely. 

  3. Okay, you might not see this but just wanted to say I've now read them all :-)

  4.  Oh did you like how the books ended? I am curious.

    And I am glad you are feeling better.