The Hunger Games

Image_square_webby Susan

2012, Jennifer Lawrence, Josh Hutcherson and Liam Hemsworth. Directed by Gary Ross.

For a long time I didn’t understand all the hype for this movie, having not yet read the book upon which it is based. Thanks to a very good friend I was able to correct that egregious error; I finished the book mere hours before heading to the theatre.

What an intriguing story! What memorable characters! What heart-pounding action! This movie adaptation of a book should be the standard by which other adaptations are judged. It stayed true to the original story and characters while also including greater detail that captured the spirit of the novel completely. I was blown away.

There is much more to this story than just the cruelty of making teenagers fight to the death as entertainment in the ultimate reality show. The future inhabited by Katniss Everdeen is truly a bleak place. The one-percenters have taken over and rule the ninety-nine percent with an iron fist. Keeping the populace hungry, fearful, and destitute is a wonderful deterrent to rebellion.

As a teenage heroine, Katniss is a thoroughly refreshing alternative to whiny Bella Swan. No offense to any Twihards (some of my best friends are Twihards!), but Bella really started to grate on my last nerve before the second half of the last book. There is also a love triangle of sorts in The Hunger Games that is integral to the story, unlike Twilight where the love triangle is the story.

If you haven’t read the book first, please do so! If you’ve already seen the movie, please read the book! And then read the next two in the series.

A fellow blogger has written excellent reviews of both the movie and the book. I refer you to http://www.moviebrit.com (aka Kate) for her review of the movie http://moviebrit.com/reviews-2012/the-hunger-games/ and the book http://forwinternights.wordpress.com/2012/03/05/the-hunger-games-by-suzanne-collins/.

A full bucket of popcorn!Rating: Full Bucket

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Ashes

OK.
Wow.

I am freshly done, having stayed up late to finish. I am just hanging on a cliff’s edge. What a book! What a ride! It just goes from bad to worse, yet I kept hoping, fearing for Alex, our brave heroine.
I ran across the term “unputdownable” when I read a blurb about this book. I have to agree. It is stuck. In. My. Head. WHAAAAAAAT happens next!?!?!?!

Here’s the rundown:

Alex has a terminal brain tumor. She’s been through treatments and is on a last round of experimental attempts to save her life. She can’t smell anything, feels terrible and is just ready to be done. So she takes a few meaningful items on a final camping trip. She won’t proceed with the experimental PEBBLES. She’s tired. She says good-bye to her aunt and goes on to say goodbye and battle some personal demons.

She meets an elderly man, his granddaughter Ellie and their dog, Mina on the trip. Like Alex, Ellie has lost her parents and her only tie to her dead soldier father is his bomb-sniffing dog, retired from the war. All is going well until something happens. Something terrible.

In the horrific aftermath of what appears to be an attack by EMP, all Alex can do is try to survive. It’s not the same world: modern electronics have been utterly destroyed, including medical devices like the pacemaker that killed Ellie’s grandfather. No phones, no iPod, nothing. Faced with keeping Ellie safe and enduring the wilderness on dwindling supplies, Alex makes a horrifying discovery. Hint: the kids are NOT alright. And few other people are. And Alex is not the same.

I don’t want to give too much away, but Ashes will be a trilogy. The second is Shadows and the third is Monsters. I. Can’t. Wait.