Tag Archives: Katniss

‘The Hunger Games’ Archery Lesson Part 3

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Here is the last video from the archery series I did on Hypable.com. This video was released last Friday on the same day as The Hunger Games movie opening. Hope you like it! They were a blast to do. And please remember, I am in no way an expert, just a hobbiest having fun. :)

http://www.hypable.com/2012/03/23/video-part-3-of-the-hunger-games-archery-lesson-with-hypables-jessica-oneal/

The Hunger Games

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You may have noticed that today is Tuesday, not Monday…Oops. Due to some internet issues yesterday and a severe lack in available time, I was unable to get this post together and up on time. Better late than never, right? On to my review.

It is no secret to anyone who follows me that I have been awaiting the opening of The Hunger Games film with great anticipation. I bought my midnight tickets as soon as they went on sale and counted down the days. This past week it finally arrived and I was met with a movie that actually exceeded all of my expectations.

Going into the movie I had more than a few worries. Based on the trailers I thought it looked like the film was going to get the tone and intensity of the books, but I was worried about some of the actors. In particular, I was worried – more like terrified – about Josh Hutcherson as Peeta. I adore Peeta. So much. He is easily my favorite character of the series and I was so scared that Hutcherson would not capture the essence that makes Peeta, Peeta. I have never been so glad to be wrong.

As the film got underway and we got to see more of Peeta I could not believe how perfectly Hutcherson was able to capture him. For once, a movie franchise chose to go with an actor who could actually act the role rather than one who just looked the part and that decision did nothing but enhance the film. Bravo to the filmmakers for making this decision.

It was not just Hutcherson who pleased, though. Every single actor in the film felt perfect to me. Woody Harrelson as Haymitch was just more perfect than I could have ever imagined. It felt as though Haymitch had literally walked out of the pages of the book into the film. Brilliant acting. I was also very happy with Jennifer Lawrence as Katniss. She definitely made Katniss more likable than she was in the book, but I was okay with that. Most of my frustration with Katniss’ character came from her obtuseness with regards to Peeta and his feelings and, while that plot was certainly in the film, it was not the primary focus, which was a good thing. The film focused more on the emotions of living under the oppression of the Capitol and the inhumanity of the Games as opposed to the start of the love triangle, and Jennifer Lawrence did a great job capturing that part of Katniss.

One thing the film did differently from the book is it showed a lot of the behind the scenes happenings at the Capitol during the Games. I thought this was a very effective tool. It allowed the film to convey information we learn from Katniss’ narration in the book without feeling too expositional, such as when they explained what tracker jackers were, and it also helped show the depth of depravity in the people of the Capitol. Getting to actually see the game-makers discuss things like throwing fireballs at Katniss, follow through on it, and then seeing them coming at her…wow. It is one thing to understand that’s what is happening, but to actually see it – that just takes it to a whole new level. And the scene where the little boy gets a sword and chases his sister down like they are in the Games while the parents look on and laugh in delight shows better than anything else could have how the Games are a true source of entertainment in the Capitol and that they honestly don’t see what the big deal is. It is sickening.

There were several scenes from the book that I was looking forward to and none of them disappointed. The somber atmosphere of the Reaping and the enormity of Katniss volunteering in Prim’s place were spot on. The scene with Rue was absolutely perfect. It was incredibly touching and I am so glad they took the time to really do that part justice. I also thought they did a great job getting in all the emotion between Katniss and Peeta in the cave scenes without dragging that part on too long.

I really don’t have any complaints with this film. It was just as emotional and disturbing and touching as I hoped it would be. I am so relieved that they got it right and I can not wait to see what the next installments bring.

Did you get a chance to see The Hunger Games? What did you think? Did you like the actors or think they were lacking something? Did you feel the film captured the essence of the books? Let me know your thought in the comments.

 

‘The Hunger Games’ Archery Lesson Part 2

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Join me in Part 2 of the video series I did through Hypable.com looking at archery and how it relates to The Hunger Games. In this video I look more at the recurve bow and the different parts of the arrow.

http://www.hypable.com/2012/03/19/video-part-2-of-the-hunger-games-archery-lesson-with-hypables-jessica-oneal/

“The Hunger Games” Archery Lesson Part 1

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In anticipation of the upcoming The Hunger Games movie I have teamed up with Hypable to release a 3 part video series looking at archery and how it relates to Katniss. In the first part I show you some of the different types of bows there are and the kind that Katniss would be using. Check it out and let me know what you think!

http://www.hypable.com/2012/03/12/video-the-hunger-games-archery-lesson-part-1-with-hypables-jessica-oneal/

 

Mockingjay

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Most people I know who have read The Hunger Games trilogy flew through all three books unable to put them down. If you have been following my blog, you know that I had to take breaks between them for my mental sanity since I get so into the reading experience. Several weeks ago I was finally ready to pick up the last book of the trilogy, Mockingjay, and fly through it. Oh. My. Goodness. Mere words can not even begin to describe the depth of feeling this book elicited in me. It is, hands down, my favorite of the trilogy. I absolutely LOVED it.

Mockingjay picks up right where Catching Fire left off, with Katniss’ world flipped completely upside down. Whether she intended to or not, she has set in motion a rebellion against the Capitol and it is time for her to figure out what her role in the events unfolding around her is going to be.

From the very start, this book was full of intense emotion. The devastation that has already taken root inside of Katniss and grows throughout the book was very difficult to read. Her pain is so acute, so real, I could feel it in the core of my own spirit. While there were still moments that she drove me crazy and made me want to reach through the pages to throttle her, those moments were much fewer. She had already been through so much and it only got worse as the pages were turned, there was no way that I could not sympathize with her. There could be a whole series of essays written on her character development over the course of the three books, but suffice it to say, that my opinion of the Katniss we meet at the beginning of The Hunger Games and the one we have at the end of Mockingjay is completely different. I just…I think about her now and my heart aches for all she has suffered.

Without spoiling anything, I have to say that one of my favorite – and most hated – aspects of the book was the plot surrounding Peeta. I mean, wow. It was absolute torture to read some of those scenes involving him, hence the hate, but the ways in which those events affected, not only his character, but Katniss and many others as well, was brilliant writing. Reading his story in this book was one of the most harrowing things I have ever read. It pulled at me even more deeply than all that Katniss faced. Peeta had been one of my favorite characters from the very beginning and what he went through physically hurt me. And that is a mark of good writing.

I have heard from many people, both online and in life, that they did not like the ending. While I can understand why people feel that way, I in no way share that opinion. I thought that the ending was perfect. I really don’t see how the book could have ended any differently with all of the things that these people, these teenagers, had been through. The ending felt organic to the story that had been told. It left me completely satisfied and resonated within me. Any other ending that attempted to be more saccharine would have felt false, forced. It would not have had the same impact that made this one of those stories that will stay with me forever.

There is so much more that I could say about this book, but it would probably just begin to be redundant, so I will stop here. With the first two books I knew that I had found something special, a series that I would love, but it wasn’t until Mockingjay that I understood just how much. Not since the Harry Potter series or Deerskin has a book affected me so much. After I closed the cover I sat there thinking about the characters and story, and I cried for an hour. These characters are now a part of me. Their story is a part of me. Forever.

Have you read Mockingjay? What did you think of it? Were you satisfied with the ending? What parts did you like? Dislike? Let me know in the comments.

Catching Fire

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A while back I posted my review of the wildly popular Suzanne Collins book, The Hunger Games. When I finished that book I was exhausted, frustrated, and hooked. I needed a break before continuing on, but I did finally recover enough to where I felt I could read the second book in the trilogy, Catching Fire.

Catching Fire picks up right where The Hunger Games left off. Katniss is back home in District 12 and soon learns that there are very real consequences that have followed from her actions in the Games. With rumors of rebellions and not-so-subtle threats from the President of Panem, she prepares for the victory tour she and Peeta must embark upon as well as her role of mentor in the upcoming Games. This year will mark the 75th annual Hunger Games, which makes it one of the special Quarter Quells (done every 25 years). When the special circumstances for the Quarter Quell are made, everything changes. Only this time, Katniss isn’t just fighting for her life, but also for the lives of those she loves.

After reading The Hunger Games I had two main complaints:

1. The narration style felt clipped and robotic, sometimes to the point of distraction.

2. Katniss drove me crazy.

Neither one of those things were a problem in Catching Fire. Even though Collins still used first person present tense narration with this book, it felt much smoother. There was a flow to the writing that wasn’t there in the last book. I am not sure what the reason for this change is, but it doesn’t really matter. Additionally, Katniss was much more likeable this time around. There were still times where she was excruciatingly oblivious (like with the mockingjay pocketwatch), but for the most part she was much more together.

There were a lot of things that I really enjoyed about this book. It was great to get to see some of the other districts as Katniss and Peeta went on their victory tour. The scene where they visit District 11, the District that Rue was from, completely broke my heart. It was such a tender and touching scene that, especially when juxtaposed with its brutal end, was a perfect representation of the deeper issues in the country and the events that Katniss inadvertently set into motion.

I also loved the more in depth look we got into the Capitol and the people who live there. For the vast majority of those scenes my face was twisted in disgust at the way the Capitol residents lived and their utter self-absorption. The way that they can be either so wholly ignorant of or simply ignore the devastating circumstances in which the rest of the country lives is astounding. Those moments forced me to take a look at my own life to make sure that I have not fallen into that same easy trap (albeit on a much lesser scale).

The only small complaint I have with this installment is the occasionally slow pacing of the beginning. Much of this slow pacing was caused from the time spent developing the awkward and unnecessary love triangle between Katniss, Peeta, and Gale. Now, I love a good romance, but I felt like there was enough romantic tension in the Katniss/Peeta dynamic. The addition of Gale felt a little superfluous. It seems that all YA books I read nowadays feel the need to include a love triangle even though it is not always needed. I would have much preferred for Katniss and Gale to just be best friends that knew one another better than themselves.

Of course, the slow pace did not last long. The latter half of the book was just as intense and stressful as The Hunger Games had been. And this one had the addition of a gargantuan cliffhanger ending. When I closed the book I was torn by my burning desire to go out and purchase Mockingjay immediately and my need for a mental break. In the end, I used wisdom and forced myself to take a mental break so that I will be able to fully enjoy the end to this series when I read it.

It is very common for the middle book of a trilogy to not quite live up to the books that sandwich it. Even though I have not yet read all three books in The Hunger Games trilogy, I know that this will not be the case here. Catching Fire was a tremendous sequel that, in many ways, improved upon its predecessor. It was a story that I did not want to put down. It was filled with a cast of characters, new and old, that I fell in love with. I am so grateful that I do not actually live in the world of Panem and even more grateful that I am able to visit it through the safety of the pages in a book.

Have you read Catching Fire or any of the books in The Hunger Games trilogy? What did you think of it? Did you like it more or less than the first book? Let me know in the comments.

The Hunger Games

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For quite some time now I have been hearing about Suzanne Collins’ book The Hunger Games from a plethora of sources, all of which had good things to say. Naturally this made me want to check it out. I started it this past Friday when I had about an hour break. I thought it was interesting, but I was ok with putting it down until later. When I picked it up again that night it was suddenly 2 AM and I had finished the book. Whoa…how did that happen???

The Hunger Games follows the story of Katniss Everdeen who is a 16 year old in the post-apocalyptic world called Panem. Every year one boy and one girl are chosen from each of the 12 Districts to compete in the Hunger Games where the winner is the last one alive. In order to save her younger sister, Katniss volunteers to be the girl from her District. The reader is then taken with her as she attempts to survive the Games.

There were a lot of things I didn’t really care for about the book, but as evidenced through how quickly I read it I still became completely captivated by the story and it’s characters. My biggest gripe is that the story is told in 1st person present tense narration through Katniss, or as Kristen Lamb calls it “come along with me” narration. This is my absolute least favorite type of narration. It reminds me of the old film noir movies where the detective is narrating everything in a detached monotone and that was exactly the feeling I got from the book. The narration felt clipped and often void of all emotion.

Even though I didn’t like it, I understood why Collins chose to write her book this way. Katniss comes from a world where she faces the threat of starvation daily and has to watch everything she says and does for fear of being deemed a traitor. She has learned to essentially turn off her emotions and the style of narration demonstrates this and really fits with her personality. I just personally didn’t care for it and, as a side note, while I liked her more and more as the story went on Katniss was not my favorite character.

But that’s enough of the bad. It is a testament to how engrossing the story is that I was able to forget about all I just mentioned and actually really enjoyed reading it. There is a great cast of supporting characters, especially Rue and Peeta, who we truly grow to love and the action of the plot always has an undercurrent of intensity that keeps us turning the pages. Even in the quiet and touching moments we are constantly aware of the fact that someone could appear at any moment to kill our favorite characters.

Once I got into the story I obviously couldn’t put it down, but when I was actually finished with it I was filled with mixed emotions. Part of me absolutely loved it yet at the same time I was so frustrated with Katniss that I wanted to scream. Her character grows leaps and bounds through the story, but she can still be incredibly dense which causes her to do things that drive me crazy! The fact that The Hunger Games was able to evoke such strong emotions out of me, however, shows what a good book it really is. I am hoping that after I read the rest of the series my frustrations will be resolved.

What about you? If you’ve read it did you like it? What did you like or not like? Did the narration style bother you?