Thursday, January 12, 2012

READING: The Girl Who Was On Fire-Movie Edition+GIVEAWAY!!

The Girl Who Was On Fire:Movie Edition-Your Favorite Authors on Suzanne Collins' trilogy "The Hunger Games"

Publication date: February 7th, 2012
Published by: SmartPop Books
Genre: Anthology
Rating: 5/5
Includes access to special e-book only movie content!

Praised by writers from Stephen King to Stephenie Meyer, Suzanne Collins’ New York Times bestselling Hunger Games trilogy is dark, captivating and deeply thought-provoking. Part straight-up survivalist adventure, part rich allegory and part political thriller, the series has become a new YA favorite. A film version of the first book, The Hunger Games, starring Academy Award-nominated actress Jennifer Lawrence, will be released in March 2012.

The Girl Who Was on Fire - Movie Edition, released just in time for the release of the first Hunger Games film, includes three brand new essays from Brent Hartinger, Jackson Pearce, and Diana Peterfreund, to take readers even deeper into this challenging YA phenomenon.

The Girl Who Was On Fire-Movie Edition contains all the awesomeness of the first edition of The Girl Who Was On Fire, plus three brand new essays from Brent Hartinger, Jackson Pearce, and Diana Peterfreund, which I will discuss separately.

Brent Hartinger: Did the third book suck?
Brent talks about his disappointment in the last book of the series, Mockingjay, but also tries to support people who liked it.
I agree with Brent's opinion, more or less. I am one of the many (few?) who didn't like the Hunger Games ending. For completely different reasons that anyone else it seems, but I was disappointed nonetheless.

"There's apparently a fine line between "reluctant hero" and "cliche angst-y teen"

Agree 100%. That's why I think Katniss's reactions, emotions and behavior became so over the top, so melodramatic if you will, in the last book. Everyone is obsessed over her, and she can't help but think that she is indeed the centre and cause of everything. Yes, she is important to the world of Panem, no question about it. However, not THAT important that would justify her thinking that everything that happens in her dystopia world happens because of her.
I also agree about Brent's take on the love triangle. If you're looking for tormented lovers, pick another YA book, there're a lot of them about with that particular theme. Agreed, the Hunger Games trilogy is not at all about Katniss's love life, far from it actually. least it shouldn't have been. I've said this a million times: if you don't want readers, especially YA readers, to have romance-centered expectations, DO NOT ADD AN ANGSTY LOVE TRIANGLE. It's that simple. "Cheap" tricks like that are so beyond Hunger Games. Its amazing story spoke for itself, it didn't need anything else. If you want to add some romance to lighten the mood, sure, by all means. But choose a guy for Katniss to love and find comfort in. Not two guys. If you chose the latter, you have to prepare for the backlash, which is unfortunately unavoidable. When you add a love triangle in a book, you automatically split your fan-base into two sides. That means that in the end, you can only fully satisfy the one side, if that. If you want to talk numbers, that's approximately 50% of the readers. Why go through that? Why not target at 100%? I just don't get it.

Finally, the one thing that I don't agree with Brent is that The Hunger Games world is not morally grey. There is nothing grey and in-between about it. It's pitch black and corrupt to the core, and if that makes me a cynic, so be it.

Jackson Pearce: Gale: Knight, Cowboy, Badass

"Katniss wants to run away with those she loves, because her family, her inner circle, is more important to her that the general populace" Gale flatly tells Katniss " Don't you see? It can't be about just saving "us" anymore. Not if the rebellion's begun!"

Yes! Finally! Jackson very accurately compares the altruism and selflessness that describes a knight's, a hero's life, to Katniss's who from the very beginning declares that her family is her first priority. Gale does love his family obviously, but he loves the cause more.
I couldn't agree more. I don't know if that makes one character more likable than the other, what I do know however, is that visionaries and people who want to change the world have to put the greater good before themselves and their families and the people they love. If you want to lead a revolution, you have to put the populace's interests before yours. It doesn't work any other way. If your plan is to fight to save your ass, you're gonna fail and fail and fail. Or you're gonna succeed but you'll be no hero. There's this scene in Mockingjay I will never forget. The bombing in destrict 13 had started and everyone had rushed to the shelter except for Prim, who was not far behind. They had to close the door however, because they couldn't risk getting hit. Katnisss ordered for the door to stay open until Prim came, jeopardizing the life of everyone that was in the shelter. Did she care? Not in the least. Would she had done it for anyone else? Absolutely not. So, you realise, you cannot possibly do that, and still call yourself a hero. Cruel but true. For me, and for Jackson apparently, Gale is the real hero in the Hunger Games series. The leader of the revolution, willing to put his life on the line to save others. Finally, again, couldn't agree more when Jackson says that without Gale there would be no meadow for Katniss and Peeta's children to play at the end of Mockingjay:
"He's the reason the series had a happy ending".

"Peeta, with all his domesticated ador- ableness, is a man, whereas Gale is an archetype—someone pos- sible to lust over, possible to care for, possible to love, but fundamentally impossible to settle down with."
How right you are, Jackson. How right you are. 

Diana Peterfreund: Hunger Game Theory
Diana writes a very illuminating essay about game strategy, its origins and its various sides and uses. Playing a game of two players entails a certain amount of thinking and strategizing if you want to win, or at least accomplish the best outcome for you. That's what Diana's essay is about, how two people's game strategies are connected and how one cannot possibly exist without the other.

She refers to Harry Potter's Quidditch and Ender's Game Battle School game. What first came to my mind when reading the Hunger Games is Battle Royale. For those of you who haven't heard of it, Battle Royale is a novel by Koushun Takami. It takes place in Japan, in an alternate timeline. Under the guise of a "study trip", a group of students are gassed on a bus, and then wake up in an evacuated school in a deserted island. They learn that they have been placed in an event called the Program. Officially a military research project, it is a means of terrorizing the population, of creating such paranoia as to make organized insurgency impossible. According to the rules, every year since 1947, 42 third-year high school students are isolated, and each student is required to fight to the death until one student remains. Their movements are tracked by metal collars, which contain tracking and listening devices. If any student should attempt to escape the Program, or enter declared forbidden zones, a bomb will be detonated in the collar, killing the wearer. If no one dies in a 24 hour time period, there will be no winner and all collars will be detonated simultaneously. After being briefed about the Program, the students are issued survival packs that include a map, compass, flashlight, food and water, and a random weapon or other item, which may be anything from a gun to a paper fan(summary mostly taken from Wiki).
Many argue that Battle Royale is more violent and bloody. Is it though?
"Win or lose. Kill or be killed. Every man for himself."
I think Diana answered my question.

"The only way to win the game is not to play at all"

I think the above phrase pretty much sums up the whole series. Diana reminds us what Haymitch told Katniss in Mockingjay, that they were all "still in the game". Whatever they do, it doesn't stop. It just goes around and around and around and for what? People never win, districts never win, it's always the Capitol. So the best strategy is to not have one, meaning not to play at all. I think that's what Katniss and Peeta realised when they thought about eating the berries, shaking the system to its core.
Great analytical essay on game theory based on psychological examples and politics.

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1 comment:

  1. Thanks for the giveaway! I've read the first Hunger Games book and thought it was okay. I think other authors' essays on it would actually be more interesting to me.


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