What Jenny's Reading

{January 5, 2015}   Review: The Hunger Games, Pt. 2

It’s the end of the holiday!  Boo!  To help you get through this sad time, here’s Part 2 of The Hunger Games.  Katniss is standing on her platform, waiting for the Games to begin.

The rules are that they have to stand on the pad for sixty seconds. They’re all dispersed out around the Cornucopia, which is an actual giant metal horn filled with supplies. Katniss sees supplies all sort of spread out, with the best stuff at the center of the Cornucopia. She also sees a bow and arrows and knows they were meant for her.

Haymitch told them both not to try for the Cornucopia, as it’s a giant bloodbath. Katniss wants to try anyway, but is distracted by Peeta shaking his head at her, and loses her chance.

I’m not good at describing action. The kids fight, and there’s tons of bloodshed, of course. Katniss manages to get her hands on a plastic sheet and also a backpack. She nearly gets killed by the girl from 2, but instead actually gets a good knife, and takes off.

She runs and walks a lot next. To be honest, it’s a tiny bit boring. She inspects her pack and finds a sleeping bag, some rope, a water bottle (empty), iodine tablets to purify water, sunglasses, matches, crackers, and beef jerky. She sets a couple of snares to catch food and then climbs a willow tree to make camp for the night.

Katniss is lucky she can climb trees so well, and also that she has the rope to hold her in place. Or I guess her belt. I used to be able to climb trees, but it’s a skill I lost. I guess if I were often climbing trees and creating shields to conceal myself from wild animals I was trying to kill so I wouldn’t starve, I would be better at it. See, this is why I could never be on Survivor.

I don’t even understand people who want to be on Survivor. I mean, I love nature and all, but I don’t want to live there. I had this boyfriend in college who loved camping, and that was always his boys’ trip. He was always like, Oh, I bet you’re jealous you can’t go, right? And I’d sit in my cozy armchair with my book and my electricity and laugh and laugh.

Next she’s woken up by one of her competitors starting a fire. She contemplates going to kill this person, but doesn’t. Instead, the Career pack kills her and stops to chat by Katniss’s grove. She nearly falls out of her tree when she realizes Peeta is with them.

The Careers send Peeta back to make sure the other girl is dead, and they talk about him and Katniss, and how they don’t trust him but want him with them because it’s their easiest way to find her. Katniss is pissed, because she doesn’t know Peeta and doesn’t know this is strategy. Lucky for her, they move on before the sun rises and she’s able to escape, heading in the opposite direction.

I wonder, did Peeta really kill the girl? I’m thinking probably not, since he’s so unhappy later on (spoiler!) about Foxface. Maybe he sat with her till she died. I guess he could’ve killed her, but I feel like Katniss would’ve mentioned this later on, so probably not.

Remember how I mentioned in a previous Little House review that I wondered about them going to the bathroom and so forth? She does mention having problems with peeing, mostly because of her dehydration those first couple of days. She gets super fuzzy headed and decides that Haymitch isn’t sending her water because he’s telling her that she’s close to a natural source. And she’s right.

Sadly she doesn’t get to rest for long. The Gamemakers get bored and start throwing fire at her. FUCKING FIRE. I mean, it’s controlled to an extent, but how can they be sure she wouldn’t die? I know that’s a stupid thing to think, considering that all but one of these kids is going to die anyway, but geez. I thought the point of the Games was for the kids to kill each other, rather than the Gamemakers to toss sadistic traps at them.

Katniss gets away but is badly burned. Unfortunately for her, at the moment she’s all “Fire bad, tree pretty” and ends up stuck in a tree with a bunch of psychopaths leering at her.

Peeta convinces the group to settle in for the night. I have no idea why they listen to him, but they do. This gives Katniss time to discover (thanks to Rue) a nest of tracker jackers, which are genetically enhanced wasps whose stings cause hallucinations and a lot of pain.

Haymitch finally takes pity on her, and sends her some burn ointment that practically heals her burns overnight. Then she drops the nest on the Careers and Peeta. She’s stung a few times, but the bulk of the tracker jackers attack the Careers.

Katniss gets down when they run, and manages to pry the bow out of a dying District 1 girl’s hands. She hallucinates pretty badly and runs into Peeta, who yells at her to get out. He fights Cato when he comes crashing back looking for her.

She describes the scene as sparkly, because the water droplets on Peeta and then Cato start to sparkle. Later, she doesn’t know if it was real or not, even though we pretty much find out it’s real. I find this scene a bit confusing based on what happens with Peeta and the tracker jacker venom in Mockingjay.

Anyway, back to this book. Katniss runs and has all sorts of awful hallucinations. She trips and falls into a small depressed hole under a dead tree and faints.

She has tons of nightmares and so forth, but wakes up safe, shaky but essentially uninjured. She almost immediately teams up with little Rue, who helps her with her stings and tells her the Careers have stockpiled all the supplies from the Cornucopia down by the lake. They decide they will destroy them somehow.

This is awesome, you guys. I love Katniss with a plan! They split up, with Rue going to light some fires to draw attention away from the lake, and Katniss off to ruin their respective days. She figures out that the mines used at the beginning of the Games were somehow reactivated, based on the District 3 boy’s presence and also Foxface’s behavior when she steals supplies, and ends up using her arrows to shoot open a bag of apples, which causes a chain reaction that destroys everything.

Katniss manages to get away just before she would’ve been seen by the Careers. Cato kills the boy from District 3 because he was too efficient at his job. Man, Cato would be the worst middle manager ever, am I right?

The rest of the Careers talk him down, since they think the culprit was killed too, rather than it being a deliberate attack. They wait till night, but then when they find out it was an attack, they go looking for her.

Okay, review: the living tributes right now are Marvel (1), Clove and Cato (2), Foxface (5), Thresh and Rue (11), and Katniss and Peeta (12 if you’re super slow). Eight left out of twenty-four. If you were wondering.

Katniss hangs out till the next morning, then heads back to meet Rue. When she eventually finds her, it’s a trap, and Rue is killed. Katniss just manages to kill Marvel, who I guess probably set the trap. Yay, Katniss! Fuck that guy for killing a little girl.

This is sad, you guys. Katniss sings little Rue a song while she dies, and then decorates her body with flowers. Poor little Rue. For her trouble, she gets a gift from District 11 of bread, the first time a district has sent a gift to someone from someplace else.

Oh! Then things really heat up. There’s an announcement, and Katniss finds out that two tributes can now win, if they’re from the same district.

Peeta’s in bad shape, though. He’s hiding in a riverbed, and I have no idea how Katniss manages to find him. Magic? Tracking that’s like magic? Narrative necessity? Probably that last one. Anyway, she tries to help him with medicines and so forth and hauls him into a cave. They play up the romance stuff and poor Katniss is just off her head, listening to Peeta tell stories about how he’s loved her forever. She thinks it’s all fake but seems to hope it’s real since she remembers some of the things he references. For him, it’s all real. THIS WILL ONLY END IN TEARS, PEOPLE!

I guess tears are better than violent, bloody death. Perspective!

Peeta has blood poisoning from his fight with Cato (back during the tracker jacker episode), and the only thing that will help him is medicine from the Capitol. Katniss gets called to a feast where she’ll get his medicine, and drugs Peeta with Haymitch’s help so he can’t stop her from going. She’s almost killed by Clove, but Thresh intervenes and kills Clove, and lets Katniss go because she’d been Rue’s ally. It’s really, really sad. Thresh seems awesome. I wish we’d gotten to know him better, but I guess that would’ve just broken my heart in the end, right? (I’ll never forgive you for Khal Drogo, George R. R. Martin!!)

Katniss gets Peeta the medicine, and heals him. Haymitch finally sends them some food, because they kiss and pimp themselves out to the audience who frankly suck and don’t deserve to watch teen romance, so they’re set for a little while. Except now Katniss can only think of Gale, and how Gale might be interpreting her “romance” with Peeta. Ugh.

Honestly, all this thinking “oooh, does he like me like me or just like me?” she’s doing about Gale sorta came out of nowhere. At least to me. Of course, I guess I should’ve realized it was going to happen, considering this is a young adult series and I think by law they’re required to have some kind of love triangle. Fine, we’ll deal with it later, at the last possible second, because I find it boring and clichéd.

Clearly, if you hadn’t guessed, I’m on Team Peeta. Well, I guess I’m more on Team Gale Sucks. That doesn’t automatically make me Team Peeta, but I think if Katniss is going to end up with one of these guys (spoiler alert: duh), he’s the far better choice.

Peeta kills Foxface by accident, and then Cato kills Thresh, so now it’s just them and Cato. They’re all drawn back toward the lake for the final fight. Well, Katniss and Peeta go because it’s the last remaining water source. Cato goes because he’s chased by a bunch of mutt dogs. I think this means Cato is too dumb to logic out the water thing for himself. Heh.

Huge, confusing fight at the Cornucopia. The mutant dogs are all replicas of dead tributes. You know, this is a situation where the killer lynx idea would’ve come in handy, I think. Katniss kills a bunch of the mutts, but Peeta’s wounded by one. Then Cato grabs Peeta and there’s a standoff till Katniss remembers she has arrows.

Cato falls to the ground and is gnawed on by the dogs. They leave him there for hours, because I guess it’s the climactic finale of the Games. I mean, seriously? First off, how gruesome, and I know I’m talking about a crowd who thinks it’s fun to watch kids murder each other. But how is this exciting? Hours and hours of someone being mauled by animals? I’d prefer to think that Katniss is all, take that, fuckers. You want blood? WATCH HIM BLEED TILL YOU CHOKE ON IT!

Whatever, Katniss finally shoots him with an arrow, and he dies. Then there’s an announcement that whoopsie, they messed up before, there really can be only one winner. Katniss is pissed, Peeta is resigned, and Katniss decides that rather than one of them die, they’ll fuck with the Gamemakers and commit joint suicide via the nightlock berries she’s been carrying around since Foxface died. Lucky for them both, the Gamemakers don’t call her bluff and they’re the winners. Hurrah!

Oh, in the movie, at this point, Gale’s all sad and broody, like fuck off, man. Did you tell her how you felt before she left? No? Then you’ve only got yourself to blame. Gale’s a dystopian futuristic Nice Guy, and in place of a fedora he has a belt of dead rabbits.

Peeta almost dies several times from the blood loss, and Katniss is knocked out with drugs and wakes up intermittently to eat and notice how she’s healing. Finally she’s ready and meets with Haymitch, Cinna, and Effie, who take her to the Games night or whatever the call it. Winner’s ball? I don’t know. It’s a big televised interview for the winner. Before she goes onstage, though, Haymitch manages to warn her that she’s in trouble with the Capitol because they don’t believe she loved Peeta and thought the berries were to subvert them, rather than to save him. It can’t have been both?

Lots of interviews and so forth. Haymitch didn’t tell Peeta about the Capitol problem, because, he tells Katniss, he’s already “there.” She doesn’t know what that means: already in love with her, or already aware of the danger? See, this is what lack of communication will get you, kids. NOTHING BUT TEARS. What did I say?

Apparently Peeta lost the leg that was injured by the mutant dog, from Katniss tying the tourniquet too tight. She’s horrified, but he’s all, otherwise I’d be dead, so it’s cool.

Finally they’re on their way back home, and Katniss is all confused about her relationship with Peeta and what’s fake and what’s real. Peeta seems happy keeping the whole thing up, but she doesn’t know if this is real or something he’s still playing. A conversation would help, but you know, Katniss is above all else a teenage girl, so that’s not going to happen.

Unfortunately for Peeta, it’s real. Haymitch tells them that they can keep up the fake romance for a little while longer and then they’ll probably be okay. Peeta is horrified that the fake relationship they faked up for the cameras is totally fake, and stalks off. This is a pretty dick move on his part. Put yourself in her shoes for a second, Peeta. I mean, I’m with Katniss, here. I’d think it was all faked for the cameras too.

Anyway, the book ends with them arriving at home to a cheering crowd, and holding hands as victors, with Katniss not wanting to let him go.

Sad ending, but there are still two more books! Hooray! But lots more people die in them! Boo!


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