Suzanne Collins skidded onto our radar at warp speed with her The Hunger Games trilogy but she was writing even before the publication in 2008 of the first book of the series. She had already published several children’s books but this was her first attempt at Young Adult and she sure hit the nail on the head. She was actually the author who turned me on to Young Adult books and I have read a whole raft of brilliant ones since then.
I read the first page of The Hunger Games and was completely hooked into her world and couldn’t put it down, reading it in the car on the way to work with Adriano and, dare I say, even in the toilet. I grabbed the second one, Catching Fire, and devoured it as well. Then I looked out for the last one, Mockingjay, and dove in but it felt different. Katniss was damaged, as well she should be, but it dragged me down. Where was the strong heroine who battled against all odds to win? She felt broken and I wasn’t wanting to read about Katniss as a broken heroine. That wasn’t who she was. But I read on because I had to find out how it endedout. I must say that by the end, I still wasn’t liking the severe darkness in Katniss – and I write very dark heroines so I am not used to sweet and pretty. I understand, I think, Collins’s moral message about the futility of war etc. but I felt quite deflated by the end and there was no analysing that away.
I am, though, excited about seeing the movie, The Hunger Games, next week. That, for me, was her best book, while the idea was fresh and new. Though, of course, the whole idea of fighters in an arena is as ancient as history itself. But this was kids as gladiators and it was in the future. Kudos to her for coming up with a concept that caught the imagination of the world.