Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Hunger Games Books 2 and 3 Thoughts (Reviewlet?)

Katniss is an Ends not a Means. Just finished Book 3 (minor spoiler alerts), where Katniss echoes Kant's indictment of utilitarianism (hm i wonder if it is conicidence that Katniss is spells liked Kant). Although more broadly speaking, a clever rule utilitarian could point out that a system that promotes the instrumental rights of individual liberty and autonomy that Kant wanted, like capitalism, yields higher utility over all.

I liked Book 3 more than Book 2, which seemed too much like Book 1. But I've heard people complain about Book 3 for being too different. It definitely falls into the more traditional 'war is hell' genre though in a somewhat retro vietnam/wwII era sense, ala Starship Troopers or the Forever War. How war is senseless and total war changes everything. It feels quite nostalgic in the modern era of limited war and smart bombs. And there's also something quite naive about the propoganda campaign that seems to fit more the 1940's and Starship Troopers and feels weird given our more media savvy population. But it is plausible that the people of the future, exposed only to State-run TV would be media naive.

The Peeta-Gale question was a little too easily answered. It became quickly obvious (to me anyway) who she would pick, who she had to pick given the theme of the story. But maybe that was just me.

A friend of mine once contrasted Harry Potter to the Golden Compass. Whereas Harry Potter focused mostly on characters and growing up, Golden Compass is more traditional sci-fi in that it was about big ideas. I feel Hunger Games started off more along the Harry Potter axis (character driven) and shifted by Book 3 to the big ideas.

That may not appeal to everyone, but I liked it. I was a bit stupefied, in a good way, when it all came to an end. Final Grade: A-

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