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Pump Six and Other Stories
Paolo Bacigalupi

The Hunger Games

The Hunger Games - Suzanne  Collins Loved it. Exactly the right book at exactly the right time. Perhaps the most scathing indictment of reality television I've ever read, even as that's not what it's "actually" about. I have to say, once again I far more enjoy the way young adult authors tackle quasi-moralistic fables in a science fiction/fantasy setting than "regular" authors do (I'm looking at you, Margaret Atwood), mostly because they (especially Suzanne Collins here and in the sequel) do not forget that above all, they are telling a story. A story that pulls you along willy-nilly.

Our Heroine reminds me a lot of Tally from Uglies, but I like Katniss much better. She strikes a very good sixteen for me - mature by nature and circumstance, with strange and vulnerable naivetes.

I will also admit to a shallower appreciation of this book, as it hits a similar note to some of my v. shallow enjoyment of The Fire Rose - it does an excellent job of describing deprivation, and then it does an even better job of describing the relief of that deprivation. I have a higher tolerance for loving food descriptions than most, but I found these particularly well-timed and appreciated.

I like that the book didn't punk out. Kids go in; kids kill; kids die. I don't know what the fascination is with these Thunderdome-y situations (see also: The Long Walk, Battle Royale), but they are strangely compelling, even more so when the hero/heroine doesn't find a loophole that leads to a happy ending. Sure, there's a loophole here, but it certainly doesn't lead to a happy ending.

Mostly I'm just still hung up on the fact that there are stylists and death matches featured with equal prominence. It's like Bravo tv on LSD.