My “Hunger Games” book review & attack plan 4 “The Word”

Before I completely blow this off, I’ll say a few things about reading “The Hunger Games.”

If you hadn’t read the book or seen the movie and don’t want spoilers, stop reading now… and maybe scroll down to after I say no more spoilers.
I think this is the kind of thing you have to come into completely fresh, not knowing what’s going on, therefore you can make your own opinions about what’s what.

Here we go: my book review of “The Hunger Games”

*****SPOILER ALERT*****

Going in, I had no idea that this would be a book that I’d get into and want to read more of. Once you get into some of the faster parts, it can be pretty addictive. I could sense a bunch of moments where I’d get to the end of the chapter and see “oh no, I have to keep reading, I have to find out what happens next.” It’s a great page-turner.

I took a lot of care to make sure I treated the story as what it truly is… can’t expect too many bright spots, laughs and what not… the story takes place in a dystopia, a post-apocalyptic world if you will (love that word, apocalyptic)… I think a war broken out or something… the world fell into chaos and what was once North America is called Panem, broken into 12 distracts, and is ruled by a place called the Capitol.

The actual hunger games is an annual event where two youths (male & female) from each district are put into an arena where they fight each other to the death for survival. The Capitol came up with the insane institution as a reminder to the people that they’re under control… apparently there was a rebellion, people fought against the Capitol and lost and this is the reminder of that… as if they’re paying reparations.
As insane as it sounds, this is a televised event that people get excited about, they place bets, etc, etc. Kinda like a more complex version of the duels in the Collessum, but against other people rather than animals… and at some points, it’s kinda like a reality show.

Katniss Everdeen has been discussed by a lot of people (back to reality here) who are saying she’s a strong female protagonist, a rarity… I’m just gonna ignore all the Twilight criticism and leave that off the table… this isn’t about this…

needless to say, I agree… Katniss is a secret badass that can definitely handle herself in any given situation.

There’s already talk of fans formed teams… like how they had Team Edward and Team Jacob…
this time, it’s Team Peeta and Team Gale

Peeta is from District 12 like Katniss, so they’re competitors in the Hunger Games.
Gale is a childhood friend of Katniss’s. They both hunt in the forest (illegal by the way, but since they banter game with a lot of the higher ranking district officials, they aren’t tattled on).

As it was with Twilight… there’s a bit of a disadvantage to this whole thing…

We only see Gale for the first couple chapters of the book. After Katniss becomes a tribute for the Hunger Games, all we hear about him is hearsay from her narration…
kinda how Jacob only shows up a couple times in “Twilight” so you really don’t get to know him until the 2nd book… so it would be easy to pick Peeta right away because you get to know him a lot more in the book…

I’m not willing to sign up on anyone’s team until I read the rest of the series. Which will have to be a while…

Katniss became strong because of her family structure. Her father died in a mining accident (her district specializes in coal mining) when she was younger. After this happens, her mom goes into a deep depression for a while, becomes virtually absent from the household. So Katniss had to toughen up, learn how to hunt and bring food so she and Prim would survive.
Naturally, there’s a little mother-daughter hostility, especially from one end of things, but I have a good feeling that might change bit by bit.

Prim is her younger sister, who is 12. This is the first year that she can be selected as a tribute (the youths eligible are between the ages of 12 and 18). Whereas Katniss is 16…
HOWEVER… despite the fact the odds are more in her favor and Gale’s, Prim gets selected… therefore, she steps up to take her place.

The story moves on where the tributes go by train to the Capitol. There they not only get to eat like kings (opposed to living in povetry), they go to training sessions where they learn everything from camouflage, trapping, knot-typing to archery and all kinds of other stuff, develop a strategy with their mentor and are interviewed so the public gets to know each of the tributes. This is how bets are made and sponsers are gathered.

Katniss and Peeta are at a slight disadvantage here because only 2 people have won in District 12 over the past several years, only one is still alive… and he’s a mean-spirited drunk… but he comes through where it counts.

One of the characters I really liked was Cinna, Katniss’s stylist and designer… mainly because her narrative really felt comfortable with him. He came up with this idea to catch the attention of the audience with the wardrobe. During their grand entrance, he figured… it’s been done in the past, going with the coal-mining motif of blacks and coal dust and all this weird stuff… he thought that instead, going with the fire theme because coal makes fire…
I personally can’t wait to see those designs for his outfits in the movie… he’s uber creative and probably one of the only friends she feels she has while at the Capitol.

Then with Peeta, things get a little complicated and a little weird.
In her interview, she comes off a little ditzy, a little nervous, maybe a bit goofy, but I thought she came off pretty natural and go out of her hard shell…

with their mentor’s guidance, Peeta finds an angle to help them both in the eyes of the viewers… He says that he’s madly in love with her, always has been… they only really met once, but he’d seen her around at school, not having the courage to talk to her.
Katniss believes this is an act, but just maybe, I have a feeling he might have been telling the truth the whole time.

In the arena, all choas breaks loose… I think the first day, at least 10 tributes get killed in the inital scuffle for supplies.

Alliances are formed… and apparently Peeta has allied with a few tributes… known as Careers… they actually go out of their way to strategize ahead of time, making their whole lives about preparing for the games and getting more glory for their districts…
naturally, they’re among the most hated because they are just ruthless… we see a lot of that going on, for sure

After a while, Katniss allies with a girl called Rue from District 11… who helps her get out of one jam… and she also kinda likes her because she reminds her of Prim.
This is around a point where the story’s getting interesting, I’m having a good time…

Rue gets killed after a certain point…

Peeta’s alliance breaks with the Careers, one of them under the impression that he couldn’t survive the wound he inflicted on him… apparently because he let Katniss get away during one bout of chaos

but Peeta survives mostly on the warrants of his camouflage… word comes out from the announcer guy that if two tributes from the same district are the only ones left, they both win…
that’s why Katniss goes to find Peeta and they join forces…

considering that she spends a lot of it nursing him back to health, it gets interesting, especially when she has to leave to get supplies…

One really bizarre piece of work occurs as another thing the Gamemakers throw in to make the game more interesting for the viewers (they’ll sometimes control the weather or bring disasters like fires to bring tributes together after lulls of non-activity)

…I don’t know what to make of it myself, but it sounds very… against the laws of nature…

I kinda had a feeling, since there was this whole Team business that Peeta had to survive the games… Katniss also had to survive because she’s the narrator… although that’s not necessarily a golden rule in literature…

so the ending was pretty predictable…

except after the last Career dies in the bizarre chaos, Katniss and Peeta are told that there can be only one winner… they decided to eat a couple of poisonous berries so no winner would be called…

that was enough for the games to be called finished and the two champions…

and apparently, there’s a bit of a discrepency… that the Capitol hated what Katniss did with the suggestion… as if they would figure she was making a fool out of them cuz the hunger games are the only weapon the Capitol has against the people, supposed to be unbeatable…

I think the only way the book disappointed me was the very ending… Katniss said something to Peeta about playing up the angle of them being madly in love… and it would seem that his puppy love was not an act and that offends him…
so it ends on a bit of a negative note, they have just arrived back at town as victors of the games…

Honestly, despite how barbaric the practice of the hunger games are, that sounds like it would be an awesome reality show…

even cooler is when sponsers offer contributions… like when viewers see that certain contestants need something at a particular time, they put money together to send gifts that will help, whether it’s water, food, medicine or in one case (another tribute), body armor… anything’s up to chance….

but yeah, reading about this competition was addicting, not knowing where it was going to go next…

*****END OF SPOILERS*****

It’s kinda cool not to be in a rush to get back to the next book, but I’m excited to see what’s going to happen next… Suzanne Collins is definitely a compelling writer… just amazing…

I’m thinking that I might wait until the movie comes out on DVD. Not sure if I’ll be able to get out to see it while it’s still in theaters. If I still had a car, I would go there no problem… it’d be the kind of thing, like with Twilight and Harry Potter where my mom and I would go together to see the movie… she’s busy reading the Game of Thrones series and probably won’t get to it for a while… I’m sure you’ll still get the movie without reading the book, but it might be better that way.

Knowing what’s going on and also knowing the characters before you see them on screen, so that’s exciting.

Man, I’d been insane with my blogging lately… I’d almost been doing two entires a day for the past couple days… but there’s a lot to be said… plus I’d hate to convulate entries with too many things going on at once…

phew… “When we’re dancing slow and dance”… has such a beautiful instrumental… I could listen to that for hours…
but Prince’s vocals in this song… now that’s what I call “baby makin’ music” LOL

now if I had this followed by “Do me baby”… I don’t know what’d happen, or even if I could pick one over the other… I figured I’d listen to a few “Prince” tracks (2nd album) I don’t remember too well to get more of a grasp on them… one in particular

 

I got to thinking the other day while going through the O(+> album… I need to come up with a game plan on how I’m going to approach every album other than Purple Rain, which I’m going to have the most material to discuss… between the movie, the phenomenon, a little bit of The Time & Morris Day and the music…

because they have movies directly connected to them… Parade and Graffiti Bridge, the latter I’ll [phew the last note of that song just knocked me off my feet and I’m sitting down, lol] be at a disadvantage unless I happen to see the movie… will likely to be the next longest chapters, but not by much.

I mean, all Parade is going to have is reviewing the movie as a movie (haven’t gotten to that with Purple Rain yet), talking about my impression of seeing it, going into the songs as individuals as well as their use in the movie…
and if whether or not the use of them in the movie influenced the way I felt about the song…

“Life can be so nice” for example, I was excited to hear the rest of on the album because I love hearing it in the movie…

my opinion of “Kiss” changing dramatically after hearing the album… I didn’t even like it or get it until I heard everything else it was up against on the album

Then I’ll have to dig deep and maybe have a few things to say about Clare Fischer’s input on these songs.

I think I’ll definitely have a lot to say because I love the Parade album in general… I think the coolest part is how well the music fit the movie and whenever I listen, it takes me to another place… where the world is black & white, and the sounds were kinda simple, but sometimes complex

very organic, though, I think…

I’m debating about putting a lot of impact about the made-4-TV movies that coincided with Prince’s last three 90’s albums (before the name change)… 3 chains o’ gold with O(+>, The Beautiful Experience with Come and Love 4 one another with The Gold Experience

granted, seeing the two of the three resulted in my buying those albums… although The Gold Experience had a little bit of a role in getting me to buy Come…

I mean, my memory isn’t super great with 3 chains o’ gold cuz I only saw it once.

With The Beautiful Experience, my memory fails me a bit, but also there’s the touchy subject of the Prince-Nona Gaye-Mayte love triangle… I’m not sure if I want to tackle that… heck, I could just leave out the discussion of that scene altogether and it could be all right

the scene more or less is that Prince performs “Shh” on this TV special that Nona is watching… then after she falls in love with him while listening to it, Mayte appears on screen and he’s making out with her

just very touchy stuff… don’t know if I want to get heat from Prince… heck, I don’t think Nona would appreciate my implicating things here and there…

I could easily look for bits of footage and comment on how the songs were used in the movie…

Love 4 one another… definitely gotta say a few words for that because it was great… despite the fact I didn’t really care for a lot of the music… I don’t remember too much aside from “Rock n’ Roll’s alive”… “Days of wild”… maybe one other song, I think it’s “The Ride” (dammit… I forgot about the Undertaker sessions… they’re there, but I don’t know if I want to tackle that either… there isn’t a whole lot that can be said about the movie, really… though it did get pretty trippy during a couple performances)… and “The Jam”… though I kinda liked that…

The Purple Medley was OUT OF SIGHT… cuz at the time, I hadn’t heard any of those songs before… then of course, my reaction to “Gold” is not to be missed… set the tone for the rest that followed, even beyond The Gold Experience

The only downside I found about L4OA was the fact that none of the songs in it (except for “Gold”) were on the actual album for The Gold Experience (although “Days of wild” was at one point), so it didn’t serve as much of a commercial for the album… the title track got me there and the rest was history…

With Come, I’ll have to see if I can find an earlier review I wrote of it before I wrote that album fic… there’s no way I can write it out and put in “The Word”…

but I could put in a second review… putting little scenes I think about whenever I listen to these songs… after that point…
for starters, with “Space,” I think of foreplay in an elaborate Victorian style bedroom… it’ll be like a “dig if you will the picture” segment but longer than others I’ll add later on cuz I’ll be covering multiple songs

1999 will carry a lot of stuff because of all the things in conjunction with it…
the music videos for starters, the fashion, the triple threat tour, not to mention the songs are really long and a lot can be said about them

Undoubtedly, Emancipation will carry a lot of weight as will Sign o’ the Times because they’re multiple disc albums (in time, Crystal Ball will be one of them, preferrably when I know much more about the breakdown and history of the set, the prestige behind it and perhaps the fall-out after its release)…

Strangely… Rave Un2/In2 the Joy Fantastic will be a huge chapter because I plan on lumping the two albums together… I mean, In2 was a NPG music club exclusive release, plus there isn’t a lot that can be said about a remix album when I’d already gone into the other one…

Maybe I can dig into a few interviews, if I can find any, because Prince did quite a few to promote this album (the only reason I got it was because in the time of those reviews, he really believed in the project)… put what he said into my thinking along the lines of the album. I think he was talking about a few things with record companies, kinda taking back some of the stuff he said out of anger… how he really doesn’t hate record companies because they work at what they do, just not in his case, he’d prefer to be autonomous…

probably the most interesting segment to write will be an album duel… comparing versions of songs on both albums and ultimately choosing which album did the better job

most likely, The Rainbow Children will be one of the shortest chapters I have… because I’ll just have maybe a spotlight on “Digital Garden” and “Last December”… and that one review I did after watching Kevin Smith talking about shooting that documentary with Prince that is taking up space in the vault…
I want to take care to not feel the need to research the Jehovah’s Witness faith because I don’t want to know anything or any details… not saying I’ll want to convert after reading stuff, but just that I might not come out the same person after reading the history behind the faith

on a lot of these, I’m drawing blanks…

Around the World in a Day will be pretty short… gotta spotlight “She’s always in my hair” and “hello” because they have stories behind them… if only to add a little bit more…

The Black Album and Lovesexy… two different chapters… carry a lot of baggage (“the incident” with one… and the tour set with Lovesexy), so there’s gonna be a lot to say about those two

Batman will be relatively short… there might be an additional segment, comparing Batman & Joker tracks… but I think The Joker will win out with the more fun, entertaining songs credited to him in the soundtrack… Prince playing the Gemini angle…
“Scandulous” could possibly inspire a “dig if you will the picture” segment… seeing if my imagination is active enough at a certain point

It reminds to be seen with the first four albums how much I can do with those chapters… I’m still kinda getting to know the 2nd album…

“For You” I have little desire to really go into… but maybe I can salvage it by focusing on the good rather than the stuff that doesn’t get me jizzed about much… I think I still need a little more time

Dirty Mind and Controversy are so set where there are that I could easily do 8 song spotlights for each album… because a lot of baggage comes with each track…

Nah, maybe I’m just thinking of Controversy in that aspect…

D&P might benefit from going into the videos a bit… but other than that, a few spotlights on songs that weren’t signals (probably the album with the most singles regularly done/shown since Purple Rain, nothing has been able to compete since then)

which leaves me with Musicology, 3121 and Planet Earth… where I might have a little problem coming up with ample material cuz they’re so recent and he didn’t do too much press, except for maybe Musicology… since it was noted as his “comeback”… even though he never really went anywhere

Lotusflow3r and MPLSound will be interesting… I gotta listen to them a lot more than I have… and I mean A LOT more… I’ll have to see if I’m going to do an open comparison, lumping them together in the same chapter or doing two different chapters…

heck, with those three albums above, I might be better off lumping some chapters together… like Musicology and 3121 specifically… :shrug: I could always do that

even though it came with the Crystal Ball set, The Truth gets its own chapter… a short one, but definitely its own

so here’s the game plan for starters (each has an album review even if I don’t post it):

-For You/Prince… might get lumped together in one chapter
-Dirty Mind… album review, high fashion alert, catching attention and becoming an individual
-Controversy… tackling the big issues one song at a time
-1999… album review, music video discussion, high fashon alert, Triple threat tour
-Purple Rain… too many things to list
-Around the world in a Day… album review, b-side discussion
-Parade… album review, movie review, how the movie influenced the movie outlook
-Sign o’ the Times… HEAVY on track by track discussion and bits & pieces of its development
-Black Album… music for Sheila E’s bday & getting revenge, deliberation of “the incident”
-Lovesexy… the album and the accompanying tour (only successful in Europe unfortunately)
-Batman… album review, Batman vs. Joker tracks, (maybe movie review as well, but probably not)
-Graffiti Bridge… album and movie reviews
-D&P… album review, music video collection review (ala DVD), spotlights of hidden gems
-O(+>… the possible storyline, 3 chains o’ gold
-Come… The Beautiful Experience, the “death” of Prince, album review, “dig if u will the picture”
-TGE… L4OA, “Gold”, history of the making
-Emancipation: HEAVY on track by track discussion
-Crystal Ball: HEAVY on track by track discussion, history of the making
-The Truth: album review
-Rave Un2/In2: album reviews, press tours, Un2 vs. In2, how did it all go wrong?, “dig if u will”
-ONA Piano: too early to say, haven’t listened to it yet (lmao)
-The Rainbow Children: album review & Kevin Smith’s would-be accompanying documentary
-Musicology/3121: might get lumped together into one chapter, press for Musicology, American Idol for 3121
-Planet Earth: album review, “dig if u will,” why this album is one of my favorites
-Lotusflow3r/MPLSound… could get lumped together into one chapter
-20TEN… too early to say, haven’t listened to it much 

 

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