Previously I mentioned that I was going to start reading the Percy Jackson series, since finishing up all of the Anne books.

Yeah…I made it through the first three before tossing in the towel. Needless to say they were just “so-so”. I don’t know. Is it possible for a plot and character development to feel forced? It just seemed to me that Rick Riordan thought there was some formula to writing a good book. Start with a young, troubled protagonist, make him unique. Add a best friend/sidekick. Add monsters. Add action scenes. Add a few cliff-hanger chapter endings. Drag it out for five books to maximize revenue.

Even when you list it out it doesn’t seem like too bad of a formula. But the books were just a little too cheesy and easily predictable. Yes, I understand that it is children/teen fiction, but I didn’t even find Percy, himself, very loveable. I wasn’t really fighting for him because I didn’t really care for him.

Eh, maybe I’m being harsh, but I’ve read plenty of young adult fiction that I actually enjoyed.

Moving on, I was recommended The Hunger Games by several people. Lucky for me, Kim owns all three of them and let me read them on loan. Lucky for her, I flew through them and she had all three back in her possession in about a week!

Eeek!

Needless to say, I was not the model housewife during that week. Literally loads of laundry undone.

I thoroughly enjoyed this series, however. I immediately felt and rooted for the protagonist, Katniss Everdeen, and her uncompromising will-power to keep her family alive; touched by her quick and unquestioning willingness to take her sister’s place in the Hunger Games. At times it was quite gory, yes, but I could stomach that along with the best of them. I loved Cinna. I loved Rue and teared up at her death. I felt for Peeta, and my heart melted at his honest, undying love for Katniss, even though Gale was still my pick for her.

The second book was equally excellent to me. However, I could tell that Collins was trying to get me off of the Gale Train and on to the Peeta one. Wasn’t happening. I thought Gale’s hostility against the Capitol was completely called for, especially with the announcement of the Quarter Quell stipulations. My only criticism of Catching Fire was the Quarter Quell itself because the events within seemed rushed and elusive, which left you with what I like to call information-explanation overload. Kind of an author’s “Oh Doo-doo” moment where they have to backtrack a bit to catch you up and you just have to trust the information that is thrown at you. It is better if it is coming from loveable, trustworthy characters. All that being said, I was still left wanting more at the end of the second novel.

The third book was just a little farther down Disappointment Drive for me, with Katniss’ mental breakdown. Where was the brave-faced heroine that we knew in the previous two books? How is it that the boy that she could never even bring herself to say that she “loved” be the very thing that sent her into a tailspin of Morphling abuse and a pastime of closet-hiding? Eh. I missed the old Katniss and wished she was still as confident and quick-reflexed as before. However, I know that at the end of the day, you have to give her the benefit of the doubt because anyone who had endured such events in such a short time would inevitably be a little messed up in the head. I hated District 13 and was suspicious of Coin the whole time, though I think that was intended. It was also quite obvious by then that Gale had been chosen by Collins to just be the best friend, but I think I still would have preferred that to end differently in that respect. I thought the end war scene in the Capitol was a bit rushed (you had no time to grieve over the loss of Finnick or Prim), but I was satisfied with the conclusion and admittedly glad to have seen Katniss have kids.

Overall, these were very good reads and now I am anxious to get back into another good book. I feel so behind-the-times in the fact that I have yet to read The Help, but I am not usually too good at being current in my reading choices because I have an affinity for going back to good ‘ol classics ‘n such.

For example, I am just dying to get caught up in another good Agatha Christie.

Pun intended.

So here’s the part where I ask for some good suggestions. Current or not. Fiction or non-fiction, teen or adult, I read it all. What do you read?

With love, Malorie

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