Bookish Hunger Games!

Ever wanted to know which book is the MOST SAVAGE?! Well I’m about to answer that question for you 😉

So, I had this idea to pick 12 books at random, have them fight it out and kill each other, until only one is left standing!! The winner not only gets to keep their life, but shall be crowned Victor!

Welcome to the inaugural year of the BOOKISH HUNGER GAMES!!! *

*this may be the only time I ever do this, cos I don’t know if this is a good idea, we shall see…

Okay using my whopping great big database from the last 7 years of reading and a random number generator, I came up with the following twelve tributes:

(I’m guessing that the Thief was the most likely one to volunteer for altruistic reasons…)

Right out of the gate, we know that Spanish Love Deception is getting mowed down. It’s weak sauce even for a romance novel and it got in the way of the Silent Patient getting some serious weaponry up its sleeve… (of course this is the last we shall see of the Silent Patient for a while as she skulks off to find a cave somewhere).

The Thief has a soft centre and tries to protect Little Dorrit, but she gets bludgeoned to death by a team of Wilder Girls, House of Salt and Sorrow and Young Elites (otherwise known as Team YA Killers). The Thief is kinda mopey about this (but really he should’ve chosen a better ally).

You absolutely forgot Accident Season was there… and not in a good way… it dies of hypothermia off screen. One could almost say accidentally.

Wilder Girls, though a strong contender, gets caught in a weird inexplicable gust of acid rain and morphs into some kind of monster. Out of the game… (until a few years from now when her remains are transformed into some kind attack-dog-monster-hybrid-monster-thing)  

Eventually Young Elites stabs House of Salt and Sorrow in the back. House just wasn’t as savage as it thought it was.

Captivate totally thought they were in it with a chance to win- because it’s used to being all smart and figuring out what a raised eyebrow means. Unfortunately, they didn’t take a hint and duck when Blackwing raised an axe to their head.

Girl at the Lion D’Or wasn’t really sure where it was going or what it was trying to be, so she drifted around until the end, but got mysteriously murdered off in a cave somewhere. I’m not saying that a certain Patient did it, but they’ve been oddly silent this whole time.

Malibu Rising has surprised everyone by making it this far. Surprisingly resourceful and savage, she burns down half a forest in an attempt to wipe out the remaining contestants. Young Elites and the Thief are both caught in the blaze- they just don’t have very good luck.

However, Malibu shouldn’t have stood there gloating so long, as one of the final contenders, Blackwing, smashes them upside the head. Out for the count.

And of course, the final twist, you won’t even see coming… Blackwing gets their comeuppance at the hands of the Silent Patient. Blackwing goes looking for her, sees her cowering in a cave, thinks he has her cornered… and let’s just say what happens next is a total bloodbath. Silent’s patience paid off 😉

Victor:

And that’s all for this year’s Bookish Hunger Games!! I hope you enjoyed reading that as much as I had fun writing it! Were there any surprises in there for you? Did your favourite contestant make it to the end? Let me know in the comments!

Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes Wasn’t Quite Harmonious, But Held a Tune!

Well this is an odd one to talk about.

ballads of songbirds and snakesAs many of you will know, this is the Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes is the Hunger Games prequel, focusing on (future evil President) Coriolanus Snow’s role in the tenth Hunger Games. As you can imagine, telling the story from the future baddie’s point of view caused a bit of a stir: would we lose his character in a bid for sympathy? Would this attempt to redeem an irredeemable character? I had my own reservations when I heard about it and was consequently less enthused to pick it up. And the verdict? Pretty mixed if I’m honest.

Despite all the pre-publication controversy, there was no need to fear him being turned into a hero. I read him as a straight-up anti-hero. He’s just as unsympathetic as a protagonist as he was an antagonist… which isn’t necessarily a good thing. Mildly sociopathic and manipulative, he’s the same old Snow we know and hate. As much as it was a bold choice to tell the story from Snow’s perspective, I’m not sure it paid off. No matter what hardship he was facing, I found it impossible to relate or root for him (in fact, I just kept thinking he kinda deserved it).

Still there were parts I really did like- especially how it showed the games being developed. When I heard it was about the tenth hunger games, I had my reservations, because I thought that it would just be a rehash of the games Suzanne Collins had already written about. Not so. At this stage of Panem, with the Capital and Districts very much in the shadow of the civil war, the games (and the concepts behind them) are a work in progress. It’s not just interesting to see Snow play his part, it’s fascinating to see the theories that go into it (not sure it makes a whole lot of sense to have your underclass in a constant state of conflict rather than making them think they’re at peace, but I’ll let that slide, cos I don’t think evil masterminds always come up with the best policies for running a country). I did like that the timeline meant it raised moral questions for the organisers- like the fact that this was the children of rebels rather than rebels themselves. I also liked how it hinted, rather than showed, future developments. The subtler nods to the original made it feel more like its own story. The one part I wasn’t super keen on was how only 2/3 of the book were about the games- it just felt a little jarring when that stopped.

That said, even with the issues I had with the structure, the writing was strong. And I also liked the side characters. Though I wasn’t much taken my Coriolanus or the not-very-fleshed-out Tigress, Lucy Gray had an edge to her and I loved the Grandma’am.

All these elements left me satisfied enough with this Hunger Games prequel, so I’ll feed it:

Rating: 3½/5 bananas

hand-drawn-bananahand-drawn-bananahand-drawn-banana half-a-hand-drawn-banana 

Have you read Ballads of Songbirds and Snakes? Do you plan to? Let me know in the comments!