I do a lot of reading, but rarely do I write an actual review. This, therefore, is not really a review. Just my thoughts, observations, and opinions. Take them or leave them, it’s up to you.
I recently got my Kindle Touch (best invention for missionaries ever, FYI). Since I haven’t bought a book or been to a library in about four years, I really had no idea what was out and what was worth my time and money, so I did what everybody does these days and asked my Facebook friends. The overwhelming response (from my Christian friends, mind you) was to get my hands on – immediately – “The Hunger Games” trilogy.
At first I was wary. There’s so much vampiric stuff floating around right now and I really greatly dislike anything that has to do with vampires, so I asked around for more of an idea of what it was. I got the general concept of the books, read a free sample, and decided, oh what the heck, I’ll go ahead and purchase the trilogy.
I read all three in less than two weeks (which for me, with running a school and being a mom of a toddler, that’s a huge accomplishment!). As far as a “good read” goes – these were great. The writing is really good, the story line is unique and compelling. You can definitely picture what’s going on and it’s easy to get sucked into them.
If you are as unfamiliar with the storyline as I was, here’s a rundown:
The books take place in the future. The world as it is today no longer exists. The books take place in what was the United States. It has now been portioned off into 13 districts plus the Capitol. The districts at one point rebelled against the Capitol, but the Capitol won. One district was supposedly completely annihilated, leaving 12 districts remaining. As punishment, every year since, the Capitol has forced the 12 districts to participate in the “hunger games” – where 2 children are chosen from each district, placed in an arena, and forced to fight to the death. It’s televised live to the entire country and is over when there is only one survivor.
The second book includes a “Quarter Quell” – every 25 years, the Capitol holds a second “special” hunger game, just to remind the districts that they will never win.
The third book is a rebellion against the Capitol.
Like I said, overall, the books are very interesting. Gory. Definitely not happy ending, fairy tale books.
But, I had one major issue with them. Apparently, this is an issue others have had as well, but since I’m about as keen on reading book reviews as I am on writing them, I really don’t know what the general consensus is right now – it’s just what I’ve been told. Okay, so, the issue I have is: there is not one mention of God. I don’t even mean MY God. I mean God in general. No deity. No higher power. No church. No religion. No swearing. No quick prayer to somebody/something before they die. No mention of a church being destroyed in the bombings of the cities. Nothing. Not one word. Not one glimmer. No hope. No after life. No deities of any sort. Nothing. Void. Completely and utterly silent.
I found this strange. I mean, here are three books where a myriad of people die/are dying in very grotesque ways. And yet, there’s not even an “Oh God save me” once in the entire book. No whispered prayer to a “higher being.” I mean, even a fake religion would’ve been expected in a futuristic world. But, no. Not a single word.
Granted, I’m a Christian – I expect there to be God everywhere because I personally see God everywhere. But rarely do I read even a secular book that has absolutely no mention of a god. Not even in a swear word.
Now, I can deal with this – really I can. I mean, just because I’m a Christian doesn’t mean everyone else has to live up to my standard. As a secular writer, she does not need to put anything in about a god and really, I shouldn’t even put that expectation on her. My real issue is in reality not with the books or the author herself. You know what my real issue is with?
The Christians reading the books.
Now, go with me here.
If you’re a believer, a follower, a disciple of Jesus Christ – should your favorite book, your absolute current obsession, the “best thing you’ve ever read” be a trilogy of books that have no mention of God and even promotes killing others, living a life of “debt” to others for good deeds they have done for you, and a main character who is, when it comes down to it, dark and incredibly selfish?
Personally, I don’t think these books should be highly promoted, loved, and touted as “the best books ever” by the Christian community.
I can think of a million books off the top of my head that were great reads – every bit as interesting and compelling and unique as “The Hunger Games” – but had a message, hope, a purpose to them. They weren’t preachy or “overly religious” – they were just plain good books that actually included the hope of a Living God in them. Why are these not as highly promoted and obsessed over? Is it because there’s no movie to go along with them? Because they’re not mainstream? I don’t get it.
Maybe I’ve just been out of the country too long. Apparently these books came out a few years ago and I’d never heard of them, so obviously I missed something. I don’t get the vampire stuff, either, so maybe I’m just out of touch with my culture. But, honestly, has the Christian church in America really changed that much in the last 3 and a half years? Or have I?
I guess in conclusion I would have to say that yes, I did enjoy the books. No, they weren’t the best things I’ve ever read and I probably won’t read them again. I won’t be promoting them and encouraging people to read them, but I also won’t judge people who do read them – they’re a good read. I would like to see the movie just because I like comparing movies with the books they were based on. My real issue, like I said, is not with the books themselves. My real issue is the apparent love that is pouring out from the Christian community on something that is so…I don’t even know…I can’t say opposed to God because there’s not even a mention of God.
So there you have it. My “review” of “The Hunger Games.” Do what you’d like with them, but please remember, there is a God who gives hope to a lost world and if you do take Him out of everything entirely, well, then maybe the book is more prophecy than a novel after all.