čtvrtek 31. května 2012

Susanne Collins - Catching Fire

Vydáno: 2009
Starred Review. Gr 7 Up--Every year in Panem, the dystopic nation that exists where the U.S. used to be, the Capitol holds a televised tournament in which two teen "tributes" from each of the surrounding districts fight a gruesome battle to the death. In The Hunger Games, Katniss Everdeen and Peeta Mellark, the tributes from impoverished District Twelve, thwarted the Gamemakers, forcing them to let both teens survive. In this rabidly anticipated sequel, Katniss, again the narrator, returns home to find herself more the center of attention than ever. The sinister President Snow surprises her with a visit, and Katniss’s fear when Snow meets with her alone is both palpable and justified. Catching Fire is divided into three parts: Katniss and Peeta’s mandatory Victory Tour through the districts, preparations for the 75th Annual Hunger Games, and a truncated version of the Games themselves. Slower paced than its predecessor, this sequel explores the nation of Panem: its power structure, rumors of a secret district, and a spreading rebellion, ignited by Katniss and Peeta’s subversive victory. Katniss also deepens as a character. Though initially bewildered by the attention paid to her, she comes almost to embrace her status as the rebels’ symbolic leader.

Skóre: 7/10

pátek 25. května 2012

Susanne Collins - The Hunger Games

Vydáno: 2008
If there really are only seven original plots in the world, it's odd that boy meets girl is always mentioned, and society goes bad and attacks the good guy never is. Yet we have Fahrenheit 451, The Giver, The House of the Scorpion—and now, following a long tradition of Brave New Worlds, The Hunger Games. Collins hasn't tied her future to a specific date, or weighted it down with too much finger wagging. Rather less 1984 and rather more Death Race 2000, hers is a gripping story set in a postapocalyptic world where a replacement for the United States demands a tribute from each of its territories: two children to be used as gladiators in a televised fight to the death.Katniss, from what was once Appalachia, offers to take the place of her sister in the Hunger Games, but after this ultimate sacrifice, she is entirely focused on survival at any cost. It is her teammate, Peeta, who recognizes the importance of holding on to one's humanity in such inhuman circumstances. It's a credit to Collins's skill at characterization that Katniss, like a new Theseus, is cold, calculating and still likable. She has the attributes to be a winner, where Peeta has the grace to be a good loser.It's no accident that these games are presented as pop culture. Every generation projects its fear: runaway science, communism, overpopulation, nuclear wars and, now, reality TV. The State of Panem—which needs to keep its tributaries subdued and its citizens complacent—may have created the Games, but mindless television is the real danger, the means by which society pacifies its citizens and punishes those who fail to conform. Will its connection to reality TV, ubiquitous today, date the book? It might, but for now, it makes this the right book at the right time. What happens if we choose entertainment over humanity? In Collins's world, we'll be obsessed with grooming, we'll talk funny, and all our sentences will end with the same rise as questions. When Katniss is sent to stylists to be made more telegenic before she competes, she stands naked in front of them, strangely unembarrassed. They're so unlike people that I'm no more self-conscious than if a trio of oddly colored birds were pecking around my feet, she thinks. In order not to hate these creatures who are sending her to her death, she imagines them as pets. It isn't just the contestants who risk the loss of their humanity. It is all who watch. Katniss struggles to win not only the Games but the inherent contest for audience approval. Because this is the first book in a series, not everything is resolved, and what is left unanswered is the central question. Has she sacrificed too much? We know what she has given up to survive, but not whether the price was too high.

Skóre: 9/10

úterý 15. května 2012

Donna Tartt - The Little Friend

Vydáno: 2002
Superficially, The Little Friend is a mystery adventure, centered on a young girl, Harriet, living in Mississippi in the early 1970s and her implicit anxieties about the unexplained death of her brother Robin, who was killed by hanging in 1964 at the age of nine. The dynamics of Harriet's extended family are a strong focus of the novel, as are the lifestyles and customs of contrasting Southerners.
In 2002, Tartt described it as "a frightening, scary book about children coming into contact with the world of adults in a frightening way... After The Secret History I wanted to write a different kind of book on every single level. I wanted to take on a completely different set of technical problems. The Secret History was all from the point of view of Richard, a single camera, but the new book is symphonic, like War And Peace. That's widely thought to be the most difficult form."
Harriet and her sister have been raised largely by their grandmother Edie, a bevy of adoring great-aunts, and the family's longtime housekeeper, Ida Rhew. (Robin's death sent the girls' mother into a dreamy depression from which she has never awakened, and their father lives with a mistress in Nashville, returning home only at Christmas.) Harriet, who looks like a "small badger," is the sort of child who likes to read about Genghis Khan and Captain Scott and to stir up fights among her great-aunts by telling them what they really think of each other's Christmas gifts. But she, too, has grown up obsessed with her brother's death, which she blames for the disintegration of her family. Left to her own devices for the summer, she resolves to track down and punish Robin's killer, whom she decides, based on the most circumstantial indications, must be Danny Ratliff, a former classmate of Robin's who has sunk into a life of petty crime. As Harriet trails Danny around town (there are shades of Harriet the Spy here), waiting for the right moment to strike, he becomes equally obsessed with her, convinced that she is out to get him for an entirely different reason.

Skóre: 6/10