First of all, the only reason I gave this book 4 stars was because I loved the third book in the series best of all, so I saved 5 stars for that one.
It’s interesting that my friend Myra mentioned The Chrysalids in her review of this book because I felt the same connection. Not that the books are really alike at all, but there is this deep visceral connection you feel to these young people fighting for a decent life in a strict and bleak dystopia. It reminded me of The Handmaid’s Tale as well, for a similar reason.
Suzanne Collins makes you ache for her heroine. She makes you angry at the injustice, she makes you want so very badly for the book to have a happy ending. Her slow but strong building of the characters’ identities in this book really mirrors the whole angst of coming of age, and gives this book a sense of realism and truth.
The themes are many, and they evolve as the series goes on. Family loyalty, poverty, war, the pain of growing up, the corruption of power, the injustice of a political system of haves and have-nots…the list goes on.
Collins allows us into her young heroine’s mind as she encounters the complex issues of family responsibility, personal freedom, what is is to be human, and whether all is indeed fair in love and war.
I loved Collin’s characters, her delicate handling of a violent subject and the way she forces us to look at the effect of violence on the human psyche and question our acceptance of war and poverty.
This series is a roller-coaster ride. You have to ride it to the end, clutching on for dear life to really see the true depth of this so-called young adult series.
The Chrysalids was required reading in my high school, and it had a permanent effect on me. I’d go so far as to say The Hunger Games should be required reading for today’s students. Its lessons are powerful and necessary in today’s world.