I mentioned 'The Knife of Never Letting Go' by Patrick Ness last week.
Well, last weekend while I was in Seattle for the Seahawks game, I read the other two books in the series.
Much more satisfying than 'The Hunger Games'.
I haven't hated and loved books like this for a very long time.
...does that make sense? When I say I hated and loved them?
I don't easily fall into stories told in first person. In this series, I fell hard. As I was reading, I'd argue, I'd shout, I'd scream at the characters... at their naivety, at the choices they made and didn't make, their decisions to trust or mistrust other characters.
...you know I wasn't actually yelling out loud, right?
But I was getting all tense while reading. Well, *dread* might be a more accurate description of what I was feeling.
The most brilliant thing about 'The Hunger Games' was the pacing... how, every time Katniss would get a small break, one moment to relax, to catch her breath, something even worse would come crashing down.
This series is the same. Each time you'd think the characters had scored a small victory, they would get blindsided.
Let me say here that I hate books or movies about war. Especially *real* wars. Yes, I can understand the view that exposure to our history through media (not the dryness of traditional textbooks) can educate people about our own past mistakes. But I still hate it. I hate that it gets glorified in Hollywood movies, that people are making millions of dollars off something so disgusting and horrible. I actually feel physically sick when I watch/read about war.
This is one of the main reasons I write *quiet* stories... stories where it's not about saving the world. Sure, there may be greater things at play around the characters, but I'm more likely to touch on things like racism, mental disorders, superstition, abuse, etc than an entire group of people working their hardest to exterminate (or subjugate) another group of people. Because I feel that is very, very wrong.
...but please don't let this turn into a debate about which aspects are okay and not okay about war/etc...
The point in my bringing this up is, the fact that I fell so hard into this series of books on war (yes, yes, a fictional war, but still...) is kind of amazing for me. Which is also why I both loved and hated it.
What was interesting was, in the first book, the entire thing was from Todd's perspective. In the second, it swapped between Todd and Viola. In the third... another voice was added. Through this series of death and madness, you get to see three different characters wrecked in different ways by the same war. Unlike in 'The Hunger Games' where you only see it from one perspective, this was very... balanced, I guess, as odd as that sounds.
I think this is one of the reasons I fell so hard, and it wouldn't have worked if the first book had been split into more than one perspective. Because you get so entrenched in Todd's head, when the second book starts and you realize the two of them have been separated after everything they have gone through, you are as eager and desperate to find out about Viola as Todd is. And in that moment of relief when you slip into her head, you accept it. You've just read an entire book of Todd wanting to know Viola and what's in her head ('cause she ain't got no Noise), and then you get it. It's that small break, that moment of relaxation of catching your breath... and then something even worse comes crashing down...