- Title: The Hunger Games Companion – The Unauthorized Guide to the Series
- Author: Lois H. Gresh
- Publisher: St. Martin’s Griffin, 2011
- Pages: 238
- ISBN: 9780312617936
Less than a month until The Hunger Games movie comes out! Very exciting stuff and because the movie is just around the corner, I thought it was a good time to read The Hunger Games Companion book that I got for Christmas. Sadly, this book was a big letdown.
So I admit that I don’t read a whole lot of companion guides to stuff… mainly to Outlander, and the Charmed and Lost tv shows. But reading those has given me kind of an idea of what a good companion guide should contain, which is why I was expecting cool background info, quotes, maybe a cast of characters guide, unknown facts, insights, author quotes or interviews, etc. What I was NOT expecting was for a book titled “The Hunger Games Companion” to BARELY be about The Hunger Games.
So each chapter is really a theme that the author has derived from the series – war, hunger, torture, weapons, evil, regimes, and so on. The chapter will start out with how she got that theme from the series, and then basically talks said theme to death with little relation to the actual series. The “Tributes” chapter is not about the tributes from THG, it’s about gladiators in ancient Rome. Not only that, but she often throws in her own opinions about controversial topics and it leaves you with the impression that she’s really just using THG as an excuse to get up on her soapbox about any number of issues. For example, in the “Torture and Execution” chapter she talks about all the different ways to torture and execute people (in gross detail), including today’s electric chair and why it’s inhumane. Whether or not you agree with capital punishment, WHO CARES when electric chairs aren’t even mentioned in THG. She attempts to link the hunger that the people in the Districts feel to today’s unemployment rates. She tries linking Peeta’s hallucinations via tracker jacker poison to reality tv. I mean come on… seriously? She even manages near the end of the book to put in some passages from one of her other books into a chapter about the science in THG. Subtle way to self-promote there, lady. And on top of this, I noticed little errors where she even got some info from THG wrong. I mean, damn.
I’m not saying that some of the information in this book isn’t cool or interesting – I particularly enjoyed the Weapons chapter, in which she (tries, at least) to instruct the reader in how to throw a knife, how to make flaming arrows, etc. But the book should have been called “In Which I Have Opinions on Topics and Loosely Connect Them to The Hunger Games to Sell More Copies of This Book”.
So, I recommend skipping this one – the author should be ashamed of herself. I’m going to keep waiting and hoping that Suzanne Collins puts out a Hunger Games companion guide on her own.
Sarah Says: 1 star*
* But I’m still keeping my copy because it was a gift, and I made notes in the margins, and in case I ever need to look up how to make explosive arrows.