Amazon’s ‘The Rings of Power’ is a bona fide hit. Why doesn’t it feel like it? There goes that old story about how you can’t touch a book unless you’re a grown-up who reads at the level of the protagonists. I have tried, and I have failed to read The Hunger Games in any way that is a remotely realistic adult experience; I can barely fathom the experience of reading this book with a high schooler as the reader.
Still, by the time you get to the end of the Hunger Games trilogy, you know exactly what’s going to happen. This is what the books are built to do: make you feel sorry for Katniss, because by the end we know she’s going to die. Then, by making you feel even more sorry for her, they’re going to make you feel like Katniss isn’t a hero because she’s going to die.
It’s like this: you’re a high schooler who is reading this book for the first time. Your friend says you’re a good reader, and so she tells you the story. You know what it’s going to be like: the characters are going to die. The good guy wins. The bad guy wins. Katniss is going to die.
But it’s not a book for a high school kid: it’s a book for grown-up teenagers. And so you read it anyway, because that is, after all, what The Hunger Games are all about. You read books with people who are on the brink of death and you read books about death.
And you know, this feels like the kind of book that kids, even high school kids, would never consider reading. I read it with my nephew, and we talked about how it was “just like reading about someone getting killed.” It’s a horror story, it’s a thriller, it’s what you would imagine a book that would be made for a