Recap: In a post-apocalyptic world, only one girl stands the chance to win the epic teen death battle against 23 other opponents: Bratniss Everclean. The Hunger But Mainly Death Games is a witty, ridiculous take on the popular Suzanne Collins trilogy The Hunger Games. Instead of Katniss Everdeen, the story follows Bratniss Everclean. While the overall story is basically the same — teenagers fighting each other to death in a nationally-televised event — the parodied version goes to new extremes.
For instance, the fighters kill each other through cannibalism, defecation, and strangulation with intestines. The book is at times grotesque and disturbing. The author seems to have some kind of obsession with defecation throughout the book. The characters often don’t shower, live in garbage, and eat moldy mayonnaise.
But there are other components of the story that are rather brilliant, such as its breaking of the fourth wall, its self-aware quality, and its jokes about young adult teen novels in general — not to mention cracks at Harry Potter and Twilight. It also uses very current pop culture references to make cheap, but hysterical jokes.
Analysis: To be honest, the potty humor and violence throughout the book was too much for me. Though it was funny, it was disgusting. But I also appreciated it in that it was the author’s way of pointing out how ridiculous the actual Hunger Games story is, when you really think about it.
But the highlights were the book’s references to other popular young adult fiction. For instance, the character Hagridmitch. He’s the parodied version of Katniss’s Hunger Games trainer Haymitch, but he’s actually Hagrid from Harry Potter. Somehow stuck in the wrong young adult teen novel, he constantly refers to Bratniss as Hermoine, talking about Harry and dragons. That is, until Oofie (the parodied Effie) stops him to avoid copyright problems. Hagridmitch appears throughout the book and almost always had me laughing. There’s also a scene that references Twilight author Stephenie Meyer in the most hilarious way.
The book also takes jabs at young adult fiction in general — like its emphasis on love stories — in The Hunger But Mainly Death Games, Pita (the parodied Peeta) is a crazy stalker, the popular use of first-person narration and the often ludicrous decisions made by the main characters.
Some fans of The Hunger Games may not like the book. The Hunger But Mainly Death Games, as I said, points out some of the ridiculous aspects of the original novel and obviously, makes fun of it. Some may also not enjoy the level of grotesque jokes. But overall, it’s a funny, quick read that’s sure to make you laugh at least a few times, whether you’re a fan of The Hunger Games or not.
MVP: Hagridmitch, without a doubt. The author was brilliant to include this character that serves as a metamorphosis of Hagrid and Haymitch. After all, the two characters serve virtually the same purposes in both teen series. Hagridmitch was consistently the funniest character in the book, and in a parody, that’s a perfect character.