There is something about books that just makes you enjoy them in the back of the subconscious, despite the excessive criticism your conscious mind has to offer. I haven't exactly named an effect for this, but I certainly know it is there.
For example (and this is a rather overused one), The Hunger Games is an incredible piece of work. It's well-written, the plot is organized fantastically, the characters have depth, the hidden little meanings and middle fingers turned up to greediness and American Exceptionalism are all incredible, and I suspect that this work of literature will be hailed as a classic after fifty years of still being widely read. But I highly doubt that is the sole thing that set off the national craze in 2012. (Believe me: I was there.)
However, this is a novel that does have many things that I have a problem with. But I liked it. I fucking liked it. It's like magic. I flew through it within a single night, and smiled with a satisfied sigh when it was over. Most likely because the emotionally-based reader in me just sometimes decides to like things while the literary nerd yells about it. In this review, I give the emotional media consumer immediate precedence.
(Readers beware: this is where my wording gets messy.)
Look, guys, if you read this book, turn off your critical analysis, curl up under a blanket, and you'll probably have a good time. This isn't exactly the kind of thing that would last millennia as a classic. But it is the kind of thing that you like. And, I would argue, as a student that's been forced to read all the so-called "great novels of our time," the books you just like, the stories you just end up having fun with, well, those are incredibly valuable.
I love them. And saying I love this may very well be a long shot, but I can say that I hold it very dearly. I'm much more likely to reread this than I am anything by Stephen Crane.
For starters, the dystopian society was very well constructed. The post-present United States featuring a re-hashing of the traditions of the Old South is a perfect example of a futuristic word built perfectly to be just the right degree of terrifying. Seeing it from the perspective of its primary victim gives perfect insight to the world our protagonist: the chilling realities of this world, especially how powerful and rich humans treat other humans is one of the main reasons my inner critic can at least find appreciation of this book.
I also very much appreciated at least the little moments of hope in between all the violence and the injustice in this fictional world. Though the romance was less than adequate from a logical perspective, there's no denying the optimism it incites in the protagonist, and, I must say, my heart was warmed.
The main strong point of this novel would definitely be the feelings it evokes in the reader. If you open your perspective enough, you end up being shaken a lot while you rush through the story, and, despite my reluctance to cry that night (this was a stress distraction), I certainly did.
However, despite all the good, the flaws are easily apparent.
Firstly, if this story even had a theme, I completely missed it. And it is actually hard for me to do so; I look for them with vigor so I may brag about my observations to the people that did not have them. The mood and opinions of the author were incredibly diluted, and it was hard to discern true messages from sarcasm, if there even was any.
I also didn't appreciate the fact that during particularly...amorous moments between the characters, they were slightly reduced as people. When the interactions were written from the opposite character's point of few (bonus feature in the back of the books), there was an emphasized gist of their attraction and strong feelings being based in sexual desire, which, though it may be partially realistic from someone else's experiences, I didn't much appreciate them. It took away from how the relationship could tug at my heartstrings, but some moments were quite sweet, and in that way, I did appreciate the primary love story.
(I'm just crossing my fingers that it doesn't turn into a love triangle.)
Overall: thumbs up. Definitely reading the next one.