Having known several people who’ve read “The Hunger Games,” by Suzanne Collins, the biggest complaint from the book would have to be the use of present-tense. The first few chapters are hard to get by, because a lot of readers are used to past tense. That “weakness” is what makes The Katniss Chronicles such a fun experience.
There’s no way to talk about this without referencing the movie, at least a little bit. In fact, this is better than the movie on an emotional level. The movie is good, but lacks the power that a book told in the first person can have. That only makes sense as movies aren’t usually told in the first-person. Adapting any book to a movie and something is going to get thrown out or discarded. It’s inevitable with any form of adaption. However, the movie doesn’t add any depth.
The first person, present-tense narrative works wonderfully in audio drama. It did take a while to get invested in the story, but three episodes in and Barbra Dillon’s voice (Katniss) begins to grow on you. If you’re the kind of person who can’t stand a southern accent, don’t tune out because of it. The actresses’ interpretation of the character makes for a more unique story.
The scene, chapter, episode, whatever one wants to call it—where a certain character dies had me on the verge of tears. One more push would’ve done it, but sadly it never came. That’s more than I can say for the movie. While watching the film, I was bored at that particular scene. I knew what it was trying to do, but I felt like they were telling me about why I should care, rather than showing me the chemistry between the two characters beforehand. The Katniss Chronicles solves this problem by having an entire mini arc (1-3 episodes long) dedicated to the two characters and their interactions with each other. The movie does it unsuccessfully in about five minutes.
To make the audio drama not just be a reading of a book with different actors reading dialogue, the adapters used a frame story. This allows more flexibility. Two (sometimes three) hosts—one to two males and one female—talk about the games and give you the capitals perspective. I imagine this is not something one gets in the book. The dialogue between them is almost cringe worthy, but in a good way, because they have such disregard for human lives.
Overall, the Katniss Chronicles is a great alternative to the movie(s) and possibly the books. I give it a handful of golden mocking jay pins.