Book Review: The Hunger Games

“You don’t forget the face of the person who was your last hope.”

Source: Photobucket

If you’re not living under the proverbial literary rock like I am, you’ve probably already read or heard about The Hunger Games, the first in a three-part series by Suzanne Collins. Well, the time finally came for me to sit down and read this thing cover to cover.

In this post-revolutionary world, the United States has been divided into a twelve district society called Panem, run by the all-seeing dictatorship city called The Capitol. In an attempt to keep their citizens in their place, The Capitol holds a yearly ritual called the Hunger Games, where two citizens (Ages 12 to 18 need only apply) of each district – chosen via lottery style – fight in a battle to the death.

Sixteen year old Katniss Everdeen lives in the poor mining community called the Seam in District 12. Fighting to survive, Katniss illegally hunts and gathers food outside the district fence, in order to put food on the table for her mother and younger sister, Prim. The time comes to announce the contestants of the upcoming Hunger Games, when Prim’s name is called, Katniss volunteers to take her place – leaving behind her prospective love interest and best friend, Gale. To complicate things even further for our heroine, she inexplicably feels a connection to the other District 12 contestant, Peeta Mellark, but is unsure if her feelings are real or manufactured by the omnipresent cameras. In the arena, it’s Katniss’ knowledge of plants, hunting, and self-preservation that give her the upper-hand in the Hunger Games.

While I found the story sufficiently well-written, it was mostly told in first person narration. It left me wanting more of the microscopic amount of witty banter between Peeta and Katniss, and more dialogue in general. At times, it felt as if Collins took the easy and unimaginative route for her characters, such as the sudden unexplained and implausible rule changes for this static game. Yet, the story was entertaining and well-paced.

What stood out most for me, were the character relationships. Katniss basically sacrifices herself to keep her sister safe, and clings to that thought of family throughout the book. And in the end, does the same for Peeta – even though she is still unsure of her feelings. The dynamic between Katniss & Peeta, while very familiar, is one of the high points in the book. Their evolving relationship goes from being complete parallel’s of one another (longing to connect), to mistrust on Katniss’ side, to their shared faith in their transforming friendship, but ultimately Katniss’ conflicting feelings dominate whatever progress they had made. Through everything, these characters relationship with one another is one of the most significant storylines in the book.

Overall, I liked it. It was an enjoyable, simple, and fast paced read. However, I didn’t get that feel of satisfaction after reading it. I wanted to see more from the characters. More of their world (the mythology of Panem) and how that directly effected Katniss – her thoughts and actions. As a soon-to-be made big-budget film, I think that if done right, it actually may surpass the novel. Straying away from the super focused narrative in the book, and delving into the other bits and pieces of storyline and characters, I think, will allow the audience to have a better understanding of this intriguing fictional world.

Book Rating: B-

Have you read The Hunger Games? What did you think? Favorite character? Favorite scene? Have you read the entire series? Tell me in the comments!

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9 Comments Add yours

  1. miseryofmidnight says:

    Well as you know, I loved reading this book. I literally could not put it down and stayed up all night to read it and the other two in the trilogy. That being said I know I had some issues with the book in regards to character/conflict resolution but right now I honestly can’t separate my feelings toward a single book. The three books are just one big story to me now. I know most people think the first book is the best but if you read the others you can judge. I think for me, it was so long since I had read a book with such a different reality (almost like The Giver by Louis Lowry which was really good as well), that I got so caught up in the excitement of the story.

    I really hope the movie is as good. Considering the book in itself is kinda violent, i would love to see if they downplay it for the younger audiences or if they push it to that really dark place that the book portrays. We shall see 🙂

    1. I do kinda want to read the other books, seeing as how the first one ended without much of a resolution between Katniss and Peeta. Yes, I agree. I think if the filmmakers don’t downplay the story just so they can get more people into the theatres, then it will be only better in the end. It’s a violent book, and if they don’t use that and bring people into this dark world, then what’s the point?

  2. setinmotion says:

    hmmm…so its a maybe? I dont know if its my kind of thing to be honest.

    Out of interest have either of you read The Mortal Instruments series? I just read the prequel (but havent read the actual series yet)-Clockwork Angel. It was amazing. THe writing wasnt the best but it has a great storyline, really good characters and lots of twists. Even better, it had a love triangle. But unlike twilight, there isn’t a clear winner and I’m still deciding which one I want to win!

    Let me know if youre read it because I want to talk to someone about it 🙂

    1. You know, that type of story isn’t my thing either. I did like the character Peeta, because he seems to have a bit of Edwardness about him. And that’s as good a reason as any to read it. 😉

      I have heard of The Mortal Instruments series. What is it about? I’m always looking for something to read.

  3. setinmotion says:

    haha if he has a case of the edwards then…welll…

    I havent read the Mortal Instruments books yet but I read the first book in the Infernal Devices which is sorta like a parallel/prequel type series?

    Its really good! Writing isnt the best but the characters and the storyline is amazing. I wont give it away but its about this girl in i think its like the 1880s or something like that in London where she has moved from America and she basically starts mixing with the Downworlders (vampires etc) and Shadow Hunters who try to make everything all good.

    Anyway, she meets these two guys who are Shadow Hunters, Jem and Will who take her in (she has a cool super power but of course then everyone wants a piece of her because of it).

    Well…were talking a love triange that would rival Twilight. NO. JOKE. Because Will is the beautiful one, but hes a bit fucked up (very edward) and while Jem isnt as beautiful hes absolutely love him. No joke. I dont know which one I like better. Plus there are lots of twists and turns and cliffhangers (fucking cliffhangers!) which makes it really good.

    basically, its kinda like twilight but tessa (thats the girl) has more power than bella, plus theres more action and twists etc. READ IT PLEASE!!

    i bought the mortal instruments series online so when i get them ill let you know 🙂

  4. setinmotion says:

    *absolutely lovely sorry!

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