Thursday, November 20, 2014

"The Hunger Games (The Hunger Games #1)" by Suzanne Collins

By the time I'd read this book, I had watched the movie, read the reviews, and been fed such HYPE that I was certain I'd give it two stars or less just because it bugged me. But I was also curious- who was this Katniss Everdeen? I'd taken many "Which book character are you?" quizzes, and always, always ended up with 'You are Katniss Everdeen'... when I really wanted Arya Stark.

I was also in need of quick reads to get my Goodreads Reading Challenge for 2013 back on track, and picking up this trilogy was an easy choice.

The Plot: (From Goodreads)
'Winning will make you famous.
'Losing means certain death.
'The nation of Panem, formed from a post-apocalyptic North America, is a country that consists of a wealthy Capitol region surrounded by 12 poorer districts. Early in its history, a rebellion led by a 13th district against the Capitol resulted in its destruction and the creation of an annual televised event known as the Hunger Games. In punishment, and as a reminder of the power and grace of the Capitol, each district must yield one boy and one girl between the ages of 12 and 18 through a lottery system to participate in the games. The 'tributes' are chosen during the annual Reaping and are forced to fight to the death, leaving only one survivor to claim victory.
'When 16-year-old Katniss's young sister, Prim, is selected as District 12's female representative, Katniss volunteers to take her place. She and her male counterpart Peeta, are pitted against bigger, stronger representatives, some of whom have trained for this their whole lives. , she sees it as a death sentence. But Katniss has been close to death before. For her, survival is second nature.'

My main issue with this book is the writing style, which no one else seems to object to. It was detached and made me feel 'blah', despite being in first person- or maybe because of it. I don't like many first person books, maybe because spelling out names makes sentences feel meatier and less like my second grade diary (or possibly, the first draft of my book).

Although the plot reminded me of previous books and short stories I've read, it was, in its own way, original- and probably the best part of the book. Even though many people have bemoaned the similarities to Ender's Game (a book with an MC I loathe), it didn't feel too derivative, probably because of the interesting details thrown in. The characters, besides Rue, fell a bit flat of my expectations, but really- if I lived in a dystopia, I'd be a little flat too. And not just in an emotional sense.

The Hunger Games wasn't what I'd thought it would be. Where I was warned on the news of 'extreme violence' that had supposedly induced nightmares in some teens, I found in reality it was tastefully done- I've read much more violent YA books in my time. Although Katniss may be a bit of an ice princess, her actions seem to speak louder than her words. If you're someone who hasn't read The Hunger Games, you may as well give it a try, because you'll never stop being asked "Have you read it, yet?" until you have.

Rating: 4 of 5 Stars for an unexpectedly excellent dystopian.

Content: Ages 14+ for violence and killing (I wouldn't call it murder).

Page Count: 454 pages in my paperback edition

Similar Reading:

First They Killed My Father: A Daughter of Cambodia Remembers by Loung Ung
A memoir I dubbed "The Real Hunger Games" because it perfectly describes it. Want to see real life dystopia through the eyes of a child? This is it.
"The Lottery" by Shirley Jackson (A Short Story)
This is the story that I was constantly reminded of while reading The Hunger Games, and it's also something I read in school. It's been paired with "The Most Dangerous Game" for my Mini Macabre Review Monday feature, which also bears similarity to The Hunger Games.


  1. Replies
    1. I'm assuming you've read the book, but Ender's Game ***Spoiler Alert*** to anyone else who hasn't read it.
      It has to do with Ender beating up the bullies and the revelation later in the book by the guy in charge of the program he's in. There's nothing wrong with defending yourself, but to the extent that was portrayed in the book (a YA book) was too much for me. I liked the story, but Ender rubbed me the wrong way. My brothers and a lot of my friends love the book, but due to the adult-in-charge's revelation, it turned sour for me.
      Thanks for stopping by and commenting!
      ~Litha Nelle


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