The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins

2008. Scholastic. Hardcover. 374 pages.

From: the library, after a summer-long wait. 🙂

Synopsis: For the few people who do not know the premise of the wildly popular Hunger Games, the story is set far into a dystopian future.  As punishment for a long ago rebellion, the twelve Districts of Panem must pay an annual tribute of two teenagers to fight in the Hunger Games.  In the Hunger Games, the teenagers fight to the death over a period of days, their battles broadcast to the nation who are mandated to watch the ‘show.’

Katniss is from District 12 (somewhere near what is Appalachia now) and supports her mother and younger sister through illegal hunting and herb-gathering.  She becomes her district’s tribute along with a boy named Peeta, who she hardly knows though he has long nursed a crush on her.

As Katniss prepares for the Games at the glittering and wealthy Capitol, she has a team to help her with pre-Game strategy.  Once in the Arena, she will have to use all her wits and strength to survive and – more than that – to survive with honor in a game designed to render its combatants soulless slaughterers.

Review:

I read very few reviews and none recently before reading this book, and I’m glad I was left unspoiled for many of the details in The Hunger Games.  The manner in which Katniss becomes the tribute, the rules of the games, the outcome – these all came fresh to me.

And wow, was this book ever intense!  There was something very cinematic about the writing in the Hunger Games.  The action was written very clearly, which is not always easy to do in novels.  There was one scene where Katniss hears her name called by someone in trouble and she races to the rescue with her bow and arrow.  I could just see her in my mind, this courageous and lethal girl.

I loved Katniss as a character;  I loved her most when she was in her protective older sister mode.  There were several moments when she is in that mode that definitely made me get teary, if not flat out cry.

The world-building was quite good.  I liked that Katniss had some allies on the outside: the prep team for District 12.  These adults, in their various ways, added to the tension by the knowledge that they shared with Katniss about the Games and the overarching politics.

I appreciated that Katniss never failed to notice and inwardly chronicle every meal she ate after arriving in the bounty of the Capitol (prior to fighting in the games.)  It shows that indelible mark of hunger which she grew up with in District 12.  After reading The Hunger Games, I myself felt a craving for goat cheese on bread, the simple repast enjoyed by Katniss and her friend Gale when they hunted together in District 12.

I look forward to reading the rest of the trilogy, as they slowly trickle into my hands from the long public library waiting list!

Others’ reviews:

Fyrefly’s Book Blog – “This book’s got tension and suspense dripping off its pages, and there was just no way I was going to go to bed before finding out what happened to Katniss.”

Hey Lady! Whatcha Readin’? – “Every once in a while there’s a book that just WHAM! takes over your life until you’ve finished the book, and that means you snatch any second you have to read a chapter, a page, a sentence. THIS IS THAT BOOK.”

Presenting Lenore – “Katniss is a strong female character, a bit surly (not that you can blame her considering the circumstances), but clever and loyal. It’s natural that we root for her as the tributes enter the arena.”

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10 Comments

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10 responses to “The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins

  1. Protective Older Sister Katniss is one of my favorite flavors of Katniss, too. I hope you enjoy the rest of the series! Thanks for the link!

  2. I haven’t read this and have been umming and ahhing whether I wanted to for a while, but your review has definitely sold it to me. You’ve told me enough to interest me but not enough to ruin it for me. Great review, thank you for sharing.

  3. I enjoyed this book–the action and pacing is engrossing, and I really liked Katniss’ production crew. Did not like the romance; it feels utterly forced.

  4. Jen

    For some reason, I’m still wary about reading The Hunger Games. Everyone I know who has read it and reported about their experience seems to have really loved it or really enjoyed it or both. But I’m still not sure I want to commit.

    I’m not quite sure what’s holding me back. Maybe something about trilogies/series and the immense potential for disappointment that lingers throughout?

  5. I have yet to read this, I think I must be the only bookblogger who has not read this series yet!

  6. Fyrefly – I’m definitely looking forward to the rest of the series, and imagine that flavor of Katniss will reoccur.

    jessica – Awesome! So glad I could help – as I had been mostly unspoiled before reading the book, I didn’t want to give too much away in my own review.

    Lit Omnivore – in a way, though, wasn’t the romance supposed to feel somewhat ‘forced’? 🙂 I didn’t mind it myself, but it wasn’t the main draw of the book for me.

    Jen – I was in your same boat, and finally plunked myself on the library waiting list. I think we all have these weird hesitations regarding particular books – fear of being disappointed, perhaps.

    Iris – that’s how I felt, but obviously I was wrong! 🙂

  7. Oh, I liked the meals too! I thought the parts where Katniss got to the capital, and saw all the luxurious excesses, and compared them to her life back in Distrct Twelve, were very strong.

  8. I have yet to read a bad review for this book. But, I would really love to wait awhile till the complete series is available in India and then start on it.

    • The Hunger Games does seem to be widely enjoyed. The worst review I think I’ve read of it expressed some disappointment after all the hype, but that was it. I hope the complete series becomes available to you soon!

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