Review: The Hunger Games (The Hunger Games #1) by Suzanne Collins

March 2, 2012 Review 14

Title: The Hunger Games (The Hunger Games #1)
Author: Suzanne Collins

Publisher: Scholastic Inc.
Released: July 2010 (first published October 2008)

Format: Paperback
YA, science fiction, dystopia 

In the ruins of a place once known as North America lies the nation of Panem, a shining Capitol surrounded by twelve outlying districts. The Capitol is harsh and cruel and keeps the districts in line by forcing them all to send one boy and one girl between the ages of twelve and eighteen to participate in the annual Hunger Games, a fight to the death on live TV. 

Sixteen-year-old Katniss Everdeen, who lives alone with her mother and younger sister Primrose, regards it as a death sentence when she steps forward to take her sister’s place in the Games. But Katniss has been close to dead before — and survival, for her, is second nature. Without really meaning to, she becomes a contender. But if she is to win, she will have to start making choices that will weigh survival against humanity and life against love.
— Cover Critique —

Unfortunately, I think part of the reason why I wasn’t interested in the series for so long was because of the cover. They just look so much different than what I usually read: contemporary, historical fiction, and paranormal/fantasy. That isn’t necessarily a bad thing though – I do appreciate how the books aren’t marketed as “boy/girl books” … just books. Like it should be! 

— Expectations —

I resisted reading The Hunger Games for a long time. Why? Well, I was determined that dystopian fiction wasn’t for me and I didn’t want to buy into the hype. But after two of my good friends read the series I began to second-guess myself. They loved the books and, well, we do have pretty similar tastes. However, I think the movie actually sold me on giving the first book a try. I remember seeing the trailer and going “WOW that looks AWESOME!”. So I eventually purchased the paperback version of The Hunger Games, and guess what? I loved it!
— Review —

At first, I was still a little skeptical. I mean, the idea of the games sounded interesting… in a really creepy and disturbing way. But I just wasn’t sure if I could handle reading a book where I know a lot of the characters are going to have to die by the end. This all changed pretty quickly though as I became enthralled with the story and world Collins had created.

I first fell in love with the characters, especially Katniss. I love how strong, determined  and sarcastic she is! It’s not often that you see a fairly unapologetic heroine like Katniss.I also really appreciated that while romance is present in the book, she isn’t all consumed by it, like many female characters often are in YA fiction. I also came to ADORE Cinna and Rue. Oh, and spoiler ahead so skip to the next paragraph if you haven’t read the book. I honestly didn’t think this book would make me cry. But Rue stole my heart. She was a beautiful character and I felt destroyed when she died! I was so angry at the rules of the game. I think I actually asked out loud “WHY?!” and clenched my hands in anger. The way Katniss sent her off was just perfect. (Sidenote: I didn’t really imagine her the way the movie is portraying her, but I’m sure I’ll fall in love with the character all over again.). 

Then, as the story progressed further I began to understand what y’all keep talking about when you say “world building” in regards to dystopian fiction. I must admit I kind of rolled my eyes when I kept seeing that phrase popping up everywhere, but you really don’t get what people mean until you read a book that actually does it. I was enthralled with the new rules and morals, the reformation of society, the crazy lifestyles of the elite and the animals the Capital created. I hope this continues throughout the series because I loved learning about all these little details! 

While the book was very exciting – I was literally screaming and shaking at the book at some parts and had to put it down a few times – I did feel the ending was a bit anti-climactic. I think the book could have been cut off a bit earlier for greater suspense, but other than that I LOVED The Hunger Games. 

I’m also a geek and totally looking forward to reading academic essays on the various ways the Hunger Games can be understood as social commentary on contemporary issues such as inequality, government and the media. See, I told you I’m geeky!

Have you been hesitant in trying a book because of the hype surrounding it? Were you  right there reading The Hunger Games when it first released, or are you late to the party like me? Who has tickets to the midnight showing?

14 Responses to “Review: The Hunger Games (The Hunger Games #1) by Suzanne Collins”

  1. Kat C

    This book has pretty much taken over the world. My mom is reading this book and she doesn’t really read anymore. She’s 91% done and I think she likes it. I thought she’d be sad be more upset because she is a teacher and this book is about killing kids.

    I started hearing about “world building” after I had read this book and after some people explained it to me, I agree–Susan does a wonderful job of world building. The idea that if you were dropped into Panem you would know where you are and what society expects from you.

    Can’t wait for the movie !

  2. Patricia's Particularity

    I was right there with you on thinking that Dystopian novels just were not for me. I also don’t like reading what everyone else is reading (one of the main reasons it took me soooo long to read the Vampire Academy series – which you must read by the way!).

    I couldn’t fall in love with it as much as most people have; maybe its because I listened to it instead of reading it, but I think it was mainly because I couldn’t get over “Battle Royale” (a movie made a while back on the same premise). I think that if I had not known about this movie then I would have liked Hunger Games more. I haven’t read/listened to the next installment but I am excited to find out what happens next.

    Are you team Petta???

    You are a girl after my own heart – I too would love to read academic essays on this. I’m a nerd :) You must share if you find any!!

    • Rachelia (Bookish Comforts)

      I’ve actually put a hold on the audiobook of the Vampire Academy series – just to give it a try because you’ve convinced me :)

      I listened to Catching Fire, and I do think it is harder to fall in love with a book/story when it is being read to you… at least, that’s how it is for me. It’s got some really interesting twists that are quite shocking!

      Ugh, haha I knew I’d be asked what team I am on. I think I am Team Gale *runs away, and shouts from afar* I don’t think Katniss’s heart is truly with Peeta… but I haven’t finished the series so I don’t know. I’m not like a devoted Team Gale fan or anything. Not yet at least :P

    • Patricia's Particularity

      It is harder to fall in love with a book while listening to it but my job requires me to be up at 3 am and I drive for almost an hour both ways – I’ve actually listened to quite a few books this year already because of it. HOWEVER, I LOVED LOVED listening to THE CHRONICLE OF NICK series – – he’s a smart-ass type of character and the reader of the books does a fantastic job – a much better job than I can do in my head lol.

      I think I’m team Gale too but I think its because I don’t think the guy playing him in the movie is that cute lol and he is a bit of a wimp in the book/audiobook

  3. Elodie

    I’m really glad you loved it that much :) !! I actually read it about a year and a half ago when the three books were already all released .. I really can’t wait to see the movie .. I think it is coming out around the same date as in the US, here in France (yes I’m French by the way) :) and I CAN’T WAIT !! I’m looking forward to know what you think of Catching Fire !! Happy reading Rachelia :)

  4. Rachelia (Bookish Comforts)

    Hello from Canada to France :) Thanks for the comment Elodie! It may take me longer to review Catching Fire because I think I’m going to wait and read it instead of listen to it – but I may have to bug one of my friends for it haha

  5. Natalie (Mindful Musings)

    So glad that you finally decided to read it! And I also had to laugh when you mentioned the academic interest you’ve taken in the books. I actually did a paper for one of my Masters classes last semester on the role of Katniss in the books. I have a giant pile of articles in a folder from all the research I had to do! Lol.

    “I also really appreciated that while romance is present in the book, she isn’t all consumed by it, like many female characters often are in YA fiction.”

    YES! I found this to be very refreshing. And I totally cried during the part with Rue as well. I didn’t expect to, but I definitely did.

    • Natalie (Mindful Musings)

      Oh, and one more thing. Brace yourself for Mockingjay. I’m not going to give you any hints, but it’s a totally different animal than the first two books. A lot of people had mixed reactions to it, but that’s all I’m going to say for now. :)

    • Rachelia (Bookish Comforts)

      I have heard there are MANY mixed and emotional reactions to the third – I’ve even seen some bloggers say to try and stop at the second book if you can because the third is just… I don’t know, like destructive/completely different. I’m nervous but trying not to let that affect me too much when I get to reading the third book, LOL.

  6. Kim

    EEEE! So so sooooo glad you liked it! The Hunger Games is probably my favorite book of all time! And you’re so right about Rue — I bawled my eyes out when she died! Bu ohh, if you think this is bad, wait till Mockingjay, you’ll be crying waterfalls, I swear. Great review :) I agree with everything you said! And I can’t freaking wait for the movie!

Leave a Reply

CommentLuv badge