"A reader lives a thousand lives before he dies...The man who never reads lives only one." - George R.R Martin

30 April 2012

Review: The Hunger Games - Suzanne Collins

Finally I've finished writing the review for this book. I don't know why it has taken me so long or why it's been so hard to write but I've finally finished the review. I apologise if it seems a little rushed or is a little confusing in parts, I had a small spout of inspiration and just jotted down everything that was crammed into my little brain as fast as possible! Anyway, I loved loved loved this book and read it in one day, within a few hours. It was just amazing and although I started it with a little hesitation because of its popularity I devoured it and wanted more instantly (luckily I have the all the books!). I've also seen the film and really enjoyed it but thought that it was not gory enough but I won't say anymore because I don't want to spoil its awesomeness for those who have yet to see it! Before I post my review here is the description of the book for all of you who have been living under a rock for the past few months hehe, or just for those of you who would like a little recap of the books happenings :)

The synopsis of The Hunger Games:

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, 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.

My review of The Hunger Games:

5/5 - Amazing, amazing and just amazing.  

I started this book with a little bit of hesitation. I was hoping that it would totally live up to all of the hype that has been surrounding it but was a little worried that I’d read it and find it not as good as everyone claims it is. But I was completely wrong! From the first chapter I was completely hooked and every time I got to the last sentence of a chapter I had decided to carry on to the next instantly. I couldn’t put it down! I had to know what would happen to Katniss, Peeta and co. I had about an hours respite from the story before I gave in and picked up the book again. Basically, I started it at 1pm and by 6pm I was reading the last sentence of the whole book. From the first page onwards I was hooked. The enthralling tale of the stubborn Katniss Everdeen and her daily struggle to survive in both her home in District 12 and in the arena, was amazingly told and I was completely immersed.

A futuristic dystopian novel it depicts an oppressive society ruled by the iron fist of the Capitol who annually punishes the inhabitants of Panem for the rebellion that occurred 74 years ago. First thing is first, just get over it! I hated the fact that innocent children were made to die horrendous deaths all because of a mistake that they never participated in. Barbaric and disgusting. The fact that it’s televised to its hordes of ecstatic Capitol baboons and the inhabitants of Panem is even more disgusting. It obviously questions and criticises the fascination with reality TV that has taken over everyone’s televisions. People today are glued to their televisions and watch eagerly as people suffer and get ridiculed.  The people of the Capitol watch in anticipation for suffering, pain and bloodshed and are themselves glued to the televisions awaiting news of another death. The contrast between the inhabitants of the individual districts and the Capitol is shocking but brilliantly portrayed. The whole concept of the Capitol made my skin crawl. So much death and starvation consumes the lives of so many in the impoverished, oppressed districts, and the inhabitants of the Capitol look glamorous, eat endlessly and worry about pointless things such as messy eyebrows and body hair. It would be laughable if it wasn’t just so disgustingly shocking. It’s enough to make anyone sick to the stomach. But I guess even thought it’s a portrayal of a dystopian future it still resonates with today’s world and society. People today are so obsessed with material things and appearance, that morals are almost non existent and people still starve daily all over the world. I shared my shock with Katniss and Peeta as they stepped through the doors of the lavish train and witnessed the excessive wealth and sumptuous surroundings of the inside. A very stark contrast to the dark, dirty and harsh surroundings of their homes in District 12 and it really does make you question the humanity of the Capitol individuals. But then their humanity is non existent when they celebrate the deaths of so many innocent children annually. It’s very disturbing; very disturbing.

The most disturbing aspect of the book in my opinion was the Hunger Games themselves. That every year two children from every district is chosen to fight each other to the death, live on television is just disgustingly inhumane. The description of the deaths of some of the children was gory and realistic and I found myself flinching at times and screwing up my face in disgust. But the book obviously was successful in creating strong and dramatic reactions from its readers and with the killing of children, the subject is instantly brought to the forefront. I didn’t think that it was too gory, not at all. It dealt with a difficult subject matter brilliantly so obviously emphasising the monstrous actions of the Capitol and the heartless game makers. Also, I hate to admit it but I found myself reading onwards throughout the book anticipating who was going to be killed next. Horrible I know and just so like the excited inhabitants of the Capitol but its true. The book is just un-putdown able and I found myself counting through who had died and how many were left alive. And the big question: Will Katniss survive the games?

Katniss Everdeen is the perfect role model for young girls and women. She is a fiercely independent and strong individual who takes her life into her own hands and doesn’t allow others to dictate her existence. As the main provider in her house her life revolves around hunting, surviving and providing for her family. Her basic instinct for survival helps her adapt to the harsh and deadly surroundings of the arena ensuring her a fighting chance. What makes Katniss such a fighter is her willingness to sacrifice herself for those she loves.
Her love for her young sister is obvious in the sacrifice that she makes during the Reaping. She is willing to die an unthinkable death just so that she can save her sister this year from a similar fate. She is a fighter and I was watching her every move intently because of her strong characteristics. I also enjoyed the first person narrative aswell because I came to know Katniss personally and shared her experiences, emotions and worries firsthand.

I just wasn’t sure about Peeta. I felt that he was rather weak in some ways but then in other ways was maybe the stronger of the two District 12 tributes. Maybe its because I secretly love Gale but who knows, but I don’t see Peeta and Katniss as lovers or anything of the sort. It just didn’t work as their characters are just so different and Gale and her share so much more things in common. There’s a few twists within the story concerning Peeta which were great plot shockers.

Another technique of the first person narrative was the influence of Katniss feelings towards the other tributes and how it effected me as a reader. Most of the tributes weren’t described in too much detail and a lot of them weren’t even mentioned. I believe that this is because of two things in particular. Firstly that Katniss wasn’t prepared to become close to any of the tributes knowing full well what will have to happen in the arena to survive. Secondly, I guess it’s to show them as less than humans. I won’t say much more but I believe that this ambiguity concerning the characters is highlighted brilliantly in a big shocker towards the end of the novel and the end of the games.

There are countless twists and turns within the story itself and some big shocking, wow moments. This book will have you constantly on the edge of your seat, eagerly awaiting and anticipating what will occur next. It is exciting, shocking, stomach-wrenching and heart-breaking and just such an amazing story. If you haven’t jumped on the Hunger Games train yet, please please get on at the next stop because no matter what genre you enjoy I can assure you that this book will entertain you in some way. So pick it and read it and you won’t be disappointed! 


  1. I first read The Hunger Games a couple of years ago, and I've loved it ever since. I really need to re-read it though, when I went to see the film (which was one of the best book to film adaptations I've seen) I was shocked by how many things I couldn't remember! Great review :)

  2. Great review! I too found the book very entertaining, and easy to read (I think I zoomed through it in a couple days). I'd say it was the best of the three though, and I did not like the third book much or how the series ended. I know lots of people did, however!

    Allison (Geek Banter)


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