Review: The Hunger Games
|January 25, 2012||Posted by Cambria under Book Reviews|
Title: The Hunger Games
Author: Suzanne Collins
Published by: Scholastic 2008
Genre: Young adult, Dystopian
Format: Ebook and Print
Synopsis courtesy of GoodReads:
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.
This book has been out for a few years now, it’s hugely popular and people everywhere rave about it. But for some reason I was never drawn to read it. I never knew why, I had no doubt that the reviewers were wrong, it’s in my favorite genre (young adult) and I am always on the lookout for a great read.
So what was the problem? What was it about this book that I shied away from?
It actually kind of bothered me that I hadn’t read it, on some level inside of me I wanted to. So when the Book Spark group on GoodReads announced they were going to read it for the book club I decided I was going to read it along with them. (Plus, the movie is coming out in March and I really want to see it but I like to read the book first.)
So I did. I literally read it in one day. I couldn’t put it down. And I finally discovered why I had shied away from it for so long.
This book touched something in me deep down. I can’t really explain it but to say reading it was an emotional experience for me. I am an avid reader. I love to read but it’s rare I get very emotional when reading a book. But this was an exception.
I was sucked into this book for the very first page. Katniss grabbed a hold of me and wouldn’t let go. Her life – her tragedies – were so incredibly heartbreaking but I never once felt sorry for her. I felt bad at her life’s circumstances and I felt her pain and sorrow when she did but never sorry. She was so resilient that it was heartbreaking. And the fact that she tried so hard to take care of her sister and her mother (even though she was very angry at her mother and felt abandoned by her) was awe inspiring. The love she felt for her father was tangent and the way she clutched to his memory like a lifeline was beautiful.
The setting in this book was something unique and interesting. The way the districts were set up and the way the people were made to live was something I probably won’t forget. They were all so beaten down but yet, they still took pleasure where they could and they supported each other – if only quietly.
When the “games” started in the book I was engrossed in every detail. I don’t know if it’s because I was so shocked that the government would actually do something like this or the fact that it was so inhumane that I just couldn’t look away. I was actually angry that this was the way the government (or whatever they were called in the book) would try to control the people in the districts. Where was the freedom? It occurs to me that perhaps the people were kept separated so they could ban together and revolt.
A character that surprised me in the book was Peeta. He was a genuine character from the beginning and I really grew to like him. He seemed weaker than Katniss (though I think most people are compared to her) yet in a way he was stronger because of his planning and his sacrifices. I think it was partly because of him that she was able to do so well in the games.
I hadn’t really expected the romance aspect in the book, I figured there might be a little in there, but it was a lot different than I imagined it might be. Also, I was surprised that the story continued on after the games ended, but it completely set up the next book in the series and I think played an important part in Katniss’ story.
The one thing I am leery about for this book and for the next two books to come (I have yet to read them) is the love triangle that I think is coming. I am growing tired of love triangles. Not because they are over done. I think that it doesn’t matter how many times a love triangle is written it can still be good if written with a fresh eye. (sidebar: Am I the only one that wonders why it’s always a girl and two guys in the triangle? Why can’t the guy ever get to pick? Lol) Anyway, the reason I am tired of love triangles is because someone always gets hurt. I don’t like getting attached to two guys, getting to know them and then watching one of them (usually the one I like) get hurt. It makes for a difficult read.
Who am I rooting for? Gale, the childhood friend who served as inspiration and motivation to survive – who Katniss actually invisioned and heard his voice while at the games. Or, Peeta, the bakers son who treated Katniss with kindness at a time she most needed it and who loves her so much that I actually felt it.
It’s a tough call. I don’t want to pick and I don’t know if I want to watch her pick. LOL.
So will I be reading the next two books in this series? Yes. The writing is beautiful. Not once did I falter through the story, not once did I have to stop and ask myself to recall something from the pages before. Suzanne Collins is a gifted writer. She can spin a sentence – a world – with grace and ease. I have a huge amount of respect for an author who can create such emotion within the pages of a book. It’s inspiring.
I really don’t think that this review has done this book justice but it’s all I got. LOL. If you haven’t read this book, if you are like I was, shying away because you somehow know that it will reach you in ways you didn’t know possible. If you don’t want to cry while reading a book (I hate that) or feel rage at a world that doesn’t even exist then you should read this book.
You will feel all those things (if you are anything like me.) But I can honestly say that I am glad I finally picked up this book. I feel like it opened my eyes to a whole new world of writing.
So there you have it. My opinion.