Saturday, November 07, 2009

'The Hunger Games'

by Suzanne Collins
Fiction/YA, 2008
Scholastic, trade pb, 455 p.
Winning will make you famous.
Losing means certain death.


In a dark vision of the near future, a terrifying reality TV show is taking place. Twelve boys and twelve girls are forced to appear in a live event called the Hunger Games. There is only one rule: kill or be killed.

When sixteen-year-old Katniss Everdeen steps forward to take her sister’s place in the games, she sees it as a death sentence. But Katniss has been close to death before. For her, survival is second nature.
[From the back cover]
To be honest, when I first heard about this book, I wasn’t all that interested in it. I’d seen the movie, Battle Royale, a few years ago and it sounded somewhat similar. Not to mention the other stories, like Nineteen Eighty-Four, Lord of the Flies, The Lottery, and the reality shows Survivor, and Big Brother that it’s been compared to. I wondered why people were getting so excited about a book that didn't seem very original, and I have to say that I’m really not a fan of reality TV. I do often like dystopian fiction though, and with all the hype surrounding this book, and these characters, on blogs and Twitter, I finally gave in. So I bought both books and set them aside for the read-a-thon. (This was a popular idea, as there were quite a few of us reading The Hunger Games during the recent read-a-thon). I haven’t got to Catching Fire yet, the second book in the trilogy, but I can say that The Hunger Games was a great read-a-thon book. It’s easy to read, and with lots of action and suspense, the story certainly kept me turning the pages. And even though we know that the main character will survive (1st person narration in her voice, and of course the fact that this is the first in a trilogy of books), it was still a very engaging, entertaining read. It may not be literary fiction but it was a lot of fun. It’s just the kind of book to get lost in for a few hours.

But again with the honesty, as much as I liked it, which I did, don’t get me wrong, perhaps more than I thought I would, I didn’t love it to bits like so many others have done. I had planned to read some other books during the read-a-thon as well but I could’ve just continued on with Catching Fire if I’d really wanted to. However, after reaching the end of The Hunger Games I just wanted a break from all the Drama, with a capital D. Somehow for me, the romance aspect of this story, so far anyway, is the least interesting part of it, and I guess I just felt it might be another love triangle à la Bella/Edward/Jacob, which I wasn’t quite in the mood for that weekend. I am curious to know how the rest of the story turns out though so I’ll definitely be continuing with the series. From what I understand, the second book ends with a cliffhanger so I think I’ll try to wait until closer to the release of book 3 before I read it.

Suzanne Collins website
Interview with Suzanne Collins
Read or listen to a sample chapter of The Hunger Games.

Buy this book at: Amazon.com | Amazon.ca | Amazon.co.uk | BookDepository.co.uk | BookDepository.com

My Rating: 4/5
(#53 for 2009, R.I.P. IV Challenge, YA Dystopian Challenge, DystopYA Challenge)

Also reviewed by:
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Have I missed yours? Let me know and I'll link to it here.

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7 comments:

  1. I know exactly what you mean about the romance factor. It seemed like something thrown in at the end. I really enjoyed The Hunger Games but haven't been caught up in the "Team Peeta" / "Team Gale" hoopla... feels too much like "Team Jacob" / "Team Edward".

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  2. This was an ideal Readathon book. I tend to agree with you about the melodrama (and don't tell anyone, but I think Katniss would be just fine on her own), but the competition was what hooked me, and I actually like the behind-the-scenes reality-show stuff.

    I'm glad I finally read it (and Catching Fire), and thanks for linking to my review!

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  3. Nice review, I thought the Hunger Games and Catching Fire were awesome and I just CANT wait for book three. I also hope that they do a good job on the movie


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  4. 4 out 5 is a pretty good rating. My son has read both of them and loved it so far. I've got them waiting for me soon!!

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  5. You wrote: However, after reaching the end of The Hunger Games I just wanted a break from all the Drama, with a capital D. Somehow for me, the romance aspect of this story, so far anyway, is the least interesting part of it, and I guess I just felt it might be another love triangle à la Bella/Edward/Jacob, which I wasn’t quite in the mood for that weekend.

    My thoughts: Yep! I read (and reviewed) both books. I liked The Hunger Games quite well, but the sequel left a lot to be desire, imho.

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  6. Sorry that you weren't "blown away" by it. When I read it earlier this year, I just fell in love with it.

    I even bought it for my son for his birthday. He loved it as much as I did. In fact, he even went out and found Suzanne Collins other YA series...the Gregor books. He had me read the first 2 (which I loved...but the target audience is actually a little younger than HG). I will definitely be finishing the series.

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  7. Monnibo - Yes, do we really need one more angsty teenage love triangle? ;)

    Florinda - It really was a good choice for the read-a-thon, wasn't it? I completely agree with you that it was the competition itself that really captured my attention, and not the melodrama. Oh well, I still plan to read the rest of the trilogy.

    Eric - I hope they do a good job on the movie too. I'll definitely be interested to see it.

    Staci - I did like it, I just don't adore it like so many other people seem to. It is a very fun read though. I hope you enjoy it!

    Les - I've heard others say they didn't like the way the story went in Catching Fire, so I think that has also discouraged me a little. I'll read it one of these days when I'm in the right mood for some "D"rama.

    Stephanie - No I wasn't 'blown away' but I did like it. I love the fact that you can read these books with your son. Sometimes I wonder if I would see these kinds of books through different eyes if I had a young person to share them with, and feel their enthusiasm. Maybe I'm just too jaded. LOL.

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