The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins

Posted 6 December, 2011 by Heather in Heather, Heather Book Review / 8 Comments

In this edition of “Heather Finally Reads…”, I finally get around to reading The Hunger Games series, all because of the amazing movie trailer Pushy and I watched before Breaking Dawn Part I. Guess I’m more susceptible to marketing in my advanced age at midnight… Even though I bought the three book hardcover series set after Mockingjay came out last year, I foolishly never cracked them open. And I still didn’t crack the first one open, I borrowed it from the Kindle lending library and read it on my new Kindle Fire. Here’s my review of the first book.

The Hunger Games

(The Hunger Games #1)
by Suzanne Collins
(Goodreads, Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Web)
Published: October 2008
Book Description (From 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, 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 Thoughts:

I really don’t know why I didn’t start this series. I’d heard such good things about the books from my fellow bloggers and friends, and I went ahead and preordered the three book set before Mockingjay came out. When it was delivered to my house, I loaned the books out to a couple of my work friends, and they absolutely loved them. But still I moved onto other books while these just sat on my shelf collecting dust. The hype surrounding the upcoming Hunger Games movie started to grow, and the much awaited trailer was shown before The Twilight Saga Breaking Dawn Part I. Pushy leaned over to me and said, “Seriously, you have to read these books.” In my tired, midnight-crazed stupor, I said “Why not?” and went back to ogling Robert Downy Jr. in the new Sherlock Holmes movie trailer. A week later, I finally had time to dive right in because I knew that there would be no resurfacing for air once I was under.

Panem is a dark, cruel future world where there is no hope of bettering your life if you live in one of the twelve districts whose only function is to serve the Capital. Katniss Everdeen lives in District Twelve, the one where coal mining is there chief purpose, and living a life of starvation and oppression is the norm for the citizens. When her father dies in a mining accident, she’s forced to take over as head of the family to support her mother and sister, eventually hunting and gathering along with her best friend Gale Hawthorne in the off-limits woods outside of the fence marking off the district’s property.

But the Capital has a way of keeping their thumb on the citizens of the Districts, of letting them know that they own each and every person dwelling within the fences. Each year, one boy and girl from each district are picked to participate in the Hunger Games–a televised fight to the death in an arena where the sole winner will bring  not only life-long prosperity to themselves and their immediate family, but also rations for a year to their district.

When Katniss’ young sister Primrose is picked from the reaping bowl to be the female tribute from District Twelve, she doesn’t hesitate to volunteer to go in her sister’s place, surely dooming herself to death but ensuring her family to a life with Gale taking care of them. The baker’s son, Peeta Mellark, is picked as the male tribute, and the two of them are almost immediately whisked away to the Capital for the Games.

The Games themselves are like Survivor meets Gladiator. You have the alliances but with all of the brutality of the Roman gladiator spectacles. Althought this book is touted as being young adult, the author doesn’t leave much to the imagination when it comes to battle wounds and the pain inflicted by the tributes on one another. Katniss quickly finds that her life hunting and surviving in the woods has trained her well for the games, but she does need to rely on a select few tributes to get by as well.

A romance between Peeta and Katniss was manufactured between their handlers before they went into the games to make it more exciting for the spectators, but what is real between them and what is faked is confusing for Katniss when it comes to Peeta.

This book was gritty, raw, and emotionally charged. I couldn’t put it down, and luckily for me I didn’t have to even while riding in a dark car since I read it on my Kindle Fire and it’s back lit. I’m glad that the entire series was out before I started reading this, however, since the ending is quite a cliffhanger and I immediately downloading the next book, Catching Fire.

I give this book a five. It’s brutal, intense, honest, and not afraid to kill characters off whether you’ve grown to love them or not. The twists in the book show just how much the citizens of Panem can’t trust the Capital or the Gamemakers because they have absolute control, but one girl can take a stand and ignite a little spark to take some power over herself.


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I'm a PhD chemist who loves sarcasm, music, and books-paranormal, mystery, thriller, suspense, horror, and romance. Most of my free time is spent at the martial arts studio these days--whether practicing Combat Hapkido or reading books while watching my son's Taekwondo classes, or even working up a sweat with Kickboxing for fun. Goodreads

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8 Responses to “The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins”

  1. I read all 3, but…I don't know. I enjoyed it, but I didn't find them as amazing as a lot of others did. I felt Katniss was strangely without emotion. She wasn't described that way, but somehow, tha'ts how she came across to me.

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  2. I really liked the books. Peeta was my saving grace – he's the only pure character who has absolutely no agenda, he's just trying to do what he feels is right. Katniss was alright, but she got annoying to me. Peeta was the best.

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  3. Heather

    I think she came across emotionless at times because she had to be like that to survive. Letting her emotions dictate her actions would have gotten her killed off pretty quickly in my opinion.

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  4. Heather

    I went through this series so quickly. Now I'm having withdrawals, LOL. I'll be putting up my reviews of Catching Fire and Mockingjay on Friday and Saturday of this week. I really loved this series, but I'm a bit sad that it went by so quickly. I am looking forward to the movies, though. March isn't so far away. 🙂

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  5. Heather Rosdol

    I've got the first book, The Hunger Games, but haven't started it yet. I'm reading a few other things I've been waiting to read. Touch of Frost right now which is excellent! But I definitely want to read this series before the first movie comes out, not that I ever get to the movies. Still, it is time. I guess I'm afraid of the whole hype thing, but I just finished Across the Universe and it definitely lived up to the hype and more. So did Divergent. So, I'm just going to do it.

    I liked the way you reviewed it. It doesn't feel like you gave anything away as I already knew most of that from other people and the trailer. So, really I'm looking forward to getting started.

    My recent post Waiting on Wednesday 1

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  6. I completely agree with your review, Heather, this book ROCKED!!! I'm so glad you finally read it! I too needed to wait until the series was out because Kristen told me the cliff-hangers were just killers but when Mockingjay came out I was reticent too. So glad I read them, they were superb! Looking forward to the movie now???? *waggles eyebrows*

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