Thursday, 9 June 2011

The Hunger Games

Author: Suzanne Collins
Genre: Young Adult, Science Fiction
Type: ebook for Kindle
First Published: 2008
Series: The Hunger Games
Series Order:
1. The Hunger Games (2008)
2. Catching Fire (2009)
3. Mockingjay (2010)
First Line: "When I wake up, the other side of the bed is cold."
Quick Review: Brutal, compelling, unforgettable

Synopsis: The 74th annual "Hunger Games" are about to begin in Panam -- a country built on the ruins of North America. The Hunger Games were instituted by The Capitol, which rules over the 12 districts of Panam, as a way to punish its citizens for their past rebellion and as a form of brutal reality TV entertainment for its citizens.

Each of the 12 districts is required to randomly pick two tributes to compete in the Games - one male, one female - between the ages of 12 and 18 years of age. By the end of the Games only one tribute will remain. Keeping your life isn't the only motivation in winning the Games. With extreme poverty rampant in the districts, the sole winner of the games and his/her family will be given a life of luxury. Katniss Everdeen is one of the two tributes from District 12. With little more than her skill at illegal hunting and her desire to make a better life for her family, does Katniss have any chance of being the champion of the games?

My Thoughts: If I said "You've GOT to read this great futuristic book about child gladiators who fight to the death in a massive, multi-habitat coliseum in a dystopian society!" I'm sure you might enquire as to what I put in my morning java and you'd probably question my judgement as a book reviewer extraordinaire. Honestly?!? I thought the same thing when I heard all the hype about this book. That is, until I finally read "The Hunger Games"!!

I have been putting off reading this book for quite awhile. I think the main reason was the fact that the synopsis of the book turned me off. I didn't want to read about teenagers being forced to fight to the death in an attempt to get out of poverty. Not a real 'pick me up' kind of read. Plus, I was leery that this book wouldn't live up to my expectations. For months and months I've heard great reviews about this series. What if I was the odd woman out and didn't like it? It's happened to me before ("Water for Elephants", "Time Traveller's Wife" ...).

I finally gave in when I saw that the Kindle store was selling it for only $5. My cheapness curiosity won out and I threw caution to the wind and bought it. Well, I .... LOVED ... it!! I read it in a little over 2 days and had a hard time putting it down. I forced myself to do other things - you know eat, bathe, speak to my family, blink ..... But as soon as the kids were in bed (or busy doing something else) I was sneaking in some quality time with my good friend Katniss Everdeen.

I thought that I'd be turned off by the violence or the mere thought of kids fighting to the death. It's so brutal and ruthless .... but it was extremely compelling. Collins was able to show the two extremes of human behaviour. The heartlessness and brutality versus the humanity and compassion. Collins expertly showed the reader how a character like Katniss can be both.

I cannot say enough about how much I loved Katniss' character!!! Overall, Collins wrote such wonderful characters that were so well-rounded that I could easily imagine them. Katniss wasn't a meek girl, nor was she a total She-Ra (there's a little 80's cartoon trivia for ya!) 24-7. She was strong, stubborn and determined yet still had her moments of weakness, questioning her friend's motives as well as her ability ability and plain old fear.

I also think that Collins did a great job incorporating so many different subjects and themes throughout the book. Everything from mass poverty governed by a few rich, the "Big Brother" aspect, a government who rules using fear and withholding basic needs, a society addicted to reality TV ....

Some of the other aspects of this book that I loved? I lurrrved the possible love connection between Katniss and one of the main characters as well as the possible love triangle which is hinted at in the future books in the series. I loved the roller coaster ride 'edge of your seat' action ... especially the ending which left me wanting more!! More darn it! It was soooo good! You know you've read a great book when you keep thinking about the characters well after you've finished reading it.

Collins' writing was wonderfully descriptive yet didn't get too verbose describing everything. She was able to describe this futuristic place and people without losing the story's overall momentum. The book was very well paced -- especially once the Games began. But even before Katniss begins the actual games I found it very interesting how she is prepped for battle.

Needless to say, I cannot wait to see the movie. I kept picturing Jennifer Lawrence as Katniss (I had heard she had been cast to play her in the movie) and I think she'll do an amazing job. Here's hoping they stick to Collins' writing. If so, it'll be one heck of a movie!

My one weenie little 'hardly big enough to mention' issue with the book was with the name of the main male character, Peeta. For the first while I kept thinking of that the character of Peeta was a girl just based on the spelling of the name. I know. It's so minor but the name felt and looked much too feminine compared to how Collins' described the strapping Peeta. See, it was hardly worth mentioning but it did bother me a wee bit.

Overall, a fantastic read. I cannot wait to dive into the sequels. In case I was too vague in my review .... I highly recommend this book!!

My Rating: 4.5/5 stars


Jen at The Three Little Piglets said...

Glad to hear you liked it so much. It's been on my list for awhile, and I was hoping I could convince my son to read it with me...

Laurie@The Baking Bookworm said...

I was debating on suggesting the book to my almost 12 year old but I think it's a little too graphic/intense for him yet. He's more into Rick Riordan, the James Bond (as a teen) series, Bone etc right now. As long as he (and his siblings) have books on the go I'm a happy Mom :)

When you read it let me know what you think!

aleisha said...

Yay! Iam Soooooooooooooo glad you loved it! It really is the best YA series I read last year, loved it!

Laurie@The Baking Bookworm said...

I loved it! Soooo good! Is the rest of the series just as good?

Aleisha said...

Hmmmmm, tough question without giving things away for you. Yes, in a lot of ways it is just as good. have you ever read the Inkheart series? There is another one I highly recommend if you haven't already. I found it to be similar to that series in termsof feeling. You can get overwhelmed by all of the feelings you feel for the characters in the Hunger series. I really, really, really liked the first book, really really liked the second book and really liked the third. (note the reallys get shorter as the series goes on). Does she do the characters justice? yes. Does it end like you hope it would end? no. Do you see some thing coming? absolutely not. I am always disappointed when i hear of a great book being made into a movie. They don't always do it justice unless the movie makes enough and then they make the series. I am always leery of what they see as their vision because it doesn't always match with mine and I liked how I saw the movie in my head. In any case, you will enjoy the rest of the series.

My Cottage Charm said...

Hey Laurie! I'm glad you liked my laundry room dresser and I'm sorry your laundry room is green (and builder's beige)with envy! LOL Maybe your hubby will eventually come over to the dark side and let you put up some board and batton! lol :)
Have a great day!

Laurie@The Baking Bookworm said...

Aleisha -- I'm definitely going to read the entire series. Glad to hear she keeps up the momentum. It'll be a good series to read over the summer whilst sittin' at my parents' pool. :)

Missy -- I'm hoping that seeing how pretty other people's laundry rooms are that my husband will see the benefit in making mine just as pretty. I don't think that he believes me that the clothes will come out cleaner in a prettier laundry room though. ;) I'll need his math expertise (and general muscle) to pull of that kind of reno. I'll keep working on him. :)

Michelle, said...

Someone just suggested this to me! Great to read your review!! I am so looking forward to following your blog. I think we have much in common. XO

Laurie@The Baking Bookworm said...

Hi Michelle,
Thanks for following my little blog. I can't wait to share some recipes and books with you!!

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