Book Review: The Hunger Games

When I looked over my performance based on the Amazon’s 100 Books to Read Before You Die, I noticed one easy way to knock three titles from the list was to read the Hunger Games series. I think Amazon messed up by making each book a separate entry, but you know, whatever.

The Book

51fpao2bjxlThe Hunger Games
Author: Suzanne Collins
2008
Amazon Link

I have never read this series because I’ve always found the premise of televised child murder to be an unlikely future for pretty much any current society, much less the future of America. I guess other people would disagree with me, but that’s the way my dice rolled.

Even so, it’s critically acclaimed, there are movies (which I haven’t seen), and I suppose it’s relevant to a modern audience. Let’s see what’s inside!

Non-Spoiler Review

I will admit that this was a fun read. I’m not sure I liked the juxtaposition of clearly YA-characters beside brutally murdered 12-year-olds, but I can also see myself finding the book edgy and “real” if I were a teen. So it probably fits a YA audience well, but parents might want to think about letting an advanced 9 year old read it without guidance or discussion.  

Anyway, I thought the pacing was excellent. The chapters left me hanging perfectly such that I wanted to keep going and find out what happened. I thought Katniss’s struggles were compelling, even if naggingly contrived.

I even think the touches of romance were well done. While I will say more in the spoilers, just know for now that I am VERY picky about my romance in books.

Lastly, my beefs with the book. I still think the premise is crazy, but if I could put that behind me, it was worth the time I spent reading. Collins also used a lot of weird word choices repeatedly, like ‘roast,’ and I kept getting drawn out of the immersion because of this. Finally, some of the plot points felt contrived, and the final solution felt too easy.

4/5 Discoball Snowcones

4 Discoball Snowcones

SPOILERS REVIEW

I’m going to shock some of you: I thought the romance subplot in this book was good.

Honestly, I kind of want to know how things go with Katniss and Gale when she gets back home.  Her experience with Peeta was harrowing, and now they share a bond which can’t be simulated otherwise.  Katniss pretended to love Peeta in order to eke gifts from sponsors and viewers, so the entire nation thinks they’re in love, further complicating matters.  However, Gale has much more history with Katniss, and he’s shown a long-term devotion.  I actually liked this subplot, which is very unusual for me.

Lastly, I’d like to complain about the contrivance concerning the ‘rule change.’  During the middle of the games, the announcer declared 2 people could win the Hunger Games if they were from the same district.  Then, right at the end, when Katniss and Peeta had won, they revoked this rule change.  Katniss and Peeta decided to commit suicide simultaneously.

Honestly, what did the game makers expect?  Force the competitors to work together, then suddenly pull the rug out from under them?  I felt like this change right at the end was such fake BS, invented just so Katniss could ‘insult’ the capitol.

Still, overall, I’d say my complaints are weak sauce.  I definitely intend to finish this series, now.

Next week:

I’m reading the second book in this series, Catching Fire.

21 thoughts on “Book Review: The Hunger Games

  1. crispina kemp says:

    Despite I do read YA, this one has never appealed, mainly for the same reasons as you’ve said. And while I read your review with interest… no, it hasn’t helped to change my mind. And life is too short to read about televised child murder.

      • H.R.R. Gorman says:

        It was ok in book 1 because it was one of the main ways they showed absurdity in the world. But books 2 and 3? No excuse, just ridiculous, pretty awful. Not a fan of her writing style, overall.

      • H.R.R. Gorman says:

        I’ve never tried Divergent, and I don’t even know what it’s supposed to be about. I’m not the biggest fan of YA, though, so it makes sense why it’s not made my radar.

      • Chelsea Owens says:

        I only read that one. Its premise was a dystopian society where young adults are sorted into different houses (oh, wait -that sounds like HP) based on traits that came to light during a drug-induced dream (not so HP. Maybe “Dumbo” this time?). The protag was raised in the Amish-like house and tests ‘Divergent’ (not belonging to just one category, and that’s a super big deal despite the fact that nearly everyone *should* test that way) so she chooses Gryffindor -erm, Dauntless, the group of reckless fighters.

        There’s a love interest, fighting, a secret plot initiated by higher-ups in the Factions (apparently, ‘Houses’ isn’t the right term…). You know: run of the mill stuff.

        Maybe I ought to write a review. 🙂

    • H.R.R. Gorman says:

      Discoball Snowcones was the most “me” thing I could think about. Also, I’ve already read the sequels, and I can definitely see why someone wouldn’t finish this one. Her writing style is just so “meh.”

  2. jomz says:

    I read the books mainly because I wanted to understand more than what the movie was showing… However, I am not sure whether I read the books first before even watching the movie, or watched the first movie, then dove in the books to get ahead and finish the entire story.

  3. A Man on an Adventure says:

    I just recently read this book as well. While I do agree that she has talent in building suspense, I also thought that this book was ultimately mediocre for much of the same reasons as you mentioned. I re-read 1984 right after and the difference in the writing is startling. 1984 has its own issues as well, but the world built in it felt terrifyingly plausible. This book didn’t have near the same effect.

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