The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins

The Hunger Games

Winning will make you famous. Losing means certain death.The nation of Panem, formed from a post-apocalyptic North America, is a country that consists of a wealthy Capitol region surrounded by 12 poorer districts. Early in its history, a rebellion led by a 13th district against the Capitol resulted in its destruction and the creation of an annual televised event known as t...

Title:The Hunger Games
Author:
Rating:
ISBN:0439023483
Edition Language:English
Format Type:Hardcover
Number of Pages:374 pages

The Hunger Games Reviews

  • Sparrow
    Sep 20, 2008

    For a long time now, I’ve wanted to rewrite my review of

    so that I could tell you why I don’t just love this series, but why I also think it’s important. It is beautiful for the unflinching way it shows you, as a reader, your own willingness to disregard people who are different from you - how you are the Capitol audience. But, it is important as a story about girls. I had not initially thought about articulating that point because it seemed so obvious to me, and I am bad at rec

    For a long time now, I’ve wanted to rewrite my review of

    so that I could tell you why I don’t just love this series, but why I also think it’s important. It is beautiful for the unflinching way it shows you, as a reader, your own willingness to disregard people who are different from you - how you are the Capitol audience. But, it is important as a story about girls. I had not initially thought about articulating that point because it seemed so obvious to me, and I am bad at recognizing my own assumptions. Lately, though, I have seen so many people, both men and women, acting as though this remarkable book is a piece of fluff that I realized maybe what I love most about

    is not as obvious as it seems. To me, this series is important because it is a landmark departure from the traditional story about girls.

    Too often, stories objectify women. But the word “objectify,” I’ve realized, has almost no meaning for someone who has either not experienced objectification or who hasn’t really recognized it in her own life, so I’m going to be more descriptive here. When I say stories objectify girls, I mean they

    that sometimes have handy dandy extra gadgets such as an

    and

    .

    Sidebar: if you are inclined to now google the word "fleshlight," I encourage you to consult the

    before doing that, as the google results will probably be NSFW and also NSF those of you whose parents might check your browsing history. Do parents know how to do that? Sorry for the sidebar, I am just intending to make an explicit point, and now I am feeling uncomfortable about what that explicit point might mean to the target audience of this book. Girls, you are probably badass like Katniss, and you are definitely

    a fleshlight.

    Back to my rant about typical objectification in storytelling: often the

    fleshlights have

    . Sometimes they have

    , and other times they work as

    for

    or

    or

    . A lot of times, I will hear people refer to this type of objectification as treating women like they are just a vagina, or a pair of boobs, but I think there is something to the stories that is less human and more sexbot machine than that complaint covers.

    So, in all of those links, I have tried to include books written by men and by women because I think that women think of ourselves this way almost as often as men think of us this way. The link from

    , for example, shows both a man and a woman treating women like fleshlights. I have also included both books I love and books I hate because, ultimately, I do think girls adopt this story about themselves, and I also think we can pretty easily identify with a male protagonist and disregard female characters who look nothing like humans. For example,

    is one of my favorite books in the whole world, even though it does not contain any women who resonate with my experience of humans. And I don't think it's necessarily bad that I can enjoy stories where women are only fleshlights, as long as I can still be whoever I want to be without a positive role model. I think it's good to enjoy stories and take what we can get from them, and so I don't regret that I love

    .

    In seeing some male reactions to

    , I am reminded that most men do not identify with female protagonists the way women have been trained to identify with male protagonists. This seems like a huge disadvantage for men to be in, to me, and if you are a man reading this review, I would ask you to check out your bookshelves. How many female authors are on your shelves? How many of the books those authors wrote have no central male character? If you have a minute after that, check the shelves of a woman you are friends with and see how many of her books were written by men or have no central female character. Odds are the results will be pretty different.

    is such a groundbreaking and deliberate example of a woman’s perspective on war and family and even men that it floors me. I think it partly floors me because, other than

    , I can’t think of another example of a female character who really fights for herself in such an obvious and hopeful way. Katniss is strong and broken, and powerful in her brokenness. Collins’s image of a woman’s perspective is not, admittedly, as effortless as Moira Young’s in

    , but its deliberateness has its own value.

    It is not an accident that the story shows Katniss’s emotional growth and that Peeta, as a more emotionally whole person, facilitates her emotional growth. It is not an accident that the story does not discuss the effect Katniss has on the erectness of Peeta’s and Gale’s penises. The first is not an accident because in reality, men do not have to be the emotional cowards that the stories I’ve linked to above make them out to be. Masculinity does not have to mean emotional cowardice. The second is not an accident because the story is not from Peeta and Gale’s perspectives. Despite widespread rumors to the contrary, it is my experience that women pretty seldom think about their effect on men’s penises. Hopefully, we

    think of our primary purpose in life, in the way so many stories think of it, as making penises erect. Hopefully, we never think of ourselves as gadgets that are super fun for other people.

    There are so many reasons I love

    series, and all of this is one I wouldn’t have initially even thought to say. I saw this Eleanor Roosevelt quote earlier this month, and it said, “It is better to light one small candle than to curse the darkness.” I think

    is a candle in the overall dark narrative of girls’ perspective on life. Yes, it is also a poignant critique of reality TV and Western callousness about the catastrophes caused by industrialization in the developing world, but that, too, resonates with me in many ways because of its remarkably feminine voice. It absolutely makes sense to me that this book is not for everyone because of its violence, but I still think that it is objectively important because it shows a perspective that seems authentically feminine to me – that talks like a girl, not like a sexy, fancy gadget. I’m not saying that in my opinion girls don’t or shouldn’t ever think about being sexy or erect penises, I’m just saying that it is my experience that we think and care about many, many more things than penises, clean houses, and food, and very, very few stories are willing to tell you about that. The

    is one that does, and it does so in way that is beautiful and important.

  • Dija
    Oct 19, 2009

    A sharp and intelligent heroine with just the right amount of emotion who gives in to absolutely nothing and no one?

    A sweet and sensitive hero who loves and supports the heroine

    conditionally?

    An original setting with a unique and thrilling plot?

    A couple of earth-shattering shocks every now and then to keep the readers' mind reeling?

    Extraordinary side characters from interesting backgrounds who possess the much-needed Voic

    A sharp and intelligent heroine with just the right amount of emotion who gives in to absolutely nothing and no one?

    A sweet and sensitive hero who loves and supports the heroine

    conditionally?

    An original setting with a unique and thrilling plot?

    A couple of earth-shattering shocks every now and then to keep the readers' mind reeling?

    Extraordinary side characters from interesting backgrounds who possess the much-needed Voice of Reason and/or Humor in every crisis?

    Desperate circumstances that force me to bite my nails in anxiety?

    An ending that provides the perfect premise for the sequel but also concludes the present book?

    Like I said, EPIC.

  • Jana
    May 05, 2010

    A lot of things are troubling me about The Hunger Games. A lot of things which I more and more perceive and which are not solely connected with this book but with the metaphor behind the words. People attach themselves to fictional freedom without seeing what really something is and which unfortunately is here to stay because you can't wake a person who is pretending to be asleep. You can’t make a shift on a deeper level, if the only thing that attracts you to this book is – a vision of fight, r

    A lot of things are troubling me about The Hunger Games. A lot of things which I more and more perceive and which are not solely connected with this book but with the metaphor behind the words. People attach themselves to fictional freedom without seeing what really something is and which unfortunately is here to stay because you can't wake a person who is pretending to be asleep. You can’t make a shift on a deeper level, if the only thing that attracts you to this book is – a vision of fight, retaliation and the outcome of freedom. Freedom of flesh.

    In comparison to the freedom of and from your mind which is nowhere to be found.

    And this is why I detest this book, although detest is such a strong from the ego word. Because the whole purpose of this story is to show how people shouldn’t sacrifice their children for the better of their communities and with the positive outcomes realise that we are so much stronger and yada yada.

    THE WHOLE PURPOSE of this book should be that there shouldn’t even be in the first place a need to sacrifice members of our society for some other people to be amused. And where after the battle of ''united'' people we heal and repair the damages for the better tomorrow. The society cancer of western civilisation thinking.

    Heal the damage, never heal the cause of it.

    But then we wouldn’t be talking here about the same book. We would be discussing how humanity can help each other with being better, with taking responsibility and with being open to each other.

    And yet imagine this paradox we live in: better, as if the majority of population can even understand that we are in constant blood thirst to achieve peace. With war comes peace. While along the way we are trying to be better and safer. Yet most people deliberately choose to live on the utmost lowest level of their existence. In fear, frightened of itself.

    And people read books which are so extreme in their bullshit. And people connect with Katniss because she is the heroine. She has managed to outsmart the system. Instead of thinking that she was not even supposed be there in the first place. Because we live in society that does this to their children.

    ''No, we don’t!''

    ''We do...''

    ''But children can learn how to fight.''

    ''You teach them to fight for individual puppeteers. And instead of working on yourself, how to achieve your inner peace, you associate yourself again with the group because it feels better to be in the tortured crowd, instead of being alone and awakened.''

    ''What are you talking about? It is just emo gibberish. Leave Katniss alone. And in the end, it is just a book. Why don’t you want people to read and educate themselves, does everything have to be deep and meaningful, can’t you just relax?''

    Yes, everything has to be deep and meaningful since we are drowning in shit of meaningless and shallow. The system as it is, the plot of this book is just another evidence to show us how we are controlled. That we are left barren from our true selves which we only find in empathy, love towards each other and genuinely understanding that we are one and everything is one. But on this provincial&marginal&primitive&emotional level, so many took this book for granted.

    And the only reason I am writing this review here, the only reason I am giving it so much attention is to tell what is on my mind since it is so widely popular and since I have read it. And one of the main reasons why I can’t really keep things light and popsy is because so many things are already deep down in gutter light and popsy and mainstream. As if having money is any critieria for life, as if not having your own free will and education and information means nothing. And the other side of the rich coin is poverty with people who believe in symbols, who are sidetracked with religions, censured TV, economy and utter lack of information circulation.

    And a lot of people here are trying to disregard this review and want to reassure me that I am so terribly wrong. BUT, you have yet not seen what I am talking about and it is perfectly OK.

    So I followed as well screaming Goodreads recommendations and I bought a book that is stupid, violent and written so plainly but of course written for vast masses so they can be touched by fake social awareness. Because it is fake, but most of all it’s tragic.

    And this is not a critique toward Collins, in my nature of a thinker and seeing her a person who shared her thoughts and which millions of people loved and connected with, I am still a firm believer that the general public just didn’t understand what she was talking about. And this is my silver lining. Because it has been like this throughout centuries and with the biggest thinkers of our civilisation. What they meant and wanted to show, is definitely not what most of the public projected.

    Because the mainstream public is a group of sheep, not seeing anything properly, but following and like a Tarzan, screaming, don’t you dare stealing my Jane from me. As a metaphor, don’t you dare telling me these uplifting emotions are not true, when all in me about this book tells me that is correct and how people should live their lives.

    And if the mainstream likes it, uh, then definitely that is not what it’s true.

    It is just a constant reminder how so many things are left unrecognised while these superficial stories which evoke cheap emotions are always so hugely praised. It could have been just a little story but never underestimate the obese octopus that is called In God And Country We Trust - code red mentality. Mentality of humans which are too ignorant, beautifully naive and untouched basically with what is means to be socially aware.

    And although this is a teen book, it is more deeply hurting and sickening because if you want to influence somebody, of course you will influence the children – and yet there is nothing that children can learn from it. They can learn some things, we all need little courageous Katniss, but on a deeper subtler level is it just an intravenous injection of more Nothing and more Numbing and more Disconnected.

    At least they read is one of the arguments. And argument as fruitfull as at least they eat GMO food. One food for the blind intellect, other for the digestion which both results in basic survival without any interference of you in all of it. Because it takes courage and guts and a pinch of anarchy to stop, turn around and start questioning what is handed.

    For me, the thought about giving this to a child is sickening especially because we live in this world where all the life criterias are upside down. Because a child will not learn how things are vile and disturbing because Katniss told them through her delusional and hyperventilating focus, but a child will learn about life’s cruelty, and it will be touched by it sooner or later, by questioning everything that is served in front of it.

    Because if it is served somebody is earning money and you are just getting fatter and sicker.

    And the children will learn how to question if you teach them how to find not if you broadcast them the answers. Not if you teach them through aggressive examples and if you keep the nation in cold sweat especially if you are lucky enough to live in the countries where oppression is not the issue but consumerism, body image and mediocrity have you on the leash.

    I am astonished with a fact that around 75.000 Goodreads members read this book and that around 50.000 of them rated it 5 stars. What is it that fascinates them so much.

    It’s disturbing because people obviously associate and find themselves in this book. And it's about a girl Katniss Everdeen, living in the far away future, who was chosen to participate in a cruel Big Brother game, in which 24 contestants (children age 12-18) kill each other, because live TV has become demanding, and the public loves reality blood and violence. That's it. A little bit of undeveloped and unbelievable romance between her and two boys, a little bit of her abandoned family problems, a little bit of The 5th element movie political structure, mutants and pop stylists. It’s so screwed up.

    In the beginning, first 50 pages were well written. There was suspense, Katniss was sweet and witty, but overall this book is a shitty meltdown. Adding the ridiculous cliffhanger ending. Some people here are using words like dystopian literature, and then write essays about how this book is the core of it.

    The core is pointlessly graphic and sadistic, without any concrete message except of the negative: this book is just proving that the world today is fucked up if this book is so successful. I don’t see the point of reading about the fictional kids who are doing this to each other.

    In a metaphorical way it is promoting political establishments of certain countries and that is getting tiring. Not all people are eager to swallow the shit of general brainwashing. Katniss being the heroine (ironical quote marks). Being loyal and darling and a role model. Just wake up. Life is happening and some pretty dark things are happening while you are thinking that Katniss is the representative of the club called liberation.

    For me, in a bookish way it stands for one bad one night stand, kiss and forget. But as always, readers tend to bring fiction to their real life and just as many think that kittens and superheroes are comfort zones, a lot of readers perceive this plot as their own little shrine.

    But that is me not being in tune with the mainstream population which is too distracted with billboards.

    Because it is easier, because why protest, why not simply take what you are given - eat your GMO Monsanto's company hamburgers, eat your cancer giving Nestle products and think that The Hunger Games are the best franchise ever, like ever. If you don't have any arguments about real life activism and if you think that there is deepness in this plot which I have yet not seen so you need to enlightened me, just include North Korea or Hitler or ISIS(L) or those poor people who are closed in Zara hangers who work nonstop ''somewhere'' in the world because obviously you are aware of the crisis although you don’t think you could show on the map but you have heard somewhere on Murdoch media.

    This shit sells. It's genuinely bad but excellently targeted. You know, it evokes pride and loyalty and massacring children, freedom and scandal and Hollywood. It goes very well with all the Kardashian filth. As long as it sells, sells, sells. And marketing agencies know that people are united when they are jealous, when they want and they with those hamburgers want freedom. Nobody is going to kill their Katniss in a goddam book! Really? Take a look around you.

    And then the punch line for this book comes from the so called activism from the shopping mall. People who devour literature of this kind and think that everything is all right while in the same time, fuck, you are getting oozingly fat.

    Bottom line.

    This book is very shallow and MTV culture oriented, like a classical example of easy consummated pop-literature; I'm very surprised that it didn't come with some trash magazine subscription. If it doesn't have savage brutality, prize money and prefix ''media coverage'' then it won't be appealing and educational because surely this is how children of 21st century survive this techno media world; through examples of true moral issues and realistic outcomes. Have another gulp of Coca-Cola along the way while you listen to dubstep shit.

    It saddens me when a violent hillbillish book is so popular. What is there to truly identify yourself with. Except if your chicken soup for soul are basic emotions which come with buy 1 get 1 free.

  • Saniya
    Sep 20, 2010

    LMAAAOOOO! Thats Peeta folks! xD

    HAHAHAHAHA! Laughed my ass off on this! XD

    Am I...am I still alive...? o.O *pinches myself* -ouch! Yes, I can stay alive for the next movie.

    And I was crying before the movie even started. Damn cinema, showing 'The Titanic 3D' movie trailer. >.<

    OMG, there were sooo many moments where I was crying. And God, I love my Pakistani people, they were so much fun to watch with :') <3

    G

    LMAAAOOOO! Thats Peeta folks! xD

    HAHAHAHAHA! Laughed my ass off on this! XD

    Am I...am I still alive...? o.O *pinches myself* -ouch! Yes, I can stay alive for the next movie.

    And I was crying before the movie even started. Damn cinema, showing 'The Titanic 3D' movie trailer. >.<

    OMG, there were sooo many moments where I was crying. And God, I love my Pakistani people, they were so much fun to watch with :') <3

    Go and watch The Hunger Games movie

    When is the next movie coming? :'D <3

    I just died. OH YES I DID becaaaussseee...

    OMG PEETA LOOKS SO HOT! OMG OMG OMG! <3 And how he says, well, shes here with me! :'D

    The Hunger Games ET Behind The Scenes [Extended Version]

    EEEE! ^_^

    Five Days and 21 hours till the Red carpet premiere...

    OMFG OMFG OMFG! O_O

    Anyway guys,

    Another SONG released. Its so creppy and weird. LOVE IT! xD

    OMG! ONE OF THE HUNGER GAMES SCENES! xD

    (When Katniss shoots arrow in the apple while preparing)

    After watching this, I am like, "FUCK YEA! ^_^"

    27 days.... OMFG! ^_^ SO DAMN EXCITED! :D

    Anyway, new picture people!! :D

    Peeta painting. Now isn’t that just adorable. XD <3

    Josh Hutcherson (Awesome one)interview:

    OMG OMG! THE ORIGINAL SOUNDTRACK! <3

    Deep Shadows by T.T.L:

    I am getting chills. This instrumental is Perfect.

    New picture! =D

    *Official cover*

    OMG! FIRST SOUNDTRACK RELEASED! ^_^ <3

    Safe and Sound by no other than TAYLOR SWIFT FT THE CIVIL WAR.

    Ok. I thought it would be like you know, metal, but this rocks! =D <3

    THE OFFICIAL TRAILER! OMG OMG OMG! ITS PERFECT! ITS FAB! *girl squeal!* THIS IS SO FREAKING AMAZING! xD

    For me its like, I read this series. I loved them. Then I saw the first book becoming a movie. And now watching the trailer, I feel so good. Like a dream come true. =)

    And I already watched the trailer like, 15-20 times. XD

    Yeah. I nearly died while looking at this pictures. X__X

    Whats the use of reviewing this book when its awesome and everybody knows it! I.just.can't.wait.till.freaking.March.23.2012. =D

    ****** May The Odds Be Ever In Your Favor ! *******

  • Nataliya
    Dec 07, 2010

    Suzanne Collins has

    to make us willingly cheer for a teenage girl to kill other children. In a YA book.

    Two reasons why this book rocks:

    It is not

    , and

    I really hate reality shows.

    Yes, this book is full of imperfections. It often requires a strenuous suspension of disbelief. It can cause a painful amount of eye-rolling and shaking fist at the book pages. Its

    Suzanne Collins has

    to make us willingly cheer for a teenage girl to kill other children. In a YA book.

    Two reasons why this book rocks:

    It is not

    , and

    I really hate reality shows.

    Yes, this book is full of imperfections. It often requires a strenuous suspension of disbelief. It can cause a painful amount of eye-rolling and shaking fist at the book pages. Its style is choppy and the first-person present tense gets annoying. The story is simple, and the message is heavy-handed.

    And here is an obligatory taken out of contest Twilight-bashing quote:

    Because Katniss is cool and a badass. She is fierce, independent, resourceful, intelligent, and skilled. She is loyal to her friends and family. She is a survivor.

    She skewers that apple in the pig's mouth with an arrow in front of the Gamemakers in the most awesome way imaginable. For all that, I

    this imperfect, surly, prickly, sullen and perpetually pissed-off, quick to jump to judgment, and sometimes clueless girl.

    And I love this book because - despite

    being YA literature that seems to hinge on the romantic puppy love - the happiness of Katniss does not revolve solely around a cute male lead. Yes, there is a (hated) love triangle here *eyeroll*

    (*)

    Now, here is what bugged me about the romance that DID make it into the book.

    Katniss and Peeta could have had plenty of other reasons to care for each other that don't include puppy love - they are from the same district, same school, he gave her that bread, she trades with his dad, etc. But alas, that did not happen. I understand that Collins had to cater to the way that YA publishers and Hollywood tend to view us, the female audience.

    But poor Peeta - all of his actions are colored by him being "Lover Boy", and I think it detracts from his personality and reduces him from a kind compassionate person to a fool in love who'd do anything for Katniss only because of his physical attraction to her. Yeah...

    ...Rue...Oh, Rue...

    Now, back to the GOOD. Rue, my favorite character. Little, fragile, almost-too-perfect Rue who was clearly doomed from the start.

    Whose

    brought the human side to Katniss (who, until that point, was almost bordering on robotic). There was real grief and anger and sadness in that scene, and from that point on I began to care.

    Suzanne Collins strictly follows the

    rule. (Actually, she does it to such an extent that the book reads almost like a screenplay.) The plot moves along at a fast pace, only slowing down a bit in the drawn out Capitol makeover and cave makeout sessions. Collins does not shy away from gruesome scenes, making many parts of the book hit home.

    ----------

    I enjoyed it despite the imperfections. Katniss easily beats the majority of the popular YA heroines. And because of all her coolness, this gets

    .

    -----------------------------------------

    So I saw the movie today. All I have to say - Suzanne Collins may have given life to Katniss, but Jennifer Lawrence definitely gave her heart. Lawrence's Katniss has such emotional depth, and she brings such truthfulness to her character. Excellent adaptation with a great balance of tugging on the heartstrings and darkness.

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  • Kiki
    Mar 15, 2011

    I have got to stop poking fun at this series with memes. Someone take them away from me!

    Nah, I didn't love this book. I know I'm in the minority, and part of me is glad about that. I mean it when I say this book deserves recognition, and honestly, I'd rather people were reading this and following a heroine as independent as Katniss, rather than a simp like Bella or Bethany.

    is high-quality YA, intelligently written, and despite its flaws it's worthy of success.

    Here's where I be

    I have got to stop poking fun at this series with memes. Someone take them away from me!

    Nah, I didn't love this book. I know I'm in the minority, and part of me is glad about that. I mean it when I say this book deserves recognition, and honestly, I'd rather people were reading this and following a heroine as independent as Katniss, rather than a simp like Bella or Bethany.

    is high-quality YA, intelligently written, and despite its flaws it's worthy of success.

    Here's where I become one of those lone rangers on a forum uttering the forbidden words:

    .

    Stop! Put down the pitchforks! Let me make my point, okay?

    At the risk of sounding like Hipster Mermaid, I read BR and watched the movie long before I discovered THG. So the second I read the synopsis, the first thought that popped into my head was, "Sounds a lot like

    "

    It reads a lot like BR, too. I'm sorry, THG fans; but you can literally pair up characters from this book and fit them snugly into the moulds of those from BR. Katniss is Nanahara, Peeta is Noriko, Cato is Kazuo Kiriyama (he even volunteered, just like the Careers!), President Snow is the guy played by Beat Takeshi, Effie is the bouncy girl from the training video, Clove is Mitsuko...the list goes on.

    I know, people. I

    Suzanne Collins said she hasn't read BR. I find this hard to believe, given the similarities, but to each her own. The above is simply something that really, really stuck out to me. The entire way through, I was finding similarities.

    This isn't to say

    doesn't follow its own course, and have its own storyline. It does. But think of the people who lash out at Cassandra Clare because of the similarities between her work and J.K. Rowling's. If you're one of the people who feels angry about that, consider that perhaps the people who read BR, then THG, and noticed the same glaring similarities as I might feel the same way. I am not a Harry Potter fan, thus I don't know what the comparisons are between the Mortal Instruments and the Harry Potter books -

    Moving on,

    . The romance in this book drove me insane. I don't understand what the constant need to have a love triangle is, but people who say, "There are no teams!" are just kidding themselves. If there were never meant to be teams, and if this book didn't want to have "just another love triangle" ... then it shouldn't have had "just another love triangle". That's the way it is, I'm afraid. I am absolutely and utterly sick of love triangles, and what was worse about this one was the second I read Peeta's name and his history with Katniss, I knew it was going to be all about Katniss loving Peeta and Gale trying to muscle in. It was predictable, and a Plot Tumor. Think of how amazing this book could have been had there been no romance, or if Katniss had actually been forced to kill Peeta. I literally waited, with baited breath, for Katniss to kill Peeta.

    But she didn't. Convenience saved her.

    The synopsis of this book suggests that Katniss's humanity will be questioned, and she will be forced to make agonizing decisions in the name of her survival, but never once does she kill for the sake of herself. Every kill she makes is either in mercy, accidental or in lieu of child murder (Marvel's death was carried out after he speared Rue; Katniss's killing him would then play out as comeuppance rather than Katniss killing for the sake of herself). Katniss's hands remain proverbially clean, the whole way through the Games.

    This is simply not what I signed up for. It's unrealistic, to begin with. Biologically, the human body and mind is wired for survival at all costs. It's true. Think about it: when someone develops dementia, the mind literally breaks down to nothing. Why, then, does the body not simply give up? Why doesn't it shut down, because the mind no longer works?

    Survival is why. The main objective of life is to do exactly that: live it. Animals exhibit this to a tee. Smaller animals have faster heartbeats than larger animals, because the lower down they are in the food chain, the more ready they are always required to be to rely on flight to escape predators.

    This is why Katniss's lily-white innocence remaining intact until the end irks me. She never has to make any difficult decisions. She is never forced to wrestle with her humanity, give up her principles, shame herself in front of the people who love her who must watch her participate. She is unabashedly perfect. Her inability to make friends doesn't even factor in; everyone immediately adores her regardless. People are willing to die for her, for heaven's sake. The Capitol practically eats the dirt she walks on. And this doesn't change over the course of the series.

    I like flaws, man. What can I say? Perfection doesn't interest me. Innocence doesn't interest me, especially in a dystopian setting, where brutality is law-enforced. It just doesn't convince me, is all.

    Having said all that, I simply cannot fault Collins' amazing ability to build suspense. I'll put a pin in the excruciatingly boring first 140 pages, and say that the portion of this book that featured the actual Games was just

    . The prose was sparse, with the feeling of unedited thought; I love that. A lot of people don't, but I do. Actually, come to think of it, Collins' writing was stellar overall. I'm a huge fan of first person present tense, especially during snappy and gripping action scenes, of which this book had many.

    Honestly? These books just piss me off. I don't know what it is. The setting was smart and well-drawn, the anti-violence message was clear and good, and despite being a constant annoyance, Katniss was a fiercely independent and capable female character. This I greatly appreciate. It's not a bad book, by any means, but I'm just not a fan of it.

    : I have to laugh, kittens, because a lot of people need to crack open a history book before they make wild claims about the form of government going on here. Numero uno: the government system is not fascist. Please, don't say that it is. It just isn't. At all. It also isn't Marxist, either. I'm not a fan of Marx or his boyfriend Frederick, but don't shame the man and his gratuitous beard. It's more like a very obscure form of Stalinism (but without the weird foreign policy).

    In fandoms like this, the naysayers are never without backlash. I've run into a fair few people who scream about how insane I am for not being in all-consuming love with this book (as if three stars is suddenly a bad rating!). Honestly, I don't really care if you loved the book. Sure, if you did, that's great. It's brilliant when people can enjoy the written word, and this book is not terrible, I did not hate it, and if I had never read any dystopian before it I would probably lobotomy-fangirl over it until I died. But right now it isn't for me.

    I ended up reading CF in full because a friend forced me to. I don't know what was different the second time around, but when I gave it another try I realized

    book is outstanding. Definitely the best in the series. Far better than this one, and let's only refer to the last book from now on as Dat Flop. In fact, let's not refer to it at all. Let's pretend it never happened. I beg of you all.

    I tried hard to jump on this bandwagon, but in all honesty, I just don't really have any passionate feelings for this series.

    Comprende?

    Look, I'm sorry. But I had to do it.

  • Cecily
    Jun 17, 2011

    If I were a teenager or recommending this to a teen, I might give it 3*; as an adult, I give it 2*.

    PLOT

    It's a potentially exciting but gruesome story, but most of the characters were rather flat, much of the plot was predictable (it's not hugely original; in particular, it is VERY similar to the Japanese "Battle Royale"), and there were too many flaws in the plot. I fail to understand its very high ratings.

    Post-apocalyptic America (Panem) is divided into a wealthy and technologically advanced Ca

    If I were a teenager or recommending this to a teen, I might give it 3*; as an adult, I give it 2*.

    PLOT

    It's a potentially exciting but gruesome story, but most of the characters were rather flat, much of the plot was predictable (it's not hugely original; in particular, it is VERY similar to the Japanese "Battle Royale"), and there were too many flaws in the plot. I fail to understand its very high ratings.

    Post-apocalyptic America (Panem) is divided into a wealthy and technologically advanced Capitol and twelve subsidiary districts of oppressed people who exist in dire poverty, with inadequate food, housing, and health care and hardly any technology. To reinforce the power of the Capitol by instilling fear in the population, once a year, two children from each region are selected by lots to fight to the death in a reality show. If that were not bad enough, the whole thing is utterly corrupt in multiple ways, plus the public bet on the outcome, and sponsors can sway the results. Did I mention these are

    ? (Some are as young as 12, though the narrator is 16.) A compulsory full-body wax on a teen seems rather pervy and who would want to bet on, let alone sponsor a child-killing tournament, even if it's by helping one of the contestants? As the book keeps reminding readers, one person's survival is only possible by the death of

    the others.

    CRUELTY TO CHILDREN

    I realise that horrendous things are done to children around the world every day (extreme poverty, child soldiers, sexual assault, genital mutilation etc), but in none of those cases is the

    that

    but one child dies, and nor is it organised by the

    for a sick combination of sport, entertainment, punishment and profit.

    Humans often lack compassion, but I was never convinced by Collins' world - especially the fact this outrage has continued for

    (it's the 74th games), apparently without the Capitol even needing to invoke gods or supernatural powers to justify their cruelty! Could a barbaric annual tournament really be such a powerful incentive not to rise up in all that time? (I don't think so.)

    BIG ISSUES

    Nevertheless, it tackles some big themes that are particularly pertinent to teens: the nature of friendship; divided loyalties; the difference between love and friendship; who to trust; whether the ends justify the means; the need to repay favours; the danger of power, wealth and celebrity; the corrupting influence of reality TV; the need for independence, and whether you can trust a parent who abandons you.

    It all feels rather laboured to me, but it might not if I were a teen, which only reinforces my puzzlement at the number of adults who have enjoyed it. I must be missing something.

    NARRATIVE STRUCTURE

    Nearly half the book is backstory and preparation for the games; the remainder is a tale of hunter and hunted. I predicted the main plot twist less than a quarter of the way in (and the fact that Katniss is telling the story limits the possible outcomes), but the suspense was broken when it was made explicit way before the end. There are some other twists between then and the final page, but by then I was rather annoyed with the whole thing.

    IMPLAUSIBILITY AND INCONSISTENCIES

    I'd enjoyed the book more, I would have found it easier to suspend my disbelief, but as it was, I was constantly irked by questions and inconsistencies.

    * The contestants (and their parents and grandparents) have been forced to watch the games every year of their lives. I suppose they had become inured to it, but on the other hand, that meant they

    the horror of it. I just didn't believe there was as little fear in them as there appeared to be - given that they are children.

    * Participants don't want other participants to know where they are, yet sponsor gifts occasionally drop out of the sky, via silver parachute; not a risk, apparently.

    * It's all filmed by numerous invisible floating cameras (I can buy that), but that somehow includes filming inside a cave that is virtually sealed (I can't).

    * How (and why) would any of these participants be able to measure time to within half hour intervals?

    * How big is Panem? It can only be a tiny part of the USA because each district specialises in only one thing (coal mining, agriculture etc) and has just one town square that can accommodate everyone (8,000 people in District 12) and yet it's a day's train journey from District 12 to the Capitol. It doesn't seem like a very plausible settlement pattern in a post-disaster world, even given the totalitarian regime (concentrating people in a few centres makes it easier to observe and perhaps control them, but it also creates more opportunities for opposition movements to develop).

    COMPARED WITH LORD OF THE FLIES

    There are some similarities with "Lord of the Flies" (my review here:

    ), but although "The Hunger Games" is likely to have more appeal to modern teens, I think there are (at least) two crucial differences:

    * In LotF one person's survival is not necessarily at the cost of everyone else's. (It is even possible that they could all survive.)

    * LotF has much more depth and symbolism: it tackles original sin; the mystical "Beast"; leadership, tribal allegiance and group dynamics (including bullying and attitudes to difference and minor disability) and the importance of ritual and belief.

    The second point is what makes LotF a better book, in my opinion.

    Of course, there are other, more obvious, parallels with extreme "reality" shows such as "Survivor" and "I'm a Celebrity, get me out of here", but the fundamental differences are not just that contestants in those shows do not fear for their lives, but that they are adults who have

    to enter.

    I TRIED TO ENJOY IT!

    Any fans who read this will now hate me. I wanted to enjoy this book, and I read it all the way through, making notes as usual, but to no avail. Sorry.

  • Khanh (the meanie)
    Nov 23, 2015

    I was forced into watching Mockingjay: Part II this weekend. To clarify, I watched the second part of the last

    movie

    Needless to say, I was

    .

    So many questions and thoughts ran through my mind as I watched the movie. Why is Peeta so thin? Did that huge-ass bruise really disappear from her neck the next day? Is Katniss

    to look like she's about to burst into tears at any given moment

    I was forced into watching Mockingjay: Part II this weekend. To clarify, I watched the second part of the last

    movie

    Needless to say, I was

    .

    So many questions and thoughts ran through my mind as I watched the movie. Why is Peeta so thin? Did that huge-ass bruise really disappear from her neck the next day? Is Katniss

    to look like she's about to burst into tears at any given moment, or is that just Jennifer Lawrence? Woody Harrelson is in this movie? Hey, it's Margaery from Game of Thrones! Who's President Snow? What's a Mockingjay? Lesser Hemsworth is pretty hot.

    Well, you get the point. I know how the book ended and I still have no idea who anyone is, and neither do I know their names, with the exception of Peeta, Gale, President Snow, that Coin woman, and Katniss. Of course, knowing how the book ended means I probably should read the first book, so

    And it was good. It was really good. My sister was right (she usually is).

    What else can I say that hasn't already been said? I loved it. The world building was interesting (although it helps that I've seen what it looks like on the big screen), and Katniss is

    . One of the things my sister didn't like about the first movie is that the on-screen Katniss was different from her portrayal in the first book. I haven't watched that movie, but I kind of see how the screen portrayal of Katniss might have bothered her. Book-Katniss is strong, kick-ass without being a Mary Sue. She has a fierce love for her sister, and she is manipulative and cunning. She uses the prospect of romance to protect herself, she has no qualms about using people, and I love that about her.

    Time to watch Movie #1!


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