The Hunger Games (Hunger Games Series #1)

The Hunger Games - Suzanne  Collins

This is one of the books that I received for my birthday which was only a couple weeks ago and I read it in the span of a few days. I would have read it faster if school didn’t get in my way so much, but the speed bumps did let me savor the story a bit more. I had heard wonderful things about this book and was excited to read it and am happy to report that it lived up to expectations. There is a movie coming out soon (or it might already be out by the time this is posted) based on the book and I’m looking forward to seeing how they pull off all the places that special effects could be awesome.

Title: The Hunger Games
Author: Suzanne Collins
Pages: 374 paperback
Setting: Panem is what is left of North America after a series of extreme weather, earth quakes and civil unrest changed the face of our planet. The Capitol rules over 12 Districts in a brutally unfair government where people in the districts are always starving and people in the Capitol live in luxury as long as they don’t say anything against the Capitol.
Premise: In this dystopia the Capitol does many things to keep the districts in line, one of which is the Hunger Games. Every year one girl and one boy between 12-18 are chosen from each district to compete to the death in a survival arena that is completely controlled by the Gamemakers who want the show to be compelling for the entire nation watching live. Katniss Everdeen ends up being one of the two from her district, though her district hasn’t won in the last decade or more so things don’t look very good….

Strengths:

  • The pace is surprisingly well done for a story that is about a non-stop fight for survival; I normally get stressed out with those sorts of stories but found this very well paced
  • The story is written in first person present tense, which is at first a little weird, but it fits nicely once you get used to it
  • Some wonderful supporting characters who really come alive despite the story being told in first person
  • Collins uses the tech of this futuristic society in interesting ways and has some fun new ideas for what a futuristic society looks like

Weaknesses:

  • I didn’t get all that attached to Katniss despite her being the main character; I ended up caring a lot more about various supporting characters
  • The teenage angst gets a bit annoying because of Katniss’ density towards human interactions
  • The book ends on teenage angst, which I just really hated, and I’m not planning to read the next book specifically because it picks up exactly where this one ended
  • The book takes place almost entirely in the Games, which is appropriate given the title, but I wish I could learn more about the rest of the world

Summary:
I did really enjoy this book as evidenced by the fact that I tore through it so quickly. It isn’t too hard of a read since it’s obviously aimed at a young adult audience, but it is still emotionally captivating for an older audience if you can ignore the angsty parts. It’s great for trips since you’ll totally forget about your three hour plane ride, though if you cry at books, you’ll probably cry a little. I really wish the next books had more compelling plots, but from talking to people and reading summaries, it feels like Collins is trying to stretch this good idea into too long of a series, which is disappointing given the interesting things that can happen in dystopias run by corrupt governments. I would love to hear people’s opinion on the next books though if anyone has read them! What are you most looking forward to about the movie if you’ve read this book?

Source: http://www.onstarshipsanddragonwings.com/2012/03/16/thehungergames