THE HUNGER GAMES by Suzanne Collins [Review]

The Hunger Games

The Hunger Games are part Richard Connell’s “The Most Dangerous Game”, part Stephen King’s “The Running Man”, and part CBS’ Survivor reality TV show. It is set in the future, where the country of Panem now occupies a large portion of North America. Panem is comprised of the Capitol City (apparently located in the Rockies) and twelve Districts, which are similar to states. Originally there were 13 Districts, but the 13th District was destroyed during a civil war, where the districts staged an uprising against the Capitol. In the aftermath of the war, the government set up the Hunger Games to punish the districts and remind them of the Capitol’s control over their lives. The games pit two children (one boy and one girl) ages 12 to 18 from each of the districts in a contest between each other. The surviving winner and their respective district receive fame and riches for the next year, when a new set of tributes compete in the next Hunger Games.

The story’s main character, Katniss Everdeen is 16 years old and is struggling to keep her family fed in District 12, which is in the coal mining area of the Appalachian Mountain range (maybe West Virginia?). When she becomes one of the district’s tributes for the Hunger Games, she struggles with possibly seeing her family and friends for the last time and adjusting to the new surroundings in the Capitol. As she faces the other 23 competitors in the Hunger Games, her skills, nerves, and resolve will be tested, all the while knowing she is a pawn in a larger game being run by the Capitol.

I had decided to read The Hunger Games after being told by a friend that it was “the next Harry Potter”. After finishing the book I can say that it is not the next Harry Potter, it may be better. The dystopian future presented by Collins presents a much more compelling backdrop at the outset of the book than Rowling’s magical world (and doesn’t reach similar depths until Books 6 or 7 in the Potter series). Once you get over the unabashed creepiness of the plot’s central point, it turns into a quick paced, action driven story that will leave you wanting more. Collin’s main character, Katniss, is a wonderful character that has you rooting for her to overcome the obstacles in front of her. There are also some interesting science fiction elements: the world of the Capitol is much more developed technologically than District 12 (or our world for that matter) and it is clear that there has been some genetic manipulation of animal species, which becomes more apparent as the Hunger Games go on.

The Huger Games is age appropriate for mature Young Adults and older, as the subject matter is too adult for younger children, especially parts of the Hunger Games themselves. Although I read a copy purchased from Amazon.com, there is an audiobook (Audible.com) version which is narrated wonderfully by Carolyn McCormick.

Quotes from The Hunger Games:

“You’ve got about as much charm as a dead slug.” -Haymitch

“Need to tell you something…Remember we’re suppose to be madly in love, so it’s all right to kiss me anytime you feel like it.”- Peeta

“I am not pretty. I am not beautiful. I am as radiant as the sun.”- Katniss

“Yes, frosting. The final defense of the dying.” — Peeta

Rating: 4 out of 5 Stars | Publisher: Scholastic Press | Pages: 384 | Source: Purchased | Buy on Amazon

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  • http://www.daemonsbooks.com/author/sandie/ Sandie

    Great review Jose! It really makes me want to check it out, although it sounds like it would be a pretty depressing read.

  • http://spekaingjose.wordpress.com Jose

    Hi Sandie –
    Here’s the thing about the book. The concept is hard to get your head around because it sounds so depressing, but Collins does a great job of not making it soooo heavy and depressing that you cant enjoy the novel. She also sprinkles some levity in these moments to help you sympathize with the main characters.

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  • Rue (Real name! no lie)

    ahhhh! Omg I almost cried at the end. (book and movie)