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Book Review: The Hunger Games trilogy

Saturday, May 14, 2011
Title: The Hunger Games trilogy
Author: Suzanne Collins
Publisher: Scholastic Press
Pages: THG: 374, CF: 391, M: 390
Buy: Amazon, Book Depository

In the ruins of a place once known as North America lies the nation of Panem, a shining Capitol surrounded by twelve outlying districts. The Capitol is harsh and cruel and keeps the districts in line by forcing them all to send one boy and one girl between the ages of twelve and eighteen to participate in the annual Hunger Games, a fight to the death on live TV.

Sixteen-year-old Katniss Everdeen, who lives alone with her mother and younger sister, regards it as a death sentence when she steps forward to take her sister's place in the Games. But Katniss has been close to dead before—and survival, for her, is second nature. Without really meaning to, she becomes a contender. But if she is to win, she will have to start making choices that will weigh survival against humanity and life against love

I bought The Hunger Games when it came out (hardcover, cost me nearly HK$150) but I never got round to it until recently, when my friend pestered me about returning Catching Fire and Mockingjay, which I had borrowed from him ages ago.

My loss, I guess.

When I read the first few pages of The Hunger Games, the first thing I thought was that it didn’t live up to its hype. I got bored with Buttercup, didn’t understand Katniss’s mom, and was completely lost when Gale went, “May the odds be ever in your favour.” I was hopelessly lost and quite bored, really.

It was at the end of the first chapter of The Hunger Games that I officially fell in love with it. “Primrose Everdeen.” Those were the two words that got me hooked. Katniss’s character truly came out then, the love for her sister that kick started the entire series. Then BAM, the action starts. From then on, I couldn’t tear my eyes away from the black and white pages. After that, the story only got more and more complicated, and I couldn’t help but dive into it.

The trilogy served to remind me that I hate, hate, hate love triangles. I loved Peeta Mellark. A lot. His sweet nature just got to me. Even back in the beginning, when Katniss had all those doubts about him, I could never feel the same way as her; Peeta was just way too sweet. I was actually angry with Katniss throughout Catching Fire for treating Peeta the way she did, which was a first, since I like Katniss a lot, and I could never hate main characters I liked. Although Gale’s handsome, and cool, and would, in any other case, be the one I was rooting for, I couldn’t help but like Peeta over him.

One thing I really loved about the trilogy and Suzanne Collins’s writing, is her characters. As I’ve said, I really loved Peeta. Primrose was such a real, three-dimensional character too. She had pets she loved, a passion for healing, and was just so lovable. As was Rue, the little girl from District 11. Even though she wasn’t there in Catching Fire and Mockingjay, she never left my mind. She’s still on my mind now, even. Oh, yes, and President Snow. Loved the roses, loved the blood. He’s one of my favourite characters, actually. I think Cinna and the prep team deserve a mention too, because Cinna was possibly the only one who came anywhere close to Peeta on my Like Scale. And the prep team… they’re like a bunch of puppies, you can’t help but want to pet them.

Suzanne Collins’s writing cuts straight to everything, her points and her story driving straight into my heart. No decorations, no fancy images of fairy lights and daisy petals (dandelions, maybe, but not daisies). That’s what reinforced the fast pacing of the books that left me barely in touch with what was going on, scrambling to catch up, desperate to read on. I didn’t stop until I flipped the last page of Mockingjay.

All the deaths, all the tragedies, they left me pining for the characters, mourning over the losses, but at the same time, I couldn’t stop my hand from flipping to the next page. The trilogy doesn’t give you time to breathe, time to think. When you reach the last word, Katniss’s emotions will still be there, hammering in your heart.

Loads of dying people and cruel games may not be your cup of tea, but if you haven’t read The Hunger Games trilogy yet, I’d say, “Go, go, go!” It isn’t the reigning queen of dystopia for nothing. It might just be worth your time.

10 comments on "Book Review: The Hunger Games trilogy"
  1. Im really relieved to hear that I was not the only one who didn't immediately love The Hunger Games. I actually picked it up and set it down for almost a year. I think the part where I fell for it was when Katniss said she would go into the games for Prim. I ended up devouring the series within a week.

  2. You're definitely not alone! I tried reading it a few times before and never got past the first few pages--completely lost interest. But, like you, I couldn't stop reading after Katniss volunteered.

  3. I too started and stopped this novel. But... once she took Prim's place, I could not put it down. When I hand it to one of my students I tell them "Give it 50 me, you won't regret it!"

    They all thank me.

    I read them as they came out, so I did not have the luxury of having the next one when I finished one. I have to admit I was so angry when I finished Catching Fire, to leave me where she did, I almost boycotted the last book (I say almost, but I preordered it as soon as scholastic offered it, 6 copies)

  4. I didn't like The Hunger Games until like, halfway into the book. Before it just sort of dragged on. And I still haven't gotten to the second book yet. Same story as with the first--I made it 15 pages in and didn't like it :/ I don't know why they just don't seem that great to me.

  5. For this reason, I always read the first few chapters with my class before letting them read on their own. Almost all of my students tear through it in a week and are eager to read the next two.

    I was also mad after Catching Fire, Mrs. Kondrick! But, I, too, preordered an entire class set (since my freshmen were horrified to end it that way, too). Since I knew I would have that group again as sophomores, it worked out. Waiting for Mockingjay was awful, though!

  6. This series is my favourite♥ From the beggining I love it and couln´t put it down to stop reading, I had to continue xD
    I know some people don´t like the death and violence in books but I think that in this series it just belongs here...

  7. I have not yet read THE HUNGER GAMES. I appreciate the honest review thank you.

  8. Great review! I am glad you ended up enjoying the books! My sister struggled to get into it like you did but ultimately she loved it! I loved all the books from beginning to end well actually oddly I wasn't as in to the third book. Overall though, definitely great reads!

  9. This series is my favorite because it has drama, romance, and a surprise in the end! It is all about how Katniss Everdeen goes off to the capitol of Panem that lies in the ashes of North America with a boy named Peeta Malark, who undoutably says he loves her, just before fighting to the death in The Hunger Games. They appear as star-crossed lovers before the capitol, yet some of the districs dont believe them..... Then the capitol says that if both the district tributes are left alive at the end they can both go home to their district, safe and sound. NOT! They find out about all the past winners, and how they were tortured or worse.

  10. Great review! i was wondering what the hunger games is like as i wanted to read the books. thank you for this review. would love to read the trilogy


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