Book Review: The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins

The Hunger Games is the first book in the trilogy of the same name by Suzanne Collins. It was released on 5th January 2009 by Scholastic and the book is 464 pages long. Lionsgate Entertainment has acquired worldwide distribution rights to a film adaptation of The Hunger Games which is due for release in 2012.

Set in the future, a terrifying reality TV show is about to take place. Twelve boys and twelve girls ( a boy and a girl from each district) will take part in a game designed to show the strongest and most determined of them all…in a fight to the death. The only way to win is to take out the other 21 players and bring home the much coveted title to their home district.

In District 12, sixteen year old Katniss Everdeen steps forward to take the place of her little sister in the games. With only one entry, Katniss never thought this would happen but she knows what she has to do, even if it means coming to terms with dying. Survival for Katniss second nature though. Does she have what it takes and stands a chance of winning?

What I thought
I wish I could just write one word in this review. OMG! It is not often at all that I feel this way about a book but that is the first word that comes to mind when thinking about this book. When I started reading it at 11pm at night, I was only planning to read a couple of chapters. That turned into being awake until 3am and finishing the whole book. I could not put it down. Before, knowing all the hype surrounding this trilogy, I was a little worried that I wasn’t going to like it but thankfully, everyone seemed to be right in going crazy for it.

Katniss. What a fantastic female MC. I usually have an aversion to female MCs but how could I hate Katniss? The beginning of the book sees her do something so selfless and brave that I instantly liked her. I imagine me and my big sister in the same situation and I know she wouldn’t do that for me (Don’t take that wrong but she’s a bit of a wimp). Although I knew it was coming, it didn’t take anything away from the excitement and horror of what was happening. As the story gets into full swing, I only found myself liking Katniss more and more. There was so much more to her character than I originally thought and I loved finding out the other things about her and seeing how she reacted to the insanity that was being in the Capitol.

I wasn’t sure what I thought of Peeta, the other player from District 12, to begin with. He didn’t say much for a while but then as his character was revealed more, I could understand why he is so loved by other readers. I enjoyed the mystery surrounding Peeta and how the little things about him are revealed at a slow pace, due to him not being around for a good chunk of time. I can see the attraction between Peeta and Katniss although I was kind of hoping for another guy to be featured more and that was Gale. I am wondering now how much of a part he will play in the other two books in this trilogy and what problems he may cause. The relationship though, between Peeta and Katniss really adds another dimension to the brutal world that they are a part of. It adds a softness and tenderness to a story that would have otherwise been all about the action and tension of The Hunger Games.

So now onto the games themselves. I had ideas about how this was going to be before I read the book but it was not at all what I was expecting. YA novels are sometimes censored a little bit too much but this is where The Hunger Games stands out. The playing field of the games is truly terrifying and I would not wish being there on my worst enemy. The 24 contestants are placed into an arena where anything goes. It really is kill or be killed. Obviously, there are many deaths in this book but the ways in which they happen are creative and quite gruesome at times. Suzanne Collins does not hide from the fact that this is a battlefield and people will do anything it takes to stay alive. I loved the realness of this part of the book and I could feel my heart pounding at times when I knew something bad was about to happen.

I was not prepared at all for how emotional this book was going to be. Yes, I knew there was going to be a love interest for Katniss but that was not everything, for once. The friendships and alliances made throughout this book are really what it is all about. I guess I imaged this book to be all about the getting rid of other players in the games but not how it would feel to be there. I felt so much for some of the characters and not just the main ones. I loved Katniss and Peeta but there were other characters which caught my attention. I really liked that the story was not all about Katniss (even though the majority was). It is also about how other people cope and react in a situation such as this and what they are prepared to do in order to survive.

No wonder this amazing book is being made into a film. Think The Condemned for a younger audience with just as much action but with added romance and tenderness.

7 thoughts on “Book Review: The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins

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