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Thursday, November 12, 2009

Review: The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins

Yes, I know this one was a long time coming.
So let's get to it, shall we?

The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins

Briefly: Katniss Everdeen is a 16 year old girl fighting to survive in District 12. She hunts illegally in the forests outside of the fence; she does whatever it takes to keep her family alive. When Katniss' little sister's name is drawn as one of the twenty-four tributes to go into the Hunger Games-- a battle to the death, where only 1 of the 24 participants will live -- Katniss volunteers to go in her place and learns what it really means to fight to survive.

If you haven't heard of the fabulousness that is this book, I think you've been living in a hole. It's hard to describe this book or review it without talking in circles or giving something away, so I'm just going to do a quick little review where I rave about its fantasticness.
We all know I'm a fan of dystopia, and this one is a prime example.
You have the classic struggle: Katniss, and all of the other inhabitants of the twelve Districts, are at the mercy of the ruthless Capitol, where the yearly deaths of the tributes is entertainment.
You have the humanist aspect: There are good people in the midst of this, on the District side as well as the Capitol side, allowing you to gauge the "wrongness" of this dystopian world.
You have the ♥: a triangle no less, but if you haven't heard of Peeta and Gale...again, hole.
You have the questions, the myriad 'why's that come with a great dystopian novel, that make you discuss it with friends and coworkers, and let it invade your brain and analyze yourself and what you hold true.

All of the factors of a great dystopia are there.

But The Hunger Games is more than that. Katniss reads incredibly authentic; I never felt like I was reading Suzanne Collins, it was always Katniss. Collins keeps a great tone throughout, and makes Katniss likeable even when she's being a bit bloodthirsty/obtuse/naive, etc.
There is great gray area in the book, which I love. Every one seems so human and flawed, and therefore it is sometimes painful and heartbreaking, but always engaging and powerful.
The idea of the Hunger Games themselves -- a Roman arena-style fight to the death, taken to the extremes that modern and future technology make capable -- is brilliant. The idea that the Hunger Games are not just entertainment for the rich Capitol-ites, but are punitive measures taken against the rest of the country (the Districts) for an unprising, is brilliant. There is an ominous tone, and that fantastic eerie psychological quality that abusers use -- "you brought this on yourself" -- taken to the extreme, as well as the fact that the Districts are essentially having to send off their children to fight to the death, while they are forced to watch it on TV -- disturbingly brilliant!

If you haven't read it, WHAT ARE YOU WAITING FOR???

Bonus Material:
This has won a bajillion awards, a list of which can be found on here.

The series of course has its own website, where you can find sample chapters, downloads, videos, games and more.

Here is the unofficial fan site - enjoy.

You can find an insane amount of Hunger Games trailers on Youtube, showing just how popular it is. You can also create your own trailer and enter it in the trailer competition on the book's site, which I mentioned above ^.
Here is the official trailer:

Friendly reminder: now that I've reviewed it, The Hunger Games is eligible as a prize in my 100 followers contest!


  1. Wonderful review. I really wanted to read the Hunger Games, now you've gotten me more excited to read it.


  2. This book SO lived up to the hype. I finally read it this summer, as well as Catching Fire. I just love her books in general. Got to see her at her only Fall appearance the other night, along with some other authors, and got my books signed. What a great lady! I wrote about it this morning. Can't wait for the third book. Great review!

  3. This book/series sucked me in. It's been awhile since I've been so emotionally invested in a story. Seriously friggin' brilliant!

    Love the review!

  4. I absolutely LOVED The Hunger Games! It was fantastic! The idea of the games was so disturbing, but I loved Katniss' survival instinct, and her knowledge and know-how that helped her. Such a fantastic read, and I so can't wait for Catching Fire - I know it's been released, but I haven't been able to get it. Hopefullu Christmas! Fingers crossed :)

  5. This was an excellent book. Very original and full of life lessons and the occasional gripping death scene!
    Great review!

  6. AAHHH!!! You beat me to it! Do you know how long this book has been sitting in my TBR pile? I'll give you a hint: I bought it from Borders in August! But it seems like I keep having library books/review requests/random other books that keep shoving it down just a little bit further. I've heard such great things about it, and (like you) I love dystopian novels! I'm really going to have to get on this...

    Natalie @ Mindful Musings

  7. Great review! I'm not a big fan of dystopian books, but I really liked this and loved Catching Fire. Now if the third one would just hurry up and come out already!

  8. A good review. I've heard lots of things about this book - both good and bad, people seem to love it or hate it, there doesn't seem to be any midddle ground.

  9. Natalie, I read it months ago and head yet to review it. Thankfully, it made an impression and I took notes.
    Petty: I haven't heard ANY bad reactions. Any popular books will have them, of course, but I have yet to hear 1.

  10. Catching Fire is an Amazing book, and I can't wait for book three!


  11. This is the first dystopian novel I've read and I absolutely loved it! I can't wait for the 3rd book!

  12. I'm really glad you liked this. It's a book that made a major impression on me and I totally adored Katniss. You've absolutely made me want to reread it. Really great review.

  13. Thanks for the review! I've heard so many great things about this series and I really MUST read it! What am I waiting for? More free time, hehe!
    Thanks for all the additional info links and the trailer!

  14. I am living in a hole. This book is massive on the blogosphere, and I have yet to get to it :(

    Good review, will definitely try to get to it one of these days.

  15. I agree this is a must read. The premise and execution were brilliant. The games come alive and you feel as if you are right in the arena too!

  16. Great review. I have no idea what I'm waiting for...man I'm slacking.

  17. I've heard so many good things about that book, and with Catching Fire release I feel the urge this read the first book!
    Good review =)

  18. Ah, I just LOVED this book. It was amazing, I to can talk all day about its awesomeness

  19. Wait til you read Catching Fire. Not quite as good, but still excellent. Go Peeta!

  20. Oh, hon, I read Catching Fire the day it came out. I just haven't got around to reviewing it yet. :P

  21. I love all of the hunger games books, they are quick reads and definitely page turners.
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