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Book Review: The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins

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The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins is a dystopian novel written for young adults (YA). Even though the main audience targeted, the book has struck chords with parents as well and has been a best seller since it came out.

North America has been destroyed and is now run by the powerful Capital and is divided into 12 districts (district 13 has been destroyed due to a rebellion). In district 12 ace hunter Katniss Everdeen, a 16 year old girl, carves out a meager existence for herself, her younger sister Prim and their widowed mother. In order to keep the 12 districts aware of who runs the county, the Capital arranges a game to the death each year in an elaborate arena. Each district holds a drawing of one boy and one girl to go as tributes. When her sister is picked, Katniss exercises her option to volunteer for the games. Along with Katniss comes also Peeta, the baker’s son, who grew up with her.

Katniss and Peeta must fend for themselves against natural elements, the Gamemakers and the other contestants whose only option is to kill or be killed.

I’ll admit it, I read The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins because my wife did and I didn’t… we can’t have that now.

Can we?

I can certainly see why the book was such a hit. The novel struck many chords and many themes (teenage anguish, love, work, poverty and more), was an easy and quick read, as well as full of action.

Ms. Collins built a fantastical and believable world where the United States is no more and instead the country is now called Panem which is run from “The Capital” and divided into 12 districts. The story progresses quickly and fluently with well defined characters who have lame names. Don’t tell me that the baker’s son is named Peeta (Pita) by accident.

I can certainly understand how the YA crowd fell head over heels for this novel.

For me though, and I understand perfectly well I’m not the target audience, the love triangle was cliché, but I loved the violence and speed of this novel. The constant suspense kept me turning page after page as, I assume, most of those who read the book. Once I got over my name prejudice, I even liked the protagonist – a bow and arrow wielding female Wilhelm Tell, how can you not like her?

Ms. Collins’ prose is efficient in a no-nonsense style filled with humor which causes the book to become addictive. Like any good story, you are immersed in the universe built around you, yet you know it is not real but you can’t stop reading.

That being said, there were some aspects of the book which were too convenient, when Katniss babysits Peeta in the second half of the book, the stuff she needs floats down from the sky. That might be passable for the intended audience, but not for me. Also the ending was a bit disappointing. I especially disliked the mutated werewolves but, since this is part of an extremely successful trilogy and the audience certainly stuck around to find out what happens – who am I to say anything?

Buy this book in paper or electronic (Kindle) format

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About manoflabook

  • mellisa

    forget vampires… look to a more realistic possibility

  • http://sikbookreviews.blogspot.ca/ Sam

    I agree with what you had to say about this novel. However, you said: “there were some aspects of the book which were too convenient, when Katniss babysits Peeta in the second half of the book, the stuff she needs floats down from the sky. That might be passable for the intended audience, but not for me.” These convenient things were provided by the sponsors, because they wanted Katniss and Peeta to survive above the other tributes.

  • Giuseppe

    The thing i dont like is that Katniss doesnt like Peeta or whatever in the end and Peeta is kinda sad about it. This isn’t really..realistic. If you were with only one person from your district and you had to survive not only by not starving but from other people who try to kill you, I think the company of this one person would most likely get you to really like them because you’d be really close, not only that but they faked being in love would should have gave kind of a push for one to be in love. Almost like Peeta, he was playing the act but got to caught up in it and actually like her. That should have happened with her

  • ANONYMOUS

    I love the book, it is fun and interesting. I am on page 315 in book 1 so please don’t spoil it!!!

  • Reshma

    OMG I FREAKING LOVE THIS BOOK! It got really popular after the movie came out. My brother got this book on November 11, 2011 and read it. At first, I think it’s a stupid book because of the title. But I just decide to give it a try. I read the book and it’s so easy and quick to read if your focused and interested in the book. I also read the second book, Catching Fire, which took me about 4-5 days to read, so not that long. But I am a slow reader so most people can read it in like 3 days. I am now on the 3rd book in the series, Mockingjay. I won’t spoil for anyone, and don’t spoil for me because I’m still on chapter 1. READ THIS BOOK I’LL LITTERALLY PAY YOU ALL MY MONEY IF YOU DON’T LIKE THIS BOOK. From 1-100, i;’d rate this book infinite. READ READ READ!

  • Anonymous

    i loved the hunger games (all 3 of them)!!! i recommend this book to everyone i know and you too…

  • jarrod

    i’ve read all three books. they all are amazing books. filled with lust, love, compassion, power, back stabbing. basically everything that is happening today. i will say though that i was quite disappointed in ending of the third book. i felt so incomplete. so many questions were unanswered.

  • Jm

    @giuseppe peeta loved katniss even before the hunger games.

  • Amanda Kissinhug

    Lol, can you imagine what the capital would of said when they came up with the idea of the Hunger Games…. “Hmmm, We Have So Much Money And Everyone Else Is In Poverty… OF COURSE! We Make Them All Kill Each Other, That Al Do The Trick.”

  • https://m.facebook.com/#!/shannonpatricapratt?__user=1653579050 shannon staudt

    No. NO. NO! The movie was good. The writing style of the author is total crap. It is choppy and totally shallow…2D writing at best. I am dissapointed and offended. She must believe all young people have severe ADD and an innability to process deep emmotion or complex plots themes and ideas. I bought the books after I saw the movie. I DELEATED the books after pg 2. if I was a young adult and I knew that crap was marketed for me I would be utterly pissed off and offended. That writing is intended for really dumb people there is seriously better more involved deeper more complex and compelling articals in Maxim men’s magazine. I’m a woman and I hare that sexist drivel. Twighlight is immature. Is angsty vapid regugitated vampire crap and it dances the freaking hokey pokey all over this awful poorly written totally undeveloped series of books. Please teens of the world have some pride in your hard earned lituracy and expect quality from your YA authors.

  • Kayleigh

    Absolutely one of my fav books yet. Full of wit, action and it keeps you on the edge of your seat!!!!!!

  • Destiny

    The Hunger Games: A book review

    I have spent the past week eating and digesting the Hunger Games Trilogy. And I seriously think I want those days of my life back. I will do my best to tell you why.

    First of all, who the hell writes a book in first person present tense? I have read a wide range of books in my life from classics to trashy romance novels, and never have I encountered such a ludicrous writing style that was extremely hard to follow. The book was written like how you’d explain a dream, or a story you’d tell a friend. “So, I was shopping at the mall right, and then Gale comes up to me, and he’s like all, ‘Hey Katniss, I love you.’” That was the feeling through the whole book.
    Once you get through the choppy, 8th grade vocabulary writing style, the violence, lack of character development, and extremely confusing and unrealistic love triangle plot lines converge. I’ll cover these in turns. Love first, as it should be.
    The protagonist is a 16 year old girl, who is either incapable of love, or who has an incomplete understanding of it. This may well be explained by the tragedies that plague her short life, however, I know of very few 16 year old girls, myself included, who didn’t even have a preconception about love, sex, relationships, etc. It seems as Katniss is more concerned about the atrocities around her than the hunky males who confess their love for her. Except, that she’s NOT upset about the atrocities of the hunger games, or dying of starvation, her father being killed in a mining accident, or any of the other REAL situations that seem to be going on around her. In the first book, she has no inkling that she could possibly change these things, and what’s worse is that she has NO DESIRE TO! She spends the whole first book “playing” along with the games, not openly defying them, just accepting them as they are. It shows complete lack of character development and had me screaming at the pages at how stupid and unlikeable the character of Katniss was. The only way that the reader feels any compassion for her is the fact that other characters feel compassion for her; we are told that they like her, and we feel we should do the same. But I didn’t like her, at all. She was snotty, selfish, unfocused, unintelligent, and squeamish. I could not figure out how anyone could possibly ever fall in love with her. I know that I loathe her, and I am unconvinced that any of the characters could have ever fallen for something as grotesque as her character. As an example, in the third book, a whole dialogue is centered around why anyone actually likes her character, and though she has some redeeming moments, there is no real logic behind it. It feels almost as if the author is trying to make us love an unlovable character by saying, “See, all the other characters like her, you should too.”
    The love triangle(?) is bizarre. I fully expected Peeta and Gale to frolic off together into the sunset holding hands. Setting aside that I think Katniss is completely unlovable, the way these two teenage boys react to her is somewhat quizzical. I mean, she barely has any personality, she’s average looking when her prep team is away, she’s mean to everyone because she’s too stupid to share her thoughts and emotions in an intelligible way. What, does she have like beer flavored nipples? A pussy that tastes like fresh baked bread? What is it about this person?
    The first book leaves you hanging as to which beau she is going to choose. Her lifelong best friend, will always be there for her confidant, or the sappy, overstuffed, sensitive, understanding, caring, sort of boring, baker’s son? Both admit to loving her, but it is a love that she does not understand nor has any intention of reciprocating. So what does she do? Lead them both on, best of both worlds. This strikes so like an Anita Blake book without the justifications as to why she’s such a whore.
    The only real love that can be seen in these books is between Katniss and her little sister Prim. Only, I still don’t feel its love on Katniss’s part. It’s more like obligation. Dads dead, moms a zombie, I only have this one little innocent sister in which to protect. And then the author goes and f****** kills her!?!?! Are you kidding me? The one redeeming act in the whole story is literally blown to bits at the end of the third book. Thank god I only had a few more pages to read when this happened, otherwise I would have taken the book outside, pissed on it, and chucked it in the fire as I’ve done with other miserable reads such as “Play it as it lays,” or “Twilight.” (I’ll admit I haven’t actually read the latter…Anita Blake, another rant, vampires don’t f****** sparkle!) Bygones.
    Ok, back to the characters. Some were well written. The class differences between the spoiled Capital persons, and the starving, beaten, near death district dwellers is totally clear. Some of the tributes personalities ring true, though some are unexplainable. Thresh should have killed Katniss, no sympathy. These children supposedly grow up with the desire to kill and destroy ingrained in them, there should be no room for sympathy. How can you smash the brains of a child you barely knew only to spare the child she was about to kill? It doesn’t make sense, unless you add lack of a realistic situation added to lack of a realistic plot.
    Segue to the final kicker, the plot. Are you kidding me? Really? Seriously? You wrote a book surrounded in violence, lacking in love, spirituality, fantasy, and positive core human qualities? WTF is this? Am I alone here? I’ve read Battlefield Earth, (didn’t watch the movie because I heard it sucked.) My favorite book in the whole world is Ender’s Game. I know sci-fi fantasy. I’ve read hundreds of books that focus around earth in the future. Not only is the geography and technology outdated for this series, but the lack of the manifestation of enduring human qualities astounds me. If you are going to focus a book on the future of the human race, at least add a seed of optimism. Instead we get the story line of, “Life sucks, and then it sucks some more, and then it sucks a lot more, and then you go crazy, get addicted to morphine, and attempt to live happily ever after with a cyborg who once tried to kill you.” Of all the things to be outraged about, of all the things to stand up for, of all of the plot twists, endearing human qualities to play on, and….nothing. Poof…This is just a below average human being, doing above human tasks, with subnormal sympathy or understanding of events. If the protagonists’ insight into the atrocities committed around her are a direct reflection of the authors, then I seriously pity our current population, but again, that is for another rant.
    Right here. Right now. Here is the main focus of my disappointment with “The Hunger Games,” trilogy. Violence. Unwarranted death. Dismissed death. Yeah yeah, you can speak about how bad Katniss feels about the deaths on her shoulders, and you may even attempt to portray her remorse via her insanity, but the bottom line is this. You grow up in a world where death is commonplace, where children fighting to the death on camera like the modern day Olympics is something to be celebrated, where fear, oppression, and dominance reign, and the only thing you can think of is staying alive? Who would want to live in such a world? NO ONE! And yet, we cushy “capitalistic” Americans gorge on $7.99 buffets, binge drink, drive expensive cars, sit on leather sofas, bathe in warm water, look down on other races for “invading” our (STOLEN) country, and lap up these excessively gory books claiming them to be “appalling, ludicrous, entertaining.” Yet we don’t look at the third world countries, where there ARE starving children, where people drop dead like roaches sprayed with RAID, where money can buy you anything and a strong head and heart buys you a mediocre job selling cell phone because you are “good with people.” Wake the F*** up! There are some real, underlying issues here. But THEY ARE NOT BROUGHT TO THE SURFACE! There is not tie-in to today’s society. There is not implication that these things are taking place, right here, right now! No one seems to be concerned that this stuff happens every day, in all corners of the world. And the author doesn’t push for that. She doesn’t seem to care. She dismisses it as if it was stated in some bloody voice in a dream. We read these books because they are “Science-Fiction/Fantasy,” that could never happen in real life, not in today’s society…But it does. I grew up poor, hell, I’m still poor, but there is still so much death, starvation, defilement, enslavement, and a whole slew of other immoral acts taking place across this world, (Not just the North American Continent of which these books seem to be confined,) and people will turn a blind eye. Because it’s just fiction. It’s just make believe. That kind of stuff could only take place in some obscure future, in some obscure time frame, with some obscure people. But it is happening here. On earth. With us. I hope you all enjoyed these books. They came highly recommended, but I’m beginning to feel that the recommendation was from a lab rat, or a member of the U.S. Congress….same thing really.

    • Vinicius de Novaes

      Perfect review, Thank you!

    • Fitzhenrymac

      Hi Destiny,
      I would love to quote you in my essay comparing Ayn Rand’s Atlas Shrugged to the Hunger Games but I need a reference. Could you give me a name, even a fantasy one, for my reference list. Do you have your own blog?
      Regards
      Fitz

  • pete samui

    loved the books although a bit depreesing with all the main characters and also the ending seemed very lame after she shot the lady president. granted very much a huge twist but seemed like it maybe should have finished there as the rest of the book did not feel like it new where it was going………. Sorry but loved all else.

  • Anonymus398

    1 – mellisa
    Apr 25, 2012 at 10:21 am
    forget vampires… look to a more realistic possibility
    Whats that about?

  • Kels

    I LOVED the Hunger Games trilogy. At first when I heard of the book I thought it sounded stupid, but then when I saw a whole bunch of my friends at school reading the book I decided to try it. I thought all 3 books were great and right when I was close to finishing Mockingjay the movie came to theaters. I watched the movie and thought it was pretty good, and I hope they come out with movies for Catching Fire and Mockingjay. I’m glad that I decided to read the books but my friend kept spoiling Catching Fire for me so I didn’t enjoy it as much as I would have. Despite that it’s my favorite series right now.

  • idk

    I LOVE THE BOOKS !!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • bobby ray

    Yeah eff this book!

  • Keith W

    I had heard this was a great book so I bought it with high expectations. Didn’t disappoint! Its so interesting that a book targeted for young adults has all teenagers as main characters. I’m usually not a big fan of fantasy novels but this one I couldn’t put down. The violence was strong for a young-adult book I thought it was great nonetheless. I understand the setting is in a semi-post apocalypse, but does the author really believe human nature to be that bad? Sure makes you put people into perspective.

  • OMG

    OMG this book is amazing, its the best book ive ever read, i love it, and i have recommended it to everyone. It is so interesting, Katniss is amazing and she’s so brave, I LOVE THE HUNGER GAMES TRILOGY.

  • Katniss Forever

    BEST BOOKS EVER . . . . I have read them 23 times. . . OMG AMAZING

  • Big Brother

    @destiny: totally agree with you. I was told by several friends how “great” the series was and blabla. I hated it. And until I read your review, I vaguely knew why – you went strait to the core. Even though the book might have some brighter moments (scene between Rue and Katniss etc) I did not think that Katniss is a particularly likeable character. I wonder whether the author actually was on some sort of morphine-induced trip – that is at least the way some of the passages (especially in the third book) read. All of those among you who consider these books amazing should try to read the REAL stuff: e.g. Aldous Huxley’s “Brave New World” or George Orwell’s “1984”. The “Hunger Games” are mediocre at best.

  • John Felton

    I’ve read a lot in my 63 years – I’m not a teenager.

    I thoroughly enjoyed this. The reviewer is obviously anally retentive and needs an arrow carefully inserted into the appropriate orifice to release the pressure he has built up to not agree with his wife.

    Relax Sunshine and enjoy!

    John

  • http://www.ManOfLaBook.com ManOfLaBook.com

    Thanks for the comment Mr. Felton.

    If you carefully read the review you’ll find out that I did enjoy the book. While I pointed out some issues which struck the wrong cord with me the review, as a whole, is very positive.

    By the way, any author will tell you that characters’ names are usually an integral part of the narrative.

  • asfsadfsadfcweafcwe

    Have u read the parody, the hunger pains?

  • ckr-e

    I agree with ‘destiny’. this was NOT a good book. I feel like I gained popularity because it was so suspenseful (I read it in one sitting) and people thought that was enough. if it kept you reading then that’s good enough. It’s NOT good enough. the characters were unrealistic and unlikable, seriously I hate katniss. she’s such a manipulative bitch to Peeta, but seems completely clueless. she’s both cunning and clueless? Not to mention her uncanny understanding of politics that she hasn’t been a part of her entire life. it’s like people discovered how exciting reading can be and think this is as good as it gets. Well, it’s not. My favorite book is also Ender’s game, although not the best book it’s an intriguing story with developed characters (character development is everything and there was none in the hunger games) every part of that book has me on the edge of my seat. I’ve read so many books that are so much better than the hunger games and I just don’t understand how it could gain so many fans

    • Ass Hole

      Like my Dick then suck it

    • random

      I like the hunger games but I see your point

  • Steve

    Very nice read, and I actually also enjoyed the film. As for the other two in the trilogy….. Huuuuuuuuuuuge dissapointments.

  • Steve

    Also just to add, this was one of the rare occasions where I watched the film before I read the book, and I’m glad because it was very well cast, I can see how the characters in the book can come across as bland, and then in Mockingjay they become very inconsistent.

    • Guest

      Dumbasss

  • chelsea

    awesome review I love the hunger games

    • chelsea

      actually u who hate the hunger games should f off

      • Guest

        Bitch

  • Evie

    i loved this book!!

  • Billy R

    I read this book awhile ago and thought it was AMAZING. This then prompted me to watch the movie, which although good was nothing compared to the book. The book is just so much more in-depth than the movie and has highly intricate fighting scenes, with words never really found in any other generic fighting based book. So all in all I would recommend this book to anyone looking for an exciting read with blood, gore and a little romance.

  • nicky

    i watch the show but never read the book before i would love to read this book

  • HG

    Amazing read, was upset when it ended. started reading Catching fire, lets see how it goes.

    @85e7638f36b470f6d4866ed3c44f6fad:disqus loved your comment, lol 😀

  • Patricia Corbett Bowman

    Loved the Hunger Games. Couldn’t put it down. The idea of children killing or be killed didn’t appeal to me but I had to read to find out what happened once I entered this future world. Enjoyed the second book but felt it was overdone by the third. Definitely recommend the first two of the trilogy.
    Patricia Corbett Bowman
    YA author of, Back In Her Time
    and Tim, Cookie, and a Matter of Security

  • Somebody

    Good book jk this book is horribly awesome

  • Somebody

    Excellent book

  • em

    It is a FANTASTIC book !!!

  • huehuehue

    such info.

  • Jenny

    Nice review but it’s spelt Capitol

    • Crystal

      it’s spelled “spelled” not “spelt” ^^^^^

      • Lissy

        nup, jenny’s correct too

  • Tribute

    LOVE THIS TRILOGY SO MUCH! Everything mentioned here as a flaw contributes later on in the series to a major plot twist so….