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Book Review: The Hunger Games Series by Suzanne Collins

In the future, there is no United States. There is the country of Panem. Panem is divided into twelve districts, each one specializing in one skill, such as mining or electronics. The ruler district, the Capitol, is in command of the other twelve districts. One would think that the Capitol would be a fair ruler and all the districts would enjoy the pleasantries of a futuristic world. In The Hunger Games series (containing three books, The Hunger Games, Catching Fire, and Mockingjay), that’s not at all how it is.

The Capitol is the cruel, tyrannical ruler of all the other districts, so the other districts have to do the grunt work while the Capitol leads a carefree life. To show who is in control, the Capitol organizes the annual Hunger Games, a televised fight to the death in an arena that is a hostile environment. Before the games, a process called The Reaping picks two children, a boy and a girl between the ages of 12 and 18 from each district other than the Capitol, who will compete in the games.

Suzanne Collins, the author, describes how the futuristic country works and how the protagonist, Katniss, a 16-year-old, is thrust into the games. Through the three books, Katniss competes twice. Katniss is picked when she volunteers to go in place of her sister, who was picked in The Reaping originally. Katniss goes the second time in a special kind of Hunger Games called the Quarter Quell. The Quarter Quell is the games consisting of all the winning contestants of the games held during the last 25 years.

There are many other characters, each of whom Katniss has a specific liking or disliking for. The plot is complex with each book in the series bringing in a new perspective of the situation Katniss is faced with. Collins manages to write it in a way that can bend your emotions without bias. She doesn’t glamorize one person and show a dislike for another. Writing this way keeps you guessing until the last second about any situation.

What I liked best was that even though the way she writes is unpredictable, the plot conveys the message in a clear way. Panem is a completely different place than America. The way Panem works is pretty much your regular dictatorship. One district wants all the power and oppresses all the other districts. This isn’t the futuristic society we all hope to have. The situation in Panem is just like the Arab governments that are being overthrown.

The way the author describes it in her books, American society isn’t progressing towards making their country a better place to live in. America is slowly tumbling down the path that will turn us into something resembling Panem. If we don’t stop ourselves from disagreeing with other people without coming up with an alternative solution, none of the problems facing us today will get solved and one by one the problems will just start piling up. America will become a ravaged shadow of its former self.

I’ve read another series by Suzanne Collins called Gregor the Overlander. I have to say that the two series are very different from each other. The civilization in The Hunger Games series is futuristic in some respects, whereas in the Overlander series, the society is far from futuristic. The Overlander series involves prophesies but the Hunger Games series is all-out macho fighting. I’m not saying that the Overlander series does not involve violence, but it’s a different kind of violence.

Suzanne Collins describes the scenarios in the Hunger Games series with extreme detail and some of the images that come into your mind are quite graphic. In the last book of the series, Mockingjay, the author does the best job of this. Each battle in the book is an action-packed flow of pictures in your head. The adrenalin rush is so good you do not want to put the book down.

All in all, the trilogy makes you think about our society as a whole and the plot is riveting. The series is serious and you rarely run across a moment of humor. Then again, if you’re talking about a plot so exciting, who needs humor?

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  • http://www.cleancutmedia.com Clean Cut Media

    i really loved this hunger game series. excited about the movies that are in production as well. Though i wouldn’t think it is appropriate for young readers though…

  • Shea

    I liked the first book of the Hunger Games, the second was ok, and the third made the whole series nearly pointless. The plot in the end seemed meandering and I am not sure what the larger message was – at times anti war and violence but it really doesn’t strike any strong chord. Katniss is also an annoying and selfish main character who more digresses through out the series than evolves. For a young adult series it lacks any coming of age.

    You say that Panem is like the Arab governments and a possible American future. I saw the districts vs the capitol refering to the current state of the world and not about a prophetic future. The Capitol is carefree, the people are wealthy, have plastic surgery to plump their lips, it is a crime to be old or fat and dress in ridiculous fashion while oblivious of the struggle of those around them and that struggle is what gives them such a comfortable lifestyle. Remind you of something? Katniss’s reaction to the fashion of the Capitol is probably much like those starving in the poor countries all around us, the USA. On top of that, Katniss sees age as something dignified because it means you survived and extra weight meaning you are doing well.

  • romina

    im in love with peeta mellark!

  • MOOOOO

    i just finished reading the series about five minutes ago… i fell completely in love with the first book but found myself disenchanted with the second… collins had no right to publish this book before it was ready. its hardly cohesive and does a lot more damage than good to the characters she created… then the last book.. what a disappointment. truly a disappointment. why didnt i cry when prim died? the whole ending was extraordinarily forced. im so upset. this series could have been amazing.

  • S.Heck

    Collins writes the last two books as if she was losing interest and patience with the story, thus, the reader does as well. If Collins had any of the wherewithal she so admired in Peeta, she could have written the final two books with the same captivating spirit of the first, leaving her ever-growing audience with something more than hastily tied up ends. Overall, the Hunger Games series was an excellent and somewhat uniques plot which lent itself to a plethora of more moving outcomes than what Collins left her readers with. I do not recommend bothering to read the series. In the mean time, I hope that someone takes the final two books and rewrites them into a vastly more enjoyable read.

  • Lydia Lamarche

    I so love the Hunger Games books. Wish the story went on more.

  • rwwytrew

    I love the hunger games and MOOOOOOO Prim didnt die!

  • iluvchocolate

    yes prim dies in mockingjay :( sadly

  • Melissa

    I love the hunger games series they are the best books i’ve ever red the first is amazing the sencond is awesome and the third is ok. I’ve read the first book 3 times and the second and third twice. I love these books.

  • Eloise

    The hunger games trilogy are amazing. Always on suspence and never a dull chapter. I could read this book over and over and still not get bored It’s just that great. The ending of MockingJay was beautiful and turned me into a blubbering baby but still a brilliant ending to the Hunger Games.
    ———-SPOILERALERT————
    I was so upset by the way prim died and gales involvement in it.To be honest I was team Gale until the last 2 pages of MockingJay. And when Rue died in book one I was truley touched by the song Katniss sung. The ‘Hanging tree’ was a song in MockingJay and the chapter including that was one of my favitore parts.
    All I’m saying is that Twlight is no longer My fav book

  • Aah

    How can she not want to write book 4?

    ughhhhh

  • Saddened Reader

    I was very saddened that this review contained a spoiler that ruined my reading of The Hunger Games.

  • plv

    I was captivated by Hunger Games the next to books not so much. I wish the author had done more homework and editing. For instance she keeps referring to Catnis getting her sheath of arrows. Sheaths are for knives and quivers are for arrows. Also she mentions in the third book 5 bushes that are planted as being primrose. Primrose is not a bush, it is a plant like either a daisy, as in evening primrose, or the sizes of African violets. No one would ever need a wheelbarrow to carry only 5 of them. These things detract from the story.

  • Sarah D.

    The first book was great. I couldn’t put it down. The second book started to drag out but was still captivating enough to make me get the third book.
    Mockingjay was the flop in this series. Action packed? Yes. But some things just didn’t come together tightly enough. The relationship between Katniss and Peeta and Gale seemed to get neglected in the this book. Though it ended the way I was hoping it would.. it wasn’t the dramatic romance that was building up in the first two books. The tortured love triangle… womp womp womp.

  • Stephanie

    Was anyone else a little put off by the way it was written? I felt like she wrote in that “telling” way of “this happened and then that did.” Maybe it’s because of the dystopian novels I read, like 1984.

    I felt like the language was geared more towards middle schoolers, yet I feel like the plot is for everyone to enjoy and think about.

  • MOOOOO

    Rwwytrew Prim did die but you probobly didnt read the third book

  • Crazy Lady

    I think there should really be a fourth book of the hunger games series. You sid they had kids, 2 of them, so maybe you can say how Katniss and Peeta’s life is with them. How they are going to tell thier kids about how they survived the hunger games and helped stop it. Also how did Peeta convince Katniss to have kids and why did it take 15 years? So many people I know wants to know the answers to these questions.

  • crazy lady

    rwwytrew, prim did die. read the third book and u will find out

  • crazy lady

    I think that everyone hear can agree that suzanne collins should make a fourth book. Am i right everyone?

  • Crazy Lady

    i sooooooo wish i could be katniss!!!!!!!!

  • Glitter Girly

    I totally agree with SHea. I think they should have a 4th book to kind of explain what the point of it is and also a rewritten 3rd book so it can make more sense of what was going on.

  • MOOOOO

    I also think Shea is right

  • Crazy Lady

    Dear Saddened Reader.
    If u r upset that there wwas a spoiler alert, well u should have saw it and skipped that part until u read the series. I dont want to be rude tho so I hope u r not more upset.

  • Crazy Lady

    I agree with Sarah D.
    I totaly think that peeta and katniss should be together. But what about Gale? I mean we were told he went to District 2 because of a “fancy job”, but after that we didnt hear of him. I would love it if we knew more about him. And if he did love kaniss then why did he leave her? Did he realy love her??? What job did he get that was so good that he left the girl that he loved??

  • Crazy Lady

    i hope that suzanne collins sees this. There is alot to be said and done about this series. She needs help with the series if shes going to end it like that and kill Prim. What was she thinking???? Killing Prim was a bad idea for the story, she shouldnt have done it.