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The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins

The Hunger Games (edition 2008)

by Suzanne Collins

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35,398274117 (4.39)2 / 1946
readingwithtea's review
“Only I keep wishing I could think of a way to…to show the Capitol they don’t own me. That I’m more than just a piece in their Games”

For those few people left in the world who haven’t read the book or seen the film… Katniss Everdeen lives in District 12, the most deprived of the districts of Panem. When her younger sister is selected as a sacrificial tribute to the Hunger Games, a TV show run for the amusement of the Capitol and the suppression of the districts, Katniss runs to take her place. Once she gets there though, she will need all her instincts and wit, not just her honed hunting skills, to survive.

The most obviously positive aspect of this novel is the choice of protagonist. Katniss is not perfect, and she knows it. Highly skilled, by all means, diligent and hard-working and caring for others, certainly. But she is proud and headstrong and thinks she knows best in every situation and is cruel to both Gale and Peeta – and best of all , she recognises her own failings. Collins could easily have chosen the gentle giant Peeta, with his superior charm, world wisdom and general all-round goodness, to be her protagonist – the Ellie Linton of Panem. Harry Potter had failings but wasn’t really aware of them. Bella… well we all know that Bella just sits around waiting for Edward or Jacob or some other lovesick demon to kiss her. So I was impressed both by Collins’ courage in giving Katniss non-trivial character flaws, but also granting her the wisdom to see them and how they might impact others.

The other characters are very strong as well – and Collins hits the mix of development neatly. Peeta is in some ways more complex than Katniss, and we can’t help but like him. The rest of the characters are fairly one-dimensional, but that is all that is required for the plot to progress. Because we’re stuck in Katniss’ head, we only learn about the other characters as she considers them, which is a neat way to make Peeta’s actions more mysterious.

The plot? Well, I’m not usually a sci-fi fan. I’ve steered clear of the YA craze for dystopia. But I read all but 30 pages of the book on a two-and-a-bit-hour train trip and couldn’t wait to have a chance to finish it that afternoon. I was rapt. Collins hit just the right mix of sci-fi and today’s world that it was a different world (and one that was very hard to pull myself out of!) without being a foreign one. We spent enough time in District 12 setting up Katniss’ character, her bitterness, her difficult relationship with her mother, the dynamic with Gale and the total malnutrition. Then off on the train to the Capitol, and there is lots of time for the Katniss-Peeta thing/non-thing to be a thing, and then into the arena. Where it is no holds barred – and yet not grisly. Or maybe I don’t notice these things.

Highly recommended. ( )
  readingwithtea | May 26, 2012 |
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Grudgingly giving this one more star because I don't hate it quite as much as I did the first time round. Still a pretty bad book. Also Katniss is the worst, still.


First review, November 2010:

What is the point in this book?

Seriously. This book is completely pointless. It's garbage. I have no idea who on earth it's aimed at. Teenagers in the age range should surely be reading 1984 or Brave New World if they're wanting to start off with some dystopian literature? I'm not even fond of Brave New World, but surely it's a better start than this. Because this is just a MESS. For a start, the writing is dreadful. To be fair, YA literature is not always a bastion of good writing - 90% of it is crap, actually - but this... this stood out. It was hilariously bad. I mean, most of the time I write blogs/reviews/whatever in the middle of the night and I'm more than aware that my syntax/grammar/spelung often suffers for that. But this got PUBLISHED. Even though it could have been written on the back of a cereal packet. With a crayon. It has that weird feeling of being about things that are in no way suitable for children, but having been written with the general vocabulary, clumsiness, and awkwardness of someone with a writing level of a ten-year old.

Then there's the characters. Katniss (fun note: Katniss is a plant, also called Arrowhead. Katniss-the-character is good at archery. Excuse me while I KILL MYSELF) is just rubbish. She is. She's not a convincing human being at all. Pretty much her only attributes are that she: a. runs about, b. shoots things, c. if faced with a choice, will do the stupid thing. Everything about her is irritating. Nothing about her is remotely sympathetic, and mostly, I just hoped she would hurry up and get killed. I also find the way she treats Peeta (another flaming stupid name - try saying that without sounding like a three-year old trying to say Peter) annoying. While he's a horrible "Mary Sue" - for want of a better expression - he's at least trying to be nice to her. But Katniss isn't very good with people being nice to her, or nasty to her, or anything to her. I kind of imagine Katniss a bit like my dog. My dog doesn't like people much, despite the fact that everyone loves him. He doesn't even like my boyfriend, who loves dogs and despairs at this fact. He ignores people, runs away from them, and generally acts like the majority of people who don't live in my house are not in fact there - he only acknowledges us because we are the BRINGERS OF FOOD. This is because my dog is a grumpy bastard. The only things he does like are food, water, sleeping and pissing everywhere, much like Katniss (I may be exaggerating here, but you get the gist). Thing is, my dog's adorable and fuzzy and sometimes if you're lucky he'll sleep on your feet and heat them up (but not because he likes you). Katniss doesn't even have the courtesy to do that. She's just. There. Being shit and grumpy.

Anyway. Back to something vaguely resembling the topic at hand. The plot is a horrible cliche. It's painful. I read the first two yesterday, and am a few chapters into the third one, and I'm yet to discover if Collins has ever had an original thought. There's no character that isn't drawn with broad brushstrokes, no character that behaves remotely believably, just... nothing to like about this book. Also there's no sense of humour about the thing at all, and while often I CAN get over this, it's about the only thing that would have redeemed this from the heep. I don't really know why I'm still reading, except to confirm that what I think happens at the end does happen. I know that's what the internet is for, but I seem to be a glutton for punishment. Just... don't bother. It's not worth your time. There is nothing good here. Read anything else instead. ( )
  humblewomble | Oct 19, 2014 |
Check out my other listens at Eargasms Audiobook Reviews

This was an amazing book. Held my attention from beginning to end. It had some really devastating moments where I had to take a break to compose myself.

it is the kind of book where you know people are going to die and try not to get attached to them, but in the end your heart breaks anyway. I am not sure I will be able to watch the movie cause it will be even worse!

I might need a day or two before I move on to the next book in the trilogy! ( )
  grapeapril75 | Oct 18, 2014 |
The Hunger Games- The main characters in this book are Katniss, Peta, Hamage, Ru, Seine and Effie. Katniss Everdean lives in district 12. District 12 is the poorest district within the 1to 12 districts. District 12 has a reaping, and Prudence Everdean gets chosen. Katniss then shouts"I volunteer as tribute!" Then Peta gets selected. Katniss only has 5 minutes to say good-bye.
Katniss goes to the Capital and and get clean and then goes see Sina.Sina is Katniss's District 12 person to get her for the games and show her off in the beginning. Katniss is good with a bow.In training Hamage told Katniss not to show what she is good at. In the games, Katniss meets Ru. Ru is a tribute from District 11, and her and Katniss are friends, but then a boy from District 2 kills Ru with a spear. Katniss and Peta win the games,and get to go home.
  Emmac.B1 | Oct 18, 2014 |
RGG: First in a sci-fi trilogy with the main character a strong-minded teenage girl able to survive the ultimate survival game. Great read if very violent.
  rgruberexcel | Oct 16, 2014 |
this review is about excitement courage rage and murder. I personally this book is amazing.
this story begins as the poor little districts and a certain district called district 12. this district is where the main characters live there names are Catniss and Peta. these two are with there family or friends praying not to be chosen for the annual hunger games. the problem is that here sister Prim is the one that is chosen from this weird lady with hair. Her sister doesn't want her in the annual hunger games so she says she will volunteer as tribute. so then they chose Peta which he thinks its a shock which it is not.
They get to the spot they need to be in and Peta is excited because of all the fame. Catniss was very upset to go but it was to save her sisters life. they go to show the rest of the world how the tributes look and Catniss isn't really looking forward to it so. they wore flames and the crowd was amazed because they saw. they also had an interview which was amazing and was after the points they got for the shooting.
Catniss got the highest scores.
then they went to the annual hunger games which led to disaster because there were dead bodies every where. There was a little girl and she got shot in the stomach which turned out a shock.
when was close to being the end the bother from the little girl saved her life saying and I quote" thank you but this is the only time I am saving you".
then the only one still alive is catniss and peta but they still have one more to deal with by risking there lives to get rid of that person.
they make it but there's a problem and that problem is that the instructors say they have to fight but they are from the same district so they refuse and win the annual hunger games and come home in fame and glory and the winners come back home to their family's to and are happy their but that is not he end so you would have to keep on reading the series to know what happens next. hint they destroy district 12 and try to get Catniss out. ( )
  mercedesd.b4 | Oct 16, 2014 |
  mshampson | Oct 15, 2014 |
I really enjoyed this book, and quickly finished the series. The plot is mostly a blatant rip-off of the Japanese film Battle Royale, with children sent into a death match for no really logical reason. But, I felt like I was reading the Harry Potter version of Battle Royale. I was intrigued by the backstory of the world of Panem, and I wanted to know a lot more. Unfortunately, most of the book centers on the games, with only a taste of the bigger picture. I suppose that reflects the narrator's young age and position. I didn't think there was as much character development as other readers profess, but I like character heavy fiction in my literature and films. That said, I couldn't put the book down. It's a very quick and easy read. ( )
  CassandraT | Oct 10, 2014 |
Read the entire book in one sitting (minus time to cook and eat dinner). Jumping right into the second. ( )
  trishaj | Oct 7, 2014 |
I LOVED THIS BOOK SO MUCH! I have watched the movie before the book but I made a silly mistake doing that. I felt the book was so much better than the movie of course! I love how the book to you on an amazing adventure of love, friendship, etc. This book just made me want to read more and more I just couldn't put the book down!
  elizaxgreen | Oct 3, 2014 |
I liked it enough to read the other two books and watch the movies, but Katniss seems to me like a bit of a wimp. I would have thought she might be better int he arena than she actually was. And she seemed to have great trouble in the emotions department...

I can generalize the Hunger Games and say it is what the Romans would have done with their Colosseum idea if they were in the 21st century This is supported by all of the Capitol's names being all latin...well their first names anyways.

I did like the attention to detail by the author. She kept track of the tributes and supplies very well, right down to the number of arrows in the quiver.

Overall a god story they kept me interested but definitely meant for the younger crowd...with more adult ideas. ( )
  T4NK | Sep 30, 2014 |
This is not easy. The book was so useless and poorly written it nearly broke my heart to think that this mediocrity is so popular.

Well, let's do this:

The decision to tell this book in both first person and the present tense is a gimmick to pull the gullible into a limping narrative that could not work in the past tense. This shoves the reader into a narrow, if not tiresome, pov that dispenses with what the rest of us call prose and employs rather a line by line in-progress description of events that never show us anything. We are told this boring story with little regard for environment, coloration, or even useful description that might be used to draw even the slightly intellectual reader into this lame excuse for a narrative.

Oh, I know. The defenders will say, "it's just a kids book. Don't you have an imagination?"

I do. A big honken one. But there is some onus on the writer to make an effort at the suspension of my disbelief. I thought the Potter books were fantastic and well written.

If you enjoyed this book, good for you. But let's not pretend that it is anything more than a Nickelodeon script writers lame attempt at real art. As art goes, it's a big FAIL. Can you imagine the list of greats like this:

Tolkien, Zelazny, Rowling, Wolfe, Asimov...Collins?

Probably not.

If you insist on reading this book anyway, turn your brain off. It's the only way you're going to enjoy this edition of Crapsterpiece Theatre. ( )
  DanielAlgara | Sep 26, 2014 |
A great book but I thought that Katniss got away and won without killing ruthlessly, she only killed in self-defense or indirectly. I was relieved when she told Peeta that the romance wasn't real for her. I want her to be with Gale, her relationship with him has a better chance of lasting. ( )
  Cynical_Ames | Sep 23, 2014 |

I first read The Hunger Games in Dutch after my sister had bought it. At first I was a bit sceptic about the book. But after I read the first few pages I knew I was wrong. It was an amazing book! So, after reading the Dutch book (De Hongerspelen), I went to the bookstore to buy the original book (the English one), so I could read that as well.

The United States no longer excists. A new country, Panem, has taken it's place. We never get to know what actually happened to the USA, but they imply some sort of terrible world war killing almost everyone. Panem has a capital, called 'The Capital' and 13 (only 12 remain) districts around that city. The Capital rules over the districts and to demonstrate it's power every year there are so called Hunger Games. In these Games two children from every district will be drawn by the Reaping to fight the others in an arena on live television. There are 24 children in the arena each year and the Games aren't over till all but one are killed. Last man standing will win the Games and become very famous and rich. Katniss Everdeen takes her sister's place when her name was drawn at the Reaping to be this year's female Tribute in the 74th annual Hunger Games.

I don't want to reveal more of the story, it just nicer to read it all yourself. As I said before I really liked the Hunger Games. They are one of my all time favourites. The writing style of the English version was better in my opinion, so now I recommend the English one to all my friends. It's the first book of a trilogy, and I couldn't wait for the others book to be published. What I liked about it was that Suzanne Collins didn't give me the impression that she put everything she had came up with in the book. I got the idea that there was much more behind the story, namely, the things Collins didn't tell us. Now, I got the feeling that there was a whole world, and not only a story. (That last impression I sometimes got when reading Harry Potter). Needless to say that I think The Hunger Games are way better than Harry Potter.

I would love to recommend this book to everyone who wants to read a fantastic book! ( )
  Floratina | Sep 21, 2014 |
Okay, yeah, I'd heard a lot of hype about the Hunger Games trilogy. Mentions in the feminist blogosphere, analysis in Bitch magazine, some friends in social media. I resisted mostly because it's a series, and I hate to commit so much time, when there already so many books in the world to be read. Plus, once the commentary, really heated up, it was because the movie release was pending. And if I hadn't already read the book in the past, I'd rather watch the movie first Because, let's face it, the book is almost always better. So better to have my imagination somewhat pre-determined when reading the book than to have the book so fresh in mind as to be picking apart the movie without enjoying it. Better still to avoid getting sucked into three books in the first place, if it isn't going to be worth it.

It was worth it.

Immediately after watching the movie, I set about procuring the books from June, who'd mentioned she had them. I read them fast, in succession, all three, as non-stop as I could manage as the mother of two young boys with a pile of (a week's worth) of laundry to do, over the course of a few days. I will do my best to review them one at a time, without letting them blur too much.

I don't have to say that the books are engaging. The Hunger Games phenomenon wouldn't exist, otherwise. Katniss's cold pragmatism might have made her unrelatable as a protaganist, if not for the perfect backstory to secure our sympathies and not just explain, but justify her behavior. There were some world-building details that seemed false or excessive vague, but mostly in ways that were forgiveable for the sake of moving the story along for a young adult audience.

Most of the criticism of this book seems to lose sight of one important fact: Katniss was 16. By the end of most of the action in the third book, she's still only 17. So all of this "Katniss wasn't proactive enough," or "feminist enough," or somehow otherwise failed to personally destroy the entire mechanism of the Capitol all by her little lonesome in the first book is out of touch with reality. Or, at the very least, what it is to be a feminist character, book or film.

What makes Katniss remarkable is exactly what Peeta worries about on the eve of the Games. That she is always herself. She does not let them make her into something she is not. Even her "performance" in the caves, which seems out of character, is born out of both her pragmatism and her respect for the dignity of human life.

I am running out of things to say without spoilers. On to the next book!

( )
  greeniezona | Sep 20, 2014 |
I fell in love with this book. Can't wait until the movie comes out March 23rd. ( )
  ku. | Sep 20, 2014 |
I fell in love with this book. Can't wait until the movie comes out March 23rd. ( )
  ku. | Sep 20, 2014 |
I fell in love with this book. Can't wait until the movie comes out March 23rd. ( )
  ku. | Sep 20, 2014 |
It was pretty good. It lacked the emotional connection I usually seek from books. It kept me reading because you just had to know what happened next, but I felt very distant from the characters. Also, Katniss reminded me of Bella from Twilight. Just an unpleasant person. I really didn't like her. But I loved every single other character. ( )
  knitted | Sep 20, 2014 |
It's fast-paced, keeps your attention, and leaves me interested enough in the characters to want to find out what happens to them now that they've ticked off the ruling members of the Capitol. Definitely creepy what happens to the contestants who were killed off. ( )
  lisa.schureman | Sep 20, 2014 |
The Hunger Games is not my typical type of book that I choose to read. This book surprised me and introduced me to a new genre to consider in the future. The plot was the story of America in future years and the domination of one power. This power evokes a cruel game to remind the people who is control. The game involves the drawing out two names, one girl and one boy from each of the 13 districts to play in the Hunger Games. The Hunger Games is a game you play unto the death and the players are children. It is the story of survival, compassion, honor and family. It was a very good read and I highly recommend it. ( )
  denisa.howe | Sep 19, 2014 |
Very good to me im reading it now and im like so stuck in i cant put it down.!
  Amber_Kimble | Sep 17, 2014 |
This book captivated me from the very beginning all the way to the end. I was very hesitant wondering how a new take on the style of Lord of the Flies and Battle Royale would go, but I enjoyed this very much. The brutal death scenes were clear and left a lot to the imagination but not so much that I wouldn't pass this book along to my niece. From Learning about hunting, to a girl getting caught in a political plan I enjoyed this book very much. ( )
  Marensherry | Sep 15, 2014 |
So, there must be something wrong with me because I don't understand the hype? The plot is done and lacked depth... but maybe I'm biased. ( )
  waelrammo | Sep 14, 2014 |
The Ultimate Reality Show!

Using a science fictional back-drop, Suzanne Collins makes several attempts at analogy to criticize not only Big Brother and no matter its original intent, how people will go on supporting the Hunger Games despite the killings of their children, but also how a naive young woman, deals not only with self-sacrifice and a possible love interest, but struggles with her own rebellious nature. Or, in short, wow!

As mentioned in other reviews, we have a future time where the USA has been destroyed and even some years after that, where the new nation known as Panem had quelled a rebellion of the surrounding 13 districts. (13 districts – original 13 colonies perhaps? Just a thought.) The Hunger Games are established, per our heroine Katniss, to let the other districts know that the Capital is in charge and that they can do anything they want, including making a tradition of ritualistic homicide!

The homicide is dressed up to look pretty and attractive, complete with sponsors, over-enthusiastic handlers and a game-show atmosphere that would put our current reality shows to shame.

Unlike other dystopic stories I've read, we have a continuance of high level broadcasting, medical science demonstrated and hovercraft. On the other hand we have extreme poverty. The games are used as carrots for the poorer districts – get your kids to join in the games and you will get a supply of grain and other foodstuffs and gifts.

Begs the question: what is your family worth? Katniss notices that her sister is picked to go to the games. Realizing that little girl would not stand a chance, she goes in Prim's place. She amazes herself about this and remarks how other families have never done such a thing in so long that the protocol is rusty on this point.

Another question: Contrivance and lies to encourage sponsor support. I had to laugh at this as it is so true. Even today we have sponsors pulling their support from former spokespersons due to their own immorality and sexual misconduct. In The Hunger Games, sponsors will pull out if you're not vicious enough or their heart-strings are not pulled enough.

The romance contrivance was predictable but fun to see how it unfolds: Katniss and her partner from the same District 12, Peeta, contrive a romance that brings in sponsors and gifts. But she's confused: Is Peeta faking or does he really love her?

Katniss' natural rebellious nature, her comments about her friend Gale (yes, silly, you love him, get over it!) and her conflicting feelings for Peeta and her growing rebellion against the Capital and their deadly Games, make for some interesting reading, despite a few inconsistencies here and there.

Can't wait for Catching Fire!

( )
  jmourgos | Sep 12, 2014 |
I ended up liking this book. But that beginning was slow and depressing for me. Strange enough I wanted to see the games. Yes, where kids die, but not read about how horrid everyone's life was. So I'm not too sure how I'll feel about the second book. I'm going to give it a good ol' college try. ( )
  SofiaHarper | Sep 6, 2014 |
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