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The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins

The Hunger Games (edition 2008)

by Suzanne Collins

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35,109272717 (4.39)2 / 1939
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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Showing 1-25 of 2675 (next | show all)
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 21, 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 21, 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 |
Seriously, I think this is turning out to be one of the best YA series I've read. Sometimes I forget it's even YA. I'm addicted....I don't ever want the series to end. ( )
  pennylane78 | Sep 5, 2014 |
In the hunger games universe the continent of north America has been blown up by some unknown scource. In its rubble the country of Panem was founded. In Panem there were 13 districts and 1 capitol the farther away a district was from the capitol the poorer and more rural it was. The citizens were forced to stay inside there districts boundaries and do specific jobs for the capitol. Eventualy the disricts were fed up and rebeled. They failed and as a punishment the capitol made it so that every year each district had to send a male and female tribute to fight to the death in a controlled arena. The story follows how a teenage girl named Katniss Everdeen and her friend/aqauntance Peta get selected and tough it out in the arena.
My personal opinion is that this book leaves far to much information about the world unknown. Seriously Katniss should have grabbed Prim and gale (her friends/family) and fled surviving of the woods. Also In the end the gamemakers agree to let Katniss and Peeta both win because they threaten to commit suicide. This is a ridiculous bargain as the arena is under 100% control. A lasr could have just disentegrated the suicide method(toxic berries) or the gamemakers could have tricked them and put them back into the arena. Also is Panem the only country, what happened to the other continents, did they even exist in the first place? These are all serious questions that are not answered in eather of the sequels. ( )
  iand.b4 | Sep 3, 2014 |
I really liked this book, it was a nice break from my UF immersion and contains some nice social criticism. I look forward to seeing how the rest of the series goes.

Yes, I read the book in about 18 hours, which includes sleep time. No, I didn't do anything else with my day. ( )
  raselyem7 | Aug 30, 2014 |
I'm not quite sure of what to feel about this book. It was... okay, I guess. Not the kind of book that makes you obsessive and hungry for more, but not a bad book either.

First of all, I feel like clearing a misconception that most of my friends seem to keep about this book: it's NOT Battle Royale. Yes, the main idea is pretty much the same: a bunch of teenagers killing each other in order to survive. What makes it different from Battle Royale: the characters and their motivations. In Battle Royale, the teenagers were put in that situation because they were becoming ruthless and dangerous. This is not the case of The Hunger Games. In the book, most of the characters are fighting because they need to. Because they live in a post-apocalyptic world were food is scarce and each day is a battle for survival. Winning the Hunger Games means more food for your family and the kind of life very few people manage to afford.

While this book is good enough to keep you thrilled and trapped in the interesting scenarios and cases, it is a teenage romance fiction which, in my opinion, dragged it back. Most of the Tributes (as the competitors are called) are actually rather interesting and their different abilities make them interesting choices for the Games. The bad thing? The story focus on a single character: Katniss. She is a pretty cool character. Not the best I've ever known in my life, but very rational (at least as far as a teenager mind can allow) and coherent. Still, I feel like the rest of the Tributes were no more than mere background, which is pretty sad (one of my favorite ones was Foxface). The romance with the other tribute of her district, the baker named Peeta? Unnecessary. Interesting, had potential to create a nice dilemma by the end of the book. But it felt more like a filler, deviating the book from what was its best feature: the adventure, the sense of danger, the feeling that you can't rely on anyone but yourself.

In the end, this book is just another romance with an ending that could have been a hundred times better. Still, worth reading. ( )
  aryadeschain | Aug 26, 2014 |
Some moments in this book deserve 4 or 5 star rating (lullaby). However, most of it doesn't. ( )
  Irena. | Aug 26, 2014 |
If it hadn't been for the love triangle, I would have given it four stars. I'm just tired of those. Basic premise was familiar as it's a popular one. I found that I didn't want to slap the author OR any of the characters. ( )
  sraedi | Aug 24, 2014 |
In post-apocalypse America is the nation of Panem, a Capital city with twelve outlying districts. Each year as part of the Capital's entertainment they put on the Hunger Games: a battle to the death between 24 children to be played on live TV with the winner earning extra food for their district for a year. The representatives are selected by lottery, one boy and one girl from each district. When Katniss hears her sister's name called she knew there was only one option - to take her place and fight in the Hunger Games herself.

Having not seen the movie I picked up a copy of the book out of curiosity while on vacation. It turned out to be a pretty good beach read. While this is Katniss' story I found myself feeling more for Peeta as things went on. Romance, action, an underdog story, I can see how this became so popular with the teen set. At some point I need to watch the movie as I'm curious how the book translates. While I enjoyed the book I don't find myself in a rush to finish the series. ( )
  Narilka | Aug 18, 2014 |
I've heard a lot about this & was pretty excited to find it on audio book. Maybe too excited because it was a bit of a let down. I saw the movie & it was OK The book was better in many ways, but suffered from 2 composition issues that were irritating; the reader, Carolyn McCormick, has too high of a voice for me, & the story is almost completely in first person present tense. McCormick's voice is well trained, the only saving grace, but it was like listening to one of the Chipmunks for hours on end.

I recently read an article where an author mentioned reading a manuscript that was all in the present tense ("I say" instead of "I said"). I believe the comment was that it was artsy, but wearing. I didn't really understand, until I listened to this & I agree completely. A friend suggested that it limited the character's, thus our understanding. We get the raw information before it has been processed. I think he's right, but it's not reason enough, IMO.

The world itself was simplified in an interesting way to break up civilization into districts that each performed one function. That wasn't too hard to swallow until the population of District 12 is given as 8000 people, all using 1 village, the entire coal producing area for the North American continent. That's just too few people & districts. It forced me to realize that it was an artificial device rather than a realistic future. As it was, it focused my attention on the improbability & didn't do the story any favors, especially in light of the practically magical science that is displayed. Beast clone/constructs created from the contestants in so short a time? The practical omniscient ability of the cameras to capture everything? Parachutes with gifts that seemed to always hit their mark, no matter what the weather or timing? Complete control of the weather to the point that a storm was switched off like a light? Practically magical, yet it played surprisingly well.

The main event are the children fighting to the death & that was very well done - 5 star material. The land was well used, the heroine well suited & believably trained. Her thought processes during the hunts & escapes were great. The author never crowded too much into the time or the characters. Everyone got tired, thirsty, & hungry. Their advantages & weaknesses were well used.

This is a YA book, so there was no sex, but hinged on romance, a very fine line to walk. Katniss was 16, a bit too old to believably pull this off. A year or two younger would have sat much better with me, especially given the complete lack of religion or any other moral structure within the book. That forces me to substitute my own & I can't imagine any 16 year old who runs around in the woods constantly with a boy not experimenting with sex. She knows him well enough to compare his warmth & heartbeat at one point, yet neither has even kissed. Completely unbelievable to me. They're nothing like any teenager of that age that I've known & I raised 3 not terribly long ago. Still, this wasn't a terrible suspension of belief, but it did nag at me consistently.

However, the romance was one of the main, best, & most suspenseful pieces of the story. It also added a layer of complexity that was truly wonderful & gave the story far more latitude than it otherwise would have had. Excellently done!

I really enjoyed the book until the end. I'd guess that the author or the editor suddenly decided this shouldn't be a stand-alone, but a trilogy because the final twist felt tacked on & was unrealistic. It not only carries, but becomes the reason for the next novel where it felt so contrived that I couldn't continue. For the Games Masters to suddenly reverse their decision for a single winner made no sense. While Katniss continually tells us the reason for the games is to rub the districts' collective noses in their position, it's obviously more complex than that. She's a kid & not a completely reliable narrator, especially in the area of politics. A win gives a district hope, throws the people a bone. I don't see the up side of such a decision.

If I swallow that they just made a bad decision - possible - I'm still facing the aftermath. Peeta is saved only by extraordinary means. Why would they bother? It would have been better for him to die, especially since this supposedly becomes a rallying point of insurrection. Instead, the Games department seems to be at odds with the dictator, President Snow. And, in the next book, Snow actually does his own dirty work, makes his own threats. Seriously? He has no left hand man or people on the inside in such a paranoid society? Even a senior Peace Keeper to give a warning about Katniss keeping up her act with Peeta? Please!

Anyway, the very end just hit me like a train wreck which was a shame. I'm going to give the next book, [b:Catching Fire|6148028|Catching Fire (The Hunger Games, #2)|Suzanne Collins|http://d.gr-assets.com/books/1358273780s/6148028.jpg|6171458], a chance to wash away the bad taste. ( )
  jimmaclachlan | Aug 18, 2014 |
One star is gone for the entire first two chapters.

The other star is gone for lost opportunities.

The remaining three stars stay for a captivating, well-orchestrated story that I devoured in less than three days.

The first two chapters felt like they were written by an amateur and could have used a lot more editing. There was so much backstory thrown in with a very telling feeling and little showing. Not nearly enough action in the beginning. I only kept reading because I have seen the movie and knew the good stuff was coming.

Lost opportunities refer to the potential to start a revolution. The political and socio-political commentary in this book is subtle, too subtle. Books have the power to change the world and when gifted with a plot like this and then awarded with a platform like that she should have taken more opportunity to change the way teens think. If this world hopes to pull away from a decreasing value of life and an increasing value of mindless entertainment in any way that means anything this is where it starts.That being said, she has the opportunity to prove me wrong on this with the next two so hopefully when I read those Collins will redeem herself in my eyes.

Overall, though, a wonderful book with depth, meaning and staying power. I'd suggest it to a friend... if I had any friends left who haven't already read it. ( )
  KRaySaulis | Aug 13, 2014 |
I was disappointed. People like this book so much and I just didn’t get it. I didn’t care for Katniss and Peeta. I didn’t care if they die or not. To be honest, I wanted Peeta to be killed because he was so naive and pathetic it was driving me mad. I found myself totally not interested what the second book is about. I gave 4, but I think it’s too much. I will consider lowering the rate. ( )
  rienna | Aug 10, 2014 |
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