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The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins
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The Hunger Games (edition 2008)

by Suzanne Collins

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36,169277817 (4.38)2 / 1977
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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I can't help but compare this book to Battle Royale by Koushun Takami. In both books a totalitarian government sequesters a group of teenagers in a large unfamiliar area and forces them to fight to the death. It would spoil both books to get much more specific about their similarities, but there are quite a few throughout.

The Hunger Games provides a fast-paced plot alongside a good dose of introspection. It's often predictable, but contained just enough surprises to keep me reading. The tone of the book ranges from saccharine to morbid and back again instead of being grim throughout as I expected. It's also a quick short read, which is unusual in anything so dark.

The world the story takes place in is a drab and generally unbelievable dystopia. It won't stand up to serious scrutiny, but it isn't interesting enough to invite that anyway. ( )
  wishanem | Jan 27, 2015 |
Started out slowly enough that I wasn't sure I was going to love it so much, but by page 150 I was so invested I blew right through the last 200 pages. Really, really great with a wonderful heroine, a delightful male figure, and a brutal dystopian future. A ( )
  dukedukegoose | Jan 26, 2015 |
Loved this book.It was completely original and imaginative, and it also was able to make social commentaries in the process. The whole idea of a "Hunger Game" is brilliant and captivating. The arena scenes were so suspenseful and scary that I breezed through it. I definitely think the series is worth the hype and even enjoyed the second book just s much as the first one. The idea of the districts being run by the dictatorial "capitol" is also amazing. It drew some parallels to current society and the fight against social injustice. The intricacy of the games was perfect and the maturity of the writing and content made it even more relevant and interesting to me. I would recommend this for any teen or adult!
  TimSher | Jan 22, 2015 |
This Book has much better detail than the movie! ( )
  Emma_G | Jan 21, 2015 |
Leest lekker weg. nu kan ik de film ook eens gaan kijken. ( )
  davidakachaos | Jan 20, 2015 |
This novel was as intense and suspenseful as it was exciting. It follows the life of teenage girl Katniss Everdeen, from her time in District 12 to her stint in the Hunger Games. The book takes place in the future, in a country located where the United States of America used to be. The government is a corrupt dictatorship that forces a boy and a girl from each of the districts in the country (there are twelve districts) to participate in an event known a the Hunger Games. In the Hunger Games, the participants fight to the death, and the last person alive is declared the winner. The focus of the story is Katniss' experience in the Hunger Games and how it changes her. The literary work showcases a motif of defiance throughout the story.
In my opinion, this is a captivating novel. It has every key quality that makes a story great: drama, suspense, action, and a deeper meaning. The characters are believeable, and although there are some instances where the realm of realism is stretched, nothing is too exaggerated or far fetched. The plot has plenty of surprises and twists and the book is overall very interesting to read. There are no boring sections in the book. Suzanne Collins did a fantastic job with this novel, and I would definitely read more of her books in the future. This book, along with the other two books in the series, are must reads for anyone looking for a new book to open up.
  skypalat | Jan 19, 2015 |
The hunger games is a book about a girl and boy fighting for there lives against 22 other people 11 are boys and 11 are girls the main characters are Catniss Everdean and Peeta Malarkey. The plot of the story is america has been devastated by natural disasters so the country had to unite under Panam the new country but its not exactly a good place they are run by a government the rules by force and there are 13 districts at least there was until the 13th rebeled and was extinguished. and now to punish the people and never let this happen again they have an annual Hunger Games. The Hunger Games is when 2 people are selected from each district and are to fight in an arena to the death. The winner gets to live in paradise and his district gets food and oil to last them a year because all the districts are VERY poor. In the story Catniss and Peeta are selected to fight. When you are selected you go live in the Capital or there country's Capital and are interviewed and trained to fight. After a week they go to the arena to fight Catniss and Peeta are from the same district so they make an alliance to survive but when they get split up Peeta has to break it and go with a different group. They finally meet back up and work together again. Once again they split up and Catniss finds a young girl who is about 12 the starting age for the games and Catniss tries to help her until she dies. Finally in the end Catniss and Peeta are the only 2 left but there can only be 1 winner so they decide to both die until the game controllers allow both of them to win the government doesn't like this so they keep both of them in the capital. Peeta and Catniss develop a love for each other to.

The reason why i gave this book this rating is because i liked this book. I liked it because when i read it i got a heart for it it made my emotions go all over the place mad sad happy. It also was very action packed which is something i like in a book. I cant wait till i read the sequel. Another reason why i liked this book is that it kept my attention. Its very important that a book keeps my attention because i lose interest fast. I hop others will enjoy this book as much as i did. ( )
  nicholasvb1 | Jan 13, 2015 |
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. ( )
  librarycatnip | Jan 12, 2015 |
I'm skeptical of hugely popular books, as I usually end up disappointed by them. [Case in point: Steig Larsson's awful series of books.] I approached this one only when I felt that I could no longer ignore it. I'm pleased to report that I liked it and I'm glad I read it. Collins is a wonderful writer. Her characters, but in particular Katniss (obviously) are richly drawn and its easy to feel empathy towards them. The choice of first person narration was definitely the right one, as we get to see the human side of the awful ritual of the Hunger Games. The dystopic future feels real, though I couldn't help but thinking that the plot felt eerily close to that of any generic reality show, but only with higher stakes. The romance between Katniss and Peeta seemed a bit contrived, but it did allow us to see Katniss growing and expanding as a person who had to learn to trust and depend on others. Her weird estrangement from her mother that leads to Katniss's emotional isolation sets us up to understand the depth of her transformation. Its never quite clear, though, how much her feelings have genuinely changed or whether she's putting on a brilliant act for the games. I particularly liked that she was a smart gladiator and relied to wits rather than brute strength to outsmart her opponents. It is the cerebral calculations and genuine emotions on Katniss's part that save this book from being nothing more than gory spectacle. Overall, well done. An engaging read. ( )
  lisamunro | Jan 9, 2015 |
My Review: If you’re delving into this series after having read the Harry Potter 7 book series, allow me to warn you now, Katniss is no Harry and Suzanne Collins is no J.K. Rowling! Now that we’ve gotten that out of the way, on it’s own, comparing it to no other character defining or author series (of the young adult variety) this book has the potential to be great. Unfortunately, many who read this series will be coming from the Harry Potter era. I’m one of those who inhaled that series, therefore anything that I read after it will automatically be compared and will ultimately fail. But don’t worry! This first installment of the Hunger Games Trilogy has it’s moments of brilliance, surprise, and lessons learned. The triple threat any really good young adult book should have throughout.

Suzanne’s skill in this book are her character descriptions. She leaves very little room for you to fill in the edges on what you’ll have them look like in your head. If you’re anything like me, I appreciate visuals. If I can see the description then we’re off to a good start. She gives a good balance of dialogue to description.

Read the rest of my review here. ( )
  ericadrayton | Jan 8, 2015 |
I know I'm giving far too many 5 star ratings lately, but I couldn't put this book down and that doesn't happen to me very often. Definitely not an enjoyable read given the topic, but certainly a story that that drew me in and kept my interest. I found myself drawn to several of the characters and admiring their courage and strength. I also found myself wondering what I would do if I was in the same situation - truly a horrible thought. I can't say that I'm looking forward to reading the next book in the series because I find the premise of the book to be very disturbing, but I will definitely be reading it as soon as I have another 24 hours to spare. ( )
  Nancy_Archdekin | Jan 4, 2015 |
READ IN ENGLISH/DUTCH

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 | Jan 4, 2015 |
READ IN ENGLISH/DUTCH

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 exists. 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 | Jan 4, 2015 |
I don’t remember who recommended The Hunger Games to me but I downloaded it—probably for free—on my Kindle a while ago. When I found that none of my unread Christian novels on the same device were appealing (after awhile they all start out sounding the same), I decided to dip into the Games.

Wow! What a hard-to-put-down tome. Set in a futuristic America, I suppose it would be classified as a YA dystopian because the heroine Katniss is a teenager and everything is grim, dangerous, with a big-brother-is watching feel. Each character has his or her mystery: Katniss, Peeta, Prim, Gale—even the names are perfect for the futuristic setting.

There’s so much going on—so much ruse and deception. No one knows what’s what. We’re solidly in Katniss’s head and she doesn’t trust anyone, so we’re suspicious of everyone too. She interprets all of life through the lens of the underdog. But we see the reaction of the crowd, the judges, Peeta, and we wonder, is she seeing things realistically? Or is she being too suspicious? At the same time, we’re liking her suspicion and guardedness, sure that it will help her survive.

The reality show part of the plot is brilliant, given the current reality show craze on TV. These games are terrifying and brutal with each player's life on the line. Surprises are everywhere. Though there is a comic book superhero feel to some of the “tributes” (what the Hunger Game contestants are called), by this time in the book we’ve bought into the fantasy aspect to the extent that even their impossible antics feel plausible.

For two reasons I give this book four stars, not five: for its violence and portrayal of sex.

To be fair, Katniss does not kill gratuitously. And the killing she does bothers her. Still some of the scenes are very gruesome and disturbing.

On the sexual front, not much goes on past kissing and cuddling which, on Katniss’s part, is all an act—or is it? What disturbs me about this is the subtle message that it’s okay to compromise your principles, to play a part (here the part of the lover) if there’s enough at stake. That’s something I don’t believe is true. There is something more important than even physical survival (depicted in the Bible’s portrayal of the final battle between good and evil – Revelation 12:7-11, especially vs. 11).

Taking the above into consideration, if you want a few hours of total escape, The Hunger Games won’t disappoint.
( )
  Violet_Nesdoly | Jan 4, 2015 |
Katniss is a great character --practical, self-reliant, fierce, brave, and kinda clueless about her own feelings. I started liking her within the first few pages when she was talking about how she wanted to kill a stray cat because it was another mouth to feed.

This is a page-turner, and to be completely honest, I did cry a little when Rue was murdered. (Though to be fair, I cry at everything, including cheap deaths, which this one definitely was.)

Writing was pretty weak, which is disappointing since I read so many positive reviews. Collins is better than Smeyers (which isn't saying much), but it's even weaker than JKR's writing. The present tense is so fanfic-ish, ugh. I also don't want to be yet another person who says "BATTLE ROYALE DID IT BETTER~" but I think HG was sadly simplistic, even for a YA novel. Some of the interesting themes took a backseat to the obligatory romantic plotline....which speaking of...

Gale and Peeta are both so boring. I heard that the publisher asked Collins to write in a love triangle, which is a shame. Overall, it was enjoyable but I'm not sure if I can buy into the hype. I'll give the second one a try but I've heard the next two books aren't even as good so....

( )
  megantron | Jan 2, 2015 |
NOTE: I don't think I give any spoilers here, but just in case, beware... :-)

As long as I remembered that this is a young adult book, I enjoyed this book quite a bit. A few things I don't understand, mostly about Peeta's reaction at the end, but I'll leave that alone, no need to spoil anything for those that haven't read it.

The whole concept of the book is rather brilliant, in a way. To me, this is reality TV on steroids, and shows a horrible side of it, in my opinion. I've watched ten minutes of Survivor and hated the idea, watched five minutes of some other similar show and an episode of some kill-your-cooking-friends type show. I've never liked the concept of reality shows (they have nothing to do with reality) and so I like the idea of this book, showing how horrid it is. I wish Katniss would clue in a bit more... she seems smart enough.

But maybe I got it all wrong. I will read the next one. ( )
  KVHardy | Jan 2, 2015 |
[re-read, 2012]
Still excellent! Very excited for the movie.
I liked Katniss better upon re-reading (not that I disliked her the first time, but I felt a lot more empathy this time).

[original read, 2008]
I've read a lot of excellent books this year, but if I had to pick one favorite one the basis of pure reading enjoyment, it would be this. THE HUNGER GAMES grabbed me and didn't let go. I read the first chapter as an online excerpt before the book released, and then almost wished I hadn't because it was so painful to wait for the rest.

I became invested in the story of Katniss, Peeta, and the other participants in the deadly game for survival into which they are cast. But it wasn't just the plotsiness and adventure that kept me reading; it was also Katniss' memories of home and her sister, and especially her relationship with fellow competitor Rue. The plot kept me reading, but the philosophical questions and the interactions between the characters was what made this book stick with me.
( )
  devafagan | Jan 2, 2015 |
Wow. Even with the tragic post-apocalyptic theme of this book, the storyline moves in a way that is adventurous and hopeful with well-developed characters, feelings, thoughts, and relationships. One of those books that you can't put down as you move from room to room while continuing to read. Can't wait for the next one! ( )
  asawyer | Dec 31, 2014 |
In short, The Hunger Games is everything a book should be: compelling in premise and character, forward-reaching in story, vivid in detail. By the time I reached the middle third, I refused to put it down until I read to the end. And then I immediately downloaded books 2 & 3. So, so good... and not a YA thought in my mind. Brilliant! ( )
  phrenetic.mind | Dec 30, 2014 |
I sat up until 2 in the morning to finish this book. This is Survivor meets the Gladiators, and I can't help thinking which seasons of Survivor inspired parts of the book. Boston Rob and Amber perhaps? I would definitely recommend this book to read, if I wasn't seemingly the last person to have read it. I loved it despite knowing how it was going to end, and all the hype that surrounds it. I might even watch the movie (though that was a mistake for me with twilight). At first I thought the themes wouldn't stick with me, but as with the [b:Tomorrow when the war began and Patrick Ness' book: The knife of never letting go] I can't help but see the potential of these events occurring. In many ways these events are more accurate than dystopian. Luckily I had the foresight to borrow all three books at once, so I can see what could possibly come next. ( )
  Karyn_Ainsworth | Dec 29, 2014 |
The writing style of this futuristic novel is a powerful, direct understatement written in the first person that draws the reader into an almost breathless fascination. At the same time it serves as a timely condemnation of the direction contemporary popular culture is heading towards.
It is encouraging, from a propagandist point of view, that a novel such as the Hunger Games has achieved such success. Here is a novel targeted for the Young Adult audience, and while it is packaged in the right way – a strong female teenage heroine, adventure, fantasy, and romance – there are also loaded messages inside the story cautioning her audience about the insidious dangers behind the milieu of contemporary society. Through her tale, she is warning her readers against the current voyeurism inherent in today's reality TV and the threat it poses to human dignity, as well as the growing gap between the 1% and the deteriorating middle class, and the trend of growing authoritarian power leading to the erosion of civil liberties, all extrapolated into a dystopia-like future. This is especially significant considering that the hope of the future is in the younger generation, those who have the greatest power to change the course of current decadence infecting modern society. ( )
  BBcummings | Dec 24, 2014 |
I found this book to be very engaging and easy to read. I think it is most appropriate for middle school and above because of the subjects of romance and violence. It is a good book to get students excited about reading realistic fiction.
  adates12 | Dec 17, 2014 |
Read the three books in three days. Couldn't put them down.
( )
  JeaniaK | Dec 13, 2014 |
Well, add me to the list of people who loved this book! Great plot, great characterization, very well-written. At this point, there's not a whole lot to say about this book that hasn't already been said a hundred times over. So, I'll just point out something in particular that really struck me with the character of Katniss. In no way is she a softie. In fact, she's rather cold & hard in personality and the way she perceives the world, which isn't difficult to understand given the world she lives in. However, it was definitely a nice change to see one of the male characters be more emotional than the main heroine. I also liked that Katniss questions so many things, whether it be her own feelings or the actions of others. Katniss was by far my favorite character, and Haymitch was my second favorite. And if pressed, I would have to say I'm team Peeta. For me, Gale just never felt like anything more than a friend to Katniss. Feel free to disagree, as I'm sure many will, lol. Overall I highly recommend this book! ( )
  Kelly_Mills | Dec 12, 2014 |
This book is phenominal, and that is all I can say without going into a series of fangirled shrieks. ( )
  stargazingx13 | Dec 11, 2014 |
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