The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins Review 5/5

Overall impression: This book is a piece of YA genius! It’s absolutely impossible to put down!

This is the first book I have read for the Eclectic Reader Challenge for the Young Adult section! Click here to find out the hunger games3more.
Before entering the blogosphere I had never even heard of this book. Then the name began to pop up left right and centre. The Hunger Games. “It’s the most amazing book ever” people were saying. Again and again it emerged in my books tags. Repeatedly I would come across book blogs singing it’s praises and declaring it their favorite YA book to date. So what does one do in this situation? Why, turn to Google of course! I looked it up and discovered it was also soon to be released as a full major motion picture with stars such as Taylor Swift lining up to help create the soundtrack. I was beginning to feel very out of the loop, so at this point I immediately bought the books. No way was I going to let a YA craze like this go by without joining in. I must admit, I was almost apprehensive to begin reading the book. What if I I’m the only one on this planet that dislikes it, and I get attacked with hate mail from dedicated Hunger Games fans I thought. Luckily, I absolutely loved it, so I no longer have to worry about that scenario!

In the dark vision of the near future, twelve boys and twelve girls are forced to appear in a live TV show called the Hunger Games.
There is only one rule: kill or be killed.
When sixteen-year-old Katniss Everdeen steps forward to take her sisters place in the games, she sees it as a death sentence. But Katniss has been close to death before. For her, survival is second nature.

This book jumps right in and quickly sets the scene. Katniss Everdeen lives in a dystopian future in a place that used to be North America. Her life is controlled by the Capitol, as well as her sisters, mothers, and the rest of the human race. Since her father first taught her to use a bow, it has become her duty to help feed her district, the Seam. Each day she sneaks under the fence and into the woods to catch game with her friend Gale, to prevent her family and others, from starving to death.
Each year the reaping is held where they pick two teenagers from each district; a boy and a girl, to take place in the annual Hunger Games. The Hunger Games is a TV show where the contestants must fight to the death. Twenty four go in, only one comes out, and everyone is forced to watch it televised on screen to prevent any further rebellion against the Capitol. So when Katniss’ younger sister, poor innocent Prim is picked out to participate, Katniss volunteers herself instead. Terrified she accepts her place next to Peeta Mellark, and is shipped off to the Capitol where the game of survival, politics and moral dilemma’s begin.

I find it very difficult to talk about books I love, because I usually just end up squealing with excitement like a crazy fan girl, and I feel like I can never do them the justice they deserve, but I shall do my best 🙂

I must admit when I read the first chapter, I found it quite difficult to get into the swing of Suzanne Collins writing style, I found it jarring and had to keep rereading sentences to make sure I had understood them properly. I don’t think it helped that she was bombarding the reader with lots of important information from the very beginning of the book. However, I soon adjusted and began to love her honest, matter of fact writing style. Suzanne Collins biggest strength is suspense, and this is where her writing really begins to shine. When the characters were launched up and into the arena where the Hunger Games takes place I could not shift my eyes away from the book, I was flicking through the pages like a woman possessed! I wanted to yell at Katniss out loud, I wanted to scream at her to run, to find safety, and I could feel my own heart begin to pound with nervous excitement, trying to work out what would happen next.

The plot is highly superior to a lot of YA books I’ve read recently. It has the perfect balance. It spends the right amount of time setting the scene, giving background information, and character development to make you care for the characters and worry about what’s going to happen to them, and then parallel to this is the mind numbing, suspenseful action. As someone who is interested in psychology, I found the whole plots subject matter fascinating. It’s all about the lengths we will go to to stay alive, a social commentary about the rise in popularity of reality TV, and the worlds increasing concern about living in a big brother society. Think of it as a compilation of I’m a Celebrity Get Me Out of Here and teenage gladiators ages 12 to 18. The Hunger Games is not a world of right and wrong, but of different shades of grey. What would you do to stay alive? Would you kill a close friend? Would you murder a fourteen year old? There are twenty three contestants to kill, each with family, friends, and people that rely on them. These are the moral dilemma’s Katniss is faced with, but you’ll have to read the books to find out how she solves them! I did feel that the plot began to slow down a bit towards the end, but that was mainly because of the introduction of a romance, which for once in my life while reading a book, I didn’t think added to the story that much because I was too interested in the main plot of how Katniss could find a way to win the Hunger Games. However, this is the only thing that was slightly below perfect in this book.

The characterization was also excellent. Katniss Everdeen is strong, defiant and matter of fact with the intrinsic desire to protect the people she loves. It’s fantastic to see a strong female lead character that is competent yet still able to remain feminine. With many other writers I could imagine she would come across as insolent and unlikable, but Collins has been careful to parallel every strong characteristic with a more vulnerable or likeable one. Peeta Mellark is quite simply, a sweetheart with his lighthearted personality and a giving nature. You can’t help but want to pat him on the head or give him a hug. Gale is dashing, and passionate, and like Katniss has a innate desire to protect those around him. Ever character in this book is carefully thought out, and they all have their own strengths, weaknesses and little quirks. A reasonable amount of information is also given on the other tributes taking part in the Hunger Games which wrenches at the heart strings when you know only one can survive.

I would recommend this book to everyone, and I mean everyone, from ages 10 and up, male and female (does contain mild violence but nothing disturbing or graphic, although I could understand why some parents might not like their child to read a book about teens killing other teens, but it really doesn’t come across as badly as it sounds.) It’s not just for teenagers that like YA, I strongly believe that adults will enjoy this book too because of the issues it tackles. Aspiring writers should read this book, as an example of the perfect formula of how to put a story together, people that don’t normally read YA should read it because it’s in a league of it’s own. People that aren’t big readers should read it as it is fast paced and will keep them interested. I really cannot express how great this book was, all I can do is hope I’ve sold it to you and that you go out and buy it! 🙂

Now if you’ll excuse me I’moff to revise Psychology read the next Hunger Games book. 🙂

Writing Style: 4/5
Originality: 5/5
Entertainment: 5/5
Character Development: 5/5
Would I recommend this book? Yes!!!

Overall: 5/5

(To read my review of the next book in the Hunger Games Trilogy, Catching Fire, click here)


23 thoughts on “The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins Review 5/5

    • Haha thats what I thought when I realised the film was coming out in March! I can’t wait to see it after reading the book. Well I hope you enjoy it when you read them, you’ll have to let me know what you think 🙂

  1. I felt the same way about Hunger Games – I read it because so many people were praising it but wasn’t expecting to enjoy it so much and so quickly be absorbed.
    Thanks for sharing your review – I hope you enjoy Catching Fire and MockingJay as much

    Shelleyrae @ Book’d Out

    • Thank you, I hope I enjoy them too, although it will be a tough task for them to live up to the first book! The reviews for Catching Fire and MockingJay should turn up on my blog shortly. 🙂

    • Ahh yes, I try not to give too much away in my reviews, but just enough to capture people’s attention. I can totally understand the skimming, everytime I’ve seen a Hunger Games review or a trailer for the upcoming film I’ve quickly wizzed past it, not wanting to be given any clues about the content of the book until I read it myself.
      I hope you enjoy reading the Hunger Games as much as I did, stop by again soon 🙂

  2. I didn’t realise it was YA fiction. It has a very dark edge to it, doesn’t it?
    I actually have an idea for a novel: a reality show set on an island but I felt it might resemble LOST too much so I put it on the backburner. Maybe this book will give me another angle to that idea…

    • Yes it does, and from what I’ve read of the next book so far, it’s potentially going to get darker. However it’s in no way dark like a Stieg Larsson book, it’s more like Harry Potter, dark touching on serious/sinister topics, but in a way that’s suitable for younger years to read it.
      Really? Thats interesting, would it be a reality TV show that they could opt out of, or would it be more like once your in you can never turn back? Ahh I love lost, such an amazingly complex series, I was so sad when it ended. I don’t think it would be too similar to lost, I’m sure you could put your own twist on it and turn it into a great book 🙂

      • You’re going to think I’m crazy but I never actually watched Lost properly. I only saw the first 4 episodes of Season 1. I want to buy the whole series because I really want to see what happens in the end.

        My idea was like a South African version of Survivor complete with racial and cultural tension but with a supernatural sinister presence stalking the contestants. Haven’t thought it all the way through though…

        Will definitely get Hunger Games, sounds like an awesome book!

      • 0_0 ! You haven’t finished watching Lost!?! You must rectify that immediately haha 🙂 That sounds cool, I’d be interested to read a book on it anyway, so I’m sure other people would too, although I understand now why your concerned it may sound a bit like lost, because the supernatural presence sounds quite similar to the black cloud in Lost.
        Cool I’m glad I convinced you, I look forward to seeing what you think of it! 🙂

    • Thank you! 🙂 I completely understand the skimming, it’s nice to start a book sometimes with no idea what it’s really about. I purposely tried not to give to much away in this one because I wanted people to go off and buy the book, and I think this book has the best impact when you don’t know much about it.
      You definitely do, You should read them next! 😉

  3. I agree! These books are amazing. There is a lot of youth fiction that is overdone or unexciting, and this is not that. And I say this as someone too long for YA ( no such thing really, though ). Anyway. I agree with everything you said except for the romance. I just feel like if she left out the romance, it would disregard emotions that a sixteen year old would be feeling and it also highlights how this world damages these relationships. One thing that I especially love about the writing style is that it unconsciously makes you anxious because you accidentally fall in love with the characters, which Katniss herself does throughout the series. I agree about Collins’ unusual writing style, but it brings you closer to the characters that would otherwise come off as distant, especially Katniss.

    Also nice review.

    • Even though I wasn’t that interested in the romace in this book, I completely agree with your comment that it is an essential part of the story. It makes the book more dramatic and makes you worry about the outcome of the characters more.
      I love you comment about falling unconsciously in in love with the characters. I’d never thought about it that way but your spot on. Have you read the rest of the trilogy yet? And do you have a blog of your own I can check out because I can’t seem to find a link on your Gravatar page 🙂
      Thanks for stopping by!

      • Hi! I have read the rest of the triolgy. It is excellent. It’s not often that I find books that grip me so much ( Except for Orson Scott Card and Tamora Pierce books). I do have a blog, I didn’t realize that it wasn’t automatically linked to mine:

    • Cool, so I’ve got lots more to look forward to then 🙂 I’ve never heard of Orson Scott or Tamora Pierce, I shall have to check them out. What genre books do they write they?
      Ahh, a new blogger I see, it took me a long time to work out I had to actually link my blog haha. If you go to your gravatar profile you can edit your about me bit and add your blog link, that way when people click on your picture they’ll see you have a blog and be able to click on it 🙂

      • Oh man. Orson Scott Card is scifi/fantasy and Tamora Pierce is YA fiction/fantasy. Both are amazing. You should definitely at least read something by Orson Scott Card. Personally, I’m a YA fiction lover and I read Pierce as a YA, so I love her, but if you’re not into that, it could be difficult to get into.

      • Are you kidding me? Fantasy and YA are my favorite genre’s 🙂 I will definitely have to look into these authors. Thanks for the recommendations!

  4. That settles it, if you love it I have no choice but to buy the books! It sounds a little like Battle Royale, a class from a Japanese shool are put on a deserted island and have three days to kill each other and only one can survive. You’ve completely sold it to me and I hope the other two books don’t disappoint you!

    • I’ve never heard of Battle Royale, but that sounds like a similar sort of storyline. Is it any good?
      Ahhh I’m glad, buy it right now! 😉 I think this is actually the longest review I’ve done to date because I had so much to say about it! And thank you, I’ve nearly finished the second book Catching Fire and although it started a little slower it’s still brilliant! 🙂

      • I quite liked it, it’s a bit bloody, as is to be expected, but I would say the plot could use some more work, it’s still a decent watch though.
        Haha, I’m so tempted, I have a feeling I’m going to end up in a bookshop again tomorrow and it’s all your fault 😛
        That is very good, I look forward to your review on it!

  5. Well this certainly sounds interesting. I admit I winced when you said she had a clunky style, so I hope you’re right when you say it gets better! I will be checking this one soon. 🙂

    • Haha it definitely is. 😀 It’s weird reading this review back actually, it’s a book series you become so utterly consumed and entranced by that you barely even take note of the writing. So I would encourage you not to be put off by it. It’s better quality than a lot of writers out there these days 😛

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