So with the Hunger Games hype starting to die down with the movie release being a few week ago I figured it be a good time to relay my thoughts on the book.The Hunger Games (The Hunger Games, #1) by Suzanne Collins
Series: The Hunger Games #1
Published by Scholastic Press on 14 September 2008
Genres: MG Science Fiction
Could you survive on your own, in the wild, with everyone out to make sure you don't live to see the morning?
In the ruins of a place once known as North America lies the nation of Panem, a shining Capitol surrounded by twelve outlying districts. The Capitol is harsh and cruel and keeps the districts in line by forcing them all to send one boy and one girl between the ages of twelve and eighteen to participate in the annual Hunger Games, a fight to the death on live TV. Sixteen-year-old Katniss Everdeen, who lives alone with her mother and younger sister, regards it as a death sentence when she is forced to represent her district in the Games. But Katniss has been close to dead before - and survival, for her, is second nature. Without really meaning to, she becomes a contender. But if she is to win, she will have to start making choices that weigh survival against humanity and life against love.
New York Times bestselling author Suzanne Collins delivers equal parts suspense and philosophy, adventure and romance, in this searing novel set in a future with unsettling parallels to our present.
Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins
Ok so the Hunger Games. I’m not going to go into a long summary since most people know the plot or at least the general idea of the trilogy by now. Hunger Games, like in my last post about Wither, takes place in a futuristic world on earth–more precisely in North America. Now North America (which I’m assuming include Canada and Mexico) is broken down into 13 districts ruled by the capital. The 13th district decided to rebel (it is not really explained why that happened although I’m told an explanation is given a bit more later on in the trilogy) and so in order to show control or make an example so no one rebels again, the capital created the Hunger Games. The Hunger Games is like a modern day Gladiator fight only the gladiators are children under 18 and the arena is computer operated. So each district sends one boy and one girl to the Hunger Games. Each participant is selected through a lottery system in which a name is drawn (read the short story “Lottery” if you haven’t. This really reminded me of that). Our main character Katniss is from the poorest district–12. She volunteers to be apart of the Games to save her sister. The story follows her journey throughout the Games and her relationships with some of the other participants as well as her “coaches.”
To be honest I wasn’t all that impressed with the story and surprised and not-surprised about the middle-school demographic the book was written for. I enjoyed the creative idea, but Collins failed to set up some crucial groundwork that would have made the story more believable. She glossed over the history of how and why Panem, the new country, was the way it was. Her explanation was in one short paragraph: things were peaceful, then the districts rebelled. So I was a little taken aback by the lack of ground work in that regard. However, once I got passed the first few chapters, the story picked up and I was enthralled like everyone else.
I read it over a couple a days. I wanted to know what happened, but it wasn’t an all-nighter type of book for me. After finishing it, I was surprised that the book was an opener for a Trilogy. The ending left me ended–as in the story didn’t really need to continue. I thought that the story was told except for a relationship loose end there wasn’t really anything else I could think of that would push the book into another story. I did see the movie and the movie did aide this and presented groundwork for a second movie which I appreciated.
As I mentioned above, I was both surprised and not-surprised about the targeted age demographic. I was a little surprised that the violence (kids killing kids) would be targeted towards a Middle school age group. Since the movie was PG-13 (and cut a lot of the violence) I was expecting the book to be for an older audience like YA. However, Collins writing also left me not-surprised about the Middle school age group because her story had grammatical errors and her writing was somewhat lacking for me. Also on one last note, I’ve heard that there is a Peeta + Gale + Katniss love triangle thing and to be honest I don’t think Collins sets up the Katniss & Gale relationship in the first book enough to make that even plausible, but alas it has happened so I guess it must have worked out somewhere.
Overall, these statements might seem a bit harsh, but honestly I just felt the story was okay. I didn’t hate, nor loved it to the extent that many do. It was nice entertaining read, but nothing I’ll probably re-read. Many have equated it to the next Harry Potter series and I have to say that the Hunger Games is not close at all to Harry Potter. I see the Hunger Games more as the same level of popularity as Twilight with a few more lovers than haters. I’m just indifferent.
In the end, I would recommend the book based on everyone else’s experience reading it. The books have gotten a lot of people who don’t normally read to sit down and go through it. I personally probably won’t re-read it, but I do recommend you try out the story for yourself to see. Anyway I hope you figure out your own feeling on the book and in the end I hope you enjoy reading it!
What do you think about the Hunger Games? Is Hunger Games as popular as Harry Potter? What do you think about the level of violence and the age group reading the book? Leave your thoughts and comments below!!