CBR 3: Review #1: The Hunger Games

Book 1:
The Hunger Games
Author: Suzanne Collins
Read: December 19, 2010

I've actually been avoiding reading The Hunger Games for a few months now. I'm one of those people who when everyone says 'Oh my god, this book is so good, you have to read it!', I avoid reading it. Maybe I have too high of expectations and I don't want to be let down. Or find out that the people I consider friends have horrible taste. It was a poor decision this time, because The Hunger Games was phenomenal.

I'm a big believer in reading books from different genres and for different age-groups and audiences. I've read some great and some terrible Young Adult novels. The Hunger Games is written well, the language is concise, but descriptive. The world that our heroine Katliss lives in is vivid, but it's not so wordy that you get lost in the description and lose the plot. The first thirty or so pages were so bleak that I almost gave up on it. I wasn't really up for a book about starving children forced into gladiator combat with no hope of survival. After the reaping, the book really picks up. The story is that our world collapses and it is redrawn into 12 Districts. Every year each district draws two tributes (kids) that compete in a fight to the death call The Hunger Games, that is televised. It's has all the glorification (and sponsors) of our Olympics. The Hunger Games are to remind the people of the country of how lucky they are to live their meager lives without the Capital making it worse. It sounds goofy and ridiculous and in the hands of a less author it would be. Collins infuses the material with life and fleshes out details of characters and setting that make everything overwhelming with emotion and realism.

The preparation for the games and the look into how the Society works is fascinating and well-drawn out. Everything seems futuristic, but not to a point where it is too unbelievable for the story. The characters are interesting and they are developed well, for the most part. I enjoyed the fact that Katniss wasn't romantic about the past or the future, that she was practical, resourceful and cold. It's just how someone who had to scrape together meager amounts of food for her family to subsist on would be. Her sister Prim was just as sketch of a character, but she is more a part of Katniss than an actual person to the story. Peetra, the baker's son and Katniss' fellow tribute from District 12, is written as one of the few good characters and without the moments of rebellion or anger, it would feel forced, but it doesn't. The romantic point of plot isn't overly forced, though I felt that Gale, Katniss' hunting partner in District 12 needed to be given more time if he was going to work as a potential partner for Katniss.

Overall the setting is inventive, the characters are real and resourceful and the plot and pacing are clever and quick. Don't let the YA stamp fool you. Read this book.

Rating: A must read.
1 Response
  1. Anonymous Says:

    Nice review! I'm glad you gave in and read this one, because this series is awesome! I'm eagerly awaiting the film adaptation.