The Hunger Games (The Hunger Games #1) by Suzanne Collins | Book Review+ Discussion

Title: The Hunger Games
Author: Suzanne Collins
Publication: September 14th 2008 by Scholastic Press
Format:  First Edition, 374 pages
Source: Personal Purchase

Plot in a Nutshell:
Winning will make you famous.
Losing means certain death.

The nation of Panem, formed from a post-apocalyptic North America, is a country that consists of a wealthy Capitol region surrounded by 12 poorer districts. Early in its history, a rebellion led by a 13th district against the Capitol resulted in its destruction and the creation of an annual televised event known as the Hunger Games. In punishment, and as a reminder of the power and grace of the Capitol, each district must yield one boy and one girl between the ages of 12 and 18 through a lottery system to participate in the games. The ‘tributes’ are chosen during the annual Reaping and are forced to fight to the death, leaving only one survivor to claim victory.

When 16-year-old Katniss’s young sister, Prim, is selected as District 12’s female representative, Katniss volunteers to take her place. She and her male counterpart Peeta, are pitted against bigger, stronger representatives, some of whom have trained for this their whole lives. , she sees it as a death sentence. But Katniss has been close to death before. For her, survival is second nature.

-Synopsis from Goodreads

Thoughts in General:

After such a long time of avoiding it, I finally caved in and read The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins and now I get why everyone has been raving about this book for years. The writing style of this novel will immerse you into the world of Katniss Everdeen. The characters were all compelling and really complex, which I found quite enjoyable and exhilirating. The plot was interesting and it was executed in a way that will make you excited and scared for what was about to happen next, making you turn the pages until you’re done. I am really happy that I finally gave this book a shot and I am kind of disappointed with myself for waiting this long to do so.

Thoughts in Detail (CONTAINS SPOILERS):


~DO NOT CROSS THIS THRESHOLD, IF YOU HAVE NOT READ/FINISHED THIS BOOK! YOU WILL BE SPOILED! YOU’VE BEEN WARNED!~

Characters
The Hunger Games is told from the First Person POV of our protagonist Katniss Everdeen. 

From the get-go I really liked Katniss because of how independent she was. The whole back-story about her dad dying in a mine accident when she was young was devastating. To top that, her mom became stuck on this grief-stricken funk and it was up to her to practically save her family. You couldn’t help but admire her determination and drive to survive (in and out of The Arena). Her passion for protecting her sister was really inspiring and I felt the emotions of anguish she faced with Rue’s death because of the parallels she saw in the two of them. Although, I do think that she was too surly and ill-tempered most of the time, which was somewhat her downfall during the interview portion before the games. I guess that was the effect of the cruelty she faced in her life and she couldn’t shake that off. Overall I did see her commitment in protecting the one she loves and her passion for it is truly remarkable.

Then we have Katniss’ family consisting of Prim and her mother. The way Katniss described Prim you couldn’t help but love her too. She was so sweet, innocent and I see why Katniss would risk her life just to save her sister. Even though  Katniss’ mother wasn’t perfect, I saw the glimmer of dedication through Katniss’ expositions (such as when she’s healing the sick) and I kinda wish that we could see more from her mom and dad’s past (a short novella about their romance would have been intriguing and I will buy it for sure).

Then we have Gale, Katniss’ best friend, who seemed to be her only confidant all of her life. I really liked him and the way he consoled her during the rough times. Their dynamic was really apparent, especially when they’re hunting and I love the way Katniss interacted with him. I felt that whenever she was with Gale, Katniss lowered her defenses and her true self pops out.

We also have Peeta Mellark who was Katniss’ fellow tribute. I just have to tell you that Katniss’ perspective really interfered with my perception of him. In the moments when Katniss suspected Peeta of only putting up an act for the games, I also perceived him as that. That’s why I didn’t get a true grip of my own feelings towards him, which I think was a good thing because it just shows how gripping the writing style of Suzanne Collins was. I have too admit, the story about the bread and his act of kindness towards Katniss was really sweet and the moment on the roof top made me root for him. When Katniss told him the truth by the end of the book and he drifted away from her, I was just completely saddened by it.

We also have Katniss and Peeta’s team which consisted of Haymitch (their drunkard mentor and former victor of The Hunger Games), Effie Trinket (their escort), Cinna, Portia and the rest of the glam squad. 

Haymitch was really annoying at the beginning. He was always drunk and indifferent towards the situation of Katniss and Peeta. Although, once he sobered up, I admired his wit and street smarts. The way he knew how to play up Katniss and Peeta’s “romance” was pure genius. I also liked the way Katniss could read his signals while they were in the games because it shows how intellegently done was his strategy.
Effie did not play a huge part in this book that’s why I couldn’t say that much about her. However, her enthusiasm and punctuality was funny and her outfits were outrageous. Cinna and Portia’s ability to create costumes were just crazy good. The way I imagined that District outfit with the synthetic fire Katniss had to wear was really exciting. I also liked how he gave her that pep talk before the interview with Cesar Flickerman, which was also one of those warm moments within the book.

Rue was such a sweet little thing. I was really glad that she teamed up with Katniss because the information she gave her proved to be incredibly useful throughout the games. Her innocence was just lovely and when the moment of her death arrived, the feels were just overwhelming (I didn’t cry but the grief was on my chest). I thought that scene really opened up Katniss’ shell which showed her gentler nature. 


Thresh, who was Rue’s co-tribute in their District, was terrifying at first, but when he actually let Katniss go I really wished that he wouldn’t die too soon (that didn’t come true).

The characters were all written vividly and I admire the author’s skill. Suzanne Collins captured the characters essences and made them distinct and unforgettable in the minds of the readers (well at least for me).

Setting
The book is set in a country known as Panem, which was the former North America. The world building in this book was good, but it wasn’t as spectacular compared with the other dystopian novels I’ve read, so far. The concept of the Districts was interesting, however, I didn’t get a good handle of it that much. There were Districts that I was still not familiar with and I wish that it was painted clearer. The concept of the games was just terrifying and I just feel like it was so pointless and vindictive. I have got to hand it down, the arena gave me the spooks.

Story
The overall plot of the book mainly focused on the theme of survival and being able to be strong in the face of harrowing problems. I really liked the twists and turns of the event Suzanne Collins placed within the novel (especially the tandem of Katniss and Peeta). I am also glad that romance wasn’t a focal point in the book. Even though there were smidgens of it, it didn’t take up most of the book and I found that really refreshing (being used to the prominent romances within dystopians such as Shatter Me and Under The Never Sky). I have to admit that the plot is not totally original but the characters distinct personalities made this book a lot more interesting. The ending of this book was just thrilling and I couldn’t help but feel the itch to instantly read the next one.

Rating:
I give The Hunger Games a…

It lived up to my expectations and more.
What are your thoughts regarding The Hunger Games? Please do share them by commenting down below.
Happy Reading,   

   

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