Where to even start! This book was never on my radar until recently mostly due to the fact that all I knew of it was that teens killed teens. Several people in my sphere mentioned it including my book club. On a whim I thought I’d listen to the audiobook. Having a 15 minute drive to work, gives me plenty of time for listening. Well, I finished it a few days ago. After mulling it over, I thought I’d lay out my thoughts.
So here goes!
The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins
Genre – Dystopian, YA
Series – 1st in The Hunger Games series
Rating – PG-13 for violence
America no longer exists, and Panam has taken it’s place. Panam consists of twelve districts which are ruled by the Capitol. Most of the districts live in poverty and surrounded by rules & restrictions. Years ago the districts rebelled against the Capitol which resulted in district thirteen being obliterated. Now to remind the people of their submission, the capitol takes a boy and girl from each district and forces them to compete in a game to the death. Katniss loves her sister more then anything. Being from one of the poorest districts, Katniss has learned how to hunt and provide for her mom and sister. During the reaping, her sister’s name is called, and instead Katniss takes her sister’s place as tribute. She is whisked off to the Capitol with her fellow tribute, Peeta.
My Thoughts –
First off the narrator was fantastic! She gave each character a unique voice and captured their emotions well. I was impressed. For me the narrator can make or break a book. Even if the book was well written. So, liked that she did a good job.
Second, hats off to the author for being able to create a world grounded in our own, yet unique enough to be interesting. She had a way of writing that draws you into the story. For me this was more plot driven then character driven. The whole backstory and setting were well created. I liked how each district had it’s own resource. District 12 is somewhere in the Appalachian mountains which is a region that is fascinating.
Here is where it gets interesting, for a good chunk of the book I struggled to connect to any of the characters. My problem with Katniss was that she was so independent and strong that she was devoid of emotion. I mean really? She only loved Prim, who was kinda annoying. We do see the whole book from Katniss’s perspective so we get to know her really well. I just wished we could have softened some of her hardness. I’ll be honest I didn’t care for Peeta a whole lot. I know he is everyone’s favorite, but for this book, I liked Gale better as he was friends with Katniss from childhood.
Which lead us to the love triangle. While is isn’t horrible in this one, it is there. This trope has been way overused. Most of it was staged for the games which was different. But this will have repercussions later on for both of them. Katniss kinda was oblivious to the fact that Peeta actually liked her. Like really??? How did she not see that?
Peeta is nice to a fault. He loves people passionately, cares for his brothers, and has a humorous side. I just didn’t like him with Katniss. I did like Gale & Haymitch (not sure on spelling due to audiobook). Despite his being almost always drunk, Haymitch did have some good advice. Acted like a father to Katniss. Also, Rue! She was probably the best character in the whole book.
Let’s talk about the actual games.
To start I think the author used the games to show just how corrupt the government was. She shows that the crowds actually like it when a tribute dies. This is what the Capitol loves. Vanity, shows, and seeing just how far these kids will go to protect themselves. This is what Katniss and the others are up against. Even the President manipulates people. However, I did want Katniss to team up and make a stand that they won’t fight. Band together and make a statement. While she does try to take away there being a victor, I thought it was too little. So many lives could have been saved.
Do teens kill each other? Yes, they do. Do they want to? No, most of them are pawns and being forced into this.
It is an interesting story that is about love, survival, & self-sacrifice.
Content – No language which was surprising! Some innuendo, mostly just kisses tho. Violence is throughout the second half. Everything from a deadly hornet aka Tracker Jackers to sword wounds. Blood isn’t really talked about, but lots of characters die.
Did I enjoy the story? Yes, to an extent I did. It was creative and the plot held my attention. I do wish the characters maybe were portrayed a little better. Tweak a few things here & there. I think the violence was a device used by the author to show the corruption, not to say I do wish there was less though. Also, I would probably not hand this off to a young teen. As an adult, I think it gives you things to think about. But definitely didn’t deserve all the hype it got.
I have started the second book which in some respects I like better. Although Katniss can still be so oblivious. 😉
What are your thoughts on this book? Favorite characters? Movies vs book?
Up next – I’m finally sinking my teeth into Wayne Thomas Batson’s newest installation in the Myridian Constellation series, Mirror of Souls!