Review: The Hunger Games

The Hunger GamesThe Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I always knew that eventually I’d have to read this book. For one thing, I figured that Scott would choose it for the A Good Story is Hard to Find podcast, because I know he’s a fan. Then, of course there is the upcoming movie which looks darned good in the trailer. And the myriad book buddies who are incredulous that I haven’t read it.

Who knew that it would be fellow small group facilitators at RCIA who would make the final push? We were whispering together in the back of the church while the catechumens (nonbaptized who are converting) and their sponsors were practicing for last weekend’s Rite of Call (or something like that) where they are presented to our church at Mass this week. (Let’s not get into the fact that I am now going to have to add Les Miserables to my “to read” list and my movie list. Yes, these guys are into great stories.)

Anyway, that made me wonder if it were available to borrow for my Kindle since I’m a Prime Member. Sure enough, I was able to begin reading after the click of a button.

We all know what this is about, right? In a dystopian future, Panem is the Capitol of the land, surrounded by 12 outlying districts. Life is severe and difficult in the districts and, making matters worse, a harsh tribute is exacted as punishment for a failed rebellion. A boy and a girl from each district must travel to the Capitol and participate in the annual Hunger Games, a fight to the death on live TV. This is rightly regarded as a death sentence, so when her little sister is chosen, 16-year-old Katniss steps forward in her place.

I was surprised at how interesting I found this book, to the point of staying up much too late to finish it at break-neck speed. It is a formula with the usual elements of a girlie adventure book adhered to with somewhat depressing predictability (she’s prettier than she knows, just saying what she thinks and being her own awkward self engages the crowd, etc.). However, the competition and her relationship with Peeta raises this above the usual fare, especially since we know she will survive the games. Heck, she’s telling the story for one thing.

Although I’ve heard the other two books of the trilogy are less solid I know that eventually she’s gonna have to take those bahstids at Capitol out and I am curious to see what happens. I’ll have to wait a bit though since I can’t check out another Amazon book until March 1 and the library has 117 people waiting in line before me for an available copy. So I will rejoin the tale in a couple of weeks.

About Julie Davis
  • Lynne

    I’m on the third book, getting a little tired of the series. The books are good, a fast read but it feels so much like the Twilight series, a girl who loves two guys but can’t really commit to either.

  • Dennis

    I have read all three. The first book is by far the best. The other two seem contrived and drag on as a result. The third book in particular is anything but the fast-paced read of the first. The third also ends abruptly by rushing. The entire ending is resolved in two chapters that make you say, “really, that’s it.” Or at least it did for me. Finish the series to say that you have, but don’t expect too much.

    • juliedavis

      That’s what my youngest daughter said too. I have finally gotten halfway through book 2, which I haven’t enjoyed much as Katniss is not showing much native intelligence or reasoning ability. However, my daughter says that the second half is good and I wanna know more about District 13!

  • Patty

    I have to agree with what was said above, particularly re: the last installment. It was an utter letdown, unfortunately. A lot of the action happens behind the scenes, & I thought that this was a lazy way to tie things up quickly. :\

  • Tim Seitz-Brown

    The core question: were President Snow and the Capitol and President Coin and District 13 different from one another?

    Both sides employ “good” violence against the “bad” violence of their enemies.

    Both sides use people.

    Brutality on both sides brings horrific suffering.

    Is ther another Way to be in the world?

    • juliedavis

      I haven’t yet read the other two books. Though I feel that you included a giant spoiler to the end of the trilogy without checking that … hmmm.

  • Satia

    I think the books were, for the most part, great. I expected to hate the first one because it sounded derivative of Battle Royale, a movie my children and I all agreed was horribly violent but provocative in its implications. But I devoured the first and eagerly awaited the publication of the next two.

    The third drags a bit but, having recently reread 1984 and forgotten how so many pages go on and on about The Book, I now wonder if some of the pacing isn’t trying to say something that action simply cannot. Some messages cannot be told through violence.

    The ending is disappointing to some but I found it perfect. I could not see any other conclusion and would have been disappointed in anything else, truth be told. As for the romance, I must have willfully overlooked it because I typically loathe romance novels and I loved this trilogy enough to recommend it to my son when he came for a visit last September. He loved them and I still don’t know what he thought of the movie.