Book Review: The Hunger Games

So I’m really glad I didn’t read Suzanne Collins’ The Hunger Games until the week the sequel was released. This way I don’t have to wait whatever horrifying amount of time everyone else did (a year?? torment!) for the second installment. I am, as a matter of fact, sitting in Borders poised to get my greedy hands on Catching Fire as soon as I finish this post.

Any review—or even the briefest mention—of The Hunger Games I’ve ever read online gushes about this novel. So now I’m gonna gush a little, too. Because The Hunger Games was nothing short of fabulous.

Set in the ruins of North America, an oppressive government yearly sponsors the Hunger Games, a reality TV show where twenty-four randomly selected young people are forced to fight to the death as the entire nation watches. It’s brutal. It’s terrifying. And there can only be one survivor. The reason the government does this? To show all twelve Districts of the nation of Panea that they are in control. The story follows Katniss, who volunteers to join the Hunger Games in place of her little sister.

It’s sort of a sci-fi thriller adventure dystopian borderline-horror (though not more than I could handle, which means it’s mild :-)) novel that’s fast-paced, to say the least. I finished it in between piano students today, gripping the book with white knuckles and forgetting to blink. I got to the end very, very happy that Catching Fire was only a bookstore away, and wishing eye drops weren’t quite so expensive.

To sum up? Highly impressed. Hats off, Ms. Collins. May book two be just as fabulous and book three be swift in coming!

(As a side note, it seems like there were a lot of typos in Hunger Games. I’ll often find one or two in any given book, but there were upwards of half a dozen in this one. Did anybody else notice that?)

4 thoughts on “Book Review: The Hunger Games

  1. Joanna,

    I had asked at our blog who wrote – but now I see, so no need to reply.

    You were sold, and I like the premise, so this will be one I'll definitely check out. Might be a little while since I have a few I'm reading but will letcha know!

    Many thanks — unless I don't like it ;). If that happens, watch out for the Forest of Hands and Teeth I become! Joking, of course. 🙂

  2. Joanna,

    Don't know if you go back and read replies to old posts, but I thought this was the appropriate place for these comments.

    At the prodding of my son, I read through the all the Percy Jackson and the Olympian books before I got to The Hunger Games and Catching Fire.

    I've gotta say, you were spot on in your review of The Hunger Games, and Catching Fire was compelling as well. Extremely absorbing and fantastic reads. Not only did I enjoy, but I handed them to my son soon afterward, and he blazed through both books, too. One of the major plusses for the books, for me, is that although they have a female protagonist, boys/guys can enjoy them because of the subject matter involved. At least for my son, for whatever reasons (and I think a lot of boys — he's 11 — are like him), he generally sticks to books with male protagonists. However, for him (and I should also include myself here), Katniss rocked, the supporting characters, even with just bits of the book devoted to some of them (i.e. Cinna, Haymitch, Rue), left indelible marks, and the world of Panea held a stark picture of what could be. It's been enjoyable listening to his thoughts since he's read it.

    Now, he's pining for the third installment like the rest of us. Also, I'm giving the two books as gifts to some other extended family members, so your review obviously went a long way with me.

    On a somewhat related aside, I just wanted to say that I really, really enjoy the review part of your blog. Because of my job, kids, and a few other obligations, I don't get to be the bookstore hound that I (sometimes) am on a limited basis (and would like to be more of one), so I really rely on word of mouth — from other folks, usually in my writer's critique group but sometimes on the Web, that I grow to trust — to find new, entertaining, and thought-provoking stories. Obviously, tastes differ, but most of the books you've reviewed seem right up my alley, so I'm very appreciative.

    Thanks so much!

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