Tuesday, May 18, 2010

The Hunger Games, A Review

TheHungerGames The world is changed, yet eerily familiar, in Suzanne Collins’ fantastic novel The Hunger Games.  In the country of Panem, Katniss Everdeen is getting ready for the Reaping.  Every year, children between the ages of twelve and eighteen have their names put in a lottery.  Two names are selected from each of the twelve Districts, one boy, one girl.  The twenty-four people are then rushed off to the Arena in brutal combat on live television for the pleasure of the citizens of the Capitol.  And while the Capitol people laugh and bet on the odds, the rest of the people of Panem watch on, rooting for the success of their district’s tributes, and praying that their kids will make it through the fray.  These Games serve as an annual reminder of what happens when you go against the Capitol.

Collins has constructed a mesmerizing world filled with characters to love and loathe.  The people of the twelve districts are burdened and oppressed.  Food is always scarce.  Freedom is severely limited.  Panem is not a pretty place to live, unless you live in the Capitol.  Many of the ideas aren’t necessarily original, but the story is so well done and well written that it’s impossible not to like. 

Katniss, a 16-year-old girl, lives in District 12 with her mother and her little sister.  She spends most of free time illegally hunting and using the game to provide for her family.  Her life is hard, but manageable.  Her father died in a mining accident, leaving her mother a shell of a woman.

I find it difficult to say a lot about The Hunger Games without going into spoiler territory.  I haven’t cared about characters like this in a long time.  Katniss is an excellent protagonist.  Smart and witty when she needs to be, but still a teenager, occasionally thick-headed and silly.  In fact, every character in this book is one of high quality imagination.  The Tributes are all pitiable, but highly intriguing.  The supporting cast—Cinna, Haymitch, and even Effie—all appear like real people that have cares and worries.

The plot is very fast paced, told in a first-person POV through Katniss.  I read the book as an audio copy and thought it was well done.  I was eager to pick the story back up and see the fates of the people I’d grown to care for.

I can’t think of anything that I disliked other than the fact that some of Katniss’ realizations sometimes take too long to come to fruition.  Then I need to remember that she’s a young girl with a lot on her mind and I shrug it off.

Overall, The Hunger Games is an amazing read.  Characterization is top-notch.  The writing style is very smooth.  The word usage is often spot-on and perfect.  And the story is simply breathtaking.  If you’re looking for something dystopic, totalitarian, and post-apocalyptic, then definitely read The Hunger Games.  Or, if you just want a great book to read, this is it.

11 comments:

Marie said...

I think just about everyone has loved this book! Great review.

Crystal said...

I absolutely love this series! Great Review! I believe the last book, Mockingjay, comes out August 24th!!! Team Peeta!!

logankstewart said...

@Marie: Yeah, I haven't seen any negative reviews, but that's a good thing.

@Crystal: I'm already looking forward to Mockingjay. I might have a Catching Fire review up this week!

As a side note, I told Keisha that if Twilight had this kind of romance Katniss/Peeta/Gale, then it would be much better. I'm not usually one for the romance stuff, but I truly care about who Katniss winds up with. Great stuff. Team Peeta, indeed!

David Wagner said...

I've read too many great reviews of this book to pass it up any longer. It is now on my "to be read" pile. I look forward to your review of the sequel.

logankstewart said...

@Dave: Capital! I hope you enjoy it as much as I did.

Krista said...

So happy you enjoyed it, Logan, great review! Still one of my very favorite YA books no doubt! And haha I'm so team Gale!

P.S. Glad your back and had such a fantastic time, too!

logankstewart said...

@Krista: It's almost a type of story that I wouldn't even consider YA, as the events are so dark and adult. But, thinking about it as YA makes it even more sinister.

Gale?! Ack! I'm definitely rooting for Peeta.

Okie said...

Great review. Glad to hear you enjoyed it.

I'm hoping to start reading Catching Fire in the next couple of days. Part of me wants to wait until a little closer to Mockingjay's release because I hear Fire is a cliffhanger and I wonder just how much suspense she'll shove on me.

Still, I'm excited to see this series continue. I love the writing, the characters, the world...it's just so much fun.

logankstewart said...

@Okie: Catching Fire was still excellent, just not as good as the first one, in my opinion. Still, the story is fantastic, and I'm very eager for the final book to hit the shelves.

David Wagner said...

Finally read this one... a great read, though the ending seemed both incongruous and anti-climactic. Still recommend it though.

Gotta track down Catching Fire now...

logankstewart said...

@David: Glad you liked it. Catching Fire was pretty good, but I think I enjoyed the first better, though the sequel did have some pretty memorable scenes. Hope you like the rest of Katniss' struggle.