The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins

Amazon Synopsis: First in the ground-breaking HUNGER GAMES trilogy. Set in a dark vision of the near future, a terrifying reality TV show is taking place. Twelve boys and twelve girls are forced to appear in a live event called The Hunger Games. There is only one rule: kill or be killed. When sixteen-year-old Katniss Everdeen steps forward to take her younger sister's place in the games, she sees it as a death sentence. But Katniss has been close to death before. For her, survival is second nature.

Around the time this book became popular I was going into the "Twilight Cloud of Denial" where I had been exposed to so much negativity about the series that I gave up on liking it. Add the hormones of being an 11 year old girl in her first year in high school at an all girls school and you get a girl who has a constant mood (still does sometimes) on and has all but abandoned the YA genre, although it was not know as that at the time really, in exchange for more adult books in the form of historical fiction. Don't get me wrong, I still love historical fiction but at this time I was reading maybe a book every 6 months and it was by Phillipa Gregory. They actually teach this book as part of the lower school English course so it has been staring at me for weeks from a shelf in my classroom. Finally though when the second film for this franchise was about to come out I bucked up the courage to start the first book with the intention of reading the first two before I went to go see the movie. Life gets in the way though and I only finished this one about an hour after seeing the second movie.

In part 1 of the book, the world of Panem is established. It is a bleak and dangerous place to live, especially in the lower districts where food is scarce.Collins has successfully created a world which has such overt social class it is laughable, especially when you meet people from the other districts. The world is a scary place and I found myself really being able to imagine what the world looked like but of course you can never truly know what it would be like but Collins gives you a pretty good idea. When the games are introduced I found myself really tense and kind of scared as I began to think what it would be like to be in such desperate circumstances. Collins really emphasised the position of the people and how they were not able to do anything to stop this horrible tradition.

Katniss Everdeen is the narrator of this story and at first she kind of bummed me out. Her moody demeanour was not something I wanted after a day at school with the prospect of homework in between chapters. As the story develops though you begin to understand thoroughly about her and how her need to be strong is justified and eventually works to her advantage in some ways. She still seems to be emotionally stunted but it is clear that as the books go on she will begin to open up more.

The weird romance triangle in this story meant that it was pretty clear I was going to be team Peeta. I mean common! We barely see Gale in the book and, despite my thinking Peeta was a bit whiny in the first movie, we see he loves to have a good moan about everything and its mother. He seemed like the weakest character to me purely because he seemed quite bitter about his life, which I don't blame him for but it was a kind of selfish bitterness where the Capitol had done it to make his life hell personally. I hate people like this let alone book characters. People who think they are owed something by the world for breathing make me want to slam my head against the door and I know because I have been acquainted with a couple in my lifetime. They also tend to be the ones to act stupidly later in life in an attempt to feed their narcissism so I am a little suspicious of Gale and what he will do later on. Peeta was the last character I expected to like. I pictured him to be like Evan in The 5th Wave. The baker with emotional issues. He ended up being a sarcastic and sensitive character who knew how to exploit his emotions in favour of the games. In the first movie I just took this as whimpiness but when I watched the second movie I feel this side of him was explored more.

The action in this book was none stop. I found myself perched on my bed about 2cm from the page it was so tense. The fight and survival scenes seemed so realistic and were well written. It was graphic but not overly gruesome like some books are. There is nothing worse than a fight scene with half the stuff in their having no purpose. 

This book was a fast paced story which explored the realm of dictatorship and fear within an oppressed society whilst kicking. The chapters were too long so it took a while to get through but I will most definitely been reading the rest of this trilogy.

Rating: 4.7/5


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