Thursday, 19 August 2010

Review: Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins

I'm sitting at my computer right now, struggling to find the right words to describe this book. To the left of me lies an affectionately perused copy of The Hunger Games borrowed from my school library.

Let's just start with the age-old cliché: I could not put this book down. Literally. I was walking around school today, my face buried in the book, and using my feet to feel my way around. I almost ran into a teacher. It was that good.

Title: The Hunger Games
Author: Suzanne Collins
Series: The Hunger Games
Genre: Paranormal Romance
Publisher: Scholastic Press

Edit: This review has been submitted to the lovely Presenting Lenore's August dystopian book review contest.

Blurb from Goodreads:
"Could you survive on your own, in the wild, with every one out to make sure you don't live to see the morning?

In the ruins of a place once known as North America lies the nation of Panem, a shining Capitol surrounded by twelve outlying districts. The Capitol is harsh and cruel and keeps the districts in line by forcing them all to send one boy and one girl between the ages of twelve and eighteen to participate in the annual Hunger Games, a fight to the death on live TV.

Sixteen-year-old Katniss Everdeen, who lives alone with her mother and younger sister, regards it as a death sentence when she steps forward to take her sister's place in the Games. But Katniss has been close to dead before—and survival, for her, is second nature. Without really meaning to, she becomes a contender. But if she is to win, she will have to start making choices that will weigh survival against humanity and life against love."


Katniss lives in a post-apocalyptic world where what used to be the USA has been completely overhauled. The country, Panem, was divided into thirteen districts, which ringed the Capitol, the cities where the oppressive rulers lie. After a revolt from the districts, the Capitol decreed that every year, there would be the Hunger Games, in which each district would make a sacrifice to repent for the rebellion of their ancestors.

Each year, one boy and one girl are drawn from a lottery as tributes from each of the twelve remaining districts. They are forced into the Hunger Games, a reality TV show in which all the tributes fight for survival in an expansive and dangerous terrain. Twenty-four enter the arena, fighting to the death. Only one will leave.

Katniss Everdeen (tragically named after a plant) steps forward to take the place of her sister, Prim, when her name is drawn. Katniss is pulled into a world where everything she does could mean the difference between life and death.

The Hunger Games is a classic combination of Lord of the Flies, Survivor, the infamous TV show Big Brother, a Greek legend Theseus and the Minotaur, and for those of you that know it, Naruto’s Chuunin exams. A group of young people are sacrificed to become part of a reality show where they fight to the death in front of millions of viewers. So I can’t say that the premise of the story is all that original.

But Collins tells the story in a way that is more captivating than anything before it. I found myself immersed in this world that is equal parts fantasy and reality. There are no words to describe the suspense the book held me with. I stayed up reading late into the night by the light of my iPod, and felt my heart race deep under the covers. (Okay, that sounds a little wrong, but you know what I mean.)

There are so many elements of the book I loved. It may be twisted of me to say this, but if there were no fatalities involved, the Games would be amazing to watch. The inclusion of sponsors (who can pay for things to be sent to you in the arena), the broadcast of deaths every night, are a refreshingly original twist to game shows.

The characters of Katniss and Peeta (pronounced Peter), the boy tribute from their district, are amazingly developed throughout the book, and the romance between them is confusingly heartwarming. I love the characters of Rue and Haymitch. I rooted for Foxface too, even though she was annoyingly clever. By the way, I’m Team Peeta.Go away, Gale.

The sense, the need to survive, is subtly overwhelming. I just couldn’t get enough of this book. The imagery is so vivid that I’m sure that the movie will have a lot to compete with.

This is so frustrating – I simply can’t convey the absolute brilliance that this novel exudes. There’s just so much of this book I want to describe, but I don’t want to spoil it for those that haven’t read it yet. I want to give it the best review I can, but I don’t think that anything will do it justice. Except itself, of course.

The story ends on a cliffhanger that is making me itch for more. I’m like an addict yearning for the next dose of adrenaline filled book glory. Catching Fire – I need you!

 I'm glad I've read this just before Mockingjay, book 3, is released - I probably couldn't have stood the wait. This is one of theose books that you just can't get over.

Rating: ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ - ♪♫ Oh my god, I'm so in love, I've found you fi-nal-l-y...♫♪


Nomes said...

a really good review. i like your style :) i havent reviewed this as i'm sure all i'd be doing would be gushing :) i couldnt put it down either - read it on one day and read catching fire the next.

i'm all about Gale though ;)

Tina (Book Couture) said...

Thank you - I found it really hard to write without gushing all over the place. You're so lucky you were able to read it the very next day!

But Peeta is so sweet, I can't help but love him, especially when he declared his love for her on stage, and when he threw down his knife in that final moment. Awww...

Kelli (I'd So Rather Be Reading) said...

Nice review! I'm with Nomes---Team Gale all the way. You will hear more from Gale in CF. How did you find out Peeta is pronounced Peter? I haven't heard that before!

Tina (Book Couture) said...

Kelli, I'm not completely sure, but I used phonetics to sound it out, so I assumed that "Peeta" was "Peter". >_< I hope I'm right.

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