my review of The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins and the rest of the series

The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins

Review of The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins and shorter reviews of the rest of the series. Properly the most famous dystopian YA from the aughts. I didn’t read them until the movies came out, to see what all the fuss was about – and boy did I see what the fuss was about! If you have somehow not read them yet, and like dystopian stuff, please go read them.

My review of The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins

Rating: 4 out of 5.

I really enjoyed The Hunger Games. It was thrilling and engaging and highly entertaining. It was really a page-turner! And I am a sucker for survival fiction.

I liked Katniss as a character most of the time and I thought most of her relationships were really interesting. The romance did however leave me cold.

My review from 2013 of The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins

Title: The Hunger Games
Series: The Hunger Games series
Author: Suzanne Collins
Genre: Dystopia, science fiction, young adult

Everyone raved about The Hunger Games last year, but at the time I didn’t get around to reading it. Then the movie came out and my sister read it and loved it, and I didn’t read it. Last month one of my friends lend it to me and finally this December I found a slot in my reading schedule to read it.

I think I can reveal, I liked it and I liked it a lot! I read all of the first book in two sittings and I read way into the night. I was quite annoyed that I didn’t bring book two along with me to my parents’ house.

The Hunger Games had me totally captivated. Not I think because of Katniss being in danger but because of the pacing and the writing. I kept wanting to know what happened next.

The setting

I really liked the scenes back in district 12, learning about the day-to-day life of their sucky existence. I particularly liked the chapter about the months after Katniss’ father’s death and her mother’s depression. It felt very real and Katniss’ lack of trust in her mother after that felt very real to me. It also really gave a great inside into her character. She has been let down as a very young age by her mother, no wonder she has a hard time trusting that Peeta actually likes her.

The training scenes at the training facility was frustrating but good. But at this point I got quite frustrated with Katniss. She has a talent for screwing relationships up for herself.

I think the arena scenes worked really well. I love survival stories so Katniss’ alone time in the arena was lovely. I think her budding friendship with the young girl was really nice. It was important that Katniss is not a killer at heart, she will defend herself but she actually never hunted anyone down in cold blood.

Let’s talk a little bit about the world building, because everyone else have… I think I would have liked it better if it was only hinted at being in North America, rather than said outright because I have a hard time buying it. Partly because I can’t see quite how the economics of the system works.

I think the idea of the Hunger Games was heavily inspired by the ancient Roman arena games. Where they forced felons to fight for the entertainment of the masses both to control the masses and to control the colonies and the citizens really liked it. So blood sports like that is not totally unimaginable. The total lack of rebellion seems a bit weird. I don’t think that the state quite offers enough in return to secure the sectors’ collaboration, because nobody can keep anyone completely submissive with just fear and force alone. But so many science fiction, especially dystopias are not completely plausible. They can still be awesome setting for stories anyway.

The romance

The part of the book I didn’t much like was the romance between Katniss and Peeta the baker boy. It was the typical teen-lit thick-headedness standing in the way kind of relationship. I understood why she acted the way she did, but I didn’t particularly like it. I have been in a stable relationship for years and years and I just don’t have much patience with that kind of very young love.

Show spoiler for the ending
Seriously what was the point of the freaking werewolves, why oh why. They were pointless and was the only part of the book where I thought the writing (rather than what was going on) was gratuitous. We had gotten the point that the Gamemasters were evil shits who don’t care about human life at that point, so it seemed really pointless to have gen-modded undead werewolves attacking them. That just seemed stupid. It also seemed a bit anticlimactic because of the buildup to the big fight.

The setup for the next book is really interesting and had me really regretting that I didn’t bring the next book along with me. I didn’t like the stupid ending to their budding relationship but the whole paranoia Big Brother is watching and is distrusting of you was super. I really liked the save that the state made. And I am looking forward to see how this will play out in the next book.

All in all, I really enjoyed the book. It was thrilling and engaging and highly entertaining. It was really a page-turner! I liked Katniss as a character most of the time and I thought most of her relationships were really interesting. And I am a sucker for survival fiction.

The stats: The Hunger Games

Published: 2008 by Scholastic Press
Length:  374 pages
Read: December 20 to 21, 2013

My review of Catching Fire by Suzanne Collins

Rating: 4.5 out of 5.

I have just finished reading this, it is now 01.30 in the morning. I started reading it about 2 in the afternoon. So I have devoured the book in just under 12 hours – stopping to eat dinner and watch Doctor Who. It has been quite some time since I have read something this intensely.

My review of Mockingjay by Suzanne Collins

Rating: 5 out of 5.

Mockingjay is a very emotional and rather dark book. It shows that war only has losers. I was completely captivated but also crying towards the end.

What an emotional book. Though I have to say there wasn’t many high notes to play the dark notes off. War is horrible, there are no real winners – especially not when both sides refuse to see the other site as human, especially not when nobody cares about civilian casualties, when civilian casualties are used as part of the weapon.

Once again I was captivated by the book, almost unable to put it down, reading the book in 24 hours. In some ways I am glad the series is done so I can do other things. The last 100 pages were horrible and evil and perfect. I had the biggest lump in throat for most of the time, tears spilling for the last few pages.

The series overall

Amazing series – I am so happy that I finally read it. And the series had the perfect length. No questions were really left unanswered for me, not really.

I think it is a very adult book series to be marketed as young adult – which do tend to be quite fluffy, not that I think young adults can’t handle it, because of course they can, they are tougher than they look.

Thank you Caroline for talking me into it. I was quite apprehensive about it. I really didn’t expect much from it.

This review was originally posted: December 25, 2013. Updated and edited June 26, 2023



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