May 11, 2011

A Battle to the Death • The Hunger Games

The Hunger Games book cover
The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins
Series: The Hunger Games #1
Publisher: Scholastic
Publication Date: September 14, 2008
Source/Format: Bought || Paperback

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.

I kept hearing rave reviews about The Hunger Games all year last year, but it was only recently I decided to take the plunge and actually purchase the series. Now, after reading the first book, I can hardly believe I waited so long!

The Hunger Games simply blew me away. The story was very well-written, introducing us to a dystopian world where child representatives of the twelve districts are chosen by the Capitol to compete in "The Hunger Games", a pseudo-reality type show that involves a fight to the death. The settings were realistically depicted, especially the arena where most of it takes place; the characters were brought to life quite spectacularly (and there'll be more about this in a bit).

What got me interested in the first place was the premise of a world where the young ones were being forced to fight to the death - it's an interesting, thought-provoking sort of concept where you wonder just how corrupt and soulless the Capitol is, how desperate the people are, what kind of values their society has. It was sort of scary, but very creative.

The book takes us through a lot of unexpected twists and turns, especially during the actual Game. The reader truly feels as if they are taking the same journey as our protagonist, Katniss, and the other competitors. It's filled with fantastical action, crazy elements of surprise and tended towards being exciting and keeping the reader on the edge of their seat. Even if the book ended the way I thought it would, I still thought getting there was incredibly fun.

Character-wise, I loved Katniss, Peeta, Rue and Cinna, with small soft spots for Gale, Effie and Haymitch too. Katniss was a protagonist I could relate to, although I'm definitely not as talented as she is when it comes to hunting and survival. I think it was her love for her family and her determination to try and do right by people that really drew me to her and had me rooting for her during the Game. Peeta, I think, requires no explanation. He's in love with Katniss. That's all that matters. Rue reminded me of my littlest sister, just like she reminded Katniss of Prim. I loved how smart she was for someone her age, and how much courage she showed in the face of all the danger she was placed in. I cried when she was killed; I loved her character that much. Cinna was my favorite adult character because he had such a fantastic job (dressing up Katniss for the Games) and because of how supportive he was to Katniss. He seems like such an interesting character and I can't wait to see him portrayed on the big screen.

I finished the book in one night, staying up till the wee hours of the morning. It was that gripping; people don't lie when they say that The Hunger Games is a wonderful book. I am crossing my fingers that the movie turns out well. I'd definitely recommend it for fans of young adult fiction.


  1. I wish I could go back and read it over again for the first time; I remember sitting on my porch and gasping every now and again. It is a well-crafted story, especially thanks to Collins' scriptwriting background that really gave the action scenes that little bit more.

    1. It was such an INTENSE read. I literally felt like I couldn't put it down while I was in the middle of it or I would miss all the action!

  2. Great review Alexa! :) I still haven't read this one (I know, I know...) but I'm going to! The first book has been sitting on my bookshelf for a few weeks so I'm really looking forward to picking it up. I wasn't sure if it's as good as everyone says it is or not but I guess I'll just have to wait and see :)

    1. I really hope you got a chance to read it! I like that this one is pretty fast-paced and cinematic. It definitely lends an urgency to the story!


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