Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Review: The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins

What can you say about a book that has been raved about by just about every person you know?  First off, I have to say that it's generally a bad thing when everyone else has said how good something is, because it has something to live up to.  Another bad thing about popular books is when you know they are leading into a series that hasn't finished yet.  What do you do?  Do you wait until they're all over so you can read them all at once, or do you hurry and join in so that you get the fun anticipation of waiting for each new release (you know, like the whole Harry Potter fix we all ached for)?  Well, I decided a long time ago that I wanted to read these books, but had my worries.  Thankfully, Dar over at Peeking Between the Pages let me know that she hadn't read the series yet either and would read The Hunger Games with me.  That pretty much did it for me, and the two of us set off to tackle this popular book together, as newbies to the game!

Here's a quick summary of the book, if you're one of the last to have read me:  "Katniss is a 16-year-old girl living with her mother and younger sister in the poorest district of Panem, the remains of what used be the United States. Long ago the districts waged war on the Capitol and were defeated. As part of the surrender terms, each district agreed to send one boy and one girl to appear in an annual televised event called, "The Hunger Games." The terrain, rules, and level of audience participation may change but one thing is constant: kill or be killed. When Kat's sister is chosen by lottery, Kat steps up to go in her place."  (Amazon)

Having admitted to my fears about reading such a popular book, I will also admit that I thought the book got off to a slow start.  I realized that the author had to set up the premise of the book, and the society that Katniss lived in, but I felt it struggled to get things moving.  Of course, once the actual Hunger Games began, I was pretty eager to keep reading.  The survival element of the game was hard to take, as I'm not a survivalist, nor camper of any form; therefore, I pretty much felt like a loser, and a character in the games that would have died during the first ten minutes.  Katniss's prowess in the forest, and her ability to care for herself were impressive, to put it lightly; she always seemed to know exactly what would keep her alive, and could anticipate what outside viewers of the game wanted to see (because there have to be viewers in a game, even when it is as sick as this game).

I liked the new twist to this dystopian novel, even though it felt familiar, and can understand its appeal.  I'm a little hesitant to say that I wasn't as over the moon as everyone else seems to have been, but do think it was a great read.  To be honest, I can see that the next installment Catching Fire might be a bit more exciting to me, as I can't really see where things are going, and can't wait to find out what is going to happen for Katniss.  I'm glad that I've read The Hunger Games, and am now on to the second book, which will be followed by the third installment, Mockingjay, in August.  I suppose that now was the perfect time to jump on board.

In hindsight, I feel a bit of remorse that I didn't read this book right out of the gates, before everyone else got to it and hyped it up for me.  I happened to read The Forest of Hands and Teeth last year before I'd heard anything about it.  Because I had no idea what the book was about, or even what anyone thought of it, I walked into it and felt like I'd been hit by a truck once I figured out the scary twist.  Would I feel that way if others had fed into it before I got to it?  I don't know.  I suppose that is always the fear of reading any book that others "really" like.   You might discover the joy for yourself, and you might find the experience has been softened a little. 

*FTC Disclosure:  This review was based off of my own purchased copy of the novel.

The Hunger Games  counts as my 7th in the 2010 Young Adult Reading Challenge.  For more information about the novel, see:  The Hunger Games.



  1. I haven't read The Hunger Games yet either... so you're not the last one!

  2. I only recently read The Hunger Games and really enjoyed it even with all the hype. I almost wish I had waited a little longer so that I had finished reading the second book just as the third book was coming out, because now I have to wait for the last installment even though I didn't read the first two as they came out.

  3. See...that's why I'm so weary about this book too (I myself have yet to pick it up). It just doesn't sound like something I'd get into (I'm not into those kill or be killed stories) but I don't want to miss out on something that may turn out to be awesome in spite of all the hype. I was weary of The Forest of Hands and Teeth too, but I ended up loving it. So I probably will end up reading it sometime this summer. Just don't know when.

  4. Great review Becky. I'm just getting going on Catching Fire now. Did you get my email the other day? I think my mail is a bit spinny these days. So far Catching Fire isn't leading me in any direction - I'm wondering when the action will start.

    You know I haven't read The Forest of Hands and Teeth yet but I have that one and another book by the same author. I can't remember if the books are related or not.

  5. I know what you mean by, "First off, I have to say that it's generally a bad things when everyone else has said how good something is, because it has something to live up to."

    I felt that way about Water For Elephants. I read it way after everyone else had raved about it and is was a little disappointing for me. The expectations built so high that it couldn't live up to it.

    I haven't actually read The Hunger Games yet but I am looking forward to it at some point. Thanks for your review.

  6. I haven't read this yet, and it was interesting to hear you say the start is a bit slow - everyone else seems to tell me how instantly hooking it is! I completely get what you mean about wishing you'd read it sooner. Sometimes you can't help but let a book's immense popularity mediate your relationship with it.

  7. I really don't have any natural desire to read this book. It all comes from book blogging hype.

  8. I just recommended this series to another friend yesterday. Took me awhile to pick it up after buying it, though, b/c I wasn't sure I'd be able to get into it. Once I started, I read it in a weekend and started raving about it.

  9. I'm so glad I got to it before all the hype. (It wasn't much before, since I read it because of librarian hype, but I don't think it was that popular in the blogging world and the rest of book-reading world yet). I don't particularly love reading super-pumped books. I usually get a bit let down. But, there are exceptions.

  10. Gretchen--I do think it's worth the time. I just think it was hyped too much for me.

    Emilee--Thanks for sharing your experience with me. I think I was in a unique situation, and hopefully it was just me! I am glad though that I don't have long to wait for the last one.

    Fantasylover--I wish I could say whether you would love it or not, but if you loved Forest of Hands and Teeth, there's a good chance! I'm not good with kill or be killed either. LOL.

    Darlene--Yes, I need to email you back! I've been involved in an online conference this week, and have just been bad about email. Sorry!

    Jem--Thanks for the validation. It's hard to say, "Hey, I wanted to like it, but didn't." There is always that danger of hyping something too much, and I'm hoping it was just the case for me, and not for everyone else!

    Nymeth--I'd be interested to see how you feel it starts off. I hope you get a chance to read it soon, as I love to see what you think! :)

    Heidenkind--I think you would like this one, although the hype really did make it tough for me. I don't know. It would be interesting to see what you think.

    TexasRed--Oh, I'm glad you got so into it! I think I'm some weird exception to the rule. I know lots of friends that would really love it, so I'm not discounting it.

    Melissa--Yes, you were lucky! :) I love being on the front wave of a new, great book. Maybe that's what fuels us to keep searching?!?

  11. Great review! And I totally get what you mean by how the hype influences your appreciation of the book. It's happened to me a few times already since I started blogging, and it's really hard to get into a very hyped book with a "free" mind.