Book Review: The Hunger Games

This was originally written in April 2014 when I thought I had enough free time in my life to write book reviews on a regular basis. (I don’t.) But I will periodically be posting them here when I do have time, or when a book enrages me to the point that I have to start a riot.

The Hunger Games – Book Review

I have to admit I was late to the party on this one. (Like 6 years too late.) But every time a book in the YA genre becomes a phenomenon, I worry that it will be Twilight all over again…
And yes, the Hunger Games does have a huge following from teens to adults alike, but with good cause. Now I feel terrible for avoiding it for so long.
The official synopsis is this:

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 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.

Admittedly, I didn’t even know what the book was about before reading it. So when I finally gave in and started reading I was pleasantly surprised. The book was well written and paced well. Collins did a great job setting the scene and time period, I found it totally believable. The formatting was alright, but would have appreciated breaks between scenes, some sort of space or formatting to distinguish the days.

Now to the plot itself:

I want to say that I really, really wanted to like Katniss. I’ve heard great things about her, but I honestly did not find her to be the strong female character I was expecting. Sure, she did save her sister and try to save Peeta (but only after it was convenient for her.) She did a great job surviving the games and saving Peeta as well. But in all honesty, I found her bravery to be rooted in fear. The only reason she tried so hard was because she was afraid. Even at the end with the berries – people say she was standing up to the Capital, but in reality she didn’t want to live with the guilt if Peeta had died and she’d have to face District 12. In the end, I’m still very torn with her character throughout Catching Fire and now Mockingjay (which I have started at the time of this review.) I will update with a final review after Mockingjay, hopefully Katniss turns it around for me. [EDIT: Upon finishing Mockingjay, I still have my opinions. Still no emotional connection, despite trying.]

When it comes to the supporting characters, I found I liked them more than Katniss. Peeta is a loveable, loyal bakers son, Rue was a cute girl caught up in misfortune, and the list goes on.

When it comes to the Capital, Collins did a fantastic of creating a culture of excess. Everything – from the food to the clothes is over the top, which makes the audience hate them for leaving their people in poverty. If the fact that they make children fight in the Hunger Games doesn’t annoy you, the pink hair and painted faces definitely put me over the top. Which, I personally thought there was too much reference too.

The biggest point that I wanted to make with the plot was how emotionally distant I felt from the characters. While Collins spent hours describing hair and desserts, the actual inner emotions of the characters seemed to be lacking and I couldn’t connect with their situation as much as I wanted to.

PS. – Totally did not like the movie, sorry!

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