Suzanne Collins – The Hunger Games

Author: Suzanne Collins
Series: The Hunger Games trilogy
Titles: The Hunger Games
Published: September 2008
Publisher: Scholastic
Length: 378 pages
Genre: Dystopian scifi
Target age: Young adult
Why I picked it up: So many people have been raving about it, I felt like something had passed me by when Mockingjay was released so I bought a boxed set of the trilogy 
Rating: 4 stars
Buy: Chapters | Barnes and Noble | Check your local bookstore!

As mentioned up there, I purchased a boxed set of The Hunger Games a few months ago at Costco (half the Chapters price! I love it when Costco has the books I want). I proceeded to devour the trilogy, finishing just before I started NaNo. I’ve decided to do this review in two parts, because I feel one way about The Hunger Games and another way about Catching Fire and Mockingjay. To give you an example of what I mean: I’m having a very hard time getting this review out because Mockingjay is the most recent book I read and all I can do is think up complaints about that one. But I will do my best to focus on The Hunger Games and all the great things about that book.

One of the things I was really impressed by was how Collins incorporated appearance into the plot line. It’s something most stories like this (post-apocalyptic death arena, yaaay) don’t normally deal with.I think the use of fashion and presentation was dealt with quite well and its affect on the plot might have a seemed a tad over the top at times, but given the scenario I think it’s hard to judge if the reactions were over the top or not. Overall, I thought the significance of appearance was appropriate and refreshing.

I generally despise romance. Er, well, I suppose that’s not a very accurate statement. I don’t like romance when it is there for romance’s sake. Romance or love or what have you better have a purpose and it better be believable. That being said, I was very happy with how the romance was handled (in this first book, cough cough). Love triangles are always dangerous and this scenario seems a little far-fetched when taken out of context (so I’m not going to elaborate further :P), but it worked with the characters who were involved. Katniss’ actions were believable and understandable. I didn’t mind how the romance played out in this book and I especially liked how Katniss wasn’t at all interested in love, just in survival.

Whenever you pit a large number of people together in a battle which only one can survive (and it has to be your main character), there’s always the danger that someone’s death will seem unrealistic. Maybe that was the case in this book. I didn’t notice, though. For me, everything felt believable and still creative or surprising or interesting. Not sure what the proper adjective is here, but I was satisfied with how all the deaths played out.

In the same vein as what I was discussing in the previous paragraph, I was very satisfied with the ending. I found it unexpected (but I should note that I never expect things…) and very attention-grabbing and keeping, which is something a high-risk story such as this one should always do. I think I’ll just leave that at that to avoid spoilers. I liked the ending. You should too. 😉

A lot of this novel contained elements that could have easily ruined the book if they had been poorly executed. Fortunately, this doesn’t happen until the next two books. The Hunger Games is by far the best book in the bunch.