Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Review: The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins

The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins
Book One of the Hunger Games Trilogy
Published December 14, 2009
ISBN-10: 0439023483
ISBN-13: 978-0439023481

Review: 5/5

Cross reviewed on Goodreads

SPOILER ALERT: Spoilers have not been blocked out.

I ran right to my Mac to write this review after finishing The Hunger Games. Holy WOW factor! I am stunned at how amazing a writer Collins is. While I knew what The Hunger Games was about, and what the actual Games were, I wasn't in any way prepared for some of the gruesome deaths she cooked up for the tributes. Death by tracker jackers? Rock to the skull? Mauled by mutts and then an arrow to the head? Each death, more visual than the last, kept me reading on and praying for Katniss's safety. And Peeta's, too. He was kind of just there and pops back in part three for good. He wasn't an outstanding character, but worked just enough to make me feel more for Katniss wanting to keep him around.

What really astounded me most about The Hunger Games was the Games itself. I'm curious as to the year this is all taking place, because I'm not certain if it's ever mentioned. I do know it's a far off dystopian and the country of Panem is a mock of the United States. Or perhaps it was the United States. I can't be sure. These people called the Gamemakers devise traps inside the arena for the tributes, eventually drawing them back together at points where they will either kill each other or claim a piece of survival gear. What I found truly remarkable is that the whole arena, while set in a forest, plains, rocky terrain with a whole lake there, is just that: an arena. I forgot until the very end that that the tributes rose out of the ground to start. I had become so invested in the landscape and how Katniss used everything to her advantage, I thought it was real. Another part that I found very interesting was the whole program of tributes gaining sponsors throughout the course of the Games. This damn blood feud, of people watching kids murder each other, is like our Olympic Games. The athletes have numerous sponsors that make things manageable for them, such as the best gear for their sport. Likewise, at the start of the games, if I remember correctly, each tribute was implanted with something that tracked their movements and recorded their actions, their reactions and their triumphs. This is what their sponsors would base donations on to see that their favorite tribute ends up the victor.

All in all, the whole structure of the Games was incredibly developed on Collins's part.

If there was anything at all I can complain about, it's the tiny things on Katniss's characterization. She asks too many questions. Debates too much over things. I wasn't much a fan of that. At one point, she asks five questions back to back, all relating to Peeta and the Career tributes, and whether he's alive or not. It could have been handled better and I'm hoping to see more growth in Katniss's first person narrative once I jump into Catching Fire.

Other than that, I end the review here. I am very excited now that I've read The Hunger Games, I can be doubly excited for the film release. I'm eagerly awaiting a second trailer.

And now I am faced with a terrible decision. Do I become sucked into Catching Fire RIGHT NOW, or do I give it an intermission so I might read Clockwork Prince. I'm hoping the latter wins over.

Peace and Writing Love,

JWP

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