Monday, April 5, 2010

Book Review -- The Hunger Games

The Hunger Games (Hunger Games, #1) The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

First there was Water for Elephants by Sara Gruen. Then Twilight (do I need to mention by who?!). Most recently The Help. Three wildly successful, ├╝berpopular novels that I absolutely hated. I thought The Hunger Games was going to be the fourth. It didn’t end up that way, but I still have my reservations about the novel.

Panem is some post-apocalyptic version of North America. The region is divided into “districts” with a CAPITOL ruling them all. There used to be 13 districts, now only 12 – those silly rebels in district 13 got what was coming to them when they tried to revolt and were blown to bits. As a result, the CAPITOL decideded to create The HUNGER GAMES to punish the remaining districts by selecting two teenagers (tributes) from each to perform in the gladiator-like ritual where the goal is to KILL each other and survive to the end. Yeah, that’s it – teenagers killing each other in a vast arena that is televised nationally. Takes bullying to a whole new level.

I’ll save the summary of the entire book, for fear of spoilers, but here is my take:

• The thought of these kids killing each other for sport for the sake of a festival for the “country” was hard for me to swallow. I had a really hard time getting over the premise of this book.

• Once I got to section II “Games” I could see why this is immensely popular: Author Suzanne Collins has created two highly appealing characters – Katniss Everdeen and Peeta Melark. Their relationship and the way they out wit, out maneuver, and defend themselves is contagious. You can’t help but keep cheering for them – even if you are continually reminded that, “oh great, another 12 year old was murdered.”

• I was highly annoyed at the use of the word CAPITOL. Didn’t anyone tell her that CAPITAL with an A is used for a region and CAPITOL with an O is used for an actual building? Her use of CAPITOL was always (correct me if I’m wrong) used for a region – so I guess her editor had reasons for it. It bugged me and was distracting.

• The ending was predictable. I can’t say why, because, well, SPOILERS.

Once again, I’ve been the naysayer against popular opinion. I’m not sure I would recommend this book to others, but luckily I don’t have to, since others have already done if for me. Also, I’m not sure I’m that eager to read books two, and eventually three. If the “death match” with teenagers continues, I think I will find something else to read. Call me a curmudgeon.

Summation: I read it to the end, so I liked it enough to see it through, but not enough to possibly continue the series.

Book source: borrowed a copy from a friend.

View all my reviews >>


A Bookshelf Monstrosity said...

I like that you sometimes 'naysay' vastly popular books. Truthfully, this is the first review for Hunger Games that I've read all the way through in quite some time. I've had my fill of absolute gushing over the novel.

Heather O. said...

Did we already talk about Water for Elephants? I kinda liked it, actually. Something so totally different and out of my frame of reference, I thought it was cool. I even researched a little bit about circuses after that, just because the whole idea was so interesting to me. I probably wouldn't recommend Water for Elephants for a book club, but I did like it.

I have never been really turned on by the idea of Hunger Games, and have been hesitant to pick it up for the very reason you talked about--how can you get over the premise of teenagers killing each other?

And maybe you don't like popular books because you are more intellectually honest than the rest of us. You're threshold for entertainment is clearly higher than mine. What can I say, I'm easily entertained :)

Heather O. said...

AAACK! I meant "your" threshold, not "you're". AACK!!

Shanda McKeehan said...

You hated The Help! Wow, that is what is so great about blogging, it's nice to get different opinions on books.

Rebecca Reid said...

I think it was CAPITOL becasue we were supposed to see it as a one place/building/over-ridding entitey. But yeah, good point. Glad I wasn't alone in disliking this. But I'll say I was definitely in the HATE category on it.