Book Review: The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins

14 Nov

I read this book on the word of my English teacher so I went in with little but the vague idea that my brother owns a copy, too, (he does) and I hadn’t really been interested in reading it for some reason.

Summary: In a not-too-distant future, the United States of America has collapsed, weakened by drought, fire, famine, and war, to be replaced by Panem, a country divided into the Capitol and 12 districts. Each year, two young representatives from each district are selected by lottery to participate in The Hunger Games. Part entertainment, part brutal intimidation of the subjugated districts, the televised games are broadcasted throughout Panem as the 24 participants are forced to eliminate their competitors, literally, with all citizens required to watch. When 16-year-old Katniss’s young sister, Prim, is selected as the mining district’s female representative, Katniss volunteers to take her place. She and her male counterpart, Peeta, the son of the town baker who seems to have all the fighting skills of a lump of bread dough, will be pitted against bigger, stronger representatives who have trained for this their whole lives


Cover of "The Hunger Games"

Cover of The Hunger Games

So, I started reading and had to make myself continue, because

on principle, I don’t read books written in present tense. Someone in their first year of a foreign language could write a book in present tense, if they had enough vocab. I’m not saying it would be good but COME ON! It also means that people write things like ‘and then I’m running’ which uses two verbs to get one across and ticks the reader out of the story.

It bothers me.

But anyway, moving on. The first half of the book was pretty good. There was some emotional stuff with Katniss standing in for her sister (I have an eleven-year-old sister so I specifically related to that bit) and I’m a real sap for flashbacks and all that stuff. But then, pretty much right at the halfway-mark, there was a super emotional moment and it was great. Understandable, relatable, tragically beautiful…

And then, for the rest of the book, all I could muster emotionally was a vague amusement that I’d squashed down earlier because there was still the promise of the Games and death and stuff. But after most of my expectations for that were met, I didn’t have any desire to really worry or wonder. Like when my dog chases a squirrel. There’s a chance he’ll catch it. There’s a bigger chance he won’t. It doesn’t really matter either way, except I might end up with a squirrel carcass.

I got the same feeling about Katniss, who has her moments but in general is an emotional blah. How will she and Peeta end up as the last two? Which one of them will sacrifice themselves for the other? I could have told you most of the plot but without all the details and Katniss generally distrusting everyone. The ending was kind of a surprise, but then it got strung out like there was no tomorrow and the blandness was kicked up a few more notches.

I was left with a fondness for Prim and Gale (Katniss’s best friend, although the more she decided he might be a love interest the less fond I was of both of them), and a very Deathly Hallows feel of ‘what the hell?’ I was curious enough about what happened in the rest of the trilogy to look it up on Wikipedia, but beyond that…

If I had the magic power of Roger Ebert (he’s in movies, but I feel we have the same taste) , I would give The Hunger Games 2 of 4 stars. It’s an easy read and not a terrible book, but I put it down for Saturday Night Live. And some Disney Channel movie my sister wanted to watch. So there you go.



5 Responses to “Book Review: The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins”

  1. Ashlie November 14, 2010 at 6:02 pm #

    I read this book recently, too, and thought I’d share my opinion….
    Same thoughts as Kristine, mostly. I would probably give the book a 2/5, just because the topic and execution wasn’t to my liking. My sister, who likes books like this (way more than me) read this and gave it a 3/5. Neither one of us care enough to finish the series. I do know a couple of people who really like the book, though. At least 2 other people have told me it’s excellent (one was a 26is year old, the other was 17) so I think it’s taste. Read the summary, don’t believe the hype. And get it from the library, to be safe.

  2. Karoline November 16, 2010 at 11:09 am #

    to each her own. 🙂 not everybody likes what the status quo does. That’s just fine. It’s great to see a different opinion of the book though.

  3. yoli December 9, 2010 at 7:35 pm #

    nice site

  4. Rachael December 17, 2010 at 4:27 pm #

    I read this book, and I honestly couldn’t put it down. It wasn’t very emotional, basically the polar opposite of Jodi Picoult, but it had that movie-esque combination of action and drama. I feel like it’s not easy to do that. Just sharing another opinion! 🙂

  5. thatbookgirl December 24, 2010 at 2:42 pm #

    I definitely agree with some of the stuff you had to say! I really am not a fan of books written in present tense either, but to be honest, with this book, I didn’t really notice it until you mentioned it! I’m a sucker for an exciting plot so that got my attention right away. As I said in my review too, Katniss bothered me. Seems like you felt the same way. I felt like she was almost emotionless which made me not a huge fan of her! But overall, I’m a huge fan of the series, but you make some excellent points!

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