Book Review: The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins

… And may the odds be ever in your favour

However odd that may sound. The odds are usually never in your favour when you are a 16-year-old girl fighting in an arena with 11 other girls and 12 boys, ranging between the ages of 11 and 18. And the worst thing? It is all for the ‘entertainment’ of the people of the nation! That is what happens in Suzanne Collins’ The Hunger Games.

Book Review: The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins


The Hunger Games book-cover

Title & Author: The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins
Genre: Dystopia, Fantasy
Release Date: September 14th, 2008
Series: The Hunger Games
Publisher: Scholastic Press

Winning will make you famous.
Losing means certain death.

In a dark vision of the near future, twelve boys and twelve girls are forced to appear in a live TV show called the Hunger Games. There is only one rule: kill or be killed.

When 16-year-old Katniss Everdeen steps forward to take her sister’s place in the games, she sees it as a death sentence. But Katness has been close to death before. For her, survival is second nature.

I started reading The Hunger Games before anything about a movie had ever come to the internet. The book reads in a fast pace, it took me only one night to finish the almost 400 pages – that is more than I ever read in an entire night before that moment – Suzanne Collins is not shy of putting violence on paper and that might even make this book even better – why else would people play more and more games with graphic violence or watch more action movies? She knows how to keep her readers locked in the embrace of her story and gives Katniss the chance to develop herself to someone who does not only see the need to survive herself but also to take someone else with her into victory, at the loss of only one live by her own hands.

I strongly feel Suzanne Collins did the right thing by letting a lot of the other participants of the Games die by other people’s hands and not scare her main character for life. I didn’t really like the character of Peta, because he seems to be out shone by Katniss – which one of the worst things that could happen to a character – He seems to be less developed then Katniss and makes less of a transformation – or non – This makes it hard for me to feel a connection with him, making him sometimes a bit shallow, seeing as he becomes an even bigger character in the series. As Katniss gets more involved with him, later in the book, he gets out of that shallowness a bit, but not enough to get me to like him. Sometimes I had a hard time swallowing the whole love story, mainly because of Peta’s shallowness, but also because I do not like love stories all that much and in such an action packed novel it sometimes even feels out-of-place. Although I could understand it if someone would say that it might be a good way to slow the story down a bit.

My old paperback copy of The Hunger Games is probably already recycled back into a new book. I have read it so often, the pages were falling out and were torn. Even now, my second copy is due for replacement for being (ab)used too often. I try to read The Hunger Games trilogy every year and sometimes more than just once, if I have the time.

So if a young adult would ask me what book to read, I would advice them The Hunger Games. The book is well written and is not extremely too far out there for anyone who does not like fantasy. It basically has all the elements of any story ever written: a simple to understand story, a passionate cast, a struggle or somethings the main character has to overcome, transformation of the main character and an interesting world. To me the story of The Hunger Games is easy to understand, a lot of the struggle of this story is comparable to the mythology of a man and a Minotaur. The characters of The Hunger Games all have their own emotions to deal with and do not truly hide them, Katniss’ love for her sister, Peta’s love for Katniss and both are trying to stay alive! Katniss’ struggle is quiet literal in this book, she has to outlive 23 others and in doing so she scares herself to a point that she barely recognizes herself. The nation of Panem is not as recognizable as the USA today, with each district only really known for the resources they produce for The Capitol. It makes it hard for readers to be convinced of that fact. But it give the reader plenty of room to think their own things about the nation and to not conflict with what Suzanne wrote.

I don’t feel the need to discuss all the political implicitly the book gives about our own situation, because I don’t like political things and everyone else has already done that.

The Movie

Of course, a good book can not go without a (good) movie these days, especially not Young Adult books. I don’t like the trend, somethings are better left alone after they have been printed – just look at the difference between a certain vampire book and movie – So hearing they were planning on making a movie for this book left me shivering with fear. Although the cast had great names in it, Josh Hutcherson, Liam Hemsworth, Woody Harrelson, Elizabeth Banks, Stanley Tucci and Donald Sutherland. I was really happy about the cast, but it did not take away my hesitation about the movie. Being the nerd that I am, I went to watch it on première night. And it did not break it’s promise. My only experience with Jennifer Lawrence’s acting work had been X-men: First Class and I did not like her that much in that movie. But in this movie she was extraordinarily good, she portraited the character of Katniss with such ease, I had a hard time keeping MY image of Katniss in my head. Liam Hemsworth’s portray of Gale Hawthorne – one of my favorite characters in the books – I did not like as much. The movie left out a lot of parts of the book that I really liked and that made Gale’s appearance in the movie really small. But overall I was happy with the result and made me forget the disaster vampire movie from a year earlier.

The movie makers added a lot of scenes that were not originally in the book, because this has been written from Katniss’ point of view. I liked most of them and made Donald Sutherland’s character much more human in my eyes then The Evil Man Behind The Curtain – even though Mockingjay, the last book in the series, did the same thing for me –

Let me know what you thought of this book and/or the movie!
If you have any requests for which book I should talk about next, please let me know in the comments down below.

For now, let books enrich your life!


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