Monday, October 13, 2008

The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins


Katniss is a 16-year-old girl living with her mother and younger sister in the poorest district of Panem, the remains of what used be the United States. Long ago the districts waged war on the Capitol and were defeated. As part of the surrender terms, each district agreed to send one boy and one girl to appear in an annual televised event called, "The Hunger Games." The terrain, rules, and level of audience participation may change but one thing is constant: kill or be killed. When Kat's sister is chosen by lottery, Kat steps up to go in her place.

Grade: A. Plus a +. No doubt about it.

Thank you to BA for the book :)

I heard from millions of sources—Amazon, Good Reads, fellow reviewers, my friends—that this book was amazing. Hell, even Steven King went on Entertainment Weekly and proclaimed how perfect The Hunger Games is. (And then he left things very ambiguous on his views of YA lit, which makes me frown at him. But that’s something else entirely.) And yet I still waited a while to read it. Maybe to save what was supposed to be very good just a while longer before I ate it alive? I don’t know.

All I know is: If you haven’t read this book yet, you really should.

Oh, and I also know this is gonna be another fangirly review. Last Monday I posted one; today, another. *sigh*

Now, to launch on to the actual review:

One of the biggest reasons I loved this book isn’t because every chapter literally ended with a sentence that made you want to keep reading or because of the romance (which is usually what wins me over, I must say). Rather, it’s how deep of a level it reaches. I just finished it, so naturally there hasn’t been enough time for reflection, but in these few moments, my stream of thought is going spastic. The book jacket wasn’t lying—there’s mystery, adventure, romance, suspense, all of that in here. And yet the substance of the novel surpasses just these box-office-hit qualities (which is all I can compare those four adjectives to).

The world building was fantastic. While it’s quite a different land than current North America, Panem had some disturbing parallels relating to the society, especially of its higher class (the lower-number districts and the Capitol). The fixation with the sappy romance, the fact the games were more like a deadlier reality show of nowadays than anything else, the frivolousness... It was quite unnerving. So clever. Only adds another layer to this story.

Not many books have kept me on the edge of my seat. This plot is brilliant. Truth be told, I’m not the biggest fan of thrillers and am fine with books that employ the “girl-next-door” dynamics to its plot—quiet, but charming and accessible. Well, needless to say, this book is anything but quiet. But it is bewitching.

You know what? I’ll stop. There’s nothing I can say that hasn’t already been said. Plus I could stay here all night. I wasn’t kidding when I said my mind is going spastic with all the directions this book gives it to think things out.

Not recommending it to everyone though. Some really hate violence. Some really hate dystopia. I’d still give it a shot if you’re one of those people, but I wouldn’t specifically recommend it to you. Everyone else? Knock yourselves out. This is one of the ultimate must-reads right in front of you.

But in short: this book is AWESOME.


Alea said...

Hmm.. I didn't think I would particularly like this but what you are saying about the romance and the loving of boys next door usually makes me think i should give this a try because that sounds like me. I also did like the short story (and yes I saw the movie version) of Shirley Jackson's The Lottery which was referred to somewhere in relation to this book. The cover is sort of eh to me, which is why I didn't pay it much attention before, must stop that bad habit.

Lenore Appelhans said...

YAY - so GLAD you loved it too :)

Anonymous said...

I'm so glad you liked it too. I loved it and it left me the same way. I am dying for the next one which is terrible since this one just cam out. But, Anyways, it so deserves an A, actually an A+ on my part.

Steph said...

Alea - the romance is the sort of thing a lovejunkie like myself went *SQUEAL* for. I'm sure it'd be the same for you!

Lenore - once you get those unbound pages, I WANT THEM TOO.

Book Adorer - my signal complements (+ / -) don't mean a lot. They're spur of the moment type of things :) But I added the + - you're right, it deserves it!

Amee said...

No matter how much I hear this talked up, I just don't think I will read it.

The romance thing makes me a little more inclined toward it, but the description just makes it sound really violent and sickening. So I don't know, I guess I'll just have to keep reading more reviews for it. lol

asdfjkl; said...

I can't wait to read it! Did you know Scholastic kids has a little site for The Hunger Games?

Lisa Schroeder said...

I kind-of skimmed your review because I'm reading this right now and I'm trying to avoid too much stuff about it, but from what I've read so far - wow!!

I'm a big wimp when it comes to violence and stuff, so I'm interested to see what I think of it since some people are afraid to read it for that reason. I've heard too many good things about it to not read it.

A.S. King said...

So, you know I was planning to read this book, and I was thrilled that you loved it. So, I went a-lookin' around for plot descriptions and other reviews before I ordered it from my local indie, and it's starting to sound a lot like one of my favorite books EVER, Battle Royale. Have you ever read it? I saw some Amazon reviews that say it's too like Battle Royale, but I'd love to hear from anyone else who has read both!

Aprilynne Pike said...

Oh my gosh yes!!! I loved this book SO MUCH. I could not put it down. I was literally stirring a boiling pot of something for dinner and reading at the same time. This is an amazing book!!

Anonymous said...

Great review! I've added this one to my TBR list. Thanks.

YA Book Realm said...

Ekk LOVED this book, which you know already! heheh And I, myself would never read it if I didn't receive an ACR, because it's set in the future and stuff, which I usually never read (like sci-fi)

Anyhoo, I can't wait for the 2nd book, although I don't think I will be lucky enough to get the 2nd book before publication date, like I did for this one.

Btw I was reading a negative review for The Hunger Games the other day and this one person said it was exactly (sorta) like Battle Royal and A.S. King said it sound like it too. When I read the summary for Battle Royal it sounded SOOO alike, I was shocked at how much alike. But I still heart Hunger Games, it was the first book I usually avoid and I LOVED it.

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