25 August 2011

Review: The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins

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

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

In the ruins of a place once known as North America lies the nation of Panem, a shining Capitol surrounded by twelve outlying districts. The Capitol is harsh and cruel and keeps the districts in line by forcing them all to send one boy and one girl between the ages of twelve and eighteen to participate in the annual Hunger Games, a fight to the death on live TV.

Sixteen-year-old Katniss Everdeen regards it as a death sentence when she steps forward to take her sister's place in the Games. But Katniss has been close to dead before--and survival, for her, is second nature. Without really meaning to, she becomes a contender. But if she is to win, she will have to start making choices that weigh survival against humanity and life against love.

After seeing all the hype that surrounded ‘The Hunger Games’ I decided to read the book. There seemed to be a serious following of people who didn’t look like raving fangirls flipping shit over sparkly boys with no personality, so it had to be a win, right? Right!

Te book was actually pretty good, I really enjoyed it, and although the book wasn’t a completely original idea, it was a refreshing read from what most Young Adult fiction has to offer these days. When I read through it, I could easily see places where the author was at risk for tripping up and ruining the novel, but she didn’t Instead I walked away with what appears to be a new favorite!

In an effort to somehow organize my review, I’m dividing it into three sections. So here goes…

The Good

I actually loved the characters Katniss, the narrator of the novel, was a strong willed female character with just the right faults to make her human and not a moron. I loved her strength and voice, and her overall being. I think she was the perfect candidate to carry this story forward, and I don’t think the book would have been as wonderful if it hadn’t been her telling it. Then there is Peeta, who I just LOVE. He’s an amazing man, and he is amazing because of his GASP! personality! He’s smart, witty, humble and devoted. I’m sure he’s also quite handsome, but I love him for his character as a whole.

The games I think were planned and written in such a fashion that it made them unlike anything I had expected. And what a relief, too! I was afraid, when starting this book, I would grow bored when things seemed to fall into place, but I was happy to see Miss Collins could navigate the idea so wonderfully.

Violence! Oh, sweet violence… I love violence. I mean, not in a creepy way, but damn. YA books everywhere have all these sex and stupidity, and then no violence. Why the heck not? Be honest with the kids. I’m so glad for the raw violence in this book.

The planning of the book, the setting, the plot was simple, but you could see how well it worked. SO glad for this, and it’s really why the book is as amazing as it is.

The Bad

There were times this book was a little corny and I wonder where Collins got the idea for some of the details. They were just off the beaten path and I didn’t know how to react to some things. I was laughing, but not with her.

Sometimes the plot seemed to take a turn when it was most convenient for the characters. It gave me whiplash when I had to read over something that turned the book in an entirely different direction, but didn’t really convince me of how well it fell in with the rest of the plot.

Sometimes Katniss just bugged me with what she was thinking about or where she was directing her energy, especially before the games. At times, I guess I could just say she acted out of character.

The thing with the dogs at the end really was lost with me. I just went through this emotional ride with the death of characters. Violent, horrible deaths, and I think they should have been left like that. The mutated dogs made from/with the dead contestants just went down a path that didn’t seem like the rest of the book’s style

Questions I have but will wait for the next book. I don’t think they are holes in the plot, just missing information that could go for or against the overall rating of this book.

Where the hell is the rest of the world? Seriously, there is an entire world out there, and after what seems to be some sort of war, I want to know what’s happening outside of Panem, if anything. Are there other countries, were they destroyed, are they in the same political chaos as Panem? Are there people in Europe realizing that there is something wrong with Panem, do they know about the wrong doings, do they care? I just couldn’t believe that the rest of the world is just… blah.

About this rebellion… what about it? What did the people face? A military? If so, where is it? Why are these people so loyal to this political movement? Why are people at the Capitol okay with this? I understand that the districts are forced into participating in the games, but there are people running this show that apparently think it’s okay. Not to mention the people waving banners and sponsoring this shit. Are they just crazy or are they playing along as well?

Is there going to be another revolt, is my biggest question. This book had a lot of people somewhat speaking out against their government, but I’m not going to read three books about people just complaining and not acting. I know there is fear and forces to stop them, but please, this book is screaming for a revolution. (I seriously think it’s going to happen, but I just had to say this…)

In conclusion… I really liked this novel. It was witty, fun, violent, harsh, emotional, and raw. I loved the characters, I laughed with them and cried with them. It’s sort of a little gem of what YA novels should be, and what a lot of fiction should model. I’m so glad I got to read this, : )

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