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'What must it be like, I wonder,to live in a world where food appears at the press of a button? How would I spend the hours I now commit to combing the woods for sustenance if it were so easy to come by? What do they do all day, these people in the Capitol, besides decorating their bodies and waiting around for a new shipment of tributes to roll in and die for their entertainment?'
Sixteen-year-old Katniss Everdeen lives in a frightening Dystopian world. Twelve Districts surround the Capitol, and the Capitol controls everything in the Districts. Ever since the failed uprising of the Districts, one boy and one girl from each is chosen to compete in The Hunger Games, a live TV show in which only one can survive.
When Katniss' sister is chosen for District 12, Katniss steps forward to take her place. She knows that the chances of her safe return are slim, but Katniss is used to surviving.
I bought myself a copy of this a long time ago, after seeing everyone going mad for The Hunger Games books, as well as the film. I hadn't heard of it at this point, so I didn't go to see the film in the cinema with everyone else. I loved the film, and I knew I had to get around to reading the first book. I received book two and three for Christmas, and this gave me the push to finally get stuck in.
From the start, I loved this book so much more than the film, which always happens to me. In the film, we see how difficult life is for Katniss, living in District 12, where the people are downtrodden, and food is hard to come by. But it's only in the book that we really get to see all sides of Katniss, seeing into her thoughts, about the games, about Peeta Mellark, and even about her best friend Gale.
Seeing into her thoughts like this, made me love and respect Katniss even more. We know that she's had to be tough ever since her father died, and the responsibility of taking care of her sister and mother fell onto her shoulders. She's never cared much for her appearance, as that is the least important thing in District 12, with finding her next meal the priority.
But just before the games start, the tributes must be prepared for all their public appearances, and in a strange way, this seemed to give Katniss a brief respite from being tough. The tributes are given stylists, and while Katniss doesn't enjoy being waxed and plucked, when it comes to putting on her dress, it's clear that she can't believe her eyes. She's never worn something so beautiful before, so for just a brief moment, she could just enjoy being a woman for once.
Katniss is full of conflicted thoughts and feelings, and it was great to get to know each side of her. There were times when everything was clearly becoming too much for her, but the thought of her little sister waiting for her at home, always gave her the little bit of strength she needed to carry on.
This book was quite simply amazing. It was full of action, suspense, tension, and even a bit of romance. If you've already seen the film, a lot of the twists and turns won't shock you, as the film kept mostly to the same plot as the book. However, there were a few changes that I noticed, so if you've seen the film and not read the book, they'll still be plenty of surprises in store for you.
Suzanne Collins is an American Author who has been writing for children's television shows since 1991. She has worked on several Nickelodeon shows, including Clarissa Explains it All, and The Mystery Files of Shelby Woo. Although Suzanne is more commonly known for The Hunger Games series, she has also written a number of children's books, including the Underland Chronicles series.
Kindle Edition ASIN - B0083JCCX8
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Paperback Edition ISBN13 - 978-1407139791
Paperback Edition price from Amazon - New from £2.97 - £3.85*
Hardback Edition ISBN13 - 978-0545405775
Hardback Edition price from Amazon - New and Used from £8.09 - £10.90*
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---The Hunger Games Series Info---
Book 1 - The Hunger Games
Book 2 - Catching Fire
Book 3 - Mockingjay
I'd heard a lot of fuss about the Hunger Games, but as I don't watch much tele I'd got it confused with "Game of Thrones" and decided it wasn't for me. That is until one day when I was in a charity bookshop and I came across the first book of the Hunger Games, and after reading the blurbs on the cover I realised my mistake in thinking it was Game of Thrones and found myself paying for it and eager to get home and start reading.
What's the story?
A 16 year old girl named Katniss lives in the poorer part of District 12, the district which provides coal for the Capitol. Every year, the Capitol has a lottery type draw to see which two young teenagers will compete from each district in the Hunger Games - a battle in an arena where there can be only one winner so contestants must kill or be killed. This is the Capitol's way of keeping the districts in line. Katniss' younger sister was originally chosen, but Katniss volunteers for her place instead. She is sent off to the Capitol to prepare for the games with Peeta, also from her district and the son of a baker.
During training prior to the games beginning, a plan is hatched that Katniss and Peeta should act like they are in love - this could give them an edge in the arena. As the games begin and other contestants start to die, Katniss and Peeta are separated. She allies with a small girl called Rue and together they outwit their pursuers for a while. Rue dies (which is a very sad moment in the book) and not long after Katniss and Peeta are reunited. A few more contestants die and the two from District 12 are left to face a "last man standing" strong opponent in the form of a boy called Cato, who has been prepared for this by his district who see it as an honour to have children competing in the games.
What happens to Katniss and Peeta, do they win or lose the showdown with Cato?
Even though it weighs in at 454 pages, I read this book in four hours - I couldn't separate myself from it. I found it to be absolutely captivating and I hung on every word to find out what would happen to Katniss. I was surprised at first to find out that this book is aimed at a young teenager audience, but on reflection I can see why and how. Although dealing with the uncomfortable subject of children being pitched against each other in mortal combat, she has handled it as tastefully as most people would find acceptable for a teenage target audience. She doesn't go into huge amounts of detail about the violence but I feel there's just enough detail not to condescend that age of audience.
I became immersed in Katniss' struggle to stay alive within the arena and honestly found it gripping. The way the author has built the suspense is superb and I enjoyed the level of detail provided about the hunting and survival skills that Katniss has to employ in order to stay alive. The outcome of the story's climax is sort of predictable as there is a trilogy - and that's all I'm saying on that, but I did enjoy the way it ended on the last page and of course as soon as I put the book down I was on Amazon adding books two and three to my wish list. I've subsequently found out that there is a film - one more for the wish list!
I thought this book has all the required plot ingredients of a damn fine and memorable story - romance, death, suspense, terror, tragedy, a good versus evil power struggle, a rags to riches side plot, a heroine and hero that leaves the reader rooting for them etc. If I was to sum those plot ingredients, I would compare it to a version of the Lord of the Rings that appeals to more than just geeky blokes (I count myself in that category!) with a little bit of Star Wars and Bear Grylls thrown in. An odd sounding mix perhaps, but the end result is fantastic.
I'm looking forward to my eldest daughter being old enough to read this without being too upset by the fact that children are dying; I've noticed that the age certificate on the film is a 12 rating so I might let my little reader have a look at the books then. I would recommend this book to anyone who likes a gripping read, please don't be put off by the teenage fiction genre. I'm glad I gave it a chance, I haven't enjoyed a book as much as this one in a long time. Five stars from me, thanks for reading.
Available on Amazon for £4.68 brand new
I'm a bit behind when it comes to popular books and films sometimes, but seeing a trainer for the new Hunger Games film reminded me that I hadn't read the first book yet (or saw the film) so I decided to download a sample of the first book, just in case I didn't like it before paying for the full book. My worries were unfounded though, and almost instantly I was hooked.
I knew a bit about the story before I started reading it, but even if you knew nothing about the story, the author does a fantastic job of setting the scent and explaining what is happening and why. The author has states that her inspiration for the books was channel surfing one evening. One channel was showing a reality TV show and another was showing footage from the Iraq war, and the idea was born.
The story is told from the viewpoint of Katniss Everdeen, a 16 year old who lives with her mother and younger sister Prim in the area of District 12. Due to the severe poverty that they are forced to live in, Katniss is forced to hunt and scavenge for food for her family.
The book is set in what seems to be a post apocalyptic America, where the wealthy Capitol controls the 12 poorer districts of the country. As a punishment for a past rebellion, each year the Capitol holds The Hunger Games where one girl and one boy from each district aged between 12 - 18 fight to the death until only one individual remains. These competitors in the games are known as Tributes.
At the start of the book, Katniss and her family are getting ready for The Hunger Games, which is compulsory viewing for everyone in the Districts. Effie Trinket, the escort for District 12's 'tributes' starts with her catchphrase "Happy Hunger Games! And may the odds be ever in your favour!"
However, the odds were not in Katniss's favour, Or rather her younger sister's favour. When she hears her sister's name called out, Katniss does the only thing she can do - and volunteers to take her younger sister's place.
As well as Katniss volunteering, Peeta Mellark, a former schoolmate of Katniss is also chosen. They seem to be an instant success, but how much will that help when the games get underway? A very unexpected change to the rules comes into play which could save Katniss, but will it be enough? Or will it bring more problems for her?
This book had me hooked from the start. It is a fast paced novel, but the author does take the time to set the scenes. One thing that I really liked about this book was the lack of descriptions of the violence and bloodshed in the Hunger Games. After reading some other books with graphic descriptions, it was refreshing to read a book where the violence was implied rather than described and the reader can form their own picture of the goings on.
I found the book very touching in places. The love between Katniss and her family seemed so real and the section where she decided it was a good thing that she hadn't drowned her sister's cat, as the cat would provide comfort almost had me in tears. I felt sorry for Katniss, and I was really hoping that she could overcome all the obstacles and be happy. Some important issues are covered through this book. Greed and corruption is a central issue and the poverty that some people are forced to live in does seem very realistic. While parts of the book are very much fictional, the poverty and the lengths people go to to find food seems worryingly real.
I would definitely recommend this book to everyone. I'm not a fan of fantasy thrillers, but this book had me hooked from the start. I read it in two days, as I was so keen to read on and find out what happens. Even though I knew what the ending would be, there were moments where I wondered how that could ever happen. The book had its thrilling, exciting moments, moments of tension, poignant moments, happy and funny moments and characters that you can't help but like.
While the ending is abrupt, it's understandable as this is only the first book in a trilogy, and I am definitely going to read the rest of the trilogy. I will also watch the film the first chance I get.
My copy cost me £2.87 for the Kindle version, but it is available as a paperback for a similar price.
The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins.
As the 74th annual Hunger Games approach, every boy and girl across each of the 12 districts holds their breath. Each district will hold a 'Reaping' in which both a male and female tribute will be chosen from all those aged between 12 and 18. It is the tributes job to head to the glitzy, glamorous Capitol and represent their District in the annual televised fight to the death. Friends become enemies, allegiances become deadly and moral lines become blurred as the annual event evolves into a blood soaked battle for survival, there can be only one winner and this year Katniss Everdeen needs it to be her.
Forced to watch their beloved children battle to the death in an entertainment driven television show causes unease throughout all of Panem's twelve Districts but rebellion, defiance and an uprising are not an option, the destruction of the rebellious District 13 and the power of the Capitol holds the citizens of Panem firmly in their place. They watch as the tributes destory one another, each District hoping that one of their children will return a Victor, that their loved one will return home.
In a society dejected and abandoned how do you remain hopeful? And in 'The Arena' alongside 23 other tributes all desperate to survive how do you stay alive or more importantly how do you die with dignity, grace and your morals intact?
Join us for the 74th annual Hunger Games and remember, let the odds be ever in your favour.
I fought reading this book for quite a while. I had heard it compared to Twilight (hated the films, haven't read the books) and having seen the first Hunger Games film and not finding it particularly outstanding I resisted reading the book until I had nothing better to do. I picked up the book whilst on holiday and didn't put it down until the week was over. I thoroughly enjoyed the book and I hang by head in shame at truly 'judging a book by it's cover'.
The Hunger Games is described as being 'teen fiction' and so I found it quite an easy read in terms of language choices and sentence structure but the concept I found quite adult. Some may find the concept of teenagers fighting to the death to be the most disturbing part of this book for I personally found the Capitol's control of the twelve Districts more concerning. In a modern society of reality TV, self made celebrities and advances in psychology, weaponry and other such disciplines, just how far away are we from our own version of The Hunger Games? That is the scary part for me. The book has a strong storyline, that has been well thought out and well executed.
Having said that though I found the Capitol, District 12 and Panem in general to be far enough away from reality to be enjoyable. They were well drawn and the systems, rules and connections between the Districts and the Capitol were well explained as opposed to the film, where I felt things got a little confusing for those not already familiar with the world of Panem. The characters throughout the novel were easy to relate to and their motivations were easy to understand, even the more viscious and brutal characters had threads of humanity running through them.
The main characters of Katniss Everdeen and Peeta Mellark are much more likeable throughout the book than they are the film. The contrast between the hardened, restrained Katniss and the loveable, doe- eyed Peeta makes for great chemistry between lead characters. The more minor characters are also well explained and no one fades into the background. The interactions between characters build excitement and tension in equal measure. I felt like I was part of District 12, I felt the excitement, the terror and the sadness.
The physical surroundings are described precisely and without excess description. I know the layout of the Arena, I know the woods just outside of District 12's border and I know the coal dusted streets of District 12, the hustle and bustle of the illegal trading scene and the sweet smell of the Bakers shop. I believe that such a place exists, this book is so well written.
I found the novel slower in pace to start with but I found that necessary as it led to a greater understanding of the dystopian world that the characters inhabit. Once inside the Arena the novel became fast paced and exciting, I connected with characters, I felt the tension in the air and I whipped through the pages. I didn't just want to know what happened next- I needed to know- a significant indicator of a good book!
Overall the Hunger Games is a fantastic 'teen' exploration of a dystopian world. I use the term 'teen' as I found it tame in comparison to my favourite books such Clockwork Orange, 1984 etc. but it is a very enjoyable book in it's own right. Suzanne Collins has done a fantastic job in creating a believable world inhabited by believable characters and I can't wait to continue reading, in fact I'm off to read the second book right now.....
I was given this book by a friend some time ago, before Books 2 & 3 were published, and although I had misgivings I found it to be one of the best books I've ever read!
(I've recently seen the movie which was fantastic- a great representation, and well worth watching whether you have read the book or not. )
I noticed that it was "Teen" fiction - the only other recent fiction of this type that I had read was Phillip Pullman's "His Dark Materials" trilogy, and to be perfectly honest, I read THG to be polite, thinking that it wouldn't be my thing at all.
However, the book was a most original and thought-provoking story!
Set in the country of "Panem" (I assume America, "Pan-Am?) the vast majority of the population live in austere poverty amongst the 12 Districts, each producing goods and consumables for the rich, privileged people of the Capital.
Years ago the Districts rebelled and as a punishment, District 13 was destroyed and every year the other Districts must send two "Tributes" (one boy and one girl) to contribute in "The Hunger Games", a televised reality show, where the winner (Victor) is the last remaining survivor.
16 year old Katniss Everdene lives in District 12 the coal producing District, where life is particularly harsh.
Her father was killed in a mining accident, so Katniss provides for her young sister Primrose and her mother (who appears to have suffered a breakdown after her father's death) by hunting and gathering, and risking her own safety.
As the 74th Hunger Games approach, the Districts gather for the "Reaping", the choosing of the Tributes, drawn from the names of all children between 12 and 18. Peeta, the son of a local baker is chosen, as is Primrose - and instantly Katniss volunteers to take her place.
Peeta and Katniss are taken on a luxury train to the Capital in the company of Haymitch, District 12's only Victor. Middle-age and drunk, Haymitch is scarred forever by his experience, and initially Katniss is hostile to him.
The pair receive training, have make-overs and participate in TV interviews and an elaborate opening ceremony before being transported to the Arena, a purpose-built landscape where the games will be played out with all aspects televised. Genetically-engineered creatures and a treacherous environment all contribute to the danger as the 24 children are pitted against each other in a bloody and violent fight for survival - and victory.
"The Hunger Games" is a frightening reflection of the current taste for TV reality shows, combined with the disturbing potential of powerful governing elite. It suggests so much about society and celebrity culture of today, and along with the sinister influence of superpowers, the reader wonders how far away we actually all are from "The Arena".
Once the characters and the situation where established, I could not stop reading. It was slow to start, but this only added to the tension and the action. The book is incredibly stark and brutal - but moving, especially through the personal journeys of the main characters.
It might not be suitable for sensitive younger teens, and even as an adult reader I was shaken by much of the graphic descriptions of conflict and death (these are just kids!) but it is uncompromising in its portrayal of the savagery of the concept.
A really exceptional read!
I was recommended to try this book by various people who all said it was a real page turner. If I would have read the blurb I probably wouldn't have bothered with it as it isn't the kind of book that I would normally read but I am really glad that I listened to peoples' recommendations and read this as I think it is an outstanding book which is rather abstract but fantastically written. It really did leave me wanting to keep on reading.
The book tells of Katniss who is a teenage girl living in District 12. It is set at some point in the future although when exactly is never mentioned and it's details like this that aren't really relevant and leave you, the reader, with the chance to fill in the blanks. District 12 is part of what was America. It is broken down into twelve districts which are all under the power of The Capitol. The Capitol use propaganda to influence the districts and to keep them 'under control'. There was a time when the districts tried to revolt but The Capitol enforced stricter rules and even blew District 13 to pieces leaving just 12 districts. Now, to remind them of how they should not revolt every year The Capitol hosts The Hunger Games.
The Hunger Games is where two children from each district- a boy and a girl- are called up to an arena to fight it out. Only one can survive and then return to their district with enough food to keep them comfortable for the rest of their lives and a new house set in their district's very own 'Victor's Village'. This is no ordinary arena- this is a huge place with forests, rivers and all kinds of things all of which are under the capitol's control- they can turn the temperature down to below freezing, can drain the rivers of water and can send dangerous insects in to cause chaos. On top of all this The Games are televised. It is riviting viewing for members of The Capitol who look forward to this event every year and can pledge money to help send in various equipment to help their preferred candidate. Contestents don't just think about surviving but about how they come across on the television with the hope that they may appeal to viewers who could potentially help them.
Katniss is the unfortunate candidate for the 74th Hunger Games and she enters the arena alongside Peeta- the son of a local baker who she has various members of throughout her childhood. Whilst in the arena Katniss has to put all of her strength to the test and try to survive. She has to learn to kill and work out how to manipulate the audience in order to hope to appeal. There are various twists and turns throughout the book as The Capitol decide to spice things up by changing the rules.
The question is will Katniss survive? And will she have the heart to kill the other contestents who are just like her- poor, unfortunate children from other districts?
What I loved about this book was that it was so very well described that you could picture the arena, feel the fear of the contestents and really felt passionate towards them and willing them to survive. It covered a lot of ground- the politics of the whole of this country, the rather sick desire the public have to see people suffer on reality television, the relationship between Katniss and her friends and family back home and futuristic ideas. Despite so much ground being covered I didn't feel as though it was just one whole book full of descriptions or as though I was being lectured at, instead it was written in such a way that so much information was absorbed in a natural way throughout the story.
It made me think about programmes that we watch such as Big Brother and I'm A Celebrity, how we like to see people get pushed to what we consider to be the limit in order to make for good entertainment. This book is like taking that to the extreme. It also makes me think about the various countries out there that are being ruled by various propaganda and how, in some ways, the events in this book are quite real.
This was an extremely readable book. I was told before reading it to have an open mind as it's quite abstract but I didn't feel as though that made it difficult to read. I thought it was completely absorbing, it really was a book which was full of escapism as I could read it and feel as though I was in the book and lose myself in the story for a while. I haven't read a book like this before and now it's made me realise that this genre of book can really be enjoyed.
There are two other books in this series and I am just beginning the second one. I am enjoying this one just as much so far and can't wait to see where it ends up.
I am really glad that I gave this book a try, it's definitely a very different read and one which will stay with me for a long time which is something that I think shows the sign of a good book. I definitely recommend this to everyone whether you're looking for a book to take on holiday with you or just a general read, it's fantastic!
I have not seen the movie yet but have just finished reading the first part of this trilogy. I was sucked in by all the hype surrounding this trilogy and managed to get an excellent deal on the books at a charity event - just a pound for each book!
It took me a while before I finally got round to reading the first book - The Hunger Games - and it took me even longer to finish reading the book. That's not because it wasn't a pleasure to read but more because I have a really busy lifestyle. The book itself was a joy to read and The Hunger Games is most definitely a page turner.
The story is set in the future and in a nation called Panem. This is actually a collection of the states of the 'old' North America but we soon see that life is very different to the way it is now. Every year, there is an event called the Hunger Games which is organised by the national political government called the Capitol. These brutal games have no real rules - the only rule is that you must do whatever it takes to survive. A boy and girl from each 'district' in Panem (there are 12 in total) is entered in to the games each year and only one can win. Every other 'contestant' dies. The Games are a way for the Capitol to show the people of Panem who is in charge.
The story is narrated by a girl from District 12 - Katniss. She is entered in to the Games alongside a boy she barely knows and who goes by the names of Peeta. Those who are entered in to the Games are done so by a lottery and are referred to as 'tributes' following selection. After selection, the tributes from each district are trained alongside all the other tributes from the other 11 districts in preparation for the Games.
That's all I'm going to say on the storyline as I don't want to ruin it for anyone. But I will say that this is a very original story and unlike most fictional books I have read. Katniss is a very strong character in the book, and definitely manages to capture my attention throughout the entire story. I found myself wanting her to do well and continue to be strong as quite early on in the story we learn that she comes from a household of poverty.
My copy of the book is just over 450 pages long and I must say there weren't any points at which I felt bored. It was also very easy to read. I now cannot wait to read parts 2 and 3 of the trilogy (Catching Fire and Mockingjay). I also cannot wait to see the movie on DVD.
In conclusion I would say that this is fantastic book which probably falls in to the category of thriller or science fiction. I would highly recommend this to readers of fiction!
I loved the Hunger Games. I couldn't stop reading and found myself being sucked into the disturbing world of Panem. I personally really liked Katniss and although Peeta was more admirable as a character, Katniss had a strength that had to be admired.
The Hunger Games was one of those books which you end up reading late into the night as at the end of each chapter the desire to find out what happens next is just too compelling. The only trouble is that the story is so disturbing that you then end up unable to sleep as you ponder the story, what will happen next and worst of all, what you would do in a similar situation. For that reason I would worry about allowing sensitive teens to read this book without any supervision. The thing is in todays modern world exposing children to situations, albeit in the safe world of fiction, which make them ponder morality, immortality and the importance of freedom can only be a good thing.
As a parent I would be concerned about my daughter reading the Hunger Games at too young an age or without some feedback. It is a great book for parents and children to both read and discuss. It is definitely not a story that is only limited to children and adults will find the story just as compelling.
Altogether, I found this to be one of the most memorable books I have read in a long while.
The hunger games is the first book in a trilogy aimed at young adults set in an alternate North America, the setting is a dystopian world filled with inequalities and violence. The book is told in the first person by Katniss Evergreen, she is a feisty 16 year old living in District 12 who takes her sisters place in the annual hunger games. The hunger games are an annual competition where a boy and a girl from the 12 districts are placed in an arena and only the winner is allowed to leave. The games are bloody but watched by the masses, it is a propaganda tool used by the new rulers (Panem) to maintain control over the various districts.
I do love a bit of dystopian literature, whether it's the ideological contrasts employed by HG Wells in the time machine, or the oppressive nature of control in 1984 or the subtle control over age in Trollopes the fixed notice. WE all love the view of an alternate world, where the state rules supreme and the masses are ruthlessly supressed, in many ways the closeness to our own worlds only makes dystopian literature all the more shocking. Here in the hunger games we have an oppressive regime using something similar to the old Roman gladiatorial contests as a means of controlling the people in the outlying districts. The country is run from a decadent Capitol filled with bizarre almost unnatural people, where colour and flamboyance are encouraged whereas life in the districts is harsh, unrelenting and bland.
Katniss is a young girl but she has skills as a hunter and is clearly intelligent and resourceful, she is paired with Peeta a young baker who took pity on her once and from then on has had a candle for Katniss without ever talking to her. Along the way we meet the only previous winner from district 12 still alive Haymitch who is the drunken advisor to the picked contestants and the woman who guides the contestants in terms of behaviour and public awareness.
This book is aimed at younger adults and does tend to use the cliff-hanger ending favoured by the Twilight novels but the chapters are much longer and the writing is of a higher quality than those books. The use of the first person narrative does give the focus on the novel on Katniss and we don't have any clues to the rest of the story beyond her perceptions, she does describe the world she lives in very well but the wider picture is deliberately vague at times. The reader then follows Katniss and Peeta through the hunger games and lives through their successes and failures, my particular favourite sections are the tracker jackers and the fire balls but don't want to give too many spoilers away.
This novel does cover some pretty tough material, whether its poverty, crime, punishment, inequalities or just plain fear we follow Katniss as she describes her harsh life, her fight to survive and her hatred for the system. I thoroughly enjoyed the novel and I'm eagerly looking forward to the second part of the trilogy, I'm hoping the writing is as sharp and incisive as this first novel.
Having started my career life as a literacy teacher in a young offender's prison I quickly became familiar with - and soon after addicted to - fiction aimed at young adults. I would devour these books in the hopes of finding some rare gem that would engage my particularly difficult and reluctant learner group. I initially struck gold with the John Marsden 'Tomorrow Series' but haven't found anything that resonated with them quite as much since... until I read The Hunger Games.
I was a little skeptical at first. As a massive Japanese film fan, I was horrified at suggestions that this book was a mere rip-off of Battle Royale. Concerned, yet curious I bought the book after reading a sample chapter that I found in the case of a DVD I had bought (genius idea, has to be said! Bring the books back to the masses!).
After chapter two I was well and truly hooked. The premise, whilst similar to that of Battle Royale in its most basic sense - children on an island fighting for survival - presents a certain sense of innocence and naivity, that is rarely found in a book dealing with such a potentially violent subject matter. The difference is this book doesn't only focus simply on the battle for survival but on the struggle for hope, happiness and above all freedom, in a place it is seemingly impossible to find.
The contrasted descriptions of the districts and the Capitol leave the reader in no doubt who's side of this battle they stand on. Even with our instant dislike for the Capitol and all it represents, the incredibly well written characters from the Capitol, like Effie Trinket and Cinna, break down this dislike and challenge us as readers to explore the morality of the situations in the book on a far deeper level. As each page turns we get to know each character far better, and this furthers the sense of ambiguity. We hate the Capitol, yet come to love Cinna. We believe in the rights of those from the Districts, who are simply fighting for their lives, and the lives of thier families, and yet we find ourselves hating Glimmer and Cato. It is this constant challenge to how we react to these characters that draws almost as much tension as the storyline!
An exploration of moral, familial and social obligations, told through the eyes of an instantly likeable character, The Hunger Games is a fast-paced page-turning gem of a book. It engages the reader instantly, with well-rounded, honestly flawed characters, a fantastically urgent storyline and a truly engaging sense of narrative.
I took my copy of The Hunger Games into work with me, hoping to convince a few of my young charges to read it. That was six months ago and I am yet to see the book since. It has passed from person to person, from learner to staff and back again. It has has such an effect that I have been forced into buying six copies of each of the sequels as so many people (staff included!) could not wait to find out what happens next.
The overwhelming reaction to this piece in such a situation lends far more resonance to the quality of the book than my words ever could. All in all an absolute blinder of a book that appeals to even the most reluctant of readers.
After reading a few reviews on the Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins I decided to throw myself in at the deep end and order all three books, the books arrived on Thursday 30th August 2012 and by bedtime on Sunday 2nd September I had finished the last one. I am impatient little lady and I was very glad I had ordered all three, what follows is my first book review in nearly two years, so please be gentle if it's not very good.
Katniss Everdeen lost her father in an accident in the mines of District 12 when she was 11, since that day she has been looking after her Mother and her little sister Prim, hunting and trading food with her friend Gale. Katniss takes her role very seriously so when her sister Prim gets chosen as tribute for District 12 in the Hunger Games she does the only thing she can think of to protect her sister, she volunteers as tribute, thereby saving her sister but possibly condemning them to a life of starvation and poverty as she will no longer be there to provide for them.
I really enjoyed this book; it is the first book in a long time that I devoured from cover to cover in a couple of sessions.
The idea that the future will be very different to the place we are now is not a new one, and the idea of a life or death competition has been done many times. What I enjoyed about this book were the twists and turns that Suzanne Collins gave the reader, I truly felt as if I was sat on katniss's shoulder urging her on, there were times when I genuinely thought Katniss would not make it, which was a silly idea as she is the main character in the next two books.
I found the shallowness and decadence of the citizens of Capitol very interesting, the way they rely totally on the 12 Districts, but are ignorant about the lives of the people who live there. The way they see the Hunger Games as a piece of exciting entertainment despite the fact that it involves 24 children aged between 12 and 18 fighting to the death as there can only be one victor. My daughter and I thought it sounded very much like Big Brother and spent a while discussing the possibility that games like this could genuinely take place 50 or 100 years from now.
Once in the arena Katniss feels that she has to take up the role of protector and provider again, and is torn between her desire to survive for Prim and her unwillingness to kill the other competitors, the games put Katniss in many dark and dangerous situations, forcing her to make choices that do not sit well with her conscience.
Katniss and her rival from District 12, Peeta, are given a mentor, Haymich. The only problem is that Haymitch is battling his own demons, will he be able to provide enough advice and guidance to help Katniss or Peeta survive the Games or does he have an underlying motive all of his own?
Will Katniss make it out alive? What consequences will her actions have?
I heartily recommend the first instalment of The Hunger Games; although it is classed as a young adult book the story line is adult and very gripping. Having read this I have passed it on to my 12 year old daughter who also loves it.
Thank you for reading.
I don't get the same time now to read like I used to since my daughter was born, but for my recent birthday, I received the three books making up the Trilogy of the Hunger Games, and was pleased but thought to myself 'when will I get time to read these?'. I had the first book read within three days, and that was only in the evening when my daughter was in bed and I had some time. THese books are totally addictive, to the point that every time my husband looked I had this book in my hand!
I had never even heard of this book before the film was launched, and I haven't seen it either, but I was aware of the hype surrounding this book and did wonder if they would live up the hype!
From the very first page where we meet Katniss Everdeen on the morning of the Reaping, were all children between 12 and 18 are eligible to be selected to compete in the usually fatal Hunger Games, were there can be only one winner and every other competitor will face death, I was hooked. We also meet Gale, the male hunting friend of Katniss, her mother and her sister Prim, the people closest to her. Her father is dead and with her mother having sunk into depression after his death, Katniss has become the sole provider for the family, and she is only 16. The only way to provide however, is by illegally hunting in the woods, which are out of bounds in theory but not for Katniss and Gale, who is also fatherless and the main provider for his family. You don't sense any self pity with these two characters, but rather a strength of character and a perseverence that makes them do whatever it takes to care for their loved ones rather than starve.
As the book continues the bigger picture of what is going on in this future world starts to unravel. Katniss and Gale live in District 12, the last of the 12 districts based around the Capitol, the main city where the rich and wealthy live. The districts do not interact, and are all in the depths of deprivation because of a rebellion years ago against the rulers in the Capitol that didn't succeed. The punishment for this rebellion, is the extinction of District 13 and the Hunger Games, where each district offers up a boy and girl every year as a tribute to recompense for the rebellion. Only one of the 24 children survive and to survive you have to kill. The Reaping is the day when the names are picked out. Katniss and Gale almost expect that one of them may get selected, but Katniss is not ready for her 12 year old sister to be selected adn that is exactly what happens. Katniss isn't willing to let that happen so volunteers to take her place, which she is allowed to do according to the rules and hence starts the Hunger Games.
I honestly thought I would get bored as the games themselves begin, thinking it would be full of war like language and images, but not at all. Even in the actual games arena the action is fast paced, and the 'pretend' romance between Katniss and her male counterpart from District 12 Peeta keeps a softness to the story. I can't say that this book was predictable apart from guessing that Katniss would win, but a lot of the twists and turns were unexpected, and as a reader you honestly felt like you were there with her in the arena.
I liked the character of Katniss from the beginning. She is strong but very likeable and humble throughout, not realising just how capable she is. Her care for those who are in need never stops even when it comes to the other tributes she is fighting against. WIth Katniss telling the story from her viewpoint it makes her even more accessible and a very lifelike character. I also liked the fact that the novel had just enough characters so I didn't lose track but kept the story interesting.
All in all, I struggled to set the book time and kept reading even though I was tired and needed to sleep. The characters, story line and writing makes this book totally addictive. It is easy reading, but thought provoking at the same time, and the imagery is fantastic. I have now just started the second book ;Catching Fire' and am enjoying it equally as much. A super author.
I'll get straight to it: The Hunger Games is addictive, powerful and completely absorbing. A young adult's read, I have yet to meet someone (of any age) who does not like this book - it is compelling and original, and a somewhat scary vision of what could become of our future.
I happened to watch the film version before I read the book, having heard that 'The Hunger Games' had been deemed 'the next big thing' in young adult fiction. The concept: in a dystopian future, children aged 12-18 are chosen, and forces to compete in a fight to the death as punishment for an old uprising against the all powerful Capitol. Their action in the 'arena' is broadcast for entertainment - a chilling idea that sends shivers down the spine.
I won't talk too much about the film, although it certainly inspired me to read the novels. I simply HAD to know what happened next! It didn't matter that I already knew the ending of the first book; I simply could not put it down. The characters were fully rounded and believeable, and the intricacies of the plot designed to keep the reader engaged on an emotional and energetic level. My adrenaline seemed to pump almost as much as protagonist Katniss' as I stayed up late at night, every night, until I had finished the book. And then finished the series.
There's certain books which have the ability to keep you hooked even after you have finished the last page, and this is certainly one of them. Even now, I still dream that I am competing in The Hunger Games myself. I also bought abow and arrow to begin my new hooby; archery.
A very imaginative story, this is a must read for fans of fantasy or sci-fi fiction. In fact, I think it would please anyone with an appreciation of an eventful plot and gripping concept. Completely un-put-downable!
There's only one criticism I have about the book, and to be honest it isn't really the fault of the book itself! Perhaps because it is such a successful adaptation of the novel, (or maybe because I saw the film first), I do think the film is a tad better. It is visually stunning, the actors extremely talented, and it makes a change to see a novel adapted into such a good film. Although, if I'd read the book before seeing the film, my opinion may be different, as is the cae with many adaptations.
All round a brilliant read nevertheless!
"Winning with 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 sisters place, she sees it as a death sentence. But Katniss has been close to death before. For her, survival is second nature."
Before I took the plunge to dive in and read the Hunger Games trilogy, I had never heard anything but praise for them. Now I understand, just what the rave about these books is. I am not a bookworm, and only read something if it really takes my interest, which is a rare occasion, however when I finally did sit down to read these books, I read the first one in 24 hours. I literally could not put the book down. Along with falling in love with the characters and their stories, I love the way Suzanne Collins has written the books, they are very much to the point and give just enough detail for you to build up a picture in your head of each little event or detail happening in the book.
Currently on the second Hunger Games, Catching Fire, this is also not failing to disappoint. I think it is nice the stories continue where they left off, recalling events in the first book, so you are not forced to read one immediately after the other.
The book has something in there for everyone. Romance for the girls, bloody murder and action for the boys, yet they are not explicit and also would be just as good to read for those in their early-late teens.
If I had all day to talk about these books I would, however, no words could summon up how much I would urge you to buy them.
You will not be disappointed. 10 out of 5 stars from me at the least. (and cant wait for the next book!)
I read The Hunger Games largely for research, as I'm working on a YA novel and wanted to understand what it was about this novel that made it so massively popular. I'd also previously read Battle Royale and heard about the (quite obvious) similarities and was curious about this. Plus it was on offer at £3.49 on Amazon, so worked out pretty cheaply.
Firstly, there are obvious similarities in premise between this book and Battle Royale. The premise in both involves pitting children against each other in a battle to the death in a 'game' like scenario. Aside from this basic similarity the books are really quite different. Battle Royale is more of an exploration of human nature, whereas The Hunger Games is much more of a character piece.
The central core of The Hunger Games is the character of Katniss - a resourceful, independent character prone to stubbornness, an untrusting nature and emotional invulnerability. In short, a flawed heroine. I think Katniss is the real strength of this book, as you get drawn into her world and her decisions, not always agreeing with her actions but understanding where they come from.
Accompanying Katniss into the hunger games is fellow resident of District 12 Peeta. Peeta obviously has a crush on Katniss but she can't see it. And of course there is another guy that Katniss is fond of back home, her fellow hunter Gale. You see the love story / love triangle coming from a mile away? Me too.
Where The Hunger Games is weak against Battle Royale is around the games themselves and the tributes. In Battle Royale they pit school friend against school friend; in The Hunger Games only 2 of the tributes are ever likely to know each other so fighting the others, whilst repulsive, is easier to handle. Where Katniss and Peeta come into play, Collins is careful never to directly pit them as enemies so whilst Katniss doesn't trust Peeta there's never a point where you feel they might have to really confront the possibility of killing each other. Instead Collins focuses on the difficulties of trust. I felt this was a potential weakness of the book.
There is also some question in my mind over the viability of Katniss as a character. She is certainly the pivot point and the most successful aspect of the book and it's always good to see a strong female character taking the fore. Collins exposes Katniss's weaknesses, her character flaws and calculating nature in a way that makes her seem very human and relatable, but at the same time her skills are somewhat less realistic - she is a skilled hunter, an excellent archer, knowledgable and a great strategist. I found that in many ways this made her inaccessible as a character and perhaps an unrealistic (if interesting) role model.
In the end I wasn't really that curious about how the story continued so I don't plan to read on any further. But as a work of young adult fiction I can see the appeal. The story is fast paced and exciting and the characterisation is really very good and it does draw the reader in. In the end, though, it wasn't enough for me.