Newest Review: ... kindle version than actual paper. ===Another world=== The Hunger Games is set in a distant future. The earth has been ravaged by war and... more
The Hunger Games
The Hunger Games - Suzanne Collins
Member Name: dawnymarie
The Hunger Games - Suzanne Collins
Date: 03/07/12, updated on 04/07/12 (109 review reads)
Advantages: Fascinating premise & filled with suspense
What attracted me to this one?
This novel has been on my reading list since reading Wickedinrock's review some time ago. The movie was released and I resisted the temptation to go and view it before reading the book. The premise sounded unique and fascinating in the first instance but since all the hype it has had recently I knew I had to get around to reading this one.
The world as we know it has changed dramatically after periods of freak weather, the outcome is a population that is segregated into 12 districts (once 13) that provide all life sustaining and luxury items to the city, Capitol. Life is not pleasant for Katniss, who lives with her widowed mother and younger sister, Prim. They are located in District 12 and this area provides coal. Most people are just managing to survive on scraps. Katniss and her friend, Gale, illegally hunt and operate on the black market, successfully. They are aware that they could easily survive in the woods if they needed to but won't leave their families, who have come to rely on them. After a failed rebellion by the districts the powers that be destroyed District 13 and all residents as an example to anyone else who attempted to rebel. As a yearly reminder they also decided to hold The Hunger Games. All children aged 12 to 18 have the chance of being one of the two selected from each district - one boy and one girl. The rules of the game are to survive and the winner is the last one to remain alive. When little Prim is selected Katniss charges from the crowd and volunteers herself to take her place. Katniss is just 16 years of age and she has just entered herself into the game of her life - it could turn out to be the end of her young life.....let the games begin.
'constant suspense ....I couldn't stop reading' - Stephen King
The trumpet has sounded...
Suzanne Collins is a brand new author for me, from the very first page she had me interested enough to turn the pages of this 454 page novel. Her writing is on a need to know basis and you can allow your imagination run wild. It's like a partnership between the author and her reader - she will give you an concept in so many words (concise) and you get to play around with what she has given you. I very much like this in a writer and it maintains a fast pace. I like the way Suzanne developed the idea of this book - she was flicking channels on TV and in her minds eye she had an image of Katniss in a reality TV show playing war games - for real.
Katniss is introduced from the off and though she is a quiet, sullen, tomboyish character I picked up on something endearing about her and warmed to her very quickly. She is good friends with an older boy, Gale, who she hunts with and respects - the respect is mutual but there is an indication of a bit more which gains my interest and I wait to see what develops. Even though she has lost faith in her bereaved mother - due to her mother withdrawing from her motherly role when her husband was killed in the mines - she, clearly, still loves her. The tell tale signs of Katniss's compassion lies with her, lioness type, protectiveness of her young sister, Prim. She has mothered the girl and cared for her mother since the death of her father. The more I learned about Katniss's personality the more I cared for her and what happened to her. She is a troubled girl who is doing the best that she can in a dire situation and has more admirers and respect than she imagines.
There is a brief encounter with a boy from Katniss's school, Peeta, and initially I thought nothing of the kindness that he showed her when she was down on her luck. He is a bakers son and after his mum chastises her, for rooting in her dustbin for scraps, he risks a beating to get two loaves of bread to her. I thought he was just taking pity on her and that was it - but there is more to it than that. When Katniss has volunteered herself for the games, to save her little sister from certain death, she is joined by Peeta when his name is picked out of the bowl.
During the preparatory period before the games, in the city of Capitol, the contestants are preened, fed well and trained in survival skills and weaponry. The information that is woven into these part of the prose is impressive. Plants that can be used to heal, eat and poison are discussed in a way that puts the point across concisely - I remembered them easily and imagined what it must feel like to be 16 years old and in a life or death situation. During the training there are elements of humour which I thought appropriate and understandable in the situation. There are 24 contestants in total but Katniss has no intention of getting friendly with any of them - what would be the point in that when she is going to have to try to kill them before they get to her. Try as she might, however, there is some odd tension going on between her and Peeta - even though they have been advised to play a 'love interest' card there are times, when they are off screen and out of earshot, that Peeta seems genuine. This concept had me intrigued because I really couldn't be sure if he was playing along with what Haymitch, their mentor, had instructed or did he actually love Katniss? This got the pages turning I can tell you.
A romantic theme running through the prose was welcome but the main theme of survival was drawing me in further - quicker - and on I read. The chapters are a great length were you think you will just read another and before you know it another three have whizzed by.
My heart was actually beating faster when the contestants where placed in the arena - they had to wait till the trumpet sounded before making a decision to make a run for supplies or run for their lives with nothing. Katniss had been instructed to run for her life - get out of there - but this is Katniss we are talking about here and she is no wimp, she has seen her weapon (bow and arrows) and makes the mistake of trying to get it. Whether or not she got it I will not say but she did get some worthwhile provisions before fleeing. She got my interest with her courage and tenacity in that arena, I was more than willing to read on and urge her to do well. I wouldn't be the only one, as the reality TV show, this game of horrors, was compulsory viewing for all of the population - including families of the contestants. I didn't want to imagine who that must feel - what a horrible thought.
As the game progresses we see our heroine suffer in the ways you would expect when you have no water, little food and notmuch to hunt with. Add to that a pack of hunters who track you down in the night so that you get little or no sleep and you got yourself an incredible piece of suspense. I needed to know how Katniss would get water before she died of dehydration, I had to make sure she was not speared from her tree in the night - the pages had to turn as I couldn't leave off and not know she was okay, that she had made it to another day.
Each night images of the dead are projected into the night sky - Peeta has not been one of them up to now. Is Katniss relieved about that? She is confused by his decisions - so am I. Does he love her or is it a ploy - a trick so that he can kill her easily when her guard is down? I have to turn more pages to discover more.
Katniss is reminded of her young sister by a girl of the same age, Rue, they become allies and don't think about the days ahead when they may need to consider killing each other - for now they have a bond and genuinely trust each other. This is when you get to see Katniss for who she is - she is a protector of the weak and compassionate - I grow fonder of her all the time and really don't want anything bad to happen to her. The pages that involve the relationship between Rue and Katniss are some of the most tender and emotive in the book - they evoked strong emotion. A beautiful piece of writing in that area in particular.
As the days, and nights, pass by the numbers of contestants dwindle, rules of the game are adjusted for the first time ever, to create more interest for the viewing public and mess with the minds of the children in the arena. There has been much suffering for all, Katniss has played defensive and offensive - this has made one enemy in particular and he is one angry guy - Cato.
As the end of the prose draws closer there are revelations that surprise and horrify me. The bloodthirsty public want a spectacle like no other and an ending that will satisfy them fully - will Katniss survive The Hunger Games? Has she developed feelings for Peeta? If she has, what about Gale?
It didn't take me long to find out the answer to those questions as I read this book in no time - I couldn't put it down - that is the sign of a good book! I'm not giving any indication as to the outcome of these games but I can say that I found the ending highly satisfactory and I'm hungry for more!
It is difficult to miss this one in most places that sell books at present. I bought from Amazon at about half price but you can get it in the two for £7 at Tesco at this time.
Lets just say that when I saw the recommendation by Stephen King on the front cover I had no hesitation in buying - he likes the author to get on with the story and keep those pages turning and that is what you have got with this one. It's a pretty quick read because you simply cannot put it down. It has suspense and intrigue - you just have to know how things turn out. I cared for Katniss and somewhere along the line I began to care for Peeta too! And Rue! These characters were developed beautifully. Katniss is a born survivor, she may get herself into trouble and need a little help now and then but ultimately she is capable and has the courage of a lion - I had great respect for her tenacity. If death loomed close she faced it with grace - she remained elevated in all situations, I liked that in her character. This girl had compassion, didn't like to show it as she saw it as a weakness but she had a big heart. She knows right from wrong but knows when and how to use discretion. I loved getting to know her bit by bit as the book went on and genuinely rooted for her to win, even though it horrified me to know that others would have to die in order for Katniss to survive. This book tugged at my emotions and made me sit up and think. Suzanne Collins has done a sterling job in my opinion and I can highly recommend this one.
Also published on Ciao
Summary: Let the games begin...