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
Leaving me hungry
The Hunger Games - Suzanne Collins
Member Name: ryanando
The Hunger Games - Suzanne Collins
Date: 22/04/13, updated on 23/04/13 (52 review reads)
Advantages: it sets up the next two books which are great
Disadvantages: katniss is annoying, the content is a little shallow at times
I love books. I'm a bit of an addict in fact. I will buy books that sound good and pop them on my shelves or in my "to be read soon" pile which is ever growing. Soon I will consume every last piece of space on my shelves with books and this will make me warm and cosy on my insides. Recently I've been stuck on reading a rather large set of books which has been turned into a popular TV series (Game of thrones) so that pile has managed to get completely out of control. Since I've finished the last GoT related book, I started looking for the books in the pile that would seem to be a bit of fluff so I can get through them quickly and reduce the pile a little. Obviously that wasn't my only motivation for wanting to read them, but that's how I chose what I would start with. After whizzing through a short story, another set of books caught my eye: The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins.
===Collins explains it all ===
Collins was brought up in a US military family and currently lives in the recently tragedy stricken town of Sandy Hook in Connecticut. She has had a hand in quite a few television programmes before she began writing books, one of which was Clarissa explains it all (the show that made Melissa Joan Hart famous before she landed her role as Sabrina the teenage witch) which throws me right back to my school days and also had a hand in Clifford's Puppy days (think the big red dog). She has written other novels before The Hunger Games called the Underland Chronicals which was on the New York Times best seller list and possibly now on my list of books to look into.
===The Bread Line===
I got this book as a Christmas present from my friend so I paid bog all for it. If you are interested in buying them for yourself then you can find each book for about £7 each OR you can be sensible and buy the trilogy together for the same £7 price. If you are a kindle-ite then for once you are getting the worse deal on this one with each book coming in about £3.47 meaning you'd end up paying more for your kindle version than actual paper.
The Hunger Games is set in a distant future. The earth has been ravaged by war and has been reduced to a relatively small population controlled by President Snow in The Capitol. The population was split into 13 districts that each has their own duties such as agriculture or coal mining. You are born, you serve, you die. About 74 years prior to the start of the story, District 13 rebelled and were swiftly kicked in the nuts by The Capitol who wiped the entire district off the face of the earth. Since then, every year, as a show of The Capitols power and as punishment for the rebellion of long ago, each District must pick two children above the age of 12 (one male and one female) to compete in The Hunger Games: a battle to the death in which there can only be one survivor. Katniss is 16 years old and has been praying she won't be selected, but she ends up thrown into the hunger games with a boy she only knows vaguely from her District.
===The nineteen battle show ===
Having heard a lot about the hunger games, I instantly compared it in my head to Battle Royale which deals with a state which picks a class or two each year to be sent into a fight to the death as a method of controlling population growth. There were definitely a lot of elements of Battle Royale taken for this story. What I didn't expect is that I would also begin comparing the book to 1984 with the all seeing, all powerful state control and The Truman Show where every minute of their time in The Capitol is being recorded and broadcast. The games are a huge televised event: a sick form of entertainment for those in The Capitol and a cruel punishment that those in the outlying districts are forced to watch.
The book took a few directions that I really didn't expect it to. I'd say that less than half of the book deals with Katniss's time in the arena and instead focuses on the stark contrast between the poor, starving district people and the lavish excesses of those who were lucky enough to be born in The Capitol.
The story is an interesting one, but the thing that made me enjoy it a little less was the focus Collins made on some of the more trivial aspects of Katniss's rise to fame such as her wardrobe or how her makeup was done that day. The story is told from Kat's point of view so I guess it is only fitting that a 16 year old girl may focus a little on the fashion aspect of it all, however, it didn't fit very well with Kat's character for me. This also meant that we didn't get to see anything that was going on outside of her little bubble so the reader instantly has their world shrunk down to what Katniss is experiencing. I honestly feel that Collins could have made this a stunning novel if she had went outside Katniss's bubble and explored some of the themes of Voyeurism, excess, the divide between those in power and those at the bottom, cruelty in human nature, rebellion, right, wrong and many different kinds of love that are briefly touched upon. In saying this, the book could easily be a great conversation point for young people in school and may even encourage some deeper thought and discussion about the issues that have been tip-toed around.
In this book, at least, I actually found her to be quite an annoying character due to the fact that she couldn't figure out simple plots that were unfolding and quite blatantly leading on not one but two boys and not realising. It's almost infuriating to read at times. The two boys that she may, or may not love at least show the idea of the many different kinds of love you can feel which is more than I expected the book to show upon first glance. For now though, Katniss remains completely confused by her conflicting feelings.
On the plus side, it does give you the impression that the following books will be diving head first into some really gritty topics instead of popping some bubblegum and skipping around the edges, which is what kept me reading to the end. You still want to know who will survive and if The Capitol will ever get what they deserve for the atrocity that is The Hunger Games. Can the Districts sit by and take their punishment or do they have the power to rise up?
Something that did bug me slightly about this book is the portrayal of the people in The Capitol. The words Collins uses spits on them constantly when I feel she maybe should have taken the opportunity to look more at the concepts of indoctrination and beliefs. Nearly everyone in The Capitol has grown up being told how their world works and accept it. They don't really know that much about the people in the districts and how poor and starving they are. Most annoyingly Collins uses body modification to separate them out as almost alien. A lot of the fashion in The Capitol revolves around tattoos, piercings, dying your hair (and skin) bright colours and more extreme body modification like cat whiskers. A few times she says how disgusting tattoos are and how stupid people look with colourful hair which, while I see what she's trying to do, is not something I feel she should have used the way she did. She managed to find plenty of other ways to get across the sheer grotesqueness of their culture without picking on a way of life that exists anywhere on this planet. If it wasn't a book for teens and younger people, then I'd probably not mind so much.
Is it worth it? Yes and no. As a stand alone book, no. It's bordering on shallow in content at the same time as touching on a lot of much, much deeper issues. The main character is mind numbingly annoying at the best of times but you can tell that there is going to be a lot of potential in the forthcoming books. Ultimately I enjoyed the book, but know that deep down it could have been a lot more spectacular, heartbreaking, and hard hitting than Collins chose to make it. Would I recommend it? Yes, but only if you intend to read the others too. I'm giving it three stars out of five which I feel mean for, but don't be disheartened by this. The next books in the trilogy more than make up for it. This book will at least stir your hunger to find out what is going on but it won't satisfy you on its own.
Summary: The start of something good.