The hunger games trilogy has to be the best trilogy I have read in a very long time. It's very well written and addresses some political issues of killing in an effective way. The way the author portrays the main characters and shows their conflicting feelings of terror and the will to live has you on the edge of your seat rooting for the characters in a way you never have with any other book. You feel that will to live with them and feel that you are a part of the hunger games as well fighting in that arena to live.
The only down side is that the controversial plot will not be to every book lovers liking and some may find that the author went too far with the concept of the hunger games.
Having said this these people have been warned and should not read if the concept offends you. If it doesn't this trilogy will be the best trilogy by far that anyone has ever read. Brilliant!
Are you a Hunger Games virgin?
If so, BOOM. Penetration time.
If you haven't read these books, I highly recommend doing so. They are great teen reads, but adults can also get enjoyment from them too. The books are very easy to read- only took me four days to read all three!
The plot of the books are super exciting. I won't ruin it for you, but the general outline of the story is: twenty-four 12-18 year olds being put into a huge outdoor arena, to fight to the death for the entertainment of others. Sounds pretty awesome if you ask me! The main character in the books is Katniss Everdeen, a 16 year old girl living in the poorest area of Panem (which used to be America), District 12, with her mum and her little sister Prim. Every year, in a process called the Reaping, a boy and a girl from each of the 12 districts is chosen at random to fight in the annual Hunger Games.
Now, a lot of people like to try and compare the books with the Twilight series. Don't listen to them. They are literally nothing alike. The supposed 'love-triangle' in The Hunger Games plays the most minor role possible in the story. Take it out and you're left with an epic fight to the death. Take the obvious love-triangle out of Twilight and what are we left with? A girl who moves to a town where it rains a lot.. Pretty awful if you ask me..
Overall, I would say that these books are definitely worth reading. They are really exciting, and keep you completely on edge as you never know what's coming next! When reading them, I felt all kinds of emotions- happiness, sadness, and extreme amounts of tension and exhilaration!
IF YOU DON'T WANT SPOILERS ABOUT THE PLOT STOP READING HERE.
The Hunger Games-
On Reaping Day, Katniss's little sister Prim gets called out to be the district 12 female 'tribute' for the games, but Katniss immediately volunteers to take her place. The male tribute is Peeta Mellark, also 16 years old. They go through training for two weeks, building up their strength and learning new survival skills, whilst also eyeing up their opponents. On the final night of training, each tribute has a 15 minute session alone in the training centre to show off their true skill in front of the gamemakers. They then get given a score out of 12 which gets publicised, and the sponsors in the Capitol can choose who they want to support or bet on. Then the games begin. I'll let you read about what happens there, but the main important piece of information here is Katniss and Peeta pretend to be "star-crossed lovers" to gain more sponsors, and towards the end of the games, an announcement is made, saying that two tributes from the same district can go home if they win. But can they survive the final few contestants?
WARNING- THE PLOT FOR THE SECOND BOOK CONTAINS SPOILERS FOR THE FIRST BOOK.
Supposedly safe from the Reaping after winning the Hunger Games, Katniss and Peeta now live in the designated victor's village in their district. This year's games is the 75th anniversary, and every 25 years, a major twist is added. This year- the tributes must be picked from the victor's village. Katniss and Peeta have to go back. This time, they are going up against professionals- these people have all won the games before. They know what they're doing. The arena in the games is set out as a clock, and every hour, a new horrifying thing happens in each section of the arena, from things such as giant killer monkeys to a fine mist that kills you instantly. Can Peeta and Katniss somehow find a way to both come out alive like last time?
This book basically follows the journey that Katniss and her fellow survivers go through to try and kill President Snow, ending the Hunger Games for good. But the Capitol fight back, setting up all kinds of obstacles, such as giant dogs, known as mutts, that chase them most of the way, and bombs hidden everywhere. Will Katniss succeed in the rebellion and end this brutal game?
Set in a dystopian, alternate version of North America known as Panem, this is an action packed and engaging trilogy, but somewhat lacking in depth. The protagonist, Katniss Everdeen, is a teenage girl from one of Panem's outlying districts. These districts have been subjected to a multitude of punishments ever since their rebellion against Panem's Capitol many years ago - chief among which is the Hunger Games, an annual contest in which teenagers from each district are forced to fight to the death in a televised competition. When her younger sister is selected for the Hunger Games, Katniss volunteers to take her place, and in so doing is drawn into a political struggle which stretches far beyond the Games themselves.
As a keen reader of sci-fi and fantasy novels for many years, I am always excited to learn of any new sff novel which has gained popularity beyond traditional fans of the genre. I came to the Hunger Games, therefore, with high expectations - and found them only partially fulfilled. The first-person narrative from Katniss is exceptionally well constructed by the author, lending an immediacy and drama to the events of the first novel in particular, and pleasingly Katniss fulfils none of the unflattering stereotypes of teenage girls which often abound in fiction aimed at a young audience.
Where the first person point-of-view falls down however, is in the constraints it lays on the reader's understanding of Panem. Because Katniss lives in and understands the world of Panem, she only conveys information about it which is new to her - which leaves the reader rather in the dark about its history, society and government. Suzanne Collins is to be congratulated on avoiding an artificial scenario in which characters talk about a lot of things they already know for the benefit of the reader, but as a result the story lacks depth. The reader never fully understands how Panem was created, or why the Capitol has such authority over the districts. Nor are they given any clues as to why the original rebellion took place, or why some of the districts have subsequently been treated better than others. There is no explanation of how the political system works, how the economy works.... or really how anything works at all.
In part because of this lack of background information, the entire premise of the trilogy feels rather flimsy. The gladiator-style Hunger Games makes for an excellent novel, but is an absurd political tool, virtually guaranteed to cause rebellions amongst its audience on an annual basis, rather than pacifying the districts as it is supposedly intended to do. It feels as though Suzanne Collins came up with the idea of a gladiator arena for teenagers, but then struggled to come up with a plausible scenario in which this could actually take place. It's like watching a film where the actors are all excellent but the scenery is made of cardboard.
The result is a story which is more action than fantasy. Readers are able to invest in the characters, but not in Panem or its struggle, because they simply don't understand enough about it to care. Suzanne Collins has created an excellent story, but neglected to pay equal attention to the world in which she set it. For those who enjoy character-driven stories, therefore, this is likely to be an excellent read. For those looking for a fantasy world to get lost in, you may be disappointed.
I ordered these book for two reasons. The first was that I needed a good read for my upcoming holiday and second that I just saw the film and was 'hooked.' When I saw the box set at such a cheap price (I paid 10.00 pounds with shipping) I could not pass up the offer.
I would like to comment more on the product itself as a previous reviewer has given a good thorough description of the books that I would agree with. (EDIT: Please find below brief descriptions on the books below, due to further demand.)
When seeing the words "box set" I expected all three books to be inside some type of holding for the books. Unfortunately this is not what they mean by box set. I was disappointed when I opened my package to find it included the three books with a flimsy, slightly thicker than basic paper cover around them. The cover did not stay wrapped around the books once I actually opened the book/case from its plastic wrapping. Therefore the cover itself is pretty useless and was only for decoration in the wrapper. When I finished reading the books I tried to place the books back into the flimsy cover and put them on my bookshelf, but it just did not work. You will notice from the image that the "box" appears to go over the top of the books. This is not accurate, the paper merely wraps around the outside of the two outer books leaving the top and bottom parts of the book exposed. What you don't see in the picture is the rear side of the cover which presents the mockingjay pin (hunger games symbol) with the title of the series. I switched the cover so that this side shows instead of the bindings of the book. Only this way can it serve some purpose!
From what I have seen their are two main types of paperback covers for these books. There is the simple cover with one basic colour, the title, and mockingjay pin and then the childlike, bright coloured ones. If you buy this box set you will be purchasing the latter. This was another aspect that I really did not like! The first style, also called the "new" style from what I have seen is more mature and classic. It really depends on preference!
The Books: NO SPOILERS!
All three books take place in a futuristic North America. America as we know it, no longer exists and instead, a head capital state called Panem rules over what are called "districts." There are 12 districts in total all scattered around what we formerly know as America. Each district is assigned with a specific duty that correlates with what raw material is available. For example district 12 is coal mining (east coast location), while other districts are in charge of fishing, lumber, etc. Each person that lives in the district is forced to carry out the assigned task of the area and there is no moving in and out of the districts, you live, work, and die where you were born. All these supplies are then provided to the capital. As you can imagine coal mining is not as grand of a job as fishing and often the lower the district the poorer the district is.
The book's main character is Katniss Everdeen, a 16 year old girl who partakes in "The Hunger Games." What are the Hunger Games? The Hunger games were created by the capital Panem, who use the games to remind the districts of how the capital "protects" them. The capital tells the other districts of the horrors of war and how to stop these wars, the Hunger Games were created which involves the sacrifice of both a boy and a girl from each district who must fight against the other districts in a controlled arena. The chosen contestants are picked from a sort of lottery. Every child age 12-18 is entered into the lottery and winner is chosen randomly. Every citizen of Panem is required to view the Hunger Games and encouraged to cheer the contestants on. By sacrificing a boy and a girl, each district is able to "fight" against each other instead of war. The winner receives riches and honour, but the chances of survival are limited with 23 other contestants trying to kill each other.
The books are told from the perspective of Katniss which enables the reader to feel her emotions and see the things she sees. The book follows her goodbyes to her family, her training for the games, and her fighting in the games. I will let you know there is somewhat of a love story in the books, but it is twisted and different so even if this is not your type of read and you are more action based you will still find it interesting!
It is difficult to explain the other two books without giving any spoilers away. As what happens in book 1 dictates the storyline in book 2 and 3. As this review is for a book set I would imagine the reader has not read book 1 yet so I will refrain from describing the next two books. I will say that that all three books follow a pattern. Each chapter ends with either a twist or new information that leaves you dying to read the next chapter. You will find yourself reading through all three books quite quickly and when you're finished, left with so many unexplainable emotions. I found myself crying at the end at some truly unexpected events! The books also add some interesting political perspectives if you're able to catch them and helps raise some questions for modern society which is one of the major features of the book to enable an older audience and younger audience to enjoy the books. If you can catch the reference, it's there, but if you don't understand it, the basic story is still there. In the books you will notice propaganda, oppression, and right wing politics. It also touches how barbaric the games are and yet how enjoyable they are for some of the citizens (Think old Roman and Colosseum games). I will leave you with that as an explanation of anything more will give away too much!
Overall while disappointed with the "box" aspect I must say it was a good deal overall and a great read. When looking up prices for each book individually you will find it may be cheaper to buy the "box" set even though it is not truly a box. I have done some research and there is actually a box set that you can buy which actually holds the books, but from what I have found it is triple the price and is only in hardcover. So if you're looking for just a simple read that is cost effective and do not care much about how the book looks this is a good deal for you! I think if I had known what I just wrote previously I would not have gone through with the purchase as previously mentioned I really did not like the cover of the books and would have been willing to pay five pounds more to buy them all individually and get the "new" style that I have seen around. I also am disappointed that the image and title is so misleading to potential buyers!
I recently bought the set of these books by Suzanne Collins after reading the excellent reviews in Amazon. I enjoy books with an element of supernatural that offer a different twist on our world, such as Charlaine Harris`s True Blood series or Harry Potter, because they offer an escape and allow your imagination to run wild, and the Hunger Games does exactly that.
The novels are set in the future in what used to be North America but in a world that has been decimated by war and famine until all that is left is the thirteen districts and the Capitol, which rules over the districts that exist to provide food and raw materials for the capitol citizens. In order to keep the districts comoliant and oppressed, each year the Capitol organises the annual Hunger Games, where two children fromeach district are selected to compete in an arena and fight to the death - only one can be crowned victorious. Here is where our story starts with Katniss Everdeen, a teenage girl from district 12 who volunteers to compete to save her sister from doing so. Katniss is our narrator throughout the trilogy, and we experience the emotions and horrors through her eyes.
I wont spoil the story for you, but the imagination of the author is immense, and very convincing. She manages to weave the story together skilfully, and provides lots of unexpected and increasingly awful twists on the way that makes you question humanity itself because although the Hunger Games and their fallout are so terrible, it is actually quite easy to imagine humans acting like this - it draws parrallels with the world wars, and is quite a thought provoker! The books are aimed at young adults, but i am 25 and absolutely love them, so much so that i read them all in less than a week,they really are un-put-downable! I would recommend to anyone who likes a good escapist story as it really does take over your mind while youre reading and afterwards - and with a film adaptation out soon, this series will only continue to grow in popularity.