The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins

When sixteen year old Katniss Everdeen finds herself selected as a contestant for the annual Hunger Games her world is turned upside down. Whisked from her squalid and impoverished home in District 12 she arrives in the dazzling and overwhelming Capitol. Soon she will be thrust into the arena, an unimaginably cruel and sadistic place created and controlled by the game keepers.

Katniss belongs to a new world, a scary and often dark place which emerged after an apocalyptic event saw the end of the world as we know it. In her world twelve districts are ruled by the resplendent and domineering Capitol. Whilst the Districts live in poverty, the Capitol shines with wealth. There were once thirteen districts, but when they all conspired to overthrow the Capitol, the thirteenth was destroyed. Now every year a boy and girl from age twelve to eighteen is picked from each district to compete in the Hungers Games. A fiercely cruel game set to remind each district of the Capitols omniscient power.

To win the competition the contestants must fight to the death in the arena. The last remaining contestant is the victor, but as Katniss prepares for the mission ahead she can’t help wondering if, after killing all contestants, will she really be a champion?

The Hunger Games takes all ideas of morality, love and humanity and turns them on their head. How far can one person go to survive if it means slaughtering innocent people?

I recently read an article where Collins explained that part of her inspiration came from the multitude of reality shows that congest our tv’s. I can see her logic. We live in a world obsessed with reality programmes, we morbidly watch as unlikely groups of people are banded together to live in confined quarters for our viewing pleasure. Team this with our ever increasing desensitisation to violence and you can conceive of a world like Katniss’s where The Hunger Games exists.

Although I do suspect that much of this stories success and appeal lies in the simple fact that Collins is, to put it simply, a brilliant story-teller. Often The Hungers Games is not the most eloquently or poetically written novel. Nor does Collins spend too much time deeply reflecting in any detail the impact of the world she has created. Some writers might have given more time and devotion into intricately exploring the reality of Katniss’s world, but where this novel lacks any intense musings, it more than makes up for it in an intoxicating, vivid and relentlessly captivating story.

I for one was hooked with this book. I loved the speculative nature of it, teamed with Collins talent for building suspense and drama. From page one I felt compelled to learn more about Katniss’s life, to see where her journey would take her and if she would survive. I actually felt slightly bereft upon finishing this book, what could I possibly read next that would captivate my attention so deeply?

This book is light and easy but it holds your attention and keeps you riveted throughout. Next time I find myself craving a book that I can wile away the hours with I will certainly reach for the next in this trilogy. So who else has read The Hunger Games, do you love it as much as me? Will you be reading the next one? Or perhaps you’ve read them all? I’d love to hear your thoughts.

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8 thoughts on “The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins

  1. My 10 year old nephew is reading it, but I haven’t. would you say its an adults novel because of all the blood and gore? sounds good but I wonder if it would be a bit futuristic for me.

    • Hi Dave, I think the audience for this book is a little ambiguous. It’s very easy to read and there’s nothing too complicated or demanding about the story line, therefore I think a ten year old would be Ok with it. There are occasionally violent scenes, but there not senseless or too gory. They serve a purpose and hit home the reality of Katniss’s world. I’d definitely say give it ago. Save for the bits in the Capitol which are a little nauseatingly futuristic, the rest of the novel is well portrayed and it’s not really very futurist, scarily it’s like our world in many ways, but with the immoral and dangerous Hunger Games.

  2. I have not read it, I tend to stay away from doomsday books on the whole, I’m far to sensitive these days to not get affected and depressed… It also sounds a bit like one particular episode of Dr Who, Bad Wolf. I started reading La Chispa (The Spark) A patriot’s tale by Perry McFarlin, which was engrossing and well written but had to give it up as my energy levels just plummeted. Maybe one day I’ll be able to finish it or someone could simply tell me how it ended:)

    • Hi Catpaw,

      I could see why you might feel like that, whilst I never found the book depressing I’m sure many other people have. Sometimes we all just like books that buoy our spirits and help us escape reality, admittedly Katniss’s world isn’t the most appealing place. You might like certain parts of the story though, there’s definitely some uplifting scenes. I haven’t read A Patriots Tale but if I ever do I’ll let you know what it’s like : )

  3. I’ve read and enjoyed The Hunger Games. I found it riveting and couldn’t put it down, except for one section which slowed a bit. The dystopian world was well drawn and it isn’t difficult to see how this could occur in a futuristic environment. However, by the end I felt completely exhausted by the intensity and relentless doom and gloom and I couldn’t face reading the next book. A bit of humour would have leavened the story a little for me and I missed that. But I do want to see the film. A great read, but one off for me.

    • Hi Elizabeth

      Glad to hear you liked the book! her world is well drawn out isn’t it.
      Which bit did you find slow?
      I found some of the bits in the Capitol a little tiring. You’re right, the book could have benefited from a little light humour, I never thought of that, but I don’t think it would do the book any harm. I know Katniss was meant to be grown up for her age but sometimes she was a little too serious.

  4. I couldn’t have been more excited to see the movie after reading the hunger games trilogy and it didn’t disappoint AT ALL!!! it definitely stayed true to the books (with some minor changes that actually worked).

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