Dhitri's Reviews > The Hunger Games

The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins
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Apr 16, 2011

really liked it
bookshelves: young-adults
Read from April 11 to 12, 2011

Oh my, what a page turner!!! Finished the book in a flash, might have re-read it to be able to write a proper review. Mixed feelings about the basic premis of the plot, that's I hesitated picking up this book, but overall was a great read! Can't wait to read the rest of the trilogy.

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Here's my quick review of the book, and I will try hard not to spoil the plot: In post-apocalyptic North America, teens from the 12 districts of Panem are sent each year to The Hunger Games, a survivor style reality show where contestants are required to kill off each other until one emerges as victor. Our protagonist, Katniss Everdeen, is a 16-year old girl from the coal-mining district 12, became a participant in the games when she volunteered to take the place fo her younger sister, whose name came up in the yearly random draw. Even though Katniss is agile and fast as she is used to hunt in the woods outside her home, she had no doubts that she was walking into certain death. But that's until she realised that, having been partnered up with the cunning and smooth-talking baker's son, Peeta Mellark, and assigned the sly Haymitch as her mentor, that she might stand a chance at the deadly games.

Collins has masterfully weaved into the plot fast-paced action, questions of moral dilemmas and the internal struggles of a teenage girl growing up, trying to find herself in the midst of rapid turn of events. That, of course, includes a love triangle that takes up just enough space in the plot to make it an endearing teen romance, but not too much that it's sickening sugar sweet. The voice of Katniss Everdeen is that of innocence, curiosity, yet Katniss also displays a rock solid logic and strong will, which makes her very likable as a protagonist. In fact, the whole book hinges on her likability.

Another feature that makes the book such an irresistible read (it was so difficult to put down!) is the action scenes. The premis that teens battle it out on unfamiliar territories while camera capture their every movement round the clock recalls familiar scenes of Survivor and similar reality TV shows, undoubtedly a staple of today television. To the young readers of today, the familiarity continues with the action scenes as TV and videogames floods them with images of violence and war. But Collins was smart to keep the striking similarities subtle and worked in enough novelty and elements of surprise to keep things fresh. Collins has also put in a lot of effort to tune down any graphic descriptions while keeping the gravity of the violent actions alive. In no way does this book take the killings for granted, in fact it points a lot to the repercussions of the use of violence.

So if I loved it so much, why 4 stars? I did feel that this book has the potential to be so much greater than just an entertaining young adults read. While the main themes in this book, among others, poverty, barbaric dictatorship and disenfranchisement came forth strongly, the basic tenets of how the world of Panem came to be was left largely unanswered (hopes are high that more is revealed in the next installment of the series). Also, the first person narrative does confine the exploration of moral dilemmas to the mind of a teenager, to some points the questions become tedious. Then again, I am being a little unfair as this is, after all, a young adults read and maybe I was just expecting too much out of it.

The book does not really end in a cliffhanger like one would expect from a book that is the first in a series, but it ends in such a way that leaves readers to want more. Highly recommended for YA-sci fi readers, but please take caution: be prepared to go into a non stop reading marathon!



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