Lacey Librarian's Reviews > The Hunger Games

The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins
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's review
Nov 18, 2010

really liked it
bookshelves: at-library, science-fiction, dystopia, post-apocalyptic

When I first started reading this, I told Krystl that if I'd read it when I was first discovering dystopic/post-apocalyptic literature, it would have been one of my favorite books. I added that it's harder to impress me in this genre now that I've read more -- but by the end of the novel, I walked away impressed!

Although Katniss is a sympathetic character from the start, with her self-reliance and devotion to her younger sister, Prim, it was the setting and premise that initially held my attention -- two kids from each district are chosen at random to participate in "The Hunger Games", where they fight to the death in a televised competition. It's reality TV taken to its most extreme, and grimmest, conclusion. [Incidentally, my main complaint about the book is that I had trouble suspending my disbelief enough to *really* believe a culture would allow this, children murdering one another for entertainment; while those in the oppressed "districts" opposed the games, it would have been more believable if there were controversy or protests of some sort at the Capital as well. I'm not cynical enough to believe that *all* the "haves" would be content to let the "have nots" die for their entertainment every year].

I was a little surprised by how long the book took to actually get to the games -- the preparation for them was covered in minute detail. Still, the story never felt as though it moved slowly; the drawn-out "pre-game" coverage made the approaching games feel even more ominous, and it was interesting to learn more about Katniss's world based on her observations of how the Capital compared to home.

This book has plenty of tense, suspenseful life-or-death moments, and the commentary on media manipulation is thought-provoking rather than heavy-handed. But it's the character development that makes it more than just another distopian YA novel. Katniss's emotional turmoil, as she must kill or be killed, navigate who to trust and who not to trust, and honor life even in the midst of death, rings completely true. She's a worthy protagonist, placed amongst a cast of equally compelling characters.

I would love to see this adapted as a mini-series to give it the full "reality TV" ambiance, but it definitely holds its own as a book.

Plot - 4

Characters - 5

Writing - 5

World Building - 4

Overall: 4.5

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