Kiki's Reviews > The Hunger Games

The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins
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Jan 07, 2015

liked it
bookshelves: awesome-ya, ya, dystopian, awesome-heroine, meh, sentimental-value
Read from March 23 to 29, 2011 — I own a copy , read count: 1


I have got to stop poking fun at this series with memes. Someone take them away from me!

Nah, I didn't love this book. I know I'm in the minority, and part of me is glad about that. I mean it when I say this book deserves recognition, and honestly, I'd rather people were reading this and following a heroine as independent as Katniss, rather than a simp like Bella or Bethany. The Hunger Games is high-quality YA, intelligently written, and despite its flaws it's worthy of success.

Here's where I become one of those lone rangers on a forum uttering the forbidden words: Battle Royale.

Stop! Put down the pitchforks! Let me make my point, okay?

At the risk of sounding like Hipster Mermaid, I read BR and watched the movie long before I discovered THG. So the second I read the synopsis, the first thought that popped into my head was, "Sounds a lot like Battle Royale!"

It reads a lot like BR, too. I'm sorry, THG fans; but you can literally pair up characters from this book and fit them snugly into the moulds of those from BR. Katniss is Nanahara, Peeta is Noriko, Cato is Kazuo Kiriyama (he even volunteered, just like the Careers!), President Snow is the guy played by Beat Takeshi, Effie is the bouncy girl from the training video, Clove is Mitsuko...the list goes on.

I know, people. I know Suzanne Collins said she hasn't read BR. I find this hard to believe, given the similarities, but to each her own. The above is simply something that really, really stuck out to me. The entire way through, I was finding similarities.

This isn't to say The Hunger Games doesn't follow its own course, and have its own storyline. It does. But think of the people who lash out at Cassandra Clare because of the similarities between her work and J.K. Rowling's. If you're one of the people who feels angry about that, consider that perhaps the people who read BR, then THG, and noticed the same glaring similarities as I might feel the same way. I am not a Harry Potter fan, thus I don't know what the comparisons are between the Mortal Instruments and the Harry Potter books - but I did read both BR and THG, and personally, I came across many similarities that I could not overlook.

Moving on, the romance. The romance in this book drove me insane. I don't understand what the constant need to have a love triangle is, but people who say, "There are no teams!" are just kidding themselves. If there were never meant to be teams, and if this book didn't want to have "just another love triangle" ... then it shouldn't have had "just another love triangle". That's the way it is, I'm afraid. I am absolutely and utterly sick of love triangles, and what was worse about this one was the second I read Peeta's name and his history with Katniss, I knew it was going to be all about Katniss loving Peeta and Gale trying to muscle in. It was predictable, and a Plot Tumor. Think of how amazing this book could have been had there been no romance, or if Katniss had actually been forced to kill Peeta. I literally waited, with baited breath, for Katniss to kill Peeta.

But she didn't. Convenience saved her.

The synopsis of this book suggests that Katniss's humanity will be questioned, and she will be forced to make agonizing decisions in the name of her survival, but never once does she kill for the sake of herself. Every kill she makes is either in mercy, accidental or in lieu of child murder (Marvel's death was carried out after he speared Rue; Katniss's killing him would then play out as comeuppance rather than Katniss killing for the sake of herself). Katniss's hands remain proverbially clean, the whole way through the Games.

This is simply not what I signed up for. It's unrealistic, to begin with. Biologically, the human body and mind is wired for survival at all costs. It's true. Think about it: when someone develops dementia, the mind literally breaks down to nothing. Why, then, does the body not simply give up? Why doesn't it shut down, because the mind no longer works? Survival. Survival is why. The main objective of life is to do exactly that: live it. Animals exhibit this to a tee. Smaller animals have faster heartbeats than larger animals, because the lower down they are in the food chain, the more ready they are always required to be to rely on flight to escape predators.

This is why Katniss's lily-white innocence remaining intact until the end irks me. She never has to make any difficult decisions. She is never forced to wrestle with her humanity, give up her principles, shame herself in front of the people who love her who must watch her participate. She is unabashedly perfect. Her inability to make friends doesn't even factor in; everyone immediately adores her regardless. People are willing to die for her, for heaven's sake. The Capitol practically eats the dirt she walks on. And this doesn't change over the course of the series.

I like flaws, man. What can I say? Perfection doesn't interest me. Innocence doesn't interest me, especially in a dystopian setting, where brutality is law-enforced. It just doesn't convince me, is all.

Having said all that, I simply cannot fault Collins' amazing ability to build suspense. I'll put a pin in the excruciatingly boring first 140 pages, and say that the portion of this book that featured the actual Games was just thrilling. The prose was sparse, with the feeling of unedited thought; I love that. A lot of people don't, but I do. Actually, come to think of it, Collins' writing was stellar overall. I'm a huge fan of first person present tense, especially during snappy and gripping action scenes, of which this book had many.

Honestly? These books just piss me off. I don't know what it is. The setting was smart and well-drawn, the anti-violence message was clear and good, and despite being a constant annoyance, Katniss was a fiercely independent and capable female character. This I greatly appreciate. It's not a bad book, by any means, but I'm just not a fan of it.

Aside: I have to laugh, kittens, because a lot of people need to crack open a history book before they make wild claims about the form of government going on here. Numero uno: the government system is not fascist. Please, don't say that it is. It just isn't. At all. It also isn't Marxist, either. I'm not a fan of Marx or his boyfriend Frederick, but don't shame the man and his gratuitous beard. It's more like a very obscure form of Stalinism (but without the weird foreign policy).

In fandoms like this, the naysayers are never without backlash. I've run into a fair few people who scream about how insane I am for not being in all-consuming love with this book (as if three stars is suddenly a bad rating!). Honestly, I don't really care if you loved the book. Sure, if you did, that's great. It's brilliant when people can enjoy the written word, and this book is not terrible, I did not hate it, and if I had never read any dystopian before it I would probably lobotomy-fangirl over it until I died. But right now it isn't for me.

Another aside: I ended up reading CF in full because a friend forced me to. I don't know what was different the second time around, but when I gave it another try I realized that book is outstanding. Definitely the best in the series. Far better than this one, and let's only refer to the last book from now on as Dat Flop. In fact, let's not refer to it at all. Let's pretend it never happened. I beg of you all.

I tried hard to jump on this bandwagon, but in all honesty, I just don't really have any passionate feelings for this series.


Bonus Time!

Look, I'm sorry. But I had to do it.

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Reading Progress

03/26 page 89
24.0% "COME ON. Where the hell is all the action? Geez...." 8 comments
01/30 marked as: read

Comments (showing 1-50 of 263) (263 new)

I am Bastet Um... you might encounter archery in all its forms.

Kiki Oh, lovely. This is going to be such a rip-off treat.

I am Bastet A treat like old peeps four months after Easter.

Kiki Isis, I love you. Just saying.

message 6: by Dinjolina (new) - added it

Dinjolina Don't we all. lol

Jahlia ((thing 10 Evil 1)) You see BR the movie? And how good is the manga because the movie was so awesome!

message 8: by Kiki (last edited Sep 08, 2011 01:51PM) (new) - rated it 3 stars

Kiki The manga is amazing, Jahlia. The book and the movie are the best mediums for it, but the manga and the anime are very good too.

I think you can watch the anime on Youtube.

Brigid *Flying Kick-a-pow!* I've been meaning to read Battle Royale for ages but I can never find it anywhere. Blarghs.

"I can't stand people waxing about how unoriginal the Mortal Instruments series is then hailing this as an original masterpiece."

Amen. I'm a big Mortal Instruments fan––and no, it's not the most original thing on the planet. It has a lot in common with Star Wars and Harry Potter, among other things I'm sure. But it's still good stuff. Someone once told me they hated Mortal Instruments because it was "eerily similar to Twilight." I was like, "... Wha?!"

And then everyone talks about how The Hunger Games is so original and ground-breaking. I don't get it. It's like no one has read all the other dystopian books on the planet. I don't understand either how these books supposedly expose all the horrors of warfare, because it wasn't even that violent.

Speaking of which, have you read Chaos Walking? Because those books are some dang good dystopia. In my humble opinion.

message 10: by Kiki (last edited Aug 07, 2012 07:36PM) (new) - rated it 3 stars

Kiki Brigid: First of all, you go, girl. Florence owns.

And I agree. People call up TMI for being copied from Star Wars or Harry Potter or whatever, but then gush over how original and amazing The Hunger Games is when really it's nothing of the sort. It's a derivative thrill. It's a total expo from Battle Royale, A Long Walk and The Running Man (to name a few!)

It irks me. Really.

I haven't read Chaos Walking, but the title is so kick-ass that I might just have to.

Brigid *Flying Kick-a-pow!* Woohoo! YES. She totally does. I was so happy I found a picture of her reading a book. I was like, ";AKDF;ADSKJFD! GOODREADS PROFILE PIC. NOW."

Yeah, exactly. Doesn't make sense. I don't even care about originality that much as long as it's a damn good story with awesome characters. With Hunger Games ... on top of it not being original, I just felt very little connection to it. Whereas, I love the story in Mortal Instruments. And most of the characters.

Ahhh, you definitely should. The first book is called The Knife of Never Letting Go. The author is Patrick Ness. I'm a bit obsessed.

message 12: by [deleted user] (new)

I would wait like a weakling then attack like a bear.

Alicia ♥ Brigid ♥ {Lion Hearted Girl} wrote: "Speaking of which, have you read Chaos Walking? Because those books are some dang good dystopia. In my humble opinion. "

YES YES YES!! Such an amazing series!! And don't forget the FREE eBook prequel The New World

Brigid *Flying Kick-a-pow!* Yeah! *high fives* The New World was also great. I was kind of sad that it was only a short story, but it was still really cool to get Viola's perspective.

message 15: by Tami (new) - rated it 4 stars

Tami I would do one of three things.

1) Use the power and strength the Greek Gods instilled into me and use it to destroy all of them.
2) I would pretend to be a weakling and then attack when there is only a few people left (most likely)
3) I would sneak in the Death Note and use that.

Jeremy Clarke This review perfectly summarized the book. It may be good but it is not original. The Long Walk alone is a far superior example of what is truly good about Hunger Games, and Battle Royale is a better example of what is badass. Romantic tumor is he perfect metaphor. Thanks!

KJ Shadows My strategy would be to sleep and stay in those trees lol Or like the girl that was stupid and ate the berries. She would have won if it weren't for her idiocy. I've yet to read Battle Royale however so I don't really know what rules or what they gain from battling eachother on the island so IDK I can't judge between the two. However yes this plot has been done many times before gladiator the dangerous game is one that recalls when i was younger.

Karla(Book Addict) i´ve read BR and YES!!!!! HG it´s a rip off, but i really really liked it.Katniss wasn´t the i can´t do a thing, cry all the time, where´s my knight in shinny armor type of girl and that was REFRESHING.
that being said; Battle Royale kept me on my toes even on the last page while The Hunger Games Triology, at least to me, have a disapointing ending.

Jonna this first one was awesome, but second? so disapointing that I havent gotten around to read the third..

message 20: by Lynn (new) - added it

There, I said it.

message 21: by Kiki (new) - rated it 3 stars

Kiki True say, Lynn.

message 22: by K.D. (new) - rated it 3 stars

K.D. Absolutely Team Peeta!

message 23: by Kiki (new) - rated it 3 stars

Kiki Team Thresh.

message 24: by John (new) - rated it 3 stars

John Egbert Kira wrote: "Team Thresh."

And I thought I was the only one thinking that!

message 25: by Kiki (new) - rated it 3 stars

Kiki Fuck Gale and Peeta, man. Thresh is the guy for me. He's strong and driven, has morals and a conscience, he isn't afraid to do what needs to be done, and I kinda always imagined him to be hot. Like, rugged and manly hot.

Oh, damn. Gimme some Thresh.

message 26: by John (new) - rated it 3 stars

John Egbert Woo hoo Thresh!

I hope they don't botch him up in the movie. It may seem impossible seeing as he only has like three or four speaking lines, but they'll manage somehow...

message 27: by Aredhel (last edited Oct 09, 2011 09:41AM) (new) - rated it 3 stars

Aredhel What a great review, Kira!!!You nailed everything so well! Looks like people who are familiar with Battle Royale can't share all that glorious joy when it comes to The Games. I'm actually a bit sad that Battle Royale is not that popular, because it deserves universal recognition much more than its copy.

message 28: by Kiki (new) - rated it 3 stars

Kiki So true, Aredhel! You're absolutely right, BR does deserve to be much more popular and celebrated than it is.

Mackenzie Can I just comment that the majority of people that I know who called this book "original" and "ground-braking" were people who had never read a dystopian before, and thus were unaware of true dystopian works of genius.

Demi (Breaking Bookshelves) I've read the manga, seen the movie, and watched the anime of BR, and I loved absolutely every minute of it. However, I have never actually read the novel. I should really get to it, but I can't seem to find it anywhere. It's usually always on hold at my library. Anyway, your review is awesome~

message 31: by Kiki (new) - rated it 3 stars

Kiki Mackenzie, I couldn't agree more.

message 32: by Tai (new) - rated it 2 stars

Tai Excellent!!! Well said.

message 33: by JJ. (new) - rated it 3 stars

JJ. YES, I agree! Why do people like Katniss at all? Honestly, I found her to be really irritating and haughty. And what is up with the copying Battle Royale? I just finished my review for this book and, like you, I seriously felt the urge to start ranting so I had to cut it off short.

Gunslingerdog I must say, I agree with you immensely. Your points were just about the same as mine - except I have given leeway to Collins on not knowing about Battle Royale, given it was a foreign book. I've spread the word of that book to others as they never heard of Battle Royale before. It's kind of sad.

No way, though. I wouldn't exactly recommend the other two books. Katniss, in my opinion, gets even worse. My favorite character is in the last book - and he doesn't even get a single line of dialogue.

I guess this brings up the question on how one in the writing business would look up if their plot has already been done and try not to imitate the same stuff.

message 35: by Sara (new)

Sara 'tis also a rip off the manga 'Deadman Wonderland' if this is what hunger games is like (Games, and a bit like BR)

message 36: by Jia (last edited Nov 15, 2011 07:06PM) (new)

Jia Honestly, I loved the book when I first read it because I'd been reading such crap like House of Night and (sorry for mentioning it) City of Bones and Twilight.
It is definitely better though, and I have to check out Battle Royal before I get into it being "unoriginal" or whatever. But the thing that really made me realize how pretentious this book is, was when they casted Katniss.
Yes, I'm talking about the whitewashing. I'm not gonna talk about Katniss's description or anything, I'm talking about how the book/ franchise shoves down these themes of hunger, deprivation, oppression, and human rights and doesn't even realize the real world connection. Most people (i mean most people- not all) who live under these conditions are those in Africa, the Middle East, and Asia, mostly people of color. What the book basically does is borrow these problems to make for a compelling story and applies it to the white protagonist and makes her the "girl next door". And I realize that not all people who aren't colored live in great living conditions- but most don't live in conditions described in the book, so it really makes no sense for them to be represent these real people in the world who do live like this. It especially makes me angry when I watch her interviews telling her audience to think about how many people can't eat in this world when she doesn't seem to think about these things either.
tl;dr: This book has no meaning, but it pretends to and its really annoying.

Danielle I respect your opinion, but the difference is with Cassandra Clare she was unoriginal in her writing, not her story. and wouldn't you rather read another adaptation of something that's already great or something where someone reuses charcters, descriptions, and copies paragraphs from other writers. It may not be an original idea, but at least she took the idea in her own way. But that could just be me, I like remixed ideas instead of recycled ones. But I'll have to read battle Royale, I heard it was awesome

message 38: by Dee (new) - rated it 5 stars

Dee I understand your points and all, but I'd just like to point out that no books are completely original. Even Cormac McCarthy, an amazing author, said that his book, Blood Meridian, was pretty much a collaboration of hundreds of other literary works. It's an amazing book and used in school curriculum. Yes, the ideas and themes in this book have been seen elsewhere, but so have those of other, famous novels. Every story, unless plagiarized, is its own, no matter how many other works contribute to its aspects. Don't downplay it because you think it is too similar to another. You don't have to love it, not at all, but you should realize that originality has nothing to do with it and don't use it as a reason. Good review though. I laughed at the "WHO ARE YOU?" part.

message 39: by Nat (new) - rated it 5 stars

Nat I can see where you're going with that. Read Battle Royal...and thought it was amazing! But I liked Hunger Games, since it was a break away from all the paranormal crap that's been polluting the YA shelves.

message 40: by Kiki (last edited Nov 21, 2011 02:36PM) (new) - rated it 3 stars

Kiki Natalie, I completely agree. It's a cut above the recent YA paranormal drivel for sure and for that, I applaud Ms. Collins.

Laurel This is such a beautiful review, beautiful! I agree with all your points. When I first read Hunger Games, I was blinded, but during my reread, I found all the flaws you pointed out. Well done.

Brigid *Flying Kick-a-pow!* Honestly, I can see where you would find the comparisons between BR and THG, but as for the rest you're just wrong.

Listen, "Katniss." It's Kira's review. It's her opinion. Just because you liked the book and she didn't doesn't mean you're "right" and she's "wrong."

I can almost guarantee you, you would've changed your mind had you finished the series.

That's not necessarily true. Personally, even though I didn't love the first book, I stuck with the series. And I wasn't too thrilled with the second and third books. I kept reading them hoping they would get better, and––in my humble opinion––they did not.

Besides, if the first book in the series doesn't capture the reader enough, they are not obligated to read the rest of the series. A series should capture the reader from the beginning. One has every right to stop reading a series after the first book. Sometimes it's not merely what "happens" in the book, but the writing style and characters that don't appeal to the reader.

And her romance with Peeta, is so powerful

Once again, that's your OPINION and not something Kira has to agree with.

And even though their romance is important, it so isn't what the whole book is centered around!

Umm, in the first book it kind of was.

You just seriously had to finish reading it, otherwise all your arguments are just invalid.

Well, she read the entire first book and part of the second book. Note that the review is for the first book and not for the entire series. So yes, her argument is completely valid. You don't need to have read the entire series in order to review the first book. That's utterly ridiculous. Sometimes I review the first book in a series, when the rest of the series hasn't even been written yet. (And plenty of others do the same thing.) Does that make my argument invalid? I think not.

I think an "invalid" argument is when you go on someone's review and lecture them about how "wrong" they are, when really it's just a matter of opinion.

Bookworm Even though I gave the book such a high rating I still completely agree with everything you've pointed out. Particularly, it's boringness, the sucky romance and the questionable originality.

message 44: by Kiki (new) - rated it 3 stars

Kiki I love it how people will come to my reviews of shitty series and bitch about how I keep reading the books and how if I hate them so much I shouldn't - and then when I read a book I don't like and say NO, I'm not going to read the sequel, more people come and bitch at me for not continuing a series I so clearly have no praise for.

For heaven's sake, this review is my opinion. It's rich that someone who gave this book five stars came and told me that I'm JUST SO WRONG - there's obviously a bias here and for that reason I'm not even going to entertain that argument. Besides, Brigid said it all. Articulately.

message 45: by Beate (new) - added it

Beate Kira wrote: "I love it how people will come to my reviews of shitty series and bitch about how I keep reading the books and how if I hate them so much I shouldn't - and then when I read a book I don't like and ..."

Unfortunately people will whine no matter what you write in your review. People don't understand that we all have different tastes. What you like I might hate, and what I love you might think is stupid. But hey, that's all right! Makes for good discussions.

Keep up with your reviews, stay honest to yourself, and stand by what you write. It's all anyone of us can do anyway. If people want to hate on you, ignoring them and not feeding their idiocy is the best policy.


Brigid *Flying Kick-a-pow!* I'd never thought of it that way before, but that's a good point...

Brigid *Flying Kick-a-pow!* Katniss! wrote: "Adam 'Archer' wrote: "Katniss! wrote: "Honestly, I can see where you would find the comparisons between BR and THG, but as for the rest you're just wrong. I can almost guarantee you, you would've c..."

.... Really?

Taneika Katniss! wrote: "Adam 'Archer' wrote: "Katniss! wrote: "Honestly, I can see where you would find the comparisons between BR and THG, but as for the rest you're just wrong. I can almost guarantee you, you would've c..."



Brigid *Flying Kick-a-pow!* What surprises me more is that, after everything that was said to her, the only thing she could do was pick apart someone's grammar. Typical.

Taneika I know! Considering that's probably Archer's only grammar mistake, ever. Honestly, who cares?

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