Brandi's Reviews > The Hunger Games

The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins
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Apr 27, 12

bookshelves: defense-against-the-dark-arts
Recommended to Brandi by: ♥ Caitlin
Read in May, 2011

UPDATE: I decided to see the movie, mainly to check if it would change my perception of the book. Unfortunately, it didn't. I loved everything about the movie except the storyline, costumes, and the way it portrayed Katniss's love life. I wish I could say I feel differently about the book - because I really, really, REALLY wanted to like it- but I just can't. Sorry.
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First of all, I know you're looking at my rating and wondering what's wrong with me. For one thing, this book's gotten at least 4 stars from everyone else. For another, everyone seems to think that it's the best book of the year.
I won't dispute what everyone else has said about this book, because it's not a complete disaster. It's just that it's one of the worst novels I've ever read.
The story begins great. I love the dystopian setting, even if it is a bit unrealistic. Katniss is a great protagonist - although, I'm getting tired of reading books where the main characters have just the right skills (say, archery) to persevere right through to the end. It's rather cliche by now. But other than that, the author really sets the scene and develops her characters well.
I have to say that my favorite part (I'm sure it's almost everybody's favorite part) occurs when Katniss shoots her arrow in the judges' direction. It was a great move, even if she didn't think so (which I found surprising - why did she cry over it? She must have known it would score her more points with the judges).
It was during the actual competition that the book hit a rift and sunk into a landslide. No offense, but none of it was appealing to me - the wasps, the romance, the danger. Everything, from Katniss's first spring into the trees to the final scene when the remaining two tributes defy the Games, was unnecessary and revolting. It's not the murders that disappointed me; I went into the story knowing that at least twenty people would die in the book. No, what truly revolted me was that the competition was meant to be entertaining - not just to the vain audiences in the corrupted society, but to us readers, as well. So much of it was written in a way that we would find it appealing... imagine, finding death appealing.
To be fair, I know that the book is supposed to serve as a warning, and in some respects, I think it did. But then I remember everyone recommending this book to me ("It's good, you've got to read it!" "It's so cool!" "You'll love it! It has adventure and suspense!") and it makes me sick.
I am in no way trying to insult the author (who obviously has talent) or the people who love this book (many of whom are my friends), but I can honestly tell you that I would never recommend this book to anyone without regretting it. To me, it's like one of those shows that medieval people used to put on, where a person would be trapped in a cage so that a tiger could kill him in front of a laughing audience.
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Comments (showing 1-47 of 47) (47 new)

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Chipper It IS meant to be enjoyable, your right. But not in the way you think. It was meant to be enjoable because it was disturbing. It is kind of hard to explain, but take 1984 by George Orwell for example. It is sickening, disturbing, violent at parts, and just downright scary.It makes you sick to your stomach, it makes you angry, it makes you sad, but that is why it's good.


Brandi Yeah, I guess sometimes you have to hate something to love it.


message 3: by Rae (new) - rated it 4 stars

Rae Hi Brandi--Although, I could see your point for finding this book revolting; it seemed odd to me that "people finding death entertaining" would be so absurd to you...refer to the history of mankind: public hangings; public burnings; nailing people to crosses; gladiators; street fights; justified executions by the state; boxing; ultimate fighting competitions...etc, etc, etc...fact is, humans ARE entertained by things that should be revolting. Think of it; when's the last time a crime scene did NOT draw a crowd on "on-lookers" or when a horrible car accident does not cause "rubber-neckers".


Brandi I'm not shocked by the fact that people find the book entertaining. That's why crime shows are so popular.

It's just that I expected more going into this book, and I was disappointed by the end. I've tried rereading it to change my opinion, but it's still a no-go for me.

I'm sorry I don't like this book as much as other people do. I wish I did, because behind all of the heart-pounding violence there is a moral ready to be found. I just didn't like the way Suzanne Collins unveiled it.


Tanvi A precise review. I can't say that it's the worst I have read, believe me, there are worse. But I somehow feel pissed at how an excellent concept was wasted, or may be, over-shadowed. More in my review...


Brandi Yes, over-shadowed would be the right word.

I'll check out your review.


Rachel Hi Brandi,

Your comment "No, what truly revolted me was that the competition was meant to be entertaining - not just to the vain audiences in the corrupted society, but to us readers, as well. So much of it was written in a way that we would find it appealing... imagine, finding death appealing." spoke to me because I'm not much a fan of violence at all, and I was surprised that I enjoyed The Hunger Games as much as I did. I personally was not happy about ANY characters dying, and the competition itself did not appeal to me, but in a strange way it did (not for the reasons you may think). I took the games in context of screwed up Panem - the games are a gritty reality there, and I saw the world through Katniss' eyes - how it must feel to know she might not make it out alive - that she has to kill other people and her own peer. These children are innocent - I don't think the author's intention was to be all "HEY AWESOME LET'S WATCH ALL THESE KIDS KILL EACH OTHER FOR OUR LOLZ" - I think she was trying to paint a dark picture about a government in control, a city full of people who DO merely see the games as entertainment because the victims are dehumanized, the districts that suffer from starvation, the richer districts that are close to the government where being a tribute is an honor, etc. I did want to know what would happen next to the characters. I do get why you hated the book - I just wanted to chime in because before I read The Hunger Games I thought I'd hate it for reasons you mention, but I ended up loving it for different reasons.


Beth I didn't think I was going to like the book either, but I did. I still don't find it believable that anyone would send their kids to fight to the death without starting a revolution first. Once I decided to forget about that part, I didn't feel like the killings were meant to be entertaining to the readers. I'm pretty sure they were meant to be shocking and revolting and make you feel sick over what a government could do to its own children. It stirs up a lot of anger about the injustice of it all, just like it did for Katniss, and makes you hope for some kind of revolution in the next 2 books.


Olivia Hunt You crazy....sorry


message 10: by Amy (new) - rated it 1 star

Amy I agree with your review 100%. I also didn't enjoy the book.


Brandi Thanks. I'm really glad I'm not the only one. Have you seen the movie?


message 12: by Amy (new) - rated it 1 star

Amy Not yet, but I am planning to... I just don't see the appeal of children killing other children... No matter how "awesome" the writing/characters/etc supposedly is.


Brandi Yeah, me neither. I don't get why this series is so popular.


Danielle There is a huge difference between 1984 and this book- in 1984, you learn something about humanity. The main characters have character and depth, and their relationships seem real. The Hunger Games have none of that. I agree with your review entirely.


message 15: by Jake (new)

Jake 1984 is a thousand times better than this crap.


Brandi Orwell definitely reinforced his theme better in 1984 than Suzanne Collins has in The Hunger Games.


Carly I really enjoyed your review, and I agree with much that you said. I still saw the book as very powerful; unlike 1984, Brave New World, Handmaid's Tale etc, I saw the story as relating less to governmental control than to our society's fascination with the macabre, our tendency to let a screen and a story dehumanize other people for our own vicarious entertainment. I think the irony that in telling the story, Collins makes us complicit in the fate she warns against, as entirely intentional. But I agree, I think this message has been lost as the book gained popularity.


message 18: by Brandi (last edited Jul 19, 2012 06:17AM) (new) - rated it 1 star

Brandi Most definitely. Great analysis :)

Even though I gave it one star, I don't think it was a complete failure of a book. It just wasn't for me, or something.

I actually think it's a little better than 1984. (Shh, don't tell anyone I said that.) ;)

Maybe if I'd read it before all the hype, I would have felt differently. But having a lot of fans can really change a book's effect on you.

I wonder if the first fans of Harry Potter felt the same way?


Carly Brandi wrote: Maybe if I'd read it before all the hype, I would have felt differently. But having a lot of fans can really change a book's effect on you.

I wonder if the first fans of Harry Potter felt the same way?
"


You're right. Even worse, I wonder how the author feels. Although now that I think about it, if the author really had the motivations I imputed to her, would she have sold out and let her story be made into a glamourized and disneyized movie? I haven't seen it, but from what I've heard, it creates essentially the same picture of the story that the Gamemakers create from Katniss's experiences. Oh, well. It just goes to keep the cynicism and irony alive, I suppose...


Brandi You're right about the movie. But I actually liked it slightly better than the book.


message 21: by Phillip (new)

Phillip I read the trilogy in under a weeks total time. Once I had seen the movie trailer and Jennifer Lawrence in it. Who by the way I found to be pitch perfect as Katniss. Opinions are subjective. I can see how you can come from where you are in your opinion. I personally loved the books. As I told a friend though the actual games are but a portion of the overall story. I think you need to read all three books to get a full appreciation of it all. If all three were just about the actual games and in the arena I don't think I would have enjoyed it as much either.


Brandi I also liked Jennifer Lawrence as Katniss. Her acting was probably what I enjoyed the most about the movie.

I don't think I'll read the rest of the trilogy, but you're probably right.


message 23: by Phillip (last edited Aug 12, 2012 10:17AM) (new)

Phillip Yeah when I first seen the flick in theaters I had big problems with it. Second time around I was able to enjoy it more. I think they did a decent adaptation but like all movies I found it to be not as good as the book. Some key character moments were left out of the film and some that were in it were sped through too quickly.

In the book I found the games a necessary evil to get across how dire straits the citizens lives were and how under the thumb they were of the diabolical and controlling rule of the Capital. And it did serve to set up the larger story better. Personally though I was more likely than some to enjoy the books.

I'm drawn to strong female characters. BtVS remains my favorite tv show ever for that reason. And while a lot goes on in The Hunger Games and succeeding books. Love, rebellion, despair, etc. At it's core it is about Katniss. It's a story about a girl who gives up her life to save her sister. It's her story that drew me in and its her that drives everything that happens after. I think that's why the series is so popular. Because of the Katniss character.


message 24: by [deleted user] (new)

she cried over it because she was not really thinking straight and thought her family would be harmed. sorry to be annoying, but, just thought i'd point that out.


Brandi Raella wrote: "she cried over it because she was not really thinking straight and thought her family would be harmed. sorry to be annoying, but, just thought i'd point that out."

It's not annoying to give your opinion. :)
I guess that makes sense, too.


message 26: by R.M. (new) - rated it 1 star

R.M. i agree.


Lauren I agree. It was shallow, uninteresting and totally predictable. What it taught me was that a*holes can STILL rip off foreign media (:cough: Battle Royal), Americanize it and run right to the bank. I don't get those who rave about this uninspired garbage, has everybody gone crazy?


Lauren And PS - this book has little to no connection with 1984. You all must be thinking Lord of the Flies.


Mizuki "No, what truly revolted me was that the competition was meant to be entertaining - not just to the vain audiences in the corrupted society, but to us readers, as well. "<---can't agree more with you, pal!


message 30: by Nabilah (new)

Nabilah Safira I'll have to disagree about costume, it's average that I can't hate it. But for the book, yes. We're on the same boat.


Brandi You're probably right about the costumes. They're not that bad, but I just wasn't sure if they really fit in or not with the rest of the setting.


Mystery Alchemist Now that I think about it, your review is actually down core right. I'd lie if I say that I didn't enjoy the book or some of the deaths except Rue's and Cato's (It made me shiver) but now when I think everyone (the tributes) were right in their own way. Like they say its better to live then just to survive. Cato and the careers they did what they did to survive.


message 33: by Logan (new)

Logan Rowe After reading some of the other poor reviews of this book, I just wanted to thank you for giving an honest and fair opinion without ranting or calling everyone who reads it sadistic. People usually get so worked up when they don't like something... Thanks for keeping a level head :)


Natalie I disagree 100%


message 35: by Ruth (new) - rated it 4 stars

Ruth E. R. You are brave for laying out your "unpopular" opinion! I think that maybe I liked the book because it had a deep meaning and a riveting story/plot, which I find tremendously lacking in most books published these days. I've read several classic dystopias, and a reason I could support this book is because I found it provocative to the current generation the way Brave New World was for its generation. The truth never changes. For a nonfiction version of this story, which was also in the back of my mind as I read Hunger Games, I highly recommend "Amusing Ourselves to Death" by Neil Postman (written in the 1980s about TV but far more relevant today with the Internet). However, I recall being highly disturbed about, say, 12-year-olds reading this novel. I'm in my thirties, and I could never recommend or approve of a young teen experiencing the gore of this novel. I'm surprised that it was promoted as a young adult novel (age range being 12-18 years). If the youngster has a caring parent who reads it alongside them and discusses it with them, that is not such a problem, but I just don't think a lot of kids who read this or see the films have such normal communication with their parent(s). I'm surprised when Lord of the Flies is required reading for 8th graders. Isn't the full meaning lost on such youngsters? I also would not recommend Harry Potter to young teens for being very dark, and darker as the series progresses. However, I found Harry Potter to be too dull to finish reading (although I finally suffered through the last film without stopping it and returning it to the library beforehand). How's that for "unpopular" opinion? I enjoyed your thoughtful review, and I hope someday to be a "goodreads" author and have you critique my books! :)


Natalie I agree with some of your opnions. I am a die hard hunger games fan so I cannot stop from loving these books.


Rachel Gosh, now I feel terrible, I love the hunger games...


Mizuki Thecode wrote: "Whats wrong with you?!"

What's wrong with you?


Ellesse To be honest, I admire this review; it's much better than some of the 1 star reviews which just bitch about the violence and such and make stupid reference to Battle Royale so kudos.


Mizuki TheCode wrote: "I was being sarcastic..... You know "sarcasm" right? It was a joke, there is nothing wrong with her. Some ppl don't get sarcasm......"

What am I supposed to think when you butted into someone else's review and asked her "What's wrong with you?" Do you notice how rude your question can sound, especially when it's coming out of nowhere?


Mizuki Jeremy wrote: "how in the hell is this book unrealistic? ??? it's one of the most realistic books there is!!!!"

People have different opinions, take it or leave it.


Brandi I know a lot of people are upset with my review. I'm kind of upset with it, too, because it does seem a little harsh to give THG a one-star review.

But every time I think about changing it, I just can't get myself to. I do believe it's an important book, but I personally didn't like it enough to give it a higher rating. I might come back to it later and change it, but for right now, I'm keeping it at one star.


message 43: by Ruth (new) - rated it 4 stars

Ruth E. R. You wrote a great review! Better than any I've submitted, which are pretty much my own personal reflections & not actual critiques. You made your point with class, more than I see in some of the responses. Don't beat yourself up, & consider it a good thing that you wrote something worthy of feedback. I will look for your other reviews, and maybe we'll agree!


message 44: by Mizuki (last edited Jun 02, 2014 10:58PM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

Mizuki Brandi wrote: "I know a lot of people are upset with my review. I'm kind of upset with it, too, because it does seem a little harsh to give THG a one-star review.

What's so harsh about giving a book you don't like one-star and tell other people why you don't like it? If people are upset about seeing one-star reviews, it's their problem, not yours.

Please don't change your rating only because some butthurt fans can't stand people expressing negative opinions about a book they like. Trust me, a lot more fans of THG actually are mature enough to handle one star reviews.


Natalie Monroe Mizuki wrote: "Brandi wrote: "I know a lot of people are upset with my review. I'm kind of upset with it, too, because it does seem a little harsh to give THG a one-star review.

What's so harsh about giving a bo..."


Seconded! I'm a THG fan, but I know it's not perfect. Please keep this review up :)


Nenia Campbell I loved THG but I also loved your review. I get crap for my negative reviews ALL the time, so believe me, I can sympathize. But trust me when I say that your review will be VERY reassuring to anyone who doesn't like the book--it feels good, knowing you're not alone. Don't let mean people bully you into removing your review, Brandi. ♥


Hunter Holmes I thought that this was a prety awesome book! I cant wait to see the movie!


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