Barb Lie's Reviews > The Hunger Games Trilogy Boxset

The Hunger Games Trilogy Boxset by Suzanne Collins
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Jun 16, 12

Read in September, 2011

The Hunger Games Trilogy by Suzanne Collins

A few friends recommended me to read The Hunger Games trilogy by Suzanne Collins, which is rated as YA. I was undecided if I wanted to read YA, though I did love the Twilight series. But the feedback on this was excellent, and the consensus was that this series was for Adults, as much as for Young Adults.
The base of this futuristic story takes place in a nation called Panem, which was risen from the ruins of the United States and all of North America. Panem was divided into thirteen districts, with each concentrating on one specialized skill, such as food, coal mining or electronics. The ruler of these districts was a powerful Capitol, which was very oppressive to the districts, as those in the Capitol were treated like the rich, and the other districts lived in poverty. A rebellion rose from the districts that the Capitol defeated, which brought about the destruction of district #13.

To prevent any thought of a future uprising, the Capitol uses an annual Hunger Games event, which is a televised fight to the death in a hostile arena, which is meant to put fear into people. Every year two children from each district, a boy and a girl between the ages of 12 and 18, are chosen by lottery to represent their district. The winner gets a life of ease for them and their family, and the loser gets death. Only one winner out of 24 teenagers survives every year.

In the first book, “The Hunger Games”, we get to meet the heroine of this trilogy, Katniss Everdeen, who is from District 12. Katniss is around 16, when the story starts. You meet some of her family and friends early on, such as her sister, Primrose; her mother, and her friend, Gale. It was Gale and Katniss, who would go out together to hunt, which was against the rules of the District, but they would sneak out to hunt small animals and sell them for money or keep for food.

At this years Reaping (the lottery drawing), Katniss is nervous, but she is more nervous for her sister. Katniss is very protective of Prim, but she feels confident that Prim, who only has one name tag in the lottery pile, since she is at the youngest age and this is her first drawing. As they get older, the more name tags go into the pot, increasing your chances to be picked. Of course, Prim’s name is selected. Katniss panics and runs as they take her sister away. She shouts out that she volunteers to take her sister’s place, which is allowed. The boy’s name chosen was Peeta Mellark, who is the baker’s son, whom Katniss only knows from afar. Peeta, pales in comparison to Gale, who at 18 is very handsome and as they say “smoldering”. The last time District 12 had a winner was 30 years ago, with Haymitch, who will be their mentor for the games.


Once you get past the introduction of the characters, and the choosing of the “Tributes”, the storyline gets very exciting, full of suspense, and very very violent. The 24 young kids are thrown into a violent environment, where only the strong survive, and in this case only one. Prior to going into the fight at the arena, the stage is set, with other characters brought in as part of their team to dress them up for the opening night, where they are introduced to the television audience. You meet and get to know the people who both Katniss and Peeta become close to, prior to the games. Cinna, the stylist, who designs her clothes for the show, becomes very close to Katniss; Haymitch, who is their mentor, and the one who has to get supporters to be able to occasionally send them help, such as medicine, food, etc during the games. Katniss, who is the strong one of the two, and must protect Peeta early on, knows she can never become close to Peeta, as she will have to kill him at some point, in order to survive. The advising team, forces Katniss and Peeta to pretend they are falling in love, in order to win over the people to their side during the televised games.

Capitol, especially President Snow, are all evil. They have created an arena (landscapes, forests, water, deserts) that is dangerous, and horrific. They have complete control of the environment, as they can control the weather, send in crazed animals, or change the terrain while the Games are in play. They do it as enjoyment for themselves, and as a tool to control the districts from ever rising up in rebellion, as the districts watch on television, their young children/family/friend fighting to survive a violent death…barbaric.

It is pretty exciting to watch Katniss, fight to save herself, and eventually Peeta. The Capital uses a ploy midway to change the game that if the district pair survives together, they will both be allowed to live. But as evil as they are, at the end, when only Peeta and Katniss are alive, they change it again. But Katniss manages to use her pretended love for Peeta as a trick to save them at the end. I could not put this book down, and fortunately for me, I could immediately go to the next book. Very exciting first book, but if you are planning to read, be prepared for the violence.


The second book of the series is “Catching Fire”, which picks up with Katniss Everdeen and Peeta Mellark returning home from their victory as the last people standing from the Hunger Games. Katniss and her family are living in a nicer home, with everything they need. But she still likes to visit her old home, and her friend Gale, who became somewhat distant when she was away. But their friendship resumes, as Katniss hardly sees Peeta anymore. After a visit from President Snow, Katniss finds out that there is the beginning of unrest growing in the districts of Panem, and she is the face the rebels want to use for their fight. All this because of her trick at the end of the games, to beat the Capitol, and to save both her and Peeta. The President wants to make sure that Katniss proves to everyone that she does love Peeta, and use that to try to stop others from using her as the face of the rebellion.

The pair must go on a Victory tour together, where they must both show that their love for one another is real. The Capitol pulls another surprise, forcing all the victors of the Hunger Games from the past years to go back into the games this year. Though we get to meet some of the old team, who helped style/mentor Katniss and Peeta, there are some new characters that are very good, such as Finnick & Johanna. But it was great to get to know Gale even more, as well as Haymitch. Catching Fire is very similar to the Hunger Games, as once you get past the first third of the book, you are back in the violent games. The only thing different is a group of the Tributes have allied up with Katniss and Peeta, to help each other until the time comes that they have to separate to fight one another. The story is the same, very exciting, brutal, suspenseful, and very violent.

The major twist at the end, changes the game totally. There was a reason why some allies were so willing to help Katniss and Peeta, and they have been split up. Unfortunately the ending was a serious cliffhanger. Fortunately for me, I didn’t have to wait.

“Mockingjay” is the third and final book in the Hunger Games Trilogy. The book picks up with the few survivors totally broken up. They are badly injured either physically or mentally. Peeta and a few others are now captive with Capitol. Katniss, and Finnick are mending in the now functional District #13, which has been behind the rebellion all along. Katniss is bitter, because Haymitch and many of those who were helping the rebellion behind the scenes did not tell her or Peeta. She blames them for Peeta possibly being tortured or worse dead, as at the end of Catching Fire, they had saved her and Finnick, leaving Peeta and the others to the Capitol. Katniss has a hard time recovering, constantly being drugged to help relieve the pain of healing, and the nightmares. But in time, she knows she cannot let the Capitol do what they have done to her and all the other young children. She willingly becomes the face of the rebellion that will lead the uprising. The 13th District is lead by President Coin, who doesn’t really like Katniss, but she needs Katniss to help with rebellion.

Through most of the book, you follow Katniss and her team, which now includes Gale, to visit all the other Districts and get them to fight the Capitol. Coin sends in her soldiers, and they slowly begin to win this war…..and it is a war….brutal, violent and many deaths. Katniss when helping to fight the enemy, is followed by her communications team, who film her, so that the revolution can see their hero.

Peeta has been brainwashed by President Snow in the Capital, and is being forced to dispute the claims of Katniss and the rebellion. Worried about his mental stability, Katniss asks for Coin to find a way to free Peeta. The mission is successful, but once he comes back to them, he becomes a danger to Katniss, as he is fully brainwashed that she is the enemy.
The story continues, as they move to win this war, but make no mistake, it is very emotional, as so many lives are lost. You feel the terror, the emotional ride along with Katniss, as she mourns the innocent and those she cared about, as she sees them die along the way to the Capitol. The war is eventually won, but at terrible cost. It breaks Katniss, as she has been through hell, and at near the end, there more twists that will blow you away. As I said, it is a war, and Collins does not mince words, she shows you every detail throughout the entire series.
Katniss continues to love both Gale and Peeta, but in the end, once she mentally pulls herself back, though she will never be the same, she will make a choice. I feel due to the content of this book, it is an Adult book. Sure the story is YA, with the young heroine and hero. But the violence, deaths, war, horror belongs in an Adult book. However, many YA book are also Adult books, this is one of them. I fully enjoyed this series, it was hard to put down, and I had to keep on reading. Great story, great characters, and a great heroine.

Barb
The Reading Cafe
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