Danielle The Book Huntress (Angels Weep For Goodreads)'s Reviews > The Hunger Games

The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins
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I can't imagine how hard it was to write a novel about kids being forced to kill each other. Probably much harder than it was to read it. After all, in my limited viewpoint as a person who also writes (although unpublished), I really dislike hurting my beloved, lifelike characters, and much less killing them, or having them do terrible things, unless they are supposed to because they are evil.

But Ms. Collins had to take kids between the ages of 12-16 and force them to deliberately harm each other.

It's a journey into a world in which a whole society plans events and festivities around such barbarism. It's not the Roman Empire. It's a dark future in which North America has become a much smaller continent called Panem. The society is a dystopic one in which the resources are not so much limited as restricted and deliberately kept from those regions whose denizens participated in a rebellion over 40 years ago. Their punishment is to have twenty-four of their children, two from each District, selected in a process called the Reaping. Those who are chosen must go and fight in the Hunger Games. If you've seen Mad Max: Beyond Thunderdome, then the phrase "two men enter, one man leaves" sort of gives you the idea. Except in this case, it's twenty-four kids enter, and one leaves.

Our heroine, Katniss Everdeen, grows up to the age of 16 in this world. She has been taking care of her family since she was 11, hunting illegally in the forests beyond the fence around District 12, bringing back fresh meat and wild plants to feed her young sister and mother. Her heart has become hard so she can survive. But when the day comes of the Reaping, and her young sister Prim's name is called, she volunteers to go to the games in her place, almost unprecedented. Most people know that they won't return, especially the poorly-trained and outfitted tributes from District 12. But her sister is not going to face the sure death that awaits her in the Games. Not when she can.

The other tribute from District 12 is Peeta Mellark, the baker's son. A boy who did a life-saving act of kindness to Katniss several years before, one she can never forget. She doesn't like him for that reason, also because he reminds her of what she doesn't have, as essentially a townie, when her family lives on the fringes, the offspring of a deceased miner. However, they will have to form an alliance dreamed up by their sponsor, Haymitch, who won the Games many years before. He's a drunk, but he is going to do what he can to keep at least one of them alive in the Games.

I wasn't looking forward to reading this. I don't care for dystopian fiction. And the thought of kids killing each other, well it doesn't work for me. However, I decided to give this a read and bought the book a few years ago. Managed to put it off until now. When the Action Heroines group on Goodreads selected it as a group read this month, the choice was made. I started it, and was crying, not too far into the book (made even more painful by the fact that I have a nasty cold right now with a bad sore throat). I was sucked in.

I love a tough, survivor heroine, and Katniss is definitely that. Not only a survivor, but a girl who made sacrifices for her family. She's without a doubt, a very well-developed character. I like the fact that Collins takes the effort to describe Katniss' thought processes so well in this book, her woodcraft, her no-nonsense approach to life. How she suppresses those soft emotions that would have been a liability to her in her present situation. But deep down, how Katniss has the potential for love, and she does love. When Katniss bonds with another tribute, a young girl named Rue, who reminds her of Primrose, I could literally hear and feel my heart breaking. We all know how this ends. And Katniss best of all. But that doesn't mean you can stop feeling emotions, even when the brutal reality of your existence and forced choices seem to dictate otherwise.

That's part of what makes this a difficult story. The fact that kids are forced into a world in which they starve to death, not because there is nothing to eat, but because someone feels that they shouldn't have the basic things like a full belly and a safe life, for political reasons. That's going on today in this world. It should break a person's heart, and it does. Is this so very out there, when in real life, there are child soldiers in the world right now? I know I'm going towards "Soapbox" territory, so I'll stop myself. Yeah, I guess that's the point. Why should I keep my blindfold on to these horrors and immerse myself in safe, happy tales all the time? And forget that events like this do happen (maybe not in this obvious, fictional landscape kind of way), but in a way that is lot less showcased, and much more brutal.

I admit I liked the role reversal here. Peeta, the boy is more emotional, more approachable, more in need of protection. And Katniss is tougher, more armored, the protector. That doesn't hold true across the map, for Peeta shows depths that surprise Katniss and the reader. And likewise, Katniss has her moments when she doesn't have it all figured out.

Since this is first person, we don't get to find out how the grown-ups feel about this travesty. But I can surmise that people like Haymitch, Cinna, even Effie feel their share of anguish for the roles they play every year, as they watch twenty-four more children go off, most of them to their deaths, even if it's well-hidden.

It's a mad world, and all this comes together in this story to propel me through a gamut of emotions, most of them uncomfortable. I could almost identify with the kids, that horror of knowing, "This is it." The Games are real. I was there with them, and I wasn't spared the realness. I guess that's another reason to respect this work, that the author doesn't soften such a terrible concept. She doesn't allow you to settle into a false sense of security that it will be alright. That would only be a form of contempt in my mind. If you're going to go there, then bring it. And she does.

My final verdict: The Hunger Games is tough reading. But it's complex and powerful, and completely involving. I couldn't stop reading this until I was done.

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Reading Progress

01/11/2013 "I'm going to start this today, and I hope it's not too grim, since I'm feeling under the weather."
01/11/2013 page 37
9.0% "Darn book is already making me cry. And it's painful, with a sore, congested throat. *Shakes fist*" 12 comments
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Comments (showing 1-41 of 41) (41 new)

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Kristin When you get around to it, you're gonna love this book

 Danielle The Book Huntress (Angels Weep For Goodreads) I've heard nothing but good about it.

Susanna It is my second day and I have nearly finished!....first 20 pages it's a bit slow but after that once the games begin it's all fast paced action! (a good change from my usual PNR books :-)

Lucy Looking forward to know what you htink about this one. I am in the group of those who are not fans of this series. I don't hate it, but I don't love it either, majorly because of the author's writing style and because of the protagonist, Katniss.

 Danielle The Book Huntress (Angels Weep For Goodreads) I'm not really excited about it, to be honest. Not a big fan of the dystopian theme and the idea of kids killing each other. But I'll give it a try.

Lucy I wasn't a big fan of dystopia either and reading The Hunger Games didn't make me like the genre.
But I persisted and read "Divergent" by Veronica Roth and I loved it.
I definitely recommend that one!

 Danielle The Book Huntress (Angels Weep For Goodreads) Cool. I've been curious about Divergent. Thanks for the rec!

Lucy Anytime! You should totally read the Divergent trilogy. Veronica's writing is amazing!
The protagonist, Tris, is an awesome girl, there are no dreadful love triangles, the love interest, Tobias/Four, is just amazing and even the villains are interesting.
And the society Veronica created is just fascinating. I could totally see that happening sometime in the future.
Plus, there is a greater message in Veronica's books and not just random people killing each other on tv.

 Danielle The Book Huntress (Angels Weep For Goodreads) You had me at 'no love triangle.' I hate them!

Lucy I hate love triangles as well!
Until this day, I have only found one love triangle that doesn't make me want to bang my head on the walls - Will/Tessa/Jem from The Infernal Devices series by Cassandra Clare.
Cassandra is a master! She play masterfully with our emotions and with our thoughts.
Even though I have a "team" (I love Jem! He's such a sweetheart!), I can't possibly hate Will.
I feel so sorry for him...

 Danielle The Book Huntress (Angels Weep For Goodreads) I haven't started that series yet, although I loved City of Bones and full intend to read it. I'm glad you don't mind that love triangle. That's a good sign.

I didn't mind the Mercy Thompson/Adam/Samuel love triangle that much. Briggs handled it well.

Lucy You must read everything by Cassandra Clare. Like I said, she is a master!
And yes. It is a good sign when you find a love triangle and you don't get all antsy because of it. It's a sign that the author is great.
I haven't read that one author. Patricia Briggs, right?

 Danielle The Book Huntress (Angels Weep For Goodreads) Yes, she writes fantasy and UF. I love her books.

Clare is definitely on my must read list.

Lucy I have to read some of her works then.

I'm glad because Cassandra Clare is really amazing. :)

 Danielle The Book Huntress (Angels Weep For Goodreads) I'm excited to read more of her work, and thrilled about the movie coming out this year!

I hope you enjoy Patricia Briggs. I think she's awesome!

Lucy OMG! Tell me about it! The movie comes out mere days before I turn 20 and I just can't wait!
I am so excited!

Does Patricia Briggs write about vampires like J.R.Ward?

message 17: by Danielle The Book Huntress (Angels Weep For Goodreads) (last edited Jan 11, 2013 03:48PM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

 Danielle The Book Huntress (Angels Weep For Goodreads) That's a great birthday present!

Briggs' two UF series focus more on werewolves/shapeshifter. Her vampires are extremely scary. They have an allure, but they are not played up for sex appeal. I should warn you that her writing is on the clean side when it comes to sex.

Lucy I think so!
I can't wait to see Jamie as Jace. I loooooove Jace!

That's fantastic! I have been wanting to read a good series about werewolves/shapeshifters but I didn't know any.
So, Briggs is not very expansive when it comes to sex scenes?

 Danielle The Book Huntress (Angels Weep For Goodreads) Yeah, the movie looks great. It seems faithful to the book, at least on the trailer...

Briggs writes fade to black love scenes, but she has really great chemistry.

Lucy True! The movie is very faithful to the book.
They even got an Asian to play Magnus, which was the only demand Cassandra Clare made.

What a pity! When the love story is good, I think well made sex scenes only make it more special. And memorable.

 Danielle The Book Huntress (Angels Weep For Goodreads) That's good that she was able to have some authority in casting with Magnus.

As far as the PB books, I don't think the sex is necessary. Some of her readers feel the way you do, but I like the books just as they are.

message 22: by Lacy (new)

Lacy Wow! You zoomed through this book. Will it break my heart?

Lucy Agreed! Magnus couldn't possibly be a "white" guy.
It seems that directors, producers and whoever works in that area are afraid to use non Caucasian actors but that can't be.
Cassandra specifically says that Magnus's mother was half Indonesian and that he was born in some place in Asia (I don't remember the name of the place right now).
But that happens not only with movies. You can count by your fingers the number of heroes in the young adult genre that are non Caucasian.
I can only remember Jem Carstairs from The Infernal Devices series by Cassandra Clare (he's half Chinese) and Kopano from the Sweet trilogy by Wendy Higgins (he's African).
How sad!

I don't think sex is necessary in a book either.
You don't have sex scenes in Cassandra Clare's books and I think she tells otherworldly love stories.
So I just have to wait, read and see what I think about PB.

 Danielle The Book Huntress (Angels Weep For Goodreads) With Patricia Briggs, you don't miss the sex. I think you'd be okay with them.

@ Lacy: It has some tough scenes, but I think you'll be okay. I think you'll enjoy Katniss and Peeta.

Lucy Awesome then! Can't wait to read one of her books! :)

Sandi *~The Pirate Wench~* Great review Danielle! For the reasons you stated I have avoided this book,but maybe after your reading/review I may give it a shot.

message 27: by mark (new) - rated it 4 stars

mark monday great review, LD!

 Danielle The Book Huntress (Angels Weep For Goodreads) Thanks, Sandi and Mark.

Sandi, if you know what you're getting into, it helps. Still a difficult read (emotionally) at times.

Sandi *~The Pirate Wench~* Lady Danielle aka The Book Huntress wrote: "Thanks, Sandi and Mark.

Sandi, if you know what you're getting into, it helps. Still a difficult read (emotionally) at times."

For sure,and your review helped in that way so I know what is in it that like you may bother me..but Im now aware so thanks:)

 Danielle The Book Huntress (Angels Weep For Goodreads) Glad to help! Let me know what you think of it when you read it, Sandi!

message 31: by Lacy (new)

Lacy Awesome review Danielle!

 Danielle The Book Huntress (Angels Weep For Goodreads) Thanks, Lacy! I think you'd like this book.

Jocelin I really enjoyed this book myself. I was very resistant to reading this series because of the subject matter: children fighting to the death. I thought Suzanne Collins did a very good job of conveying the gritty despair of this dystopian novel. I felt the movie really captured the essence of the book very well. Really good review.

 Danielle The Book Huntress (Angels Weep For Goodreads) Thanks, Jocelin. We are on the same page about the book. I haven't watched the movie yet. I'm glad you thought it captured the book well.

Werner Danielle, GREAT review! (And I hope that cold and sore throat soon get better.)

Nadine Great review! Very thoughtful and well-put.

Schrodinger's Cat Great review

message 41: by Zach (new)

Zach if u like the hunger games theb u should watch the movie, the Starving Games. Also rea the book, the Hunger pains

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