Nataliya's Reviews > The Hunger Games

The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins
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Dec 07, 2010

really liked it
bookshelves: awesome-kickass-heroines, dystopia-postapocalyptic, for-my-future-hypothetical-daughter, i-also-saw-the-film, first-in-a-series
Recommended for: Fans of GOOD YA dystopias
Read from December 06 to 07, 2010 — I own a copy


Suzanne Collins has balls ovaries of steel to make us willingly cheer for a teenage girl to kill other children. In a YA book.
Two reasons why this book rocks: (a) It is not Twilight, and (b) I really hate reality shows.

Seriously, how long would it take for reality shows to evolve from "Survivor" to "Hunger Games"?

Yes, this book is full of imperfections. It often requires a strenuous suspension of disbelief. It can cause a painful amount of eye-rolling and shaking fist at the book pages. Its style is choppy and the first-person present tense gets annoying. The story is simple, and the message is heavy-handed. But is does set a better example for young impressionable pre-teens than gushing stories about sparkly co-dependency. And here is an obligatory taken out of contest Twilight-bashing quote:
“But just the fact that he was sparkling leads me to doubt everything that happened.”
So why did I add it to my to-read list for my future (hypothetical) daughter? Because Katniss is cool and a badass. She is fierce, independent, resourceful, intelligent, and skilled. She is loyal to her friends and family. She is a survivor. She will never allow a guy to carry her around as though she is a delicate flower. She skewers that apple in the pig's mouth with an arrow in front of the Gamemakers in the most awesome way imaginable. For all that, I love this imperfect, surly, prickly, sullen and perpetually pissed-off, quick to jump to judgment, and sometimes clueless girl.



And I love this book because - despite The Hunger Games being YA literature that seems to hinge on the romantic puppy love - the happiness of Katniss does not revolve solely around a cute male lead. Yes, there is a (hated) love triangle here *eyeroll* but there are other issues that occupy Katniss' mind - such as the survival of her friends, family, and herself rather than just pining over a cute boy. (*)
* Unlike other so-called "books", where a boyfriend of a few months dumping you is a valid reason for catatonia and almost-suicide.(**)

** And yet we still get readers who divide themselves into the incredibly annoying "Team Peeta" and "Team Gale". (***)

*** Because clearly nothing else ever matters besides sappy love - in a book about children murdering each other. *eyeroll*



Now, here is what bugged me about the romance that DID make it into the book. There is actually a LOST OPPORTUNITY here to have a YA book where people CAN be just friends, where devotion and loyalty stem from friendship and respect and not from attraction.

Katniss and Peeta could have had plenty of other reasons to care for each other that don't include puppy love - they are from the same district, same school, he gave her that bread, she trades with his dad, etc. But alas, that did not happen. I understand that Collins had to cater to the way that YA publishers and Hollywood tend to view us, the female audience. At least Katniss escapes the perils of insta-love. But poor Peeta - all of his actions are colored by him being "Lover Boy", and I think it detracts from his personality and reduces him from a kind compassionate person to a fool in love who'd do anything for Katniss only because of his physical attraction to her. Yeah...

...Rue...Oh, Rue...

Now, back to the GOOD. Rue, my favorite character. Little, fragile, almost-too-perfect Rue who was clearly doomed from the start. Who despite her appearance was neither weak nor helpless. Whose (view spoiler) brought the human side to Katniss (who, until that point, was almost bordering on robotic). There was real grief and anger and sadness in that scene, and from that point on I began to care.

Suzanne Collins strictly follows the "show, don't tell" rule. (Actually, she does it to such an extent that the book reads almost like a screenplay.) The plot moves along at a fast pace, only slowing down a bit in the drawn out Capitol makeover and cave makeout sessions. Collins does not shy away from gruesome scenes, making many parts of the book hit home.
----------
I enjoyed it despite the imperfections. Katniss easily beats the majority of the popular YA heroines. And because of all her coolness, this gets 3.75 stars.
"Exactly how am I supposed to work in a thank-you in there? Somehow it just won't seem sincere if I'm trying to slit his throat."
-----------------------------------------
EDITED TO ADD:
So I saw the movie today. All I have to say - Suzanne Collins may have given life to Katniss, but Jennifer Lawrence definitely gave her heart. Lawrence's Katniss has such emotional depth, and she brings such truthfulness to her character. Excellent adaptation with a great balance of tugging on the heartstrings and darkness.

I CRIED TWICE (yes, apparently I am less of a cynic than I thought).
First time - when Katniss volunteers for Prim and people salute her. I JUST CHOKED UP. It felt so real. I have a brother who is much younger than me, and all I could think at that moment was how I would do the exact same thing for him WITHOUT ANY HESITATION. It wouldn't even be a choice. Just like it wasn't for Katniss. *Sob*
The second time I teared up - Rue. Oh Rue... And the salute from District 11 - so powerful and so touching. I...I...I just can't...

PLEASE EXCUSE ME WHILE I GO AND GRAB A BOX OF TISSUES. OR TWO. OR TEN. *SOB*

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Comments (showing 51-100 of 120) (120 new)


☆Meredith (メルたん)♪ loved your review, thanks for sharing! :) I actually cried twice in the movie too...but one time was for Rue and the other was for Cato :'( I liked him so much better in the movie than in the book, for some weird reason...


Nataliya Meredith~chan wrote: "loved your review, thanks for sharing! :) I actually cried twice in the movie too...but one time was for Rue and the other was for Cato :'( I liked him so much better in the movie than in the book,..."

Thanks, Meredith!
I think the actor playing Cato did a great job at letting us see the desperation that was driving him at that point as he realized that he was doing exactly what he was supposed to do - being a pawn. And that had quite an impact on the viewers.


☆Meredith (メルたん)♪ Nataliya wrote: "Meredith~chan wrote: "loved your review, thanks for sharing! :) I actually cried twice in the movie too...but one time was for Rue and the other was for Cato :'( I liked him so much better in the m..."

I know totally! I was very impressed. Are you excited for the next movie (even though it's next year.....). I'm hoping Garret Hedlund will play Finnick, but I think anyone they pick will be good....as long as it's not Robert Pattison


Nataliya I hope the next movie will be of similar quality to this one. But the second book in the series is my least favorite (I think Collins played it a bit too safe there), and so I'm cautiously optimistic about that one.

Now, at huge risk of destroying my 'street cred' I will try to stick up a tiny bit for Robert Pattinson. He is not that bad of an actor, he's rather average but not horrible - but he will never live down the horrible dreck that were those sparkly movies. In his defense, it's hard to act when you have to play a wooden character with unbelievably awful lines and insufferable personality, all while covered in a pound or so of pancake makeup. He made a terrible choice with that movie, yes, and I do hope that someday he'll recover from that.


☆Meredith (メルたん)♪ LOL! Too true, but hopefully they can pull something together that will be awesome. And I have to agree with you on that point. He played an awful character and is now going to have to live it down. Regardless, I still do not believe that he is a good choice for Finnick (tan, blonde, young anyone?).


Nataliya Meredith~chan wrote: "LOL! Too true, but hopefully they can pull something together that will be awesome. And I have to agree with you on that point. He played an awful character and is now going to have to live it down..."

Oh, he's definitely NOT a good choice for Finnick. But I can't really imagine who would be. Hopefully they will cast an unknown actor for this part. Or Jake Gyllenhaal, he can play anything and anybody as far as I'm concerned ;)


☆Meredith (メルたん)♪ OMYGOSH I love Jake!!! Of course, I loved him before he was "cool" in Prince of Persia (although he was, no doubt). The Day After Tomorrow is one of my favorite movies <3
Garrett Hedlund would be an awesome choice imo as well. He played Sam in Tron Legacy & Murtagh in Eragon and I adore him....
But yes, I think they should cast an unknown actor. It would definitely give him ultra popularity!! :)


Nataliya Meredith~chan wrote: "OMYGOSH I love Jake!!! Of course, I loved him before he was "cool" in Prince of Persia (although he was, no doubt). The Day After Tomorrow is one of my favorite movies <3
Garrett Hedlund would be a..."


I actually thought "Prince of Persia" was one of his worst movies; uncharacteristically he appeared quite wooden in that one. I've been a fan from way back when...
I hope for an unknown actor because often it's easier for them to fully inhabit the role without the baggage of other movie fame interfering with it. Plus yes, it would give a chance to shine to a fresh face in Hollywood.


Nataliya Wow. That's so cool! This is my first review to hit a 100-likes milestone on GR. :D

I feel like I'm all cool and special on zee Interwebs right now ;)


Marvin Wow. Congrats. I have a big celebration when I go over 20.


Ronyell Awesome review Nataliya!! I loved this book too! I just got to see this movie!


Nataliya Ronyell wrote: "Awesome review Nataliya!! I loved this book too! I just got to see this movie!"

Thanks, Ronyell!


Ronyell Nataliya wrote: "Ronyell wrote: "Awesome review Nataliya!! I loved this book too! I just got to see this movie!"

Thanks, Ronyell!"


You're welcome! :D


Ananya Wow! Wonderful review !


Nataliya Ananya wrote: "Wow! Wonderful review !"

Thanks!


message 66: by Nermin (last edited Dec 22, 2012 10:25AM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

Nermin Dammit, I love your reviews, Nataliya !


Nataliya Narmin wrote: "Dammit, I love your reviews, Nataliya !"

Thanks, Narmin!


Jonathan Good review. I only have to say that she does plenty of telling and not showing, but is slick about it. She's got excellent transitions that move from a 'film' moment into Katniss' head for loads of exposition. Pure 'show don't tell' would have her writing like Knut Hamsen and jumping temporally to actually SHOW the past instead of telling it through a character's filter. That said, it's Katniss narrating, so it works just fine. :)


Nataliya Johnny wrote: "Good review. I only have to say that she does plenty of telling and not showing, but is slick about it. She's got excellent transitions that move from a 'film' moment into Katniss' head for loads o..."

Thanks, Johnny. I guess she did the telling part so well, integrating it excellently with showing that I barely noticed the exposition.


Sunny Dole Nice review.


Nataliya Sunny wrote: "Nice review."

Thanks, Sunny.


Madalyne Jesus I agree,your entitled to your opinion.I respect that a hundred percent.But if you don't like a book don't write a review because you took one of my favorite books and killed it.I don't want to be all bitter or anything or act like a 'spoiled brat' or whatever but, when people write things like that it ruins the expierience.The only reason I read reviews is because I dream of becoming an author.I read these in hopes of knowing how to please and what not to write.But the only thing I have found so far is that people are cruel.Mostly adults who have no respect for talent.Someday I hope to have half as much writing skill as Collins.She has true talent.But all you guys want to do is complain.I know,you'll read this and be all angry at me and say I'm falsely accusing and all that,but still.When I hate a book I do nothing.Why?Because I don't want to ruin it for someone else.Because maybe that book or author inspired someone to do something great.Gave them hope or an idea.In fact,what if The Hunger Games was Mrs.Collins dream?If thats the case you just told her you hate her dream.And by doing that you have hated my dream also.Your review made me really truly relize that it is a dog eat dog world,and theres no room for dreams.I will save you from reading any more awful books,because I'm not going to try anymore.My dream is officialy gone.Sincerely,a crushed dreamer(I'm sorry if you hate what I wrote, but I really feel that way and couldn't hold it in any longer)


Nataliya Madalyne wrote: "I agree,your entitled to your opinion.I respect that a hundred percent.But if you don't like a book don't write a review because you took one of my favorite books and killed it.I don't want to be a..."

Ummm, huh? Are you sure you meant this comment for my review? I gave this book 4 stars and I adore Katniss. I actually like 'The Hunger Games' trilogy. I think you may have intended to comment on a different review.

"Your review made me really truly relize that it is a dog eat dog world,and theres no room for dreams.I will save you from reading any more awful books,because I'm not going to try anymore.My dream is officialy gone.Sincerely,a crushed dreamer"

I also think there's no need to be needlessly dramatic and allow any review to 'crush your dreams'. That's not the purpose of book reviews, and you probably don't realize you have a spirit too strong to be 'crushed' by something so trivial - most people do, they just do not give themselves enough credit. If you have a dream, don't allow a disappointment to 'crush' it.


Jonathan Nataliya wrote: "Thanks, Johnny. I guess she did the telling part so well, integrating it excellently with showing that I barely noticed the exposition."

You're welcome, Nataliya. :) I have noticed in the second book that she loses this smoothness of transition. The exposition from Katniss is much more blatant, and often repetitive. I'm a bit sad about this. The first book was really impressive and I read it very quickly. The second, however... I've been reading it for over a month now and it's just not clipping along at the same pace. There is an exorbitant amount of repetition both in her exposition and her plotting- very dangerous territory for a writer.


message 75: by [deleted user] (new)

this is awesome!


Nataliya Johnny wrote: "Nataliya wrote: " have noticed in the second book that she loses this smoothness of transition. The exposition from Katniss is much more blatant, and often repetitive."

I agree. There's a drop off in the quality between the first book and the second book, and I consider the second book to be the weakest of the three. It feels like a re-treading of the same territory, capitalizing on the initial success of the idea of people battling each other in an enclosed arena - and it did feel quite repetitive. I loved Katniss in the final installment, however.

Anya wrote: "this is awesome!"

Thanks, Anya!


message 77: by [deleted user] (new)

I did cry at the Rue part.


Jazmine Gulley when you look at Battle royale (from Japan) and the Hunger Games, Battle royale might be more vicious but it is less horrid. HUnger games was made to entertain people. Battle Royale was made to up the country's economy. So this book is very twisted yet has a young adult fling to it.


Nataliya Jazmine wrote: "when you look at Battle royale (from Japan) and the Hunger Games, Battle royale might be more vicious but it is less horrid. HUnger games was made to entertain people. Battle Royale was made to up ..."

Actually, it seems that Hunger Games were created as a tool to keep people in submission to Capitol, with only people in Capitol really seeing them as entertainment.


Tejas it's not twilight? well i don't see anything common in hunger games and twilight and it's stupid that people compare literally everything with twilight these days


Tejas and i love twilight


Nataliya Tejas wrote: "it's not twilight? well i don't see anything common in hunger games and twilight and it's stupid that people compare literally everything with twilight these days"

Tejas wrote: "and i love twilight"

Good for you. I don't. I detest 'Twilight' and everything it stands for.

You see, after 'Twilight' came out, suddenly the (still baffling to me) success of that book resulted in tons and tons of stories aimed at young women - stories that were full of 'dangerous' supernatural men who would for whatever reason pursue the (seemingly) plain-Jane spineless heroine who was supposed to be an insert-yourself-here placeholder for readers and whose issues with the universe could be reduced to 'Am I pretty enough for this gorgeous guy for whom I'd happily give up anything since nothing is apparently better than having a semi-sociopathic boyfriend?'

What I loved about 'The Hunger Games' is the stepping away from that Twilight-induced moneymaking trend (of course, now THG has also spanned tons of imitators, making EVERYTHING about YA renditions of dystopia - the word that gets thrown around without often people really knowing what it represents). Thus the comparison with 'Twilight'. The fact that they do not have much in common was the point of the comparison which, I guess, you have missed.


Tejas i think Hunger games is also amazing in fact i love THG. there is no need of comparison between THG and twilight , that's all. i even love Harry potter,percy jackson series and i think they all are amazing on their place and all i see on web is people calling some series better cause it's better than twilight.


Nataliya Tejas wrote: "i think Hunger games is also amazing in fact i love THG. there is no need of comparison between THG and twilight , that's all. i even love Harry potter,percy jackson series and i think they all ar..."

I assume we'll just remain in disagreement whether comparisons to Twilight are ever warranted. No big deal as long as we can respect each other's opinions.


Katia (Ekaterina) Ossetchkina That was beautiful...


Nataliya Katia wrote: "That was beautiful..."

Thanks!


Maddie Pinee great review. :)


Nataliya Maddie wrote: "great review. :)"

Thanks!


message 89: by Ivonne (new)

Ivonne Rovira Curses, Nataliya! I had been avoiding this book like the proverbial plague. I particularly loathed the book because it was used in my grammar training last summer especially to highlight the issue of comma splices. Great! I thought, that's all I need: My students using Suzanne Collins as an excuse for their own grammatical errors!

Now I may actually have to read it, since you recommend it so highly. :(


Negar Great review, Nataliya!


message 91: by Gesa (new) - rated it 4 stars

Gesa An amazing review, with a tip of sarcasm and humor. Wich tends to keep the earnestness. Wish I could write it like that.... I'm always just like a little Flubber bouncing around all the stuff I loeved or hated... ^^"


Nataliya Gesa wrote: "An amazing review, with a tip of sarcasm and humor. Wich tends to keep the earnestness. Wish I could write it like that.... I'm always just like a little Flubber bouncing around all the stuff I loe..."

Thanks, Gesa!


message 93: by Mpauli (last edited Dec 16, 2013 09:35AM) (new) - rated it 3 stars

Mpauli Gesa wrote: "An amazing review, with a tip of sarcasm and humor. Wich tends to keep the earnestness. Wish I could write it like that.... I'm always just like a little Flubber bouncing around all the stuff I loe..."

It really is. Nataliya's reviews are always on the spot and are a perfect blend of everything you wish for in a great review and then something special and personal on top.


Nataliya Mpauli wrote: "It really is. Nataliya's reviews are always on the spot and are a perfect blend of everything you wish for in a great review and then something special and personal on top."

Thanks so much for the kind words, Mpauli!


Jasmine LaBine I agree with literally everything in this review except for the stuff about the love triangle. I hate the love triangle as much as anyone, but I get annoyed at how critical people are of romance. I hated Twilight, too, but this story, at its core, is a coming-of-age story. Katniss's ambivalence toward romance and her low placement of love on her priority list only add authenticity to her character. I'm also the sap that understands the unbreakable bond between people who have suffered something truly traumatic together.


Irina Thank you Natalie


Sarah Omar I'm still new to good reads and already I have read 2 of your reviews. You're amazing and cynical and emotional and everything great about readers. Please never stop the reviews. Also, may you recommend any good books for me?


message 98: by Chad (new) - rated it 4 stars

Chad Nataliya wrote: "Richard, life is too short to read books that you don't enjoy."

This one sentence prompted me to comment. I do not know if the words exist to express how much I agree with this statement (and, on that subject, stay the hell away from Women In Love). In fact, a significant chunk of my life, as a heavy reader, is guided by that statement.

More generally, I think I agree with everything you said in your review, pretty much, but placed different weight on different parts of my thoughts and feelings about it, and my review ended up being less detailed than yours. In the end, though, I gave it one more star than you, even if I had to debate with myself about whether it deserved that fourth star for a while. If I had read your review first, mine might have come out differently, but in this case I'm glad I wrote mine without reading anyone else's.

Thanks for a thoughtful, and thought-provoking, review. Keep up the good work. Unfortunately, I'm out of time today for reading the huge heaping helping of comments, so I'll stop with the one that prompted me to comment, and I'll just move on.


message 99: by Chad (last edited Mar 28, 2014 07:49PM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

Chad Okay, I fibbed a little. Instead of immediately going off to do other things, I did some skimming of comments here, and found the references to race.

I did actually think about race while reading the book. I mostly thought about the fact it seemed odd that having olive skin and straight black hair was somehow characteristic of one area in one city, and also about the fact that Jennifer Lawrence is not what comes to mind when I think of olive skin and straight black hair. I haven't seen the movie(s), but it would be hard to miss the stills and promotional posters. I have been whithholding judgment on whether or not that matters until I've read the next two books; if they make some plot point of the racial characteristics of people in the trilogy, it matters, and I might be a little disappointed in the casting choices, but if not, it probably doesn't matter if they really thought Lawrence was the right actor for the job regardless of strict adherence to physical descriptions.

. . . but the kind of race issues you mentioned, where people think Rue should have been white, well, it leaves me flabbergasted. The book described her as having dark skin. End of story (apart from me once again noting that her district-mate Thresh was also dark skinned, raising the specter of some kind of implicit segregation issue in the books). Why would anyone object to someone with dark skin playing the part of a character with dark skin in a movie adaptation of the novel that described the character as having dark skin?

I could gripe about the stupidities of 98% of humanity all day and never touch more than a vanishingly small minority of such problems in the world, though. Once again, I tell myself I'm going to stop reading comments and go do some stuff I've been neglecting while checking out discussion of your review.


message 100: by Dan (new) - rated it 3 stars

Dan Walker I agree, the book was written like a movie script. I feel the scriptwriters actually had to ADD material to give the story depth.


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