186 of 195 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Please read this book
This time last week I had not heard of the Hunger Games trilogy. I was happy and content in my oblivious state too but it all changed very quickly! My Facebook page went Crazy on Saturday with talk about the movie and how fantastic it was, how it was true to the books and generally there was a buzz in the virtual atmosphere! My curiousity was aroused and I googled "Hunger...
Published 20 months ago by GH26
81 of 93 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Battle Royale for the Twilight generation
I ignored this book for a long time on the basis that I felt it sounded too similar to Battle Royale. However I have finally got round to reading it, and am glad I did -whilst there are plenty of flaws, this is a fast paced, thrilling, adventure story, which provides surprises and visceral entertainment.
Katniss and Peeta are the teenage 'tributes' chosen from...
Published on 10 Sep 2011 by The Amazon J
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186 of 195 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Please read this book,
This review is from: The Hunger Games: Movie Tie-in Edition (Kindle Edition)This time last week I had not heard of the Hunger Games trilogy. I was happy and content in my oblivious state too but it all changed very quickly! My Facebook page went Crazy on Saturday with talk about the movie and how fantastic it was, how it was true to the books and generally there was a buzz in the virtual atmosphere! My curiousity was aroused and I googled "Hunger Games", saw there were books available and so downloaded the first to my Kindle.
I started reading the first book on Sunday morning and by Sunday night I had completely devoured it. My housework did not get completed and dinner was more than a bit late. Where on earth was this series hiding and why had I not heard of it before now?
The whole story is so well thought out, rounded characters, brilliant use of the English Language, imaginative and simply an enthralling pleasure to read. Don't be fooled that these books are aimed at Teens - I'm 32 and loved it. I loved it so much that I downloaded the other two books in the series immediately - I had to find out what happens to the characters and follow them on their quest. I had a bit of a late night Sunday and then during my hour lunch break for the next couple of days finished the second book which is just as captivating. I'm starting the third tonight, but am sure I will be sad to see it end.
If you only read one book this year, please make it this one - you really won't be disappointed. I can't stop raving about these books to my friends and colleagues and I had to come on here and write a review to tell you to read it too!
283 of 303 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars So good I didn't want to finish it!,
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This review is from: The Hunger Games (Paperback)Ever since Harry Potter, I have spent my time trying to find books with characters I love as though they were my own friends, and with a plot so real that I felt it could actually be happening. Most books disappoint me in this area and I've had to settle for a lot of mediocrity. But not this time. Hunger Games drew me so far into its world I didn't want to leave!
Hunger Games is set in the future where North America has been turned into a country called Panem, separated into 12 districts and the Capitol. As if constant hunger wasn't bad enough, the districts are constantly reminded of the "Dark Days", when they rebelled against the Capitol, by punishing their children in the Hunger Games. Every year each District must send one boy and one girl to the Capitol to take part in these Games where they must fight each other to their deaths. The winner is the child who comes out alive, having presumably killed all the others. The Hunger Games is reality TV at its very extreme; mere entertainment for the wealthy and pampered residents of the Captitol, but torturous for the Districts, who have to watch their children year by year go off to the Capitol to be killed.
This book starts on the day of the Reeping, where the teenagers who will enter the Games are chosen at random throughout the districts. We follow Katniss Everdeen, a 16-year-old girl of District 12. Katniss has been scarred deeply by the death of her father in a mining disaster several years ago and since then has been breaking the laws of Panem by hunting animals in the forest in order to feed her starving family. You can't help but feel for Katniss, who has lost so much and tries so hard to care for her family, and when her little sister Prim is chosen in the Reeping, you can understand why she volunteers to take her place. And so the story follows her, along with fellow District 12 Tribute Peeta, as they head off to the luxurious Capitol, and finally head into the Hunger Games where you will be unable to put the book down, waiting to see if/how Katniss will survive.
This might all sound a bit morbid and violent and that was definitely a big concern for me when the concept of the Games was first introduced. But I read on anyway and was pleased to discover that while yes, people died and yes the idea of the games is horrific, it was so carefully written that it didn't feel morbid at all. Instead of feeling sick, you're taken on a journey with Katniss as she wakes up to the idea that the world she lives in is highly unfair. It's not a constant bloodbath where murder is just something you have to do; Katniss learns quickly the awful consequences of taking someone's life and death is treated with a heavy heart indeed. It also relates to so many aspects of our own world, and it's not a far stretch to imagine some time in the distant future a society like this. For that reason, instead of being a morbid tale of death and injustice, it will probably open your eyes to many of the injustices in our own world.
But don't worry, the Hunger Games won't leave you feeling completely miserable. The tragic moments are brightened considerably with light-hearted moments and some brilliant characters: I loved Cinna, the stylist, who is incredibly creative; I enjoyed drunken Haymitch, the only Tribute from District 12 who ever came back alive, who is enlisted to help Katniss and Peeta, and has a hidden depth that may surprise you; Peeta brings a certain amount of humour to the story, but also a wisdom that is beyond Katniss. Add to that Career Tributes, from Districts 1, 2, and 4 who have spent their lives training for the Games and see it as a great honour; a would-be love-triangle; and a main character you will feel for not because she's pathetic or a damsel in distress character (she's neither of these things!), but because she is feisty and fighting so hard to find justice in a world that has little, you can't help but hope she succeeds.
So what with the characters I felt I knew personally, a plot that seemed so real I came out of the book in a daze, and enough pace and action to keep me wanting more, I found myself reading this book at every possible moment and hating every second I spent away from it! I did not want to finish this book and finishing it was the most awful moment of the whole book! Possibly one of my favourite books of all time, Hunger Games is a trend-setter like Harry Potter and Twilight before it. It will define a generation of books and those who read it; if you don't read it you will be missing out on a HUGE moment.
172 of 184 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Before you enjoy the movie, enjoy the book!,
This review is from: The Hunger Games (Paperback)The Hunger Games is on the way to our big screens (23 March in the UK and US) and therefore I thought it only right and proper to do what I should do more often when a movie comes out that's based on a book - read the book. I have the best intentions to read the trilogy in its entirety before the release because I suspect that there may be borrowings from Catching Fire and Mockingjay in the film adaptation but so far I have just read the one that people are talking about an awful lot - The Hunger Games.
In a near and dark future the bit of our world that we know as North America is now Panem. At its centre is The Capitol and around it are 12 Districts, each devoted to a different industry (such as mining or farming). But once there were was a District 13. This District was destroyed in an uprising against the President and his controllers. The result of this rebellion is that each year the remaining Districts must watch a son and a daughter fight to the death in front of their eyes in some kind of obscene reality television show called The Hunger Games. Two children, aged between 12 and 18, are put into an artificial environment, given limited weapons and food, and are aggravated and teased and prodded and goaded into slaughtering the others - or at least those who do not die of hunger or dehydration or mishap - until just one survives. This entertainment has been crafted with rituals and careful design into something appallingly oppressive yet ornate that mocks the fact that its victims are young and frightened children.
Our heroine is 16-year-old Katniss Everdeen from the grottiest and poorest of the Districts, the twelfth. She is placed into the Games not because her name was called in the lottery but because the name that was called was that of her 12-year-old sister. Katniss protects her family and is its provider, illicitly hunting outside the District's wire and scraping at survival. It's inconceivable that this brave girl wouldn't protect her sister now. The boy who is called with her to `play' is Peeta, whom, it turns out, is a boy who once saved Katniss' life. And so begins the Hunger Games, as we see it through the detailed, evocative and frighteningly grown up narrative of Katniss.
The Hunger Games is essentially a novel in three parts: the run up to the Games, the Games themselves and their conclusion. We shift between District 12, with its soot-faced mining occupants and its hungry inhabitants, to the Capitol with its extravagant foods, rooms, trains and clothes. Finally, there is the artificial environment of the Games themselves, populated by the 24 youngsters and whatever other beings the Gamemakers introduce to stir things up a bit.
For me, the most interesting part of the novel wasn't the Games, which I didn't think went dark enough despite the horrors, but the world that Suzanne Collins has created here, with the Districts, the Capitol and its uneasy, sometimes voiceless inhabitants. The Games are just one element of a truly fascinating, well-evoked and quite alarming vision of the future where it's almost as if the parents have given up.
The Hunger Games is an excellent novel. It may sound long at over 450 pages but these are swift and fast and they rush past the eyes. The excitement never lets up and when it finally ends you'll be glad that there are another two novels to go in the trilogy. I am a big fan of Young Adult dystopian fiction and, while this isn't my favourite, it is certainly a novel I recommend to all ages, not least because we will soon see it brought to the big screen. Suzanne Collins has seen the finished film and, from the sound of it, it delivered with Jennifer Lawrence (X-Men: First Class) doing a fine job bringing Katniss to life. But before you enjoy that, I urge you to enjoy the book.
65 of 74 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Really Brilliant.,
This review is from: The Hunger Games (Paperback)The hunger games is focussed on an almost surreal world where "The Capitol" is watching over a set of 12 districts. These districts each have different skills, some are fantastic farmers or hunters or bakers and so on. The hunger games is a broadcast show which all 12 districts can watch and essentially become a part of. One boy and One girl from each district is chosen to fight in the hunger games - and it's a fight to the death. The winner? Well, they're the last living contestant. However, what seems quite a relevant twist is that the contestants are children of varying ages and degrees of strength and independance.
It's such a brilliant book in that you really do become totally engaged. You're desperate to determine who will survive and really you don't want anyone to lose. It's awful in one sense because children have to die in the world of the hunger games and at times their deaths seem premeditated - as though there might be some set-ups.
I don't want to ruin the story for anyone but it really is a young-adult gem but I think you could enjoy it even as an adult. It's a less gruesome and more complex version of the movie "deathrace" but of course, there are no cars because the contestants are, in this case, in the middle of reality world created specifically to test their survival skills.
Definitely worth a read, the cover is great too - you can change the character on the front. Enjoy!
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Are you not entertained?,
This review is from: The Hunger Games (Paperback)In a dystopian future world, a plentiful society exists in a place called the Capitol which oversees 12 poverty-stricken Districts to produce specific products to maintain their charmed lives. As a way of re-affirming their dominance over the Districts (as well as provide a sadistic entertainment to the twisted rulers), they demand 2 "tributes" in the form of one boy and one girl between the ages of 12-18 to travel to the Capitol and be placed in a vast arena to survive and fight to the death. These televised trials are called "The Hunger Games". This is the story of a 16 year old girl called Katniss Everdeen from District 12 who is one of the chosen.
I heard about this book a few years ago in Stephen King's Entertainment Weekly column but I decided not to read it as it was labelled "Young Adult" (YA) (I'm not a teenager) and because it seemed like a knockoff "Battle Royale", a superb Japanese film I'd seen in 2000 which has a very similar premise. Having read the book, in hindsight both of these reasons were ridiculous. The YA label is arbitrary at best and, reading it, I couldn't understand why this book is considered to be a teen book and not one for adults. Maybe the lack of swearing, sex, and overly descriptive violent scenes?
And the "Battle Royale" argument (which seems to bother a number of reviewers), well was that the first book to feature kids on an island killing each other? Has no-one read "Lord of the Flies"? Shirley Jackson wrote maybe the best haunted house novel with "The Haunting of Hill House" - does that mean Richard Matheson's "Hell House" or Stephen King's "The Shining" are invalid because they followed in her wake? Or Yevgeny Zamyatin's "We" preceded both Aldous Huxley's "Brave New World" and George Orwell's "Nineteen Eighty-Four", so do we discount Huxley and Orwell entirely? Just because a concept has been done before, doesn't mean it can't be done again - and done better at that.
"The Hunger Games" is an exceptionally thrilling read. Suzanne Collins has crafted a compelling portrait of a world unrecognisable to our own, both futuristic and historic at varying times, but the best part of the book is, as it should be, the Games itself. Once Katniss enters the arena with the 23 other teens, I couldn't stop reading and finished the book on my second sitting, it was that exhilarating to read. Her battle to survive both on the basic level of eating and drinking what she could find, while escaping her would-be murderers, was a unique reading experience that I've never come across before and Collins does a fantastic writing job throughout. The survival part of the book echoed another excellent series of YA books I read when I was a teenager, Gary Paulsen's "Hatchet" books (highly recommended by the way), while the many Roman references made it seem like an extended teen "Gladiator".
I won't give away anything about the story here but suffice it to say that there are betrayals and killings that you don't see coming, and constant suspense throughout (even though you know Katniss makes it). Like I say, I don't know why this isn't considered an adult book but any adults reading this review should give this novel a go, ignore the YA label, it's very well written, very well-conceived, and an amazing action-thriller with elements of sci-fi thrown in. Excellent fun, I bought the other two books immediately after finishing this and can't wait to find out how this series continues.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars one of my all time favourites!!!,
This review is from: The Hunger Games (Paperback)The hunger games series are some of the best books ive read for a long time, couldn't put it down!! Constant twists and compleatly unpredictable, MUST READ!
81 of 93 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Battle Royale for the Twilight generation,
This review is from: The Hunger Games (Hardcover)I ignored this book for a long time on the basis that I felt it sounded too similar to Battle Royale. However I have finally got round to reading it, and am glad I did -whilst there are plenty of flaws, this is a fast paced, thrilling, adventure story, which provides surprises and visceral entertainment.
Katniss and Peeta are the teenage 'tributes' chosen from District 12, the poorest district of a post-apocalyptic North American society. Their district specialises in mining - others concentrate on farming, machinery, etc - but Katniss is actually a skilled 'outdoorswoman' - following her father's death, she has had to make a living off the land. Peeta is a baker's son - but one with a showman's gift for oratory. They and 22 other teenagers - 2 from each district - are required to fight to the last survivor in a televised arena battle. And yes, the arena is pretty much that of Battle Royale, with death zones, individual weapons, teenage love, regular announcements of the slain, etc. Basically if you just imagine Ms. Collins got permission to tell a story in Takami's setting, you'll be able to enjoy the story far more.
So other than the ...um, 'borrowed' premise, what else is wrong with it? Wafer thin characterisation - most of the other tributes are cardboard cut outs- iffy moralising ('Katniss stabbed him in the face. Later she reflected, 'Oh God, what have I done, how could I kill another human. I hate the government.' Then she fired an arrow into the heart of Boy Two from District Nine'). I paraphrase, but the moral struggle is filler, not truth. And some lazy story-telling - on entering the arena, Peeta is able to form an alliance with other tributes, whom we have never seen him talk to, who we are told do not rate his abilities and who would have been able to easily dispatch him.
But there is plenty right with the book too - the prose is strong, the action relentless and believable, and Katniss' romantic dilemma is much better defined than her issues with killing people. The Rue scene - you'll know it when you read it - is pitch perfect and remains with you long after the book is closed.
35 of 40 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great plot, well written, fast-paced and unputdownable,
This review is from: Hunger Games Movie Edition (Hunger Games Trilogy) (Paperback)The Hunger Games is the first Suzanne Collins book I have read and I had no idea of its premise before I began reading, Saturday lunchtime. I finished it before I went to bed that night, literally unable to stop reading and have already ordered the final 2 books in the trilogy. Though considered 'children's fiction', I would question this label and consider its appeal to be universal; I wouldn't recommend it to anyone younger than a mature 11 year old with excellent reading skills. Having said that I am looking forward to my 11 year old son reading it to me so we can discuss the political, moral and ethical implications that arise from this though-provoking book. I read this as a bookclub choice and all the middle-aged women in the group enjoyed it as much as I did - so much so we are now going to read the sequel 'Catching Fire' too - our group agreeing to read a sequel at all, let alone immediately after finishing the preceeding tale is a unique accolade for this trilogy. Amazingly we also unanimously enjoyed it; not a first, but a rarity!
I won't go into the plot as there are plenty of reviews that have already trodden that ground and with the film coming out imminently, I'm sure the plot won't be difficult to uncover. Another selling point of this novel is The Hunger Games' wide appeal; I am a secondary school English Teacher and all of my students who have read it have been incredibly enthusiastic about it, yet I have also recommended this book to my 11 year old son, 15 year old daughter, my husband and my grandad (not forgetting me and my middle-aged female cronies have also enjoyed it). So not only is it a great book at a great price, but it will be well-thumbed by the time your friends and family have finished with it. I had read a few mediocre books in a row recently and this story has restored my faith in contemporary fiction.
50 of 58 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant!,
This review is from: The Hunger Games (Paperback)Whoa!
I'm at a loss for words, and I'm not sure I can put any coherent words into a review. I can't begin to describe how much I loved this book. Its a genre away from anything I've ever read before, and I wasn't sure about it at first, and I probably wouldn't have picked it up; but so many of my GR buddies recommended it to me, kept telling me I had to read this book, and you know what? I'm glad I did.
This is the first in a trilogy by Suzanne Collins set in post-apocalyptic North America in a country called Panem, that is made of 12 Districts, and each year two 'Tributes' from each Districts one boy and one girl from the ages of 12-18 are sent to the Capitol where they must partake in a grueling battle for survival called The Hunger Games. Each Tribute is trained privately and let loose in the 'Arena' where they must ultimately kill each other until only 1 tribute remains standing and pronounced the winner. We meet Katniss Everdeen, who volunteers to take part in The Hunger Games instead of her 12 year old sister Prim, who was originally chosen. Along with Katniss is boy tribute Peeta Mellark the bakers son. Both Katniss and Peeta head to the Capitol, where they realise that only one of them can survive.
When I first started reading this book I was so sickened by the idea of all these teenagers killing each other off, just for the entertainment of the residents of the Capitol. Ultimately this comes down to survival. I was on the edge of my seat when reading this book. I'm trying to grow my nails, so it was really hard to try not to bite them whilst reading this, safe to say the inside of my cheek has seen better days.
I loved our two main characters, Katniss with her strenght and will power, and knowledge of how to survive in the wild from hunting in the forest everyday back in District 12. Peeta, the bakers son who doesn't really have any kind of skill, except for camoflague (thanks to icing cakes) and his upper body strength, but ultimately this is a duo who are set on surviving the next ardious weeks of their young lives.
God this review sucks. Anyway, I think that's all I can say about this book. Except that I enjoyed it a lot more than I thought I would, and I can't wait to continue with Catching Fire.
Read it! :)
20 of 23 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A western "Battle Royale" attempt number 10,
This review is from: The Hunger Games (Paperback)You have to accept the author's words that she hadn't heard of Battle Royale when she wrote this. To be fair, many elements of Battle Royale were not unique when it was written, but it kind of sets a modern standard for the use of the game as a form of control of the people that has been used by others, and is the standard by which this formula is judged. So like it or not, this book will be compared.
BR is quite a hard book to read; translations often are; but it's stunning, and it made a stunning film. It is extremely hard-edged. Being told in the third person, it's far harder to get an early handle on the winner; in The Hunger Games, it's a question of how, not if, Katniss will triumph.
This is standard teenfare; Swallows and Amazons with live ammunition if you like, and it works surprisingly well; there's enough action to keep you reading through something that's quite lengthy for what it really contains, and all the familiar caricatured characters of any school-based novel are there for all to see.
The Lord of the Flies could clearly be seen as an influence, too.
I think the author deserves credit for making the first person present narration work; this can really grate in some books, but it works pretty well here. However, given the first person narration, any form of suspense is missing as it's only a question of when and how the dice will fall in Katniss's favour, and this alone prohibits it from getting more than three stars, and should really reduce it to two.
Overall, yes, quite readable, but if it's considered special, that must be because it rises just a little above a desert of so much rubbish.
As a toxopholite, I welcome the new-found interest in archery amongst the young; let's hope it continues.
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The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins (Paperback - 5 Jan 2009)