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on 26 March 2017
My teenage sister recommended this to me so I thought I'd try it. I loved it so much that I read it in one day straight, and then went and bought the next 2 and read both of those in a day each. This is teen fiction done at its best. I've ended up having great conversations with my sister about propaganda and all sorts of things she'd never really thought about before. making these things accessible to teenagers whilst having writing and a story that appeals to all ages is a rare gift :)
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on 25 September 2015
Well-written, well-paced, enjoyable, a page turner. Any book that I want to pick up and continue with is on to a good thing. I enjoyed the story, characters and twists.

I wasn't so keen on the use of the present tense - I'm so used to reading novels in past tense that this regularly grated. I was also a bit surprised at a few errors, considering the book will have been edited so many times and made so much money - publishers cutting back on polishing books? For example "I know one has found me and the others will be honing in". Should be "homing in" (though it is a common error). There's also some badly-planned sections that come across as unconvincing placeholders. For example, Katniss decides she wants to hunt alone because Peeta is noisy, then come back for him, but doesn't think he'll agree. She hasn't said anything about it aloud but immediately he states that's what she should do, for those reasons. It's the kind of thing an author writes because they have an omniscient view, but later editing should remove the too-obvious god hand.

I should also go and fuss the big grey thing stood in the corner. When I started reading The Hunger Games I knew little about it, having avoided mentions and spoilers and films. I just had a vague thought that it was popular and was dystopian sci-fi, maybe like 1984 – I switched off whenever Hunger Games was mentioned online to avoid knowing more. As such I was surprised as I read it that it seemed so familiar – and immediately connected it with Battle Royale. I kept thinking “Wow, that’s similar, surely it can’t be an accident?” Suzanne Collins says she never read Battle Royale or knew of it as she was writing Hunger Games. I can accept that, though it still seems strange to me. I knew about Battle Royale years before Suzanne Collins wrote Hunger Games. Battle Royale was widely talked about and praised - I bought it from a Waterstones display. It wasn't something obscure. Then they made a film of it and it became even more well-known due to the controversial violence. Still, this has been discussed elsewhere, I just wanted to mention it as someone who knew nothing of the controversy or what Hunger Games was about, but the resemblances immediately struck me – children forced to kill each other as a punitive lesson by a controlling, hi-tech Government; an arena with randomised weapons, areas altered to force victims together; a hero finding a way to outwit the controllers; technology to track and observe the children and so on.

As an editor I always critique things, but don't focus on that as my full view - my overall perception of the book is very positive, and I look forward to reading the sequels.
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Some minor spoilers within.

I have read the hell out of these books in the past week - all three of them. It's a tremendously satisfying series of books and every single one of them was hugely enjoyable. However, the last book suffers (a little) from several issues. The first is that it just doesn't feel as coherent as the first two - without the driving force of the Games themselves, it has to be a very different book and the characters don't feel quite so credible to me. The second is that the ending seems to undermine most of the central messages I took from the book. It just doesn't gel - it's a jarring misstep to my sensibilities. The third is that the horror of the central plot-line loses a lot of its impact with the half-hearted way in which events are described. Certain characters, I feel, deserved better in their final send-offs.

Don't get me wrong - it's still an intensely good book, and a reasonably good cap-stone to a tremendous trilogy. It doesn't take away from how good the first two books are, and it stands up well as a book in and of its own rights. It's just I came away from it feeling a little colder than I think I would have if some other paths had been taken.
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Given it's slightly ludicrous premise[1], the Hunger Games is much, much better than it has any right to be. I saw the movie first, and so I'm not entirely sure how much that impacted on my enjoyment[2] - but I didn't so much read it as devour it. The writing is crisp, engaging, and infused with life. The characters, save ironically for most of the tributes themselves, are well developed and rounded. The lead-up to the Games is suitably tense, and the Games themselves are tenser still. Were it not for the fact that there are two sequels prominently advertised after the last page though, I'd have said that the ending was unsatisfactorily abrupt - it doesn't hide the fact though that this is a larger tale told through three books and I can forgive that very minor failing. Often after reading a book (or watching a season of a TV show) I want to leave a bit of time to reflect before I move on to the next one. I'll be starting Catching Fire though this evening.

[1] A premise which becomes less ludicrous, through explanation, as we progress through the series. But taking it just from the first book and how it's presented, it's not really all that well contextualised.
[2] Jennifer Lawrence is exactly how I visualise the Katniss when reading the book, too.
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on 28 June 2013
My daughter has been trying to get me to read this trilogy for ages. I watched the film with her and decided to start reading The Hunger Games which I had bought on my iPhone Kindle some time ago.

I loved that the film followed the plot of the first book so closely. It took me just two days to read all three books. They are amongst the best stories I have ever read. They were harrowing, thought provoking, tragic, exciting, touching and with a little romance and a tiny touch of humour. The story is extremely dark and post apocalyptic but is so worth reading.

I felt everything Kat felt and cried quite a lot. The writing was wonderful and swept you along. The story had hints of Ancient Rome in the barbaric way the people, outside of the Capitol, were treated.

I did foresee the shock in the final confrontation part towards the end: Conversely, I had no idea for most of the trilogy with whom Katmiss would end up, if anyone.

I do find it hard to understand that it is acceptable for young adults to read about that level of violence and torture to children but heaven forbid that sex should be anything more than alluded to. Ms Collins also seemed to have a penchant for killing off some characters without, to me, any logical reason.

Despite these concerns this is a wonderful story which I will re-read at some point - but not too soon as I need to recover from the first reading. It was that good!

A highly recommended trilogy.
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on 27 October 2015
Suzanne Collins has written a very observant, shockingly familiar, social and political criticism as a sub-text to her 'young adult' series.
Shaming as well as shameful: To date, I wonder how many children have been sacrificed in wars around our world? How many countless children suffer near starvation on this planet, when half the world throw tons upon tons of food into the garbage? How trivial is our obsession with appearance: plastic surgery, boob jobs; whilst thousands upon thousands of children don't even have clean water to drink.
If you think Ms. Collins has written a thrilling dystopian novel, you're right, she has. Now read it again: the message is Loud and Clear:
'Because something is significantly wrong with a creature that sacrifices its children's lives to settle its differences.' And she's not talking about the Capitol.
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on 3 January 2017
I really surprised myself by enjoying this so much. Dystopias aren't my thing, usually, but this felt so well put together. Oddly, it made me want to go and read about the Cold War when I finished, because I have a feeling thats what the Panem/13 feud is based off. The final book of the triology is so much better than the films. And there's so much humanity and tiny points in the horror where you can laugh at the little details of how ridiculous people can be - a stylist in the middle of a warzone weeping over a skirt because "its been so long since I last saw something pretty."
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on 23 August 2015
I am not a teenager but I loved this book. Set in the future the world has changed. The Capital of the Nation Panem dictates that each of the twelve districts sends one teenage boy and one teenage girl to fight to the death. Not only for entertainment but as a punishment for a rebellion over 70 years ago. Katniss Everdeen volunteers to take her sister's place along side Peter the boy also chosen.
Panem is a vibrant colourful city with characters to match and the battles are brutal with each one being very unique. This though is a story of hope for the districts as they see a love story, courage and compassion.
This is a very entertaining read I believe for more than just teenagers.
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on 23 September 2012
First off, I must say that this book is not for young children. It's quite graphic in parts, without being gross. The Hunger Games is simply one of the best books I have ever read, and I have read many books over the course of my 39 years. It's not a twee romance, although there is a love story, it's well written, and doesn't detract from the story.

That's why we read - to find good stories, and I was engrossed from the first page to the last. The last book to affect me that was was Stephen King's Desperation, and yet, while that was one of King's best, this is even better.

I'm happy to say I missed the film in the cinema, because reading the book was such a joy, I'm notw looking forward to the film on DVD. Suzanne Collins has wrote believable characters in a world we can understand. I would describe the story as a mix between Orwell's Nineteen Eighty Four, King's (writing as Bachman) The Running Man, and TV's the Crystal Maze.

Much has been said about the rather grisly theme of children killing children - true, although the story is so good, you almost forget about it.

The twists and turns are magnificently paced and introduced, creating a non stop tension throughout the book. My heart beat quickened at some scenes, such was the quality of the writing here.

Bravo to Suzanne Collins. This slots into my top ten books ever. Thank you, Ms Collins!
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Shocking, brilliant, passionate, compelling and unputdownable. You could make a list four times as long as this and it would all be true. The Hunger Games is one of the most brilliant young adult novels of recent years, perfectly mixing character, excitement and a brutal science-fiction premise.

Post-apocalyptic gladiatorial games have got a long and honourable history in science-fiction, but The Hunger Games takes the notion into a new space. A lot of this is because of the really close description of the protagonist Katniss. She is an utterly believable, completely riveting character who carries the story from beginning to end with her un-self aware I narrative.

This is a very well judged book. Author Suzanne Collins never allows the gore to become gratuitous, keeping all the deaths human and generating at least momentary sympathy for even the most unsympathetic characters. At the same time, she never lets any part of the plot repeat, and never lets the tension subside.

With echoes of The Dispossessed and The Running Man and a tradition going back to the Roman gladiatorial games, the Hunger Games manages to conjure up something new and entirely magical in what might be seen as a worn-out plot premise. It's quite simply the best new science fiction for young adults I've read in years.
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