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Synopsis:

In the ruins of a place once known as North America lies the nation of Panem, a shining Capitol surrounded by twelve outlying districts. The Capitol is harsh and cruel and keeps the districts in line by forcing them all to send one boy and one girl between the ages of twelve and eighteen to participate in the annual Hunger Games, a fight to the death on live TV.

Sixteen-year-old Katniss Everdeen, who lives alone with her mother and younger sister, regards it as a death sentence when she steps forward to take her sister’s place in the Games. But Katniss has been close to dead before—and survival, for her, is second nature. Without really meaning to, she becomes a contender. But if she is to win, she will have to start making choices that will weigh survival against humanity and life against love. – goodreads

Publisher: Scholastic Press, Grolier Inc.

Main Characters:

  • Katniss Everdeen
  • Peeta Mellark
  • Haymitch Abernathy
  • Gale Hawthorne

Genre: Young Adult, Dystopia, Action-Adventure, Sci-Fi

Pages: 374

Rating: 3.5 out of 5 stars

Thoughts:

First of all, allow me to shout this out: HOORAY!!! I FINALLY HAVE A BOOK REVIEW! =)

Now don’t get me wrong, I’ve read tons of books but I wanted my first book review in this blog to be something I’ve never read before. And so it turns out to be Suzanne Collins’s The Hunger GamesNow that I’ve dispensed of this particular fetish of mine, I’d probably start posting reviews for some of the other books I’ve read before.

Moving on, I was only able to read this book on March 21. I wanted to read it first before I watched the movie. Ever since my sister bought me the trilogy days before, I told myself that I’m going to savor the book and read it leisurely. Turns out, my best friend and I would watch the movie on the 22nd and I ended up devouring the book from 7:30 in the morning ’til sometime around 8 o’clock in the evening. It wasn’t a problem, though. The book is a certified page-turner. 🙂

Let me divide this review into three parts (mostly for my thoughts’ benefits. Hoho!). I’ll give my opinion on the plot/story, the characters and the writing style. That way, the entire review would be more organized. 😀

Plot/Story

Dystopia isn’t really the kind of story I read a lot. I’m a romance fanatic, through and through. I am, however, a pretty much open-minded reader as long as I’m motivated to read. I think the idea that the book is categorized under ‘Young Adult Fiction’ helped in taking my interest. For some reason, when I was younger, I ended up reading romance novels but now that I’m in my early twenties, I’m regressing to young adult novels. The best thing about young adult novels is the tendency to highlight a sense of adventure. In this book, I’d say I was completely satisfied. Going into the future (particularly one that is filled with conflict and mystery) is something everybody would consider an adventure, right?

“Only I keep wishing I could think of a way to…to show the Capitol they don’t own me. That I’m more than just a piece in their Games.”-Peeta Mellark

A lot of people were bothered about the novel’s premise where teenagers engage in a fight to the death kind of battle. I think they have every right to be worried but as I said, I’m open-minded. And people need to remember that it’s ‘Young Adult’ and not ‘Children’s’. In my mind, this story sends a subtle message that young people killing each other is not impossible. In fact, I’m pretty sure that it’s already happening.

I still consider myself a young adult and I’d say that I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend this to my teenage friends and cousins. A thirteen-year old, in my opinion, can handle this book. Younger than that, maybe not so much. But the things they see on TV–anime and the like, are practically similar. So I guess, it all boils down to guardian/parental supervision. Best to remind the young ones that what they’re reading is ‘fiction’ and therefore, not something you do in real life. 🙂

“Happy Hunger Games! And may the odds be ever in your favor.”-Effie Trinket

A love triangle is quite a common subplot. It’s very effective but I think Peeta had an unfair advantage over Gale when it comes to the affections of both Katniss and the readers. I’d say that life and death situations have a tendency to multiply the impact of people’s feelings. So yeah, if placed in Katiss’s situation, I’d consider my days with Peeta a lot more memorable than my routine experiences with Gale. As for the readers, it’s pretty much obvious how very seldom we see Gale’s name mentioned. Need I say more?

I think the story isn’t something new–just the idea that children are the ones forced to kill each other. I mean, I’ve seen movies that had a similar plot. Also, I have a feeling that most dystopian stories are similar in a way that at the end, the main character gets to make a change in their repressed society. In fact, the moment I read about the disparity between the Capitol and District 12, I knew that it would result to a revolution and eventually, an overthrown society. But then, these are the kinds of stories that engage the book’s target market well. 🙂

Characters

Katniss

I like how strong-willed and intelligent the main character is. Her sense of survival is incredible and I like how she reads between the lines. This is the kind of heroine that makes for a good reading experience. If I have any qualms about her, it’s her lack of lightheartedness. She takes things so seriously that she becomes a bit dense, particularly in the romance part. For this reason, she bored me as a narrator, at least in some parts. It would have been nice to read more witty and playful remarks from her. I guess I’ll have to remember that she grew up in an environment that does not really allow her to play around. *shrugs*

Peeta

This guy, I love. His presence made the book a bit lighter despite the dark themes it presented. He’s also intelligent, creative and a romantic, to boot. He’s the type of hero that I want to hug all the time–mostly because he’s just too adorable. I like how he balances Katniss’s serious demeanor. 🙂

“You’ve got about as much charm as a dead slug.”-Haymitch

Haymitch

I swear to God, I love Haymitch! He’s the best mentor ever! It was obvious right from the start that he’s a man with great depth and I’m very sure I’m right. He dealt with the internal conflict of his past, the present situation and his principles in quite an eccentric way but I find myself understanding and sympathizing with him. He’s no Dumbledore but he’s wise–the best adult character for the book. 😀

Gale

I like how he’s responsible and reliable. Almost like a big brother. 🙂 But as I said, the best guy friend didn’t get too much exposure and I say he’s going to be friend-zoned. End of discussion.

Writing Style

Let me just say that despite considering the book’s popularity, I was still utterly surprised that it was in the first-person point of view. A momentary shock, however, occurred when I realized that it’s written in present tense–something most writers these days don’t usually do. I think it’s a very unique strategy for her to be able to extricate herself from the pool of fast-rising YA authors who write in first-person. 🙂

If I have any problem with Suzanne Collins’s narrative, it would be the idea that I have a very distinct feeling that the entire book would turn out better had it been in third-person. You see, I think the subplots of the story had to be limited because Katniss supposedly had no idea what was happening outside of the arena. In my opinion, alternating the events happening to the players and the events they know nothing about would have made the story more exciting. You know, readers screaming at the book, giving clues to Katniss or Peeta because they knew something the characters don’t.

I also still need to come into terms with the way Katniss narrates. As I said, she sometimes bored me but what bothered me more was that Suzanne Collins doesn’t seem to want us to know Katniss completely. There were times when her thoughts were too direct–almost unfeeling. For me, it felt like despite the idea that we were supposed to be in Katniss’s shoes, we still didn’t manage to read her mind. I understand that she was also confused about some things as well but I had hoped for a more vivid description of her feelings.

All in all, I think it was good read and I understand completely why a lot of readers fell in love with it. 😀

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