Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Book Review: The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins

Mad Max meets Blue Lagoon in this action-packed romantic tale that will soon become a blockbuster movie.

Katniss Everdeen lives in Panem, the remains of what used to be North America. Her father deceased, Katniss makes her home with her mother and younger sister, Prim. Living in poverty, Katniss has learned to hunt and trade for her family's needs.

Long ago, the districts waged war on the Capitol and suffered a devastating loss. As terms of surrender, every year each district sends one boy and one girl to compete in an annual televised event known as "The Hunger Games." When Prim is chosen to represent District 12, Katniss volunteers to be the tribute in her place. While the terrain and rules may change, the one thing that remains constant in the games is "kill or be killed."

This is not a book I would ever have chosen to read. I find its premise disgusting. The Lil Diva (10) was given this book as a present from one of her teachers. Since she is such a reluctant reader, yet was eager to read The Hunger Games in anticipation of seeing the movie, I decided the best way to handle it was to read it with her.

The plot aside, Collins is a masterful storyteller. She knows how to pull the reader in and keep them turning the pages. What unfolds is the story of a bright, independent young woman who learns to hunt illegally so that she can feed her family now that her father is gone. She has a close, yet confusing relationship with Gale, who also hunts.

Katniss is soon turned into a brave sibling, who protects her younger sister from certain death. The other tribute from District 12 is Peeta Mellark, the bread boy. It is Peeta's budding friendship with Katniss that provides the emotional side to this tale of death and woe. The kids have been trained for survival. Without the relationship between Katniss and Peeta, you simply have a story of horrible loss of life.

I didn't care for the ending, which only in some ways wraps up the loose ends, but it will provide a nice flow into the second book of the series. This isn't a book I would have allowed my daughter to read without me. It contains graphic violence that is more appropriate for older teens and adults. She is eager to read the next book in the series, Catching Fire. I haven't decided yet if we'll continue. It will be interesting to see what Hollywood does to this story for the movie. The special effects should make give it an epic Narnia battle type of feel, but I'm hoping they don't ramp up the romance too much.

Have you read any of The Hunger Games books? What are your thoughts? Were the next two books more violent than the first one?

Title:  The Hunger Games
Author: Suzanne Collins
Publisher: Scholastic Press
ISBN-10: 0439023483
ISBN-13: 978-0439023481
SRP:  $17.99 (hardcover)

Our family received a copy of this book as a gift. I also purchased the Kindle version of it. I received no monetary compensation for this review.

This is the third book I've read for the following challenges:


Anonymous said...

Honestly, I think the next ones are a bit much for a ten year old. There are themes of violence, abuse, PTSD, brainwashing... And there are particular scenes I have in mind that I don't think would be appropriate.

Cheryl said...

Thanks for the info. She is hot to read them, but after reading the synopsis of books 2 & 3 on Amazon I wondered how violent they would be.

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