Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Book Review: The Hunger Games Trilogy

**Spoiler alert: If you haven't read the Hunger Games series yet and you don't want to know what happens you probably shouldn't read my review...but I highly suggest this series, so go read them, and then come back and read my thoughts!**

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Well, I finally read the Hunger Games series. And you know what? I really liked them! I know that this is a series of books, written by Suzanne Collins, that many of my fellow bloggers have read (and I had heard many good things), but I wanted to share my thoughts, so here they are. Although these books were a little bit different then the type of books I normally gravitate towards, I felt that the story and the characters pulled me in right away. These books are quick reads and I found that I was really engaged in the plot the whole time, as there were lots of twists and turns (although some were a little predictable). For those of you not familiar with the series, it centers around a female protagonist (what up high school English terminology!) named Katniss Everdeen, and it takes place in the country of Panem, a society that develops after the fall of the United States and is divided up into twelve districts. I found the setting to be really interesting because while this book is supposed to be taking place in the future, a lot of the time when you're reading the story you feel like it's taking place in the past due to the fact that a lot of the districts are impoverished and lack the technology that we have today. The twelve districts are ruled by the Capitol and in order to keep the people in line, the Capitol holds an annual event called the Hunger Games where each district has to send one girl and one boy and basically they put all these kids in an arena and they have to fight each other to the death until there is only one remaining victor. Sounds kind of weird right? I know, but I promise it's good. (Although when I was reading my Kindle while Cam's parents were here and they asked what I was reading and I told them it was a book about a game where kids have to fight each other to the death, I think they were kind of weirded out...)

The first book, The Hunger Games revolves around this annual event as the title suggests and you follow Katniss through the grueling challenge of the Games. In order to chose which kids have to go, they draw names, and when Katniss's little sister's name is drawn, she volunteers to take her place. The boy that gets chosen from her district is the baker's son, a boy named Peeta, and early on a love triangle is formed between Katniss, Peeta, and Katniss's friend and hunting partner Gale. The book chronicles Katniss and Peeta's struggle to survive during the games, and it ends with both of them surviving, much to the Capitol's dismay, due the fact that they were about to go all Romeo and Juliet and just kill themselves rather than have to decide who lives, so the Capitol decides to save them both. I really enjoyed the first book a lot, and although it's kind of science fiction-y, I actually really enjoyed the descriptive details, and I thought that it did a good job laying the groundwork for the other two books.

The second book, Catching Fire, shows what happens after the Games are over, and you'd think that life would go back to normal, but it doesn't. Katniss's and Peeta's actions in the arena were seen as being defiant of the Capitol and the authorities are pissed because as a result there are stirrings of a rebellion among some of the districts. In order for the Capitol to demonstrate their authority, they decide that for the next Hunger Games, they will have only people who have one previous Hunger Games represent the districts, which means Katniss and Peeta have to go back in to the arena once again. At this point you're a lot more connected to the characters and this book really demonstrates the horrors that a controlling government can inflict on it's people, and then it further draws you in to this love triangle between Katniss, Peeta, and Gale and I'll admit, I was curious to know who she would ultimately choose. At the end of this book, Katniss somehow makes it out of the arena alive however that District 12, where she's from, has been destroyed at there is a full-blown revolution taking place.

The third and final book in the series, Mockingjay, was a somewhat more grim and depressing than the other two books for me, as it really delves in to the pain of war. I know that this book didn't get as great of reviews on Amazon as the first two, and I think that's because when you've become so invested in the characters, on some level you want everything to wrap up in a neat little package, for the bad guys to be defeated and to see more of the love story, but that's really not what happens in this book. During much of the story, Katniss and the rest of the rebels are living in an area called District 13, and I thought it was interesting how it also had a very controlling government, the very thing they were fighting against. A lot of people die in this book, and at some points I wondered whether there would even be a happy ending. However, I personally like how the story wrapped up, and although I would have liked a little more detail about what happened after the war ended, I think that is purposely left up to your imagination. Katniss does end up choosing Peeta, and while I wasn't exactly surprised by that, I would have like to have known a little bit more about what happened to Gale. However, I think that Suzanne Collins was trying to make this book less like a Twilight-romance, and more about Katniss's struggle for independence.

I personally found the whole idea of the Hunger Games being televised to the whole country and people enthusiastically following along with every detail of this grusome event to be easy parallel to draw with today's constant stream of reality television, and it kind of makes you question whether it may be destructive. All in all, I enjoyed this series of books and I'd highly recommend them if you're looking for an exciting read. Plus, they are making the first book into a movie that comes out next March, and I'm really excited to see how they bring this story to the big screen. Jennifer Lawerence is playing Katniss, which I think is a perfect choice, and then I think the rest of the casting is really interesting as well. Here is a shot of her from the forthcoming movie, but in my opinion, this is one where you should definitely read the book first! xoxo

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Have you read the Hunger Games series? 
What did you think? 
Read any other good books lately?

4 comments:

  1. My coworker was raving about these books to me. I had never heard of them and was not completely sold by her descriptions. I might have to give them a try now they are popping up everywhere.

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  2. I'm obsessed with the Hunger Games! I know it was such a short read and I know they are meant for teenagers, but I really loved them. I think the author did a great job of describing things that could happen today if we aren't careful! - Alyssa

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  3. I really liked how the last book ended too, but no one else I talked to did! I just don't think it could have happened any other way.

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  4. GREAT review!! Thanks for sending me the link.

    Loved all three of the books, in order of 1, 2, and 3 as far as my preferences.

    I actually checked all of them out at the library and after i finished Mockingjay I gave in and bout The Hunger Games (should have bought the other two as well, and all in the beginning).

    SUPER excited for the movie.

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Your sweet words make my day! :)

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