Book Review: The Hunger Games by Collins (3.5 Stars)

The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins

3.5 out of 5 stars

Read in July 2009

I loved this book and yet at times I hated it. Several times it made me cry, nearly sobbing out loud. It never made me laugh and pricked me to anger often.

Katniss lives in District Twelve, an area devoted to coal mining in what was the Appalachian Mountains of North America. Her father died working in the mines and her mother suffered severe debilitating depression after his death. That left Katniss, at age twelve, to provide for her mother and her young sister, Prim. She sneaks out of the confines of District Twelve, underneath a tall electrified fence, to hunt and gather in the nearby woods, keeping them from starving – barely.

The Reaping, part of the Treaty of Treason, is a lottery drawn once a year in each District, where all children between the ages of 12 and 18 are required to enter their names for the Hunger Games. A boy and a girl is selected. Against all odds, Prim’s name is drawn for the female tribute to the Capitol. Katniss immediately volunteers to take her place. Peeta, the baker’s son, is the other lucky winner.

They are transported immediately following the Reaping ceremony to the Capitol for a few days of training and preparation prior to the Hunger Games commencing. Twelve Districts means twenty-four competitors and the rules state only one can be the victor – and the only way to eliminate your competition is to kill them.

I wanted, most desperately, more history. I wanted to know the history of the destruction of North America; the emergence of the Panem, the Capitol, the Districts; details about the Rebellion; and, why the Treaty of Treason was necessary. No civilized society should sacrifice children simply to subjugate the rebel remnants. And not just sacrifice, but recreate a blood sport that makes the Roman Empire’s gladiatorial games seem like a garden party.

The romance subplot between Katniss and Peeta mired the the final third of the book. Katniss’ relationships with her former hunting partner Gale and the District 11 competitor, Rue, who reminded Katniss of her younger sister, Prim, intrigued me.

I enjoyed the first two thirds of this book. The action excited and Katniss proved intelligent, honorable and heroic. The ending disappointed and frustrated, leaving much unsaid and unanswered.

GR Status Updates:

07/27/2009 page 1 0.27%
07/27/2009 page 21 5.61% “1st chapter thoughts: Katniss reads like a boy (not the girl she is) and I’m not sure what disaster destroyed North America yet.”
07/27/2009 page 61 16.31% “The tribute train brings Peeta and Katniss to the Capitol for the Hunger Games Opening Ceremonies.”
07/28/2009 page 85 22.73% “Chilling: ‘You don’t forget the face of the person who was your last hope.'”
07/28/2009 page 102 27.27% “Katniss modestly reveals her talent for understatement to the Gamemakers.”
07/28/2009 page 133 35.56% “Starting Part II – The Games”
07/28/2009 page 172 45.99% “Katniss finds water after running for nearly two days.”
07/29/2009 page 247 66.04% “A rule change mid-Game with six tribute”
07/29/2009 page 374 100.0%

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