Book Review, Dystopian, Fiction, Young Adult

Book Review: “The Hunger Games”

Rating: 8.4 out of 10.0

Author: Suzanne Collins

Genre: Young Adult Dystopian

About: Bursting onto the scene in 2008, The Hunger Games series has now become a global phenomenon, becoming a NY Times bestselling series. In four short years, two more books had been written and the movie adaptation of The Hunger Games was being released. At that time, over 26 million Hunger Games trilogy books had been printed. Its success rivaled that of Harry Potter, becoming one of the most widely-read books among teens and young adults. The success of this blazed a trail for other young adult dystopian series and books including The Maze Runner by James Dashner, which came out in the following year and Veronica Roth’s Divergent, which was published in 2011. There are now very few people in the world who do not recognize the name of The Hunger Games. It has caught on like wildfire and shows very little signs of stopping, now 8 years later.

Likes: So, I could say the usual here. The plot was amazing, setting was great, etc. All of this is absolutely true for this book, but I would like to focus in on two particular things that I thought were really good. First of all, I have found that many writers inadvertently make their characters inconsistent. I am not talking about character development, but having their characters, well, break character. Collins did an incredible job in this book with keeping the characters of Katniss and Peeta (and the others, but these were the two main characters) consistent. The second thing that I really appreciated about this book, was that it was an ingenious idea that was executed brilliantly. Many people who love literature tend to regard all modern literature as total junk and lacking in substance. I would have to agree that, sadly, the majority of modern literature is severely shallow and is just another good story. Yet, I am frequently surprised, it would seem. There are gems hidden (or, as in this case, not-so-hidden) in modern literature. Suzanne Collins demonstrates a remarkable, rarely attained level of talent. Her brilliance shines through every page and every word. This book is a story of love. It is not actually a romantic love (though there is an element of that, which is the part of this story that is most commonly highlighted). Rather, it is a love of an older sister to a younger sister. A friend to a friend. It is a love for those who are weak and downtrodden by life. It is a love that expects nothing in return (though it is often surprised at how much it does receive in return). If we dig through the good story into the meat of it, we find this amazing theme of love.

Dislikes: There was one element in particular which may cause you to not read this, but hear me out before you totally reject this book on these grounds. In two or three scenes, one of the main characters is naked as their outfits are chosen for various events. This is neither sexual, graphic, or explicit in any of its two or three occurrences. There is not detail given, but rather it is just a time when the clothing designer is deciding how to make the outfit. This may be a drawback for some, and therefore I must include it in this review. However, I did not think it was cause for not reading the book. Before I read this book, I had an indifferent view towards it. Many people around me said that the idea of the book—which they defined as killing for sport—is hideous. I agree. Killing for sport is hideous. However, that is not what happened in this book. There is death in this book and some of it is relatively dark and described graphically. Characters sustain injuries that are described in detail quite often. Being a dystopian novel, there are obviously darker themes present than perhaps you would expect from a typical book.

Summary: “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 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 weigh survival against humanity and life against love.” – Taken from the back of the book

Book Length: 374 pages

Favorite Character: Peeta

Suggested age: 13+

Plot- 1.8 out of 2.0
Characters- 2.0 out of 2.0
Setting- 1.9 out of 2.0
Unfavorable content/other- 0.4 out of 1.0
Themes- 0.5 out of 1.0
Dialogue- 0.9 out of 1.0
Quality of writing 0.9 out of 1.0

= 8.4 out of 10.0

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