Saturday, 23 January 2010

The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins

2009, Scholastic
458 pages, Paperback
Personal Copy kindly donated by a fellow book enthusiast

Young Adult, action, thriller

Cushions: 5
Daggers: 4
Paperclips: 1
Smiles: 5
Tissues: 5
Yunaleska's recommended rating: ♥♥♥♥♥

Summary from Scholastic

Set in a dark vision of the near future, a terrifying reality TV show is taking place. Twelve boys and twelve girls are forced to appear in a live event called The Hunger Games. There is only one rule: kill or be killed. When sixteen-year-old Katniss Everdeen steps forward to take her younger sister's place in the games, she sees it as a death sentence. But Katniss has been close to death before. For her, survival is second nature.

A huge shout out to my fellow book enthusiast, who unless she gives permission for her name to be given out I'm leaving anonymous. The Hunger Games was on my wishlist, and this lovely person felt that I ought to read it and sent me her copy. Thank you! It is as amazing as everyone says it is.

Katniss is a really strong character. She does all she can to protect her family. Even putting her own life at risk to save her younger sister. In the midst of the Games, she still cares about people - even the other competitors. Although Kat doesn't have all the extra training (which technically isn't allowed before game selection) which other competitors have, I believe she is the best candidate for the games. Day in, day out she struggles for her family's survival. She's proficient at a bow and arrow. She's a quick learner when she receives official training. Her high spirit keeps her going through the tough times (arrow through a pig's head was really funny). Because she's sure she will die, she takes greater risks within the games. The end was completely unexpected, and most welcome. I was on tenderhooks for the entire book - okay so I know she survived, thus taking away part of the edge-of-the-seat reading.

The concept of the games is awesome. Fighting for survival is a theme that is persistent throughout human history. Pitting 24 people against each other is cruel. Kat lives in a cruel world. A world where rules can change at any time. Where even after victory, more subtle fights have to be waged.

Every character in here stuck in my head: Kat's sweet sister and mother, the younger competitor who reminded Kat of her sister, Kat's fellow District 12 competitor Peeta (whose true motives aren't easy to discern straight away). The stylists and all those involved in the games are obsessed with it, but in their own way they do care for Kat, and try hard to improve her chances of winning. The more people like her at the opening events, the more sponsors she will get. Sponsors can provide competitors with gifts at vital moments. There is everything to play for in The Hunger Games.

There are some blood thirsty competitors trying to survive in the harsh environment manufactured for the games. I thought that was bad enough - having to survive when others need to kill you to win. But add in lethal elements chosen to provide entertainment for the spectators, and you get an idea of how cruel the rulers of Kat's world are. Evil in every sense of the word. I liked watching Kat's small but monumental demonstrations of rebellion throughout the games.

I'm definitely going to get the second book, in preparation for the third which is released later on in the year.

Suggested reading: Gone by Michael Grant


Lady Glamis said...

Thank you for this straight forward review. My mom's reading this book right now and pretty into it. It's on my list.

Lauren said...

I literally adore The Hunger Games, so it's great to hear that you enjoyed it so much too. I definitely recommend book two, it's just as good.

Ash. Elizabeth said...

did they switch the cover?

Yunaleska said...

Lady Glamis - :) It's great.

Lauren - yup book two will be read in the summer (and book 1 will be reread) in preparation for book 3.

Elizabeth - I'm in England, so we often get different covers to America.

Ivana said...

I seem to be the only person who hasn't read this yet. It's on the top of my to-buy-as-soon-as-I-have-enough-money list.
But I like the US cover better...

Great review and yay for friends who borrow us books ! :)

Yunaleska said...

:D Yup!

I usually prefer the English covers (I do for HG)

Cat Clarke said...

Wooooo The Hunger Games! Glad you enjoyed it! So... are you Team Peeta or Team Gale... or Team Katniss?

Yunaleska said...

Katniss :) (She's such a fab character!)

Becky said...

I have read this and I really enjoyed it. I did think it was rather bleak though. The power of the state over its people was so depressing. I am Team Gale (I think). I have Catching Fire but I haven't read it yet.

Yunaleska said...

Bleak? (Thinks of the limitations citizens have on travel, food, clothes and privileges). I guess it is bleak...but I've read a few books like this and I like the genre. I hope our world never becomes like it.

Rose Works Jewelry said...

Sounds interesting :) I ordered it from the library :D