The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins

Hunger GamesThe nation of Panem is now in ruins, and the Capitol’s only way to keep the twelve outlying districts in line is to force them all to send one boy and one girl between the ages of twelve and eighteen to the annual Hunger Games, an all out battle to the death that is broadcast live on television to the districts. Sixteen-year-old Katniss volunteers to take her younger sister’s place in order to save the younger from certain death, and is thrown into the “game” she desperately wanted to avoid.

Quite possibly the biggest book on the blogosphere this year, The Hunger Games is a fantastic, fast-paced, and compelling read that managed to keep me on the edge of my seat every time I picked it up. I can see why the novel has garnished so many positive — and sometimes gushing — reviews. I loved Katniss, even though I have no idea how to pronounce her name; I loved her spunk, her love of her family, and her attitude that seemed appropriate at every moment. Peeta, Gale, Prim, Cinna, Haymitch, and Effie all round out this wonderful, quirky, and real cast of characters.

However, as I got farther and farther into the story, I could help but draw similarities to a movie I saw sophomore year — “Battle Royale.” Yes, the premises are slightly different; “Battle Royale” is about forty Japanese school children who are suddenly forced to compete against one another to the death, while The Hunger Games are about districts who are forced to essentially sacrifice two children to the Capital in order to crush any dreams of an uprising. But both deals with police states where one can be shot for a minor infraction, both deal with children who must fight to the death on television, and both deal with two competitors who fall in love with one another. There are an alarming amount of similarities, and while I don’t want to say Collins copied the plot, I just can’t ignore them.

There are also several sentences that just made me cringe with the lack of proper syntax, and I was able to put the book down twice without second thought — once a hundred pages in to go to sleep and then again this afternoon with only fifty pages left to see a movie. Not exactly the making of a “five-star” book for me. I still think it is great read, and was a lot easier to stomach than “Battle Royale,” which is also a novel by the same name by Koushun Takami. I’m anticipating the sequel, Catching Fire, and cannot wait to see where Collins takes me next.

Others’ Thoughts:

Books Mentioned:

  • Collins, Suzanne. The Hunger Games. New York: Scholastic, 2008. Print. 374 pgs. ISBN: 9780439023481. Source: Library.
  • Takami, Koushun. Battle Royale. San Francisco, Calif.: Viz, 2003. Print. 624 pgs. ISBN: 9781569317785. Source: Library.
Book Cover © Scholastic. Retrieved: June 12, 2009.

12 thoughts on “The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins

  1. Sorry you didn’t love it as much as everyone else. I didn’t notice any syntax errors, but that was probably because the story was pulling me along so quickly I didn’t have time to spot that sort of thing.

    I haven’t seen/read Battle Royale, but I’m a bit squeamish/easily scared, so don’t think it will be for me. I was interested to see that you and CB James both had mixed feelings towards The Hunger Games and you two are the only ones who mentioned Battle Royale.

  2. @ Jackie: I’ll have to find CB James’ review since I don’t follow his blog, but once I uploaded my review to GoodReads, I saw a couple of people saw the same comparisons. To tell you the truth, I liked Hunger Games better than Battle Royale. Battle Royale is so, so, so bloody.

  3. Glad to find your blog, which is quite good.

    Nothing I can say about The Hunger Games is going to spoil anyone’s fun, and I have no desire to do so in any case, but I have a feeling six or seven months from now we’ll all be reading posts about how over-rated it is. I’m reading lots about it on the blogs, but I’ve not seen any of my students with a copy, and the few who have read it had very lukewarm reactions. I have a feeling their parents are enjoying it much more than they are.

    It’s a fun read, a decent page turner, but not much more. Battle Royale was certainly not much more either, maybe a little more, but not much.

    I am adding you to my blogroll so I can keep stopping by Jackets and Covers.

  4. @ CB James: Thanks. I’d like to read the sequel just to know what happens, but I think you’re right about how we’re all going to be saying how overrated it is. I have a friend who is my go-to-girl on everything YA, and even she had never heard of The Hunger Games. When I mentioned it to her, she immediately said, “So it’s like Battle Royale?” Uh, yeah.

  5. I think that this is one of those books where it”s fun to read it within the community of all the other readers who love it too. Reminds me a bit of the HP and Twilight hype. I enjoyed it and couldn’t put the sequel down. I was at a signing the other day and two young teens had the ARC and they were simply giddy with excitement. It was fun to see.

  6. Isn’t Battle Royal also a short story by Ralph Ellison (or part of The Invisible Man)? I really want to read Hunger Games and it’s amazing how quickly it has spread around the blogosphere. Kind of reminds me of The Book Thief a few years ago.

  7. @ Trish: Oh, I totally forgot about that. Yes, there is a “Battle Royale” in Invisible Man. Kind of the same premise, excepts its about pitting blacks against one another for the enjoyment of whites.

  8. I have to admit that I was caught up in teh hype surrounding The Hunger Games trilogy. It was great, but it definitely had it’s flaws which I was willing to overlook then.

  9. I really enjoyed The Hunger Games, but I also listened to it on audio and I almost want to say that its a book with cinematic potential…maybe it was written with a movie in mind because it played like one on audio!

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