36 member(s) found this review helpful.
Everyone seems to love it, but I think it is junk. The post-apocalypse setting is made out of cardboard, the plot is cliche, the narrative voice is unbelievable, the overall book is manipulative rubbish. This is nothing more than a crass attempt by Scholastic to maintain public mindshare now that the Harry Potter cow is running out of milk.
28 member(s) found this review helpful.
This is the first book in a young adult series (and I think it shows!) about a dystopic world where the United States is now known as Panem. Divided into twelve distinct districts that each have their own industrial focus, Panem is ruled from the Capitol with an iron fist. To help keep the people in line—which is very necessary considering everyone is kept on the brink of starvation—the Capitol requires each district to send two tributes (a boy and girl) to The Hunger Games each year. A country-wide televised event, The Hunger Games changes each year, with a special arena being constructed for each game. What doesn't change is the basic rule: all tributes must either kill or be killed, and only one tribute can be left standing at the end.
The concept of having young people being thrown together in an arena and being forced to fight to the death sounds horrible—and it is, but it also makes for exciting reading. The story is told from the point-of-view of Katniss—a 16-year-old girl from District 12 (the coal mining district in what used to be Appalachia). Katniss is not your average girl by today's standards. She's a rule-breaker (leaving the fenced district to hunt for food in the woods) and a skilled hunter, especially with bows and arrows. When her beloved younger sister Prim is selected as a tribute for the Hunger Games, Katniss volunteers to go in her place. As she enters the flamboyant, anything goes world of the Capitol, we learn more about the Games and her fellow tribute—Peeta, a good-looking son of a baker who showed kindness to Katniss years ago. When they are thrust into the arena, all bets are off as Katniss struggles to survive and be the last tribute standing. But Peeta throws a wrench into the mix and changes Katniss's game plan, leading to an ending that is sure to cause problems for everyone involved.
In the second book, Catching Fire, (and I doubt if you read the first book you won't continue on with the series), we get to find out what happens after the Hunger Games described in the first book. Once again, Collins sets up a cliffhanger ending that will probably ensure that the third installment will shoot straight to the top of the best-seller lists.
I'm not going to talk too much about these books as they've probably been discussed to death already. My guess is if the concept of the books appeals to you, you're going to read this series and will be pretty satisfied with them. I didn't think the writing was stellar and I had some issues with Katniss being unaware of what is going on around her (especially in the second book), but these books are meant to be fast exciting reads and they don't disappoint. Frankly, I felt Collins could have dropped the whole "love triangle" subplot and had a better book, but perhaps that is just me.
The Bottom Line: 4 stars for concept and 3.5 stars for execution. Perfect for young adults and anyone seeking a fast-moving dystopian tale that doesn't make you think too much. I read both books in a day. These books are the equivalent of eating a candy bar—a candy bar with spikes in it—but a candy bar nonetheless.
17 member(s) found this review helpful.
Reviewed by Cat for TeensReadToo.com
Twenty-four children: twelve boys, twelve girls, tributes selected by random lottery every year and sent to the capitol city of Panem to compete in a brutal, bloodthirsty fight for survival, with the last participant standing declared champion.
Welcome to the Hunger Games, a grim reminder to those living in the twelve districts comprising what was once the United States of their place as virtual slaves to the gleaming Capitol at their center.
Sixteen-year-old Katniss Everdeen is this year's female representative for District 12, having volunteered to take her younger sister Prim's place. Sent to the arena with the baker's son and classmate, Peeta Mellark -- a boy who, several years prior, saved Kat and her family from the ravages of starvation after her father's death in a coal mining accident -- neither competitor from the final district seem to be contenders.
But Peeta's good nature and Kat's small stature belie the former's cunning intelligence and the latter's experience as a hunter; while a revelation from Peeta during the introductory ceremonies sends Katniss into the first day of competition more than a little off-kilter.
The stage is set, the tributes have arrived, and the cameras are watching...let the games begin.
It is no exaggeration to call THE HUNGER GAMES a pulse-pounding page-turner. Collins grabbed me from the first page and didn't let go. While Katniss isn't always the most likable character (in fact, there were plenty of times I much preferred the affable Peeta, or even sweet, birdlike little Ruth), she is always compelling, thanks to her rational approach to every challenge and her dogged determination.
While THE HUNGER GAMES is a plot-driven novel, the characters and their relationships are the heart of the story. Ms. Collins has created a dystopian tale of Orwellian caliber for young adults, giving any reader plenty to churn their minds between now and the next installment of this trilogy.
My only complaint is having to wait for the next installment.