Book Review of The Hunger Games (Hunger Games, Bk 1)

The Hunger Games (Hunger Games, Bk 1)
reviewed on + 121 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 30

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 linewhich is very necessary considering everyone is kept on the brink of starvationthe 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 horribleand it is, but it also makes for exciting reading. The story is told from the point-of-view of Katnissa 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 tributePeeta, 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 bara candy bar with spikes in itbut a candy bar nonetheless.