The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins

On the advice of a coworker, I put The Hunger Games on my reading list. I noticed that the third book in the series came out not too long ago, and I thought I would give it a shot — it’s a successful series and it came with a recommendation. I’m so glad I did.  The Hunger Games is a remarkable young adult book, and I’m pleased I got the chance to read it.

Suzanne Collins wrote the book in the present tense, which is unusual. It’s not every day that a piece of fiction is written that way. It serves The Hunger Games well, telling the story of Katniss and her entry into The Hunger Games in a spectacular way. Katniss’ journey is a kinetic one — there’s a lot of movement, whether it be benign hunting or the malevolent tracking and frantic running of the actual Games, someone’s always doing something. That’s why I love the choice of present tense for the book. It captures the moment because it is the moment.

The story could be summarized on two levels. The large-scale plot is that of Panem, the capital of the what used to be the United States, and its treatment of the outlying districts it has sovereignty over. At one point in the past, the districts rebelled, but failed in their rebellion. Panem then started The Hunger Games, a competition in which one boy and one girl between the ages of twelve and eighteen must fight to the death for the amusement of the people in the capital. The citizens of the capital are well-fed and happy, while those who toil in the districts live fairly austere lives.

The small-scale story is of Katniss, who volunteers to take the place of her sister when she is selected to be the female representative for District 12, one of the poorer districts. Katniss has experience with hunting, which she did with Gale, a male friend. The male representative for The Hunger Games is Peeta, a baker’s son who has been on the periphery of Katniss’ awareness for a long time. The development of their relationship through the preparation for and the events of The Hunger Games is compelling and complex. It’s been a while since I’ve encountered a relationship so well-written and heartbreaking.

If I had to pick a favorite part of The Hunger Games, it would be the dynamic between Peeta and Katniss. The book ends on a bit of a cliffhanger, and I really want to know what’s going to happen next. There’s little an author wants more than to gain readership, but I suspect if Collins’ other work is of similar quality, a lack of readers is not something she’ll have to worry about.

Rating: 5/5.

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8 Comments

Filed under 5/5, Book review, Favorable, Fiction

8 responses to “The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins

  1. Are you excited about the soon to be released movie version?

  2. The director is Gary Ross — I did enjoy Pleasantville — didn’t see Seabiscuit — can’t really imagine a film version of The Hunger Games from those two other films of his…

  3. So this is classified under “young adult”… Will it be good reading for a “grown up”?

    • It depends on the “grown up,” I suppose. I like a lot of young adult. I’ve also never been accused of being too mature.

      I happen to think that The Hunger Games is superbly written, whether you consider it young adult or straight dystopian fiction. Your mileage may (and will) vary.

  4. Pingback: The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins « Wildcat In The Bag

  5. Wildcat

    I love your review! I agree completely with the quickness of the novel due to the present tense.
    I wrote a book review over this book for my college class, and I linked you in it to show my readers your opinion about the love twists to give the flip side to my own opinion. I hope you don’t mind. Keep up the awesome reviewing!

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