Dystopia, Big Brother and post-apocalypse are themes that have been included in novels so often that it could well be a life's work for a librarian to prepare an exhaustive catalogue of titles. But, in terms of quality, the devil is in the details and Suzanne Collins has justifiably taken the world by storm. Suzanne Collins HUNGER GAMES trilogy, inspired by the legend of Theseus and the Minotaur, is an innovative, dare I say unique, young adult twist on the recurring themes of violence, cruely, despair, privation and revolution that are the mainstays of these types of novels.
A distant future North America, now called Panem, is divided into 12 distinct economic districts ruled with an iron fist from the Capital located in the northwest Rocky Mountain region of the former USA. Every year, in a bizarre celebration called "The Reaping", the Capital "honours" each district by selecting two children that will be called "tributes", one boy and one girl, to participate in the Hunger Games. The 24 children are released into a wilderness arena and are expected not only to survive but to battle one another to the death. The last remaining child is returned to his or her district as a conquering hero.
The games, reminiscent of Rome's bloodthirsty gladiatoral combats, are televised as an extravaganza throughout Panem on a minute by minute basis. Carefully engineered from start to finish, the sculpted terrain of the "arena" might be anything from arctic or forest to desert or rugged mountains; an unknown supply of weapons and supplies are provided but will have to be fought for and "won" as part of the entertainment; the games are replete with intermittent technologically engineered disasters such as fires, teeming rainstorms, rogue waves, insect infestations or earthquakes; genetically engineered humans or animals called "muttations" are periodically released to provide extra challenge for the tributes or extra entertainment for the viewing audience.
When Katness Everdeen and Peeta Mellark, the tributes for District 12, jointly won the Hunger Games and inadvertently embarrassed the President of the Capitol, Panem became a tinderbox of anger and dissatisfaction and the firestorm of revolution was but one careless tossed match from ignition. Against all odds, when they survived a second Hunger Games which President Snow had created in an obvious attempt to rid himself of that focal point and symbol of an incipient uprising, the tinderbox ignited and full scale war between the Capitol and the downtrodden districts blazed into an all-consuming inferno.
MOCKINGJAY, Suzanne Collins' brilliant conclusion to the HUNGER GAMES trilogy, graphically showcases the horrors of war - loss, heroism, courage, death and destruction, bravery, leadership - and injects horrific new meaning to the "terror" in "terrorism". Her depiction of the aphorism "Power corrupts but absolute power corrupts absolutely" is spellbinding. And, of course, she shows us that even one person acting according to a well-defined moral compass, refusing to bow to the dictates of corruption and dictatorship, can make a difference. The ending of the story, while somewhat more complex, less straightforward and considerably less clear cut than many readers would have liked, demonstrates that the world is filled with shades of gray and that decisions such as the ones that Katniss has to make in moving her life forward are rarely simple in real life.
THE HUNGER GAMES is powerful reading and may be disturbing to the youngest readers. But, for mature young adults, looking for reading that is both compelling and challenging, this stunning trilogy will provide diversion, education and plentiful fodder for meaningful discussion for many, many years to come. Highly recommended.
When The Hunger Games first debuted in 2008, I began to read it and I was stunned by the books excellent pacing, amusing characters and the amusing situation of throwing several people into an arena to see who comes out alive. It was, for the most part, a rather simple book. One that was dark, violent and mysterious but it never glorified the act of violence, nor were the more violent moments hard to swallow. For all intents and purposes, The Hunger Games was a fantastic book. … more
Warning! Don't read if you plan to read book 2 and haven't yet. There's a few spoilers for those who've not read book 3 yet but not many. You've been warned, read at own risk. Otherwise, enjoy. The Hunger Games Series has been a wonderful ride. Suzanne Collins has created a wonderful world of the ashes of the USA and North America. Panem is the country where you meet Katniss Everdeen from District 12 and are introduced. Then readers learn fully about … more
I was fully prepared to rave about 'Mockingjay,' the last book of the Hunger Games series. I was ready to love it as much as I did the first two, and to channel that love into words of high praise. So imagine my surprise when I finished the book and was left with an unexpected feeling: disappointment. I got a sense while reading the book that Suzanne Collins was making an attempt to create a big finish ending, which is another strange thing, because I felt like 'Mockingjay' … more
It's all back! The drama, the great characters, the relentless pacing and the delicious politics. It's all back with Suzanne Collin's "Mockingjay" -- the 3rd and finally installment in the "Hunger Games" trilogy. And for those of you who didn't get a chance to re-read the series, don't worry, Collins does a great job in the beginning chapters of firing things up again. She ignited my own sense of loss … more
Katniss Everdeen, the girl on fire, the spark that started a revolution, once again finds her life in chaos. Rescued from the Quarter Quell and whisked to District 13 and the seat of the rebel cause, Katniss is expected to take up her role as the figurehead of the rebellion; as the Mockingjay so ready and willing to fight the Capitol. Peeta is captured. Probably dead–it would be best if he were dead. District 12 is gone. And Katniss finds she can no longer hide from the war she never meant … more
The Hunger Games trilogy by Suzanne Collins comes to a bloody end with Mockingjay, the series' final volumes. (I reviewed the first two volumes here and here.) The story takes place in North America, sometime in the future. A civil war between the Capitol and its thirteen districts resulted in the annihilation of District 13 and the imposition of the Hunger Games on the remaining twelve. For seventy-five years, each district has sent one girl and one boy between the … more
Never has a series touched me like The Hunger Games series. Every moment, every heart ache, every bit of dialogue is real. The characters reactions, moments of clarity, moments of insanity, pain, loss, love, hate, anger, hurt, even their drug induced stupors are real, real real. Parajunkee loved this book? Real. REVIEW: The culmination of Katniss' adventure comes to an end in the 3rd installment of The Hunger Games, Mockingjay. She has been pulled from … more
Katniss Everdeen has once again just barely escaped death in the arena, but this time her rescue is due to the rebels in District 13. Katniss should be happy that she has powerful allies that are willing to fight the Capitol, but it doesn't take long for her to realize that like the Capitol, District 13 is only interested in using her and making her the face of the rebellion, the Mockingjay. Katniss is sick of being someone's pawn, but the rebellion can't be won without her participation. The only … more
Praise for the Hunger Games series: "Whereas Katniss kills with finesse, Collins writes with raw power." -Time Magazine "Collins has joined J.K. Rowling and Stephanie Meyer as a writer of children's books that adults are eager to read." -Bloomberg.com "Perfect pacing and electrifying world building." -Booklist, starred review "A humdinger of a cliffhanger will leave readers clamoring for volume three." -Kirkus reviews, starred review "Forget Edward or Jacob... readers will be picking sides- Peeta or Gale?" -Publishers Weekly, starred review "Leaves enough questions tantalizingly unanswered for readers to be desperate for the next installment." -School Library Journal, starred review