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The Hunger Games: Book 1

A book by Suzanne Collins.

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I liked this story better when it was called "Battle Royale"

  • Jul 22, 2008
  • by
Rating:
-1
Comparisons between this book and the modern classic, Battle Royale are inevitable. The plot's almost the same; totalitarian government forces groups of teens (in the case of this book, kids as young as twelve), to fight to the death while the whole thing is monitored (and in some versions of "Battle Royale", broadcast).

So to start with the premise is hardly orginal. Also, just like with BR, the premise is entirely unrealistic. There has never, in the entire scope of human history, been any society that uses kids as gladiators. Ever. That it would happen now is even more unlikely than it happening centuries ago.

One positive difference between the stories is that Katniss is a bit more interesting than Shuya, who frankly came of as a fairly useless pretty-boy. She also (slight spoiler), actually kills people, which, depending on the version of BR, Shuya isn't allowed to do or, if he is, it comes at the very end.

Further the world Collins paints is... just weird. Some sort of post-apocalyptic version of the United States where everything has different names (cause it's a post-apocalyptic future, you know), there's a totalitarian government that kills people en masse (cause it's a post-apocalyptic future, you know), and the characters all have odd names (cause it's a post-apocalyptic future, you know), that are strange, unfamiliar, or made-up (exceptions: she uses several Roman names, and since I'm a sucker for Roman history, I find that somewhat entertaining).

I also found a rules change done towards the end of the book to be very, very annoying, since it really came off as the author trying to have her cake and eat it, too. It took some of the tension built up between the main character and one other, and basically threw it out the window.

I could've also done with out the "cause" for the collapse of America which, from what I can tell, seemed to boil down to ecological chaos causing the whole world to go nuts. Yeah, not buying it. At least BR had the decency to be an alternate-history story.

I'll give the author credit for her writting skills. She does have some real talent, and I might be interested in reading some of her other works, ones with plots somewhat less trite than this one, but really this book was just a disapointment, being that it's essentially a retelling of a story that wasn't that great to begin with.

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More The Hunger Games reviews
review by . December 20, 2012
We're all familiar with the old storytelling trope about the evil empire oppressing the good guys who are helpless to do anything about it. Those actual stories, though, have one particular thing in common: They're all told from the point of view of one of the scrappy revolutionary good guys. Has anyone ever wondered about the everyday people who weren't some secret spies for the rebels? This is the dynamic that author Suzanne Collins first introduces us to in The Hunger Games. The Hunger Games …
review by . June 16, 2010
Have you ever read a book and after you finish it you want to kind of shove it into anyone and everyone else’s hands so they can read it too? This is the state I’ve been in ever since completing The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins. I can’t even remember where I first heard about this book. It’s easily one of the best books I’ve read all year. I’m only sorry I didn’t discover it sooner.                 …
review by . November 20, 2010
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. Her novel, THE HUNGER GAMES, 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, …
review by . April 19, 2012
Told from the perspective of the main character, Katniss, THE HUNGER GAMES takes place in a future where the United States as we know it no longer exists. The book never explains exactly what happened, but years earlier there was some sort of economic collapse and global catastrophe. In the aftermath, what was once the continent of North America is now a country called Panem. In what is explained in THE HUNGER GAMES, Panem was controlled by a massive Capitol City that ruled over thirteen separate …
Quick Tip by . April 16, 2012
posted in Forbidden Planet
I liked the book. I've read a good bit of dystopian literature,and I found the premise fascinating. But I have to say that I was badly distracted by some fairly dreadful flaws in the actual writing. Way too much was "telegraphed", and the plot bogged down in a couple of places. I wish I could have given it higher marks -- but really can't.
review by . December 16, 2010
posted in Forbidden Planet
Staying alive
Novels with dystopian themes have been popular for generations, and one of the newest, The Hunger Games, is worthy enough to merit a place among the classics. Written for teens, with adolescent main characters, the story will snag and rivet the attention of an older readership as well. The plot is straightforward: the American democratic experiment has failed, leaving the surviving population distributed among a dozen rigidly separated settlements, each region assigned to produce a specific commodity …
review by . July 07, 2010
When I first read the summary for Hunger, I had a clear picture in my head of what was going to take place within these pages: a no-holds barred, youth-oriented battle royale. If that's what you want to read, then you will get that in this book. But the beauty of what Collins has done here is that you also get so much more.      Hunger opens when the protagonist, Katniss, is chosen to participate in the annual Games, an event created by the Capitol to keep down the rebellious …
review by . November 13, 2010
In the ruins of a place once known as North America lies the nation of Panem, a shining Capitol surrounded by twelve outlying districts. Ruthless and calculating, the Capitol rules the districts with an iron hand. Especially after what happened to District 13. But people don’t talk about that. Inside the Capitol life is a constant celebration filled with beauty and abundance, especially during the Games. Outside the Capitol, in the other districts, people live in poverty struggling to find …
review by . July 26, 2010
So my friend Sarah has been trying to get me to read this book since it first appeared in the hands of her middle school students.  She says she thinks it’s “better than Harry Potter”.  While I’m not ready to go that far, I do think Suzanne Collins has successfully created a series that is head and shoulders above the enormous pool of fantasy/dystopian young adult books that have exploded on the market since J.K. Rowling opened the floodgates.      …
review by . June 27, 2010
This is the first of the best young adult series that I've read all year. In "the Hunger Games" we see a government gone wrong. By wresting control of all life from it's constituents, the government has consigned them to a life of horror. The heroine and narrator is Katniss Evergreen, a practical, level-headed teen and the sole support of her mother and younger sister. Her father having died in a mine explosion (the family lives in a coal-mining district with an Appalachian feel, …
About the reviewer
C R Swanson ()
Ranked #61
   I'm an aspiring writer and reviewer. I run a blog, I'm working on a novel and spend my free time reading and playing video games. I also spend waaaaay too much time and money on movies. … more
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The Hunger Games is a young adult science fiction novel written by bestselling author of The Underland ChroniclesSuzanne Collins. It was originally published in hardcover on September 14, 2008 by Scholastic Press. It is the first book of the Hunger Games trilogy, with two more books to come. It introduces sixteen-year-old Katniss Everdeen, who lives in a post-apocalyptic world where a dictatorship called the Capitol has risen up after several devastating disasters. In the book, the Hunger Games are an annual televised event where a ruthless Capitol randomly selects one boy and one girl from each of the twelve districts, who are then pitted against each other in a game of survival and forced to kill until only one remains.

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Details

ISBN-10: 0439023521
ISBN-13: 978-0439023528
Author: Suzanne Collins
Genre: Teens
Publisher: Scholastic Press
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1984 (British first edition)

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