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The Hunger Games: Book 1

A book by Suzanne Collins.

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"All of this is wrong."

  • Mar 16, 2010
Rating:
+5
I remember the moment when I realized that 'The Hunger Games' was not just a good book, but a great one. It was the moment after the main character, Katniss Everdeen, volunteers as a "tribute" for her district in this year's Hunger Games. She volunteers because her younger sister, Prim, was originally selected. She volunteers because Prim is just 12 years old. She volunteers because the Hunger Games is a competition to the death.

"I stand there unmoving while they take part in the boldest form of dissent they can manage," Katniss says. "Silence. Which says we do not agree. We do not condone. All of this is wrong."

This sums up what I love about 'The Hunger Games' nicely - As a book it is challenging and complicated and so well done from start to finish. There are moments of almost lyrical beauty and moments of shocking brutality, all paced steadily to a satisfying conclusion.

'The Hunger Games' is set in a future where there has been some sort of cataclysm (war or environmental disaster seems likely), and what we know as North America today has been divided into twelve Districts. Each year, every district must send two tributes, one boy and one girl, between the ages of 12 and 18 to the annual Hunger Games, where they will fight to do the death in a closed arena. All but one of the 24 tributes each year will die, with the survivor winning a life of luxury.

The premise of the book, and the focus on adolescent relations in an extreme life-threatening setting, reminded me in all the right ways of Orson Scott Card's 'Ender's Game.' In both books, children are portrayed as being as being capable of great calculation, great humanity, and even great brutality when placed in extreme situations. The honesty and the keen observation of the book is one of its strong points.

'The Hunger Games' tells a compelling story with a believable and interesting cast of characters. It draws you in from the first page and keeps you reading, despite the fact that much of it is difficult to face. It's not easy reading about children killing other children, but it is the complexity and the challenging nature of the story that makes it so worth reading. There are not clear lines of good and evil, but only survival, while keeping some shred of humanity intact.

Expect to be drawn into this story. You may not agree with it. You may not condone it. You may feel that all of it is wrong. But you will want to read it anyway, because it's just that good.

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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, …
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Rich Stoehr ()
Ranked #82
I often hide behind a pithy Douglas Adams quote or maybe some song lyrics. I guess it makes sense that much of what I share is reviews of things I like (or don't).      People … 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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