Saturday, April 14, 2012

Book Review: The Hunger Games Trilogy

Oh The Hunger Games Trilogy...

Only you have the ability to make me smile, cry, and feel like bashing people's skulls in while reading the words on your pages.

Hopefully that came off as dramatic as I intended it to, if not well... I tried.

Unless you're living in an abandoned shed in the middle of the woods, completely cut off from human civilization you've probably heard of Suzanne Collin's The Hunger Games. The movie was released last month

Although this series is marketed towards young adults - older readers will absolutely fall in love with this trilogy. Well, okay, maybe not all readers. Some people don't stomach the blood, guts and gore thing very well. Believe me. It gets violent.

I decided to go back and review all of the books. As the saying goes, better late than never. Who knows, maybe there's someone out there who's on the fence about reading the trilogy or has only seen the recent movie but not read the books.

Here goes...

The Hunger Games


In Katniss Everdeen's 17-years-of-life she has only known poverty at the hands of The Capitol. Katniss and her family live in Panem, a post-apocalyptic world ruled by The Capitol, a corrupt dictatorship.

Decades ago there were 13 Districts but they rebelled against the Capitol. To show their power the Capitol destroyed Distinct 13 and forced the residents of the remaining Districts to send their children into a sort of reality TV show style competition. This competition came to be known as The Hunger Games because children could get their name put into the lottery for the games more than once if they needed more food for their family. No child in any of the Districts has ever been exempt.

For Katniss, the drawing of the names for the 74th annual Hunger Games has just turned into a nightmare. Her 12-year-old sister Primrose has been picked to fight in the games. Katniss who has lost her father recently in a mining accident is terrified of losing her sister. She frantically volunteers - sacrificing her own life to save her sister's.

Now Katniss is in a fight to the death against tributes from other Districts and her old classmate from District 12, Peeta Malark, who she is hesitant to kill. There can be only one victor and Katniss knows that she has to do anything to survive and get home to her family.



Catching Fire


Katniss' welcome home isn't like anything she imagined. The life she had before the games is gone and her direct defiance of the Capitol has put her in an awkward position. It doesn't take long for President Snow to realize he has been tricked and Katniss' rebellion has caused an uprising. All of the Districts begin to rebel.

President Snow isn't happy. This becomes apparent to Katniss when she is told to convince the Districts that her intentions in the arena were never to directly disobey the Captiol. Otherwise President Snow has no problem taking the lives of her  friends and family.

To make matters worse, the 75 year anniversary of the Hunger Games is approaching and because it is a monumental year the Capitol  decides to change up the rules.  

Going into the arena is even harder for Katniss the second time around. Everything is different and the harsh tropical terrain makes it even hard to find food and water.

Katniss must rely on her bonds with past Hunger Games winners, who have also made it back into the ring, to survive. With their help she just might be able to save herself and her friends.







Mockingjay


District 12 has been destroyed; another example from the Capitol to remind the rebelling Districts that they are in control.

But the Districts are ready to fight back and they willing risk everything to do so. With Katniss, the Mockingjay, as the symbol of their rebellion and a District that they had long forgotten leading the rebellio, they are confident that only good will come from uniting the Districts.


Katniss begins to feel confident about finally taking down President Snow. But her confidence is short lived once she discovers that some of her friends are not only imprisoned, but are also being tortured by the Capitol.

Despite the fact that she is fighting a war and filming anti-Capitol messages for the rebel fighters, Katniss knows she must do something to get her friends back before it's too late.



I know this is probably cheating, but since these novels are part of a trilogy I'm going to review the books as a whole. *recoils*

 

Review:

 

Let's get right down the business. 

The Hunger Games trilogy is amazing.

Suzanne Collins really makes you feel sympathy for her characters. When you read you feel like you are right there with Katniss. You feel her pain, reveal in her happiness and cry like an infant when she is sad. It's been a while since I've read any book, let alone an entire series, that made me so connected with the main character.

Katniss is far from perfect and she knows this. Many of the other characters see her as cold and uncaring. She has even been called selfish, but she will do anything to save her family and friends. Katniss was always strong  but volunteering for the hunger games turns her into a fearless leader. Katniss was born to be a hero. Usually I am not the biggest fan of novels where the main character seems to have a "hero complex" (sometimes it can limit character growth and development), but it worked for me in this trilogy.

I think this is because there is a reason for Katniss' unwavering courage and her ability to face demons head on. Living in poverty and having to become the sole provider for her family after her father's death and her mother's slip into depression has caused her to toughen up.

Onto the secondary characters. I have so many favorite secondary characters in this series that it's ridiculous. Peeta, Gale, Haymitch, Effie Trinket, Cinna, Portia, Finnick Odair, Johanna Mason... they all have traits and characteristics that can make them irritating in Katniss' eyes but also makes them valuable allies.

I will say that Mockingjay was probably my least favorite in the trilogy, but it was still an excellent and engaging read.

Why, you ask?

For starters,
 
the last few chapters were soooo anticlimactic. Without giving too much away, there was one scene in particular where I thought one thing would happen but it didn't and went in a completely different (somewhat disappointing) direction. Although, it did make for good suspense. The very end was also extremely unexpected, but it was a good kind of unexpected. There was definitely a "didn't see that one coming" moment to be had. As a sidenote, there are a lot of those throughout the books with each one being slightly more shocking and unexpected than the last.

So get ready to break out the Kleenex, folks! I can almost guarantee that you will go through an entire box by the time you're done with this trilogy. Or... er, maybe that's just me... I am such a sap. I was sobbing big, fat tears when the trilogy ended; only because I wanted to read more about Katniss Everdeen, the girl who was on fire.  

Rating: 5/5

Look for the Hunger Games Trilogy on Amazon or wherever books are sold!
Reactions:

4 comments:

  1. I have read books one and two and plan to read Mockingjay this month..awesome series..and may the odds always be in your favor :)

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  2. Thank you Kimba, for your comment! I am hooked on this series! I also saw the movie when it first came out. All too often good books get turned into bad movies (Sadly, Eragon comes to mind). I am so glad Gary Ross did the first book justice! Can’t wait until Catching Fire premieres on the silver screen! Happy reading!

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  3. I enjoyed the series, especially the first book but felt parts of books two and three moved too slowly.

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  4. Emma - When I finished the first book I was almost surprised that there was going to be a second and third. The Hunger Games really feels like it could be a standalone. I really enjoyed the other two but I know what you mean about the plot moving too slowly. :/

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