The Hunger Games
In the land once known as North America, from the ashes of war, the new country of Panem rises from the ashes, composed of a Capitol at its center and surrounded by thirteen Districts. When war breaks out, the Capitol defeats the thirteen Districts. In the aftermath, District 13 is obliterated from existence and the Hunger Games are established. Every year, each District provides two tributes, a male and a female, to compete in the Hunger Games and to fight to the death.
Enter Katniss Everdeen, sixteen years old and from the slums of District 12, the poorest of all the Districts. After the death of her father when Katniss was twelve, Katniss provides for her family after her mother breaks down over the death of her husband. Proficient with a bow, Katniss hunts outside the fence limits of District 12. On reaping day, all the citizens are sent to the town square where the tributes are to be selected. Against all odds, and with only one ballot, Primrose Everdeen, Katniss’ twelve-year-old sister is chosen. In a rush of emotion Katniss volunteers herself in Prim’s place.
After the male tribute, Peeta Mellark, is selected, the tributes are given one last chance to say their farewells to their families. Afterwards, they are whisked to the Capitol, where they get paraded around the city, interviewed, and trained for the Games. When Katniss enters the arena, nothing can prepare her for the bonds, friendships, and romances that shape her during her fight. But the first thing on her mind is just one thing: survival.
Katniss Everdeen proves herself to be a strong, intelligent and resourceful person who you do not want to mess with. After the loss of her father at a young age from a mining accident, Katniss becomes the leader of her household learning to hunt with a bow and arrow to feed her family who live in the Seam, the poorest area in the poorest district. These survival skills that she learned during her time hunting prove useful to her survival throughout the Hunger Games themselves. Though she can be stoic at times rarely showing her emotions she does have a softer side when it comes to her sister Prim whom she loves wholeheartedly and she would do anything for, she also has a close bond with her friend and hunting partner Gale.
Peeta Mellark, the male tribute has not had as hard a life as Katniss being the baker’s son though of course he still lives in District 12. Due to his years helping at the bakery Peeta is quite strong as he can lift flour with ease and camouflage himself due to his cake decorating skills. Peeta is quite compassionate and kind as he does not really want to kill anyone and he holds a secret that he is in love with Katniss.
Gale is Katniss’ male counterpart as he too lost his father and learned how to hunt, though Gale himself is a little more opinionated than Katniss as he expresses his disdain for the Hunger Games and discusses running away with Katniss.
Haymitch begins the story as a drunk mentor who is not much help at the beginning but after making a deal with Katniss and Peeta and seeing that they might have a chance at winning he sobers up and actually does his duty as a mentor by helping them with training and trying to get them sponsors for when they are in the arena.
The primary strength of this novel comes from the premise of the Hunger Games. With the story centralized around the battle royal style, there is unlimited suspense and excitement. The story becomes a page turner since it allows readers a sense of wanting to find out what happens next. Not only was there action from the fighting, there was also a lot of strategy in play. While Katniss was fighting, there were many instances where tactics and plans outperformed the strongest of contestants. There was also a lot of strategy outside the arena with sponsors. All in all, the battle royal formula allowed for constant action and suspense.
On the other hand, an aspect that was not as enjoyable was the characterization of some of the characters from District 12. For example, Gale is written as the childhood friend of Katniss and together they share a deep bond. An even deeper exploration into their bond would have been enjoyable to read about. However, there are not too many flaws with this novel besides slight characterization.
In the end, The Hunger Games is a pleasant read for those of a more mature audience. The suspense and action causes readers to turn pages and the strategies and tactics provoke deep thought. All in all, this book was enjoyable to read.
The Hunger Games has many strengths with one of its major strengths being its characters. While Katniss and Peeta are well developed and we get to know them throughout the story there are 11 other districts with a male and female tributes. Suzanne Collins uses the first-person perspective so that the reader sees these characters the way Katniss sees them and we get brief and sometimes more in depth description of all the tributes. The pacing of the novel is also great with the build up to the games having a sense of dread but also anticipation as the reader waits to see what will happen in the arena. Once they are in the arena the reader won’t want to put the book down as Katniss is constantly put in dangerous situations that you can’t wait to see how she survives. The action in the novel is top tier as well as Katniss’ archery skills give her many ways to handle a situation and no two action scenes are the same as they are all not bloodbath fights with Katniss being smart enough to stay away from those.
My only major weakness with the novel is that I wish there was more description of the Capitol and the twelve districts as the history and the war that lead to the Hunger Games was not given much detail and I would have liked to learn more about the districts themselves though I know they are given more detail in the sequels.
All in all this is one of my favourite books that is gripping and keeps you at the edge of your seat with great violent action, great characters and a dark but interesting world. I highly recommend this one.
The Hunger Games is a book that does a great job of developing characters. Whether it is the tributes, the people from district 12, or the characters from the capital, Suzanne Collins brings them to life. The tributes reflect their districts, but they all have their own skills and traits. This prevents the reader from feeling like the characters are predictable or boring in any way. Many characters in this novel are used to shape and build the protagonists, further developing the plot.
The one of the only weaknesses The Hunger Games contains is the lack of setting development. While the arena is described in great details, The Capital and District 12 is not. The first part of the novel feels very rushed, compared to the part surrounding The Hunger Games. As a result, the reader is left with more questions than answers surrounding The Capital, and especially the other districts.The Hunger Games is filled with ups and downs, the tone changes drastically from chapter to chapter, and the plot twists leave the reader wanting more. This book grabs the reader’s attention from the very first page and does not let it go. The deep characterization and strong plot allows the reader to connect on a personal and emotional level with the characters and the book. Overall, this is a very entertaining read for a mature audience that leaves the reader looking for the next book in the series.
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Collins, Suzanne. The Hunger Games. Scholastic, 2009.