Sunday, May 5, 2013

The Hunger Games: A Trilogy Review

In an effort to avoid any spoilers, I am reviewing The Hunger Games, Catching Fire, and Mockingjay as an entire series.  As a friendly warning, this is a long, long, long post, just be aware … and grab a snack before you start reading.  :)

The Hunger Games
As you probably already know, this book was released in 2008 and has been increasing in popularity ever since, specifically because of the movie that released last year.  This, I believe, was shortly after the Twilight saga had just wrapped up the last movie, Breaking Dawn Part 2.  I admit that I read all 4 books and did enjoy them to a degree, but I found that I grew up a lot while the movies were in production thus I did not enjoy them as much as others did.  I first began reading these books when I was transitioning from middle school to high school, and at the time, I enjoyed the story.  It was unique (the vampire craze wasn’t going on at that time) and interesting for my middle-school self.  However, the movies came out quite a bit later, after all the books were released.  In my opinion, I didn’t find the movies to be of good quality; however, I was growing up so I wasn’t into these books and the plot as much anymore.  When the final movie was released, I was well into my college years, and although I did see all 5 of them (I can’t just not finish a series, book or movie, regardless of how I felt about the previous one), I simply didn’t care for it.  So when The Hunger Games movie came out and was compared to Twilight, I wasn’t interested in seeing it.  I had invested my time in the Twilight saga and movies and didn’t want to start a new series with a love triangle after I had just seen how the last one presented itself.   So I didn’t read the book or see the movie.  I was rebelling against all love triangles! J But then one day, I saw an interview with Jennifer Lawrence, and I found out that she is absolutely hilarious!  Plus she seems really down-to-Earth, which I enjoy.  Since I hadn’t seen a movie starring her yet but found her to be so funny, I decided to give The Hunger Games movie a chance.  But first, I needed to read the book.  So I did.  And here is my review…

*That was perhaps the most long-winded introduction, but I felt some need to explain why I am so late to read this series.  :)

Title: The Hunger Games
Author: Suzanne Collins
Series: The Hunger Games #1
Genre: Young Adult, Fiction, Dystopian
Publisher: Scholastic Press
Publication Date: September 14, 2008
Pages: 374
Out in Paperback?: Yes; July 3, 2010
My Rating: 5/5


Goodreads Summary (for The Hunger Games only to avoid any spoilers):

Could you survive on your own, in the wild, with everyone out to make sure you don't live to see the morning?

In the ruins of a place once known as North America lies the nation of Panem, a shining Capitol surrounded by twelve outlying districts. The Capitol is harsh and cruel and keeps the districts in line by forcing them all to send one boy and one girl between the ages of twelve and eighteen to participate in the annual Hunger Games, a fight to the death on live TV.

Sixteen-year-old Katniss Everdeen, who lives alone with her mother and younger sister, regards it as a death sentence when she steps forward to take her sister’s place in the Games. But Katniss has been close to dead before—and survival, for her, is second nature. Without really meaning to, she becomes a contender.

If she is to win, she will have to start making choices that will weigh survival against humanity and life against love.

Catching Fire
I ended up absolutely buzzing through book one in The Hunger Games series in 2 days!  I completely fell in love with the world and the characters:  Katniss, Peeta, and Gale.  After reading the first 100 pages the first day I started it, I was forced to set it down and do other work (…boo…), but I immediately picked it up the next day and did not feel as though my life could go on until I figured out the ending of this book.  So that’s what happened that weekend.  And then I watched the movie (which I loved and thought accurately portrayed the book … especially the people of the capital!).  And then I got on Amazon as quickly as I could and ordered the second book in the series.

Title: Catching Fire
Author: Suzanne Collins
Series: The Hunger Games #2
Genre: Young Adult, Fiction, Dystopian
Publisher: Scholastic Press
Publication Date: September 1, 2009
Pages: 391
Out in Paperback?: No; June 4, 2013
My Rating: 5/5

I quickly read through both The Hunger Games and Catching Fire, and luckily I received Mockingjay from Amazon the day after I finished the second book in the series (perfect timing, Amazon).  However, I love this series and as much as I was looking forward to the last book in the trilogy, I found myself reading it very slowly as to make it last as long as possible (also, this occurred during the time of my last few weeks of the semester and finals week … so there were other things that needed to be done too).  I ended up holding onto the last 30 pages for a few days because I didn’t want this to be the end!  Does anyone else do that?  Slow down near the end of a good book?  Anyway, I know many people, who were fans of the series, felt that the last book was a bit of a letdown.  I agree that I thought the plot was going to go another direction, but I still enjoyed this final book as much as the first two!

Title: Mockingjay
Author: Suzanne Collins
Series: The Hunger Games #3
Genre: Young Adult, Fiction, Dystopian
Publisher: Scholastic Press
Publication Date: August 24, 2010
Pages: 390
Out in Paperback?: No
My Rating: 5/5


To say that I fell in love with these characters throughout this trilogy would be an understatement.  I have loved Katniss since the first book, The Hunger Games, as she is an independent, smart, skilled woman.  Although she does come off a bit harsh throughout these books, I think that it simply masks a really kind and caring person beneath the rough exterior that I feel we openly witness throughout this book.  She deeply cares about her family, friends, and district, and all that she does is for the safety and protection of these people in her life.  Peeta is absolute adorable from the moment we meet him; he is openly friendly, kind, and sweet towards everyone.  Gale, growing up in District 12 with Katniss, possesses the same characteristics as Katniss due to their rough upbringing.  He is a tough hunter, who will protect his family and friends above all.  Overall, these three main characters are likeable throughout the series, and it is fun to watch them change and develop over the three books as their realistic personalities make them relatable to the readers.

Unlike the Twilight series, the love triangle in these books takes a backseat to the main action, The Games and all that follows in the second and third books.  The Games, as I’m sure everyone knows about by now, revolves around the idea of young children, who are placed in an arena, to fight one another until only one person remains as the winner.  With the events that occur at the end of first book, the second and third books continue from right where it left off.  I loved the action throughout the book; although the children fighting can be viewed as gruesome, it is just a book, and I felt that the action overpowering the love triangle and romance aspects of the book was refreshing.  I felt that there was an appropriate amount of romance, but I definitely appreciated the action-filled moments that kept me interested, entertained, and on the edge of my seat.  Although many people felt that the third book, Mockingjay, was their least favorite, and they were disappointed in the ending, I didn’t have that same reaction.  I did feel as though the ending was going to be different than it was, which at times I enjoy a twist, but this particular time, I felt that one aspect of the ending was a little unfulfilling compared to how I had imagined it going.  However, I did enjoy a majority of the ending, and I would definitely recommend reading this book to complete the trilogy and see how it all ends.

Writing Style:
As for the writing style, I felt that it was written in an informal voice.  I was a little wary about this when I first started reading, as I feel that it gives the books a younger feel.  I am fully aware that this is a Young Adult book, but I personally enjoy books that sound less casual and more formal (if that’s the right wording?).  During the beginning of the first book, there were times when this writing style bothered me a bit; however, after the first 100 pages, I was so into the story that I didn’t think twice about the writing.  I grew to enjoy it within this particular story, and as I mentioned earlier when reading the first book, I felt as though I couldn’t do anything until I finished the book.  I felt that when I was reading, I was within the world because of the amazing description.  I definitely felt as though I could “see” the scenes in the book (as I hadn’t seen the movie yet) as I was reading.  When I reached the end of a chapter, which always ended at the perfect moment as to keep you wanting to continue, I couldn’t stop, as I didn’t want to “leave” this world, letting the characters be suspended in time until I returned.  Overall, I thoroughly enjoyed the book as I was wrapped up in the story from the first to third book, and definitely felt some withdrawals, from the characters and the world created, when I was finished.

What did you think of this trilogy? Did you begin reading it right when the books first came out? Did you slow down while reading the last book, as you knew it was the end, like I did? What did you think of the first movie? I am so excited for Catching Fire that I don’t know if I can wait until November 2013!

FTC Disclaimer:
All items mentioned were purchased by me.  This is not a sponsored post.  All opinions are my own.  No affiliate links were used.

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