The Hunger Games, by Suzanne Collins
Published: October 1, 2008
Genre: YA, Dystopian
Series: The Hunger Games #1
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. But if she is to win, she will have to start making choices that will weigh survival against humanity and life against love.
The Hype Monster strikes again.
I had attempted to read The Hunger Games numerous times. I'd get through about chapter two and put it down to read something else. This should have been a huge red flag for me. It shouldn't take five chapters for me to start caring about the story, but it did. Even then, I kept reading because everyone said I should keep reading, not because I was particularly interested.
Do I regret that? Yes and no. It wasn't a horrible book. But it was slow paced. I was bored, often.
It left me pissed, to be completely honest. There wasn't much positivity left in me after I finished it, and I can't really think of it in a positive light.
I liked Katniss and Peeta. I liked what we saw of Gale. But. Love triangles. Oh how I loathe thee. I'm Team No One. Katniss played Peeta like a fiddle, and Gale's the long time friend who has been right in front of her all along. But I'd be willing to bet my copy of the book that she ends up with Peeta in the end. These things are predictable. When does the friend ever win? Not that I'm saying I'd be team Gale, if I picked a side. Like I said, Team Peeta-and-Gale-should-find-someone-who-appreciates-them. (Please, PLEASE feel free to tell me if I'm wrong about who she ends up with. And by all means, rub it in.)
It reminds me so much of Death Race, and Death Race is actually one of my favorite movies, so I honestly assumed I would love it. I was wrong. The two may be a lot alike, but there are obvious differences that should have told me not to even bother from the get go.
In Death Race, they are adults. Sure, they're being forced into the arena to kill one another, and many of them are innocent to begin with. However, they aren't children. Children who are being pitted against each other for an eager society just waiting to gobble it up for enjoyment. I found this deeply disturbing.
There's a part in the beginning when Peeta says his mother commented on how "maybe district 12 will actually have a winner." And she meant Katniss. I wanted to close it at that point and just give up. I was disgusted. Absolutely disgusted. There's nothing anyone could say that would make me feel better about that situation. Because if it were my son, they would have had to pry my ass off him before he ever even made it to the stage. The maternal detachment had my head spinning.
There are a few poorly worded sentences that I had to reread numerous times to understand. Hell some of them I still don't understand. This would have me questioning my intelligence if I didn't know with absolute certainty that I am capable of comprehending readings that are much more complex. I'm still baffled by this line in particular: "Don't. Don't let's pretend when there's no one around." Um. Say that again? It's not that I don't understand what she means, I do. But how that line got through editing is beyond me. Is it a typo? Ugh.
It has a compelling plot, I'm not denying that. There were moments when I was able to get absolutely lost in the story and felt as if I was there with Katniss. But then someone would die and I would imagine those sitting at home watching it all go down, and I was disgusted all over again. Or I would get bored because nothing was really happening. And then she would play Peeta and then think about Gale, and just GAH. No. Not for me. I'll just watch the movies.