- Fizzy Thoughts: The Hunger Games

The Hunger Games

Wednesday, July 08, 2009

hungergames
The Hunger Games
Suzanne Collins
September 2008
384 pages

Unless you’ve been living under a rock (and don’t worry, I live there sometimes, too), then you know what this one is about.  So I’m not going to recap it for you.  If you want the recap, just go hang out on Google.  You’ll find lots of places to visit.

Instead, I’m going back to the questions.  Remember them?  You probably thought I was all done.  But I’m a slacker, so I still have lots of questions left to answer.  For this book, Joanne asked “Overhyped or not? Was it as good as you'd expected? Or did you feel that the book didn't quite live up to it's reputation?”  And then Lilly asked “What do you think about the ending? Did you like that it didn't give any closure as to the characters' lives and instead left readers needing to get part two to find out?” Next, Michelle asked "Do you find that having read that particular book you are more or less inclined to continue reading in that genre (YA)?”  And finally, Jennie asked “too violent? Or not violent enough to be believable?”

Whew.  Lotsa questions on this one.  Let’s see if I can answer them all.  Coherently.

I really enjoyed the book.  Yes, it’s received lots of hype, but it’s still an intriguing concept and contains (I think) a well-developed dystopian society.  Yes, it’s slightly reminiscent of The Lottery, but that’s okay.  And it also went in a direction I totally wasn’t expecting, so major points for that.  It did bog down a bit with the preparations for the game (all the pageantry was a little weird), and with the game itself, but that’s okay, too.  So while it wasn’t the best book ever, I’m still glad I read it.  I can see reactions to this one being all over the place, so I think it’s worth recommending, if only to hear someone’s thoughts on why or why they didn’t like it.

Because I like series (within reason…I never did read the last Harry Potter), I had no problem with the ending.  Frustrating though it might be, I think that was a good place to end.  And yes, I can’t wait for Catching Fire

I’m really loving all of the fresh ideas and edgy stories that YA is coming out with lately.  Or that I seem to have become aware of lately.  So yes, I do plan to keep reading books in the YA genre, but since I don’t like that “didn’t I just read something similar” feeling, I may not be hunting down dystopian novels any time soon.

Finally, in regards to the violence, can I say “just right?”  While I don’t have a problem reading about violence (in context), I honestly wasn’t looking forward to the actual Hunger Game.  Because I knew characters that I had gotten attached to were going to die.  And yet, there had to be some violence to be believable.  There were some weird things within the game that struck me as odd (the dog creatures?), but overall I was okay with how it played out.

So yeah, I got sucked into a new series.  But as I said above, I think Collins has created an interesting society…I’m looking forward to seeing where she goes with it.

21 comment(s):

Melissa said...

Glad this one lived up to the hype for you (they so very seldom do). I also thought the violence was just right for what Collins was trying to do. I'm dying to get my hands on a copy of Catching Fire, but I think I may just have to wait until September (?October?) with everyone else...

Mari said...

Haven't read this one yet. Hopefully I will get my hands on a copy soon.

wordlily said...

I really, really hated The Lottery when I read it as a sophomore in high school (yes, that was a long time ago). I've been avoiding this one because of its comparison to that. Will I hate this one too? Or is it still worth reading?

trish said...

Woo! Another convert! I heart this series, despite any shortcomings it may have.

SuziQoregon said...

Great questions - great answers. Glad you liked it. I'm on the waiting list at 2 different libraries for Catching Fire.

Anna said...

I really liked this book, but I wish there had been more talk about the current society, who's behind the games, etc. I just kept reminding myself it was a YA novel. I'm looking forward to the next installment.

--Anna
Diary of an Eccentric

bermudaonion said...

I snagged an ARC of Catching Fire, so I bought this one to read first. I haven't had a chance to read them yet. I'm so glad to hear they're not over-hyped.

Julie P. said...

I loved this book too! I was afraid to read it because of all the praise, but I'm happy to say that I wasn't disappointed.

Michele at Reader's Respite said...

Crap. I've been living under a rock evidently. Heaven forbid I miss out on something, so I'm off to go get the darned book. Sheesh. I feel so out of the loop.

Chris said...

I have pretty much the same thoughts as you about this one! Overall, I loved it...and I've already read Catching Fire and it is FANtastic!

lilly said...

I am glad you managed to answer the questions and that you did like the book. I am not a die-hard fan of YA novels but Hunger Games was definitely a book worth reading. Unlike you though, I am not going to read part two or at least not for quite some time. The reason: I like reading series but I dislike it when an author feels the need to create such an ending that a reader now has to get the next part if they want to have some questions answered. I much prefer series written so skillfully that each book may as well be read as a stand-alone and yet I am compelled to read more. I guess it's my little pet-peeve where in cases like Hunger Games I feel tricked and disappointed in the author. I would have loved this book, had Collins given me at least some closure and insight into further lives of Katniss and Peeta.

lilly said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Joanne said...

I hadn't even thought of the similarity to The Lottery when I read this, my mind kept going to Battle Royale.
The part of the preparations that I found slow was when it went on and on about the fiery costumes - I kept thinking of male/female figure skating teams and that took away from the serious tone of the book for me.

rhapsodyinbooks said...

What a great review AND an appropriate title for a book for us to read!

GO DING DONGS!

Bookfool said...

I've got this one on my toppling stacks of doom. Someday I'll get to it. I probably should have waited to buy it till I was ready to read, but book addiction is that way. I'm glad you answered questions instead of writing the same old synopsis.

softdrink said...

Melissa - luckily, we're only a few months away now!

Mariif you time it right, maybe you can get Hunger Games and Catching Fire at the same time, so you won't have to wait like most of us poor schmucks.

wordlily - I don't think the book is as creepy as The Lottery. I was fascinated at the beginning by the society, so I think it's worth reading.

trish - It better not drag on for umpteen books like Harry Potter, though!

Suzi - thanks! hedging your bets, huh? ;-)

Anna - yeah, my favorite part of the book was everything up to their arrival for the games.

Kathy - you have both and haven't read them?!?!? that's just wrong. ;-)

Julie - Ding Dongs have good taste in books!

Michele - it happens to the best of us. ;-)

Chris - braggart. ;-)

Lilly - I can understand the frustration. I often forget a lot in between books, which can make series frustrating.

Jo - LOL at the skating comparison...it's so true!

other Jill - kind of like a theme song? It is quite appropriate.

bookfool - I'm guilty of the same thing.

Veens said...

I have really never read Dystopian stuff. I look forward to getting my hands on this one!

Jenners said...

I guess I must be living under a rock of some kind because I never heard of this book until tonight ... when I read about it here and on another blog. I admit I find the whole premise fascinating...I'll probably have to check it out myself.

And what a fitting title to read during the Game On Diet!

Michelle said...

I loved this book but I have to say I agree with your comment that there was a point during the "pagentry" stage where I kinda got that "are we there yet" feeling. It wasn't enough to make me dislike the overall story or stop reading (obviously) but it was the one part of the book I wouldn't have felt badly skimming.

Thanks for answering my question ;)

Michelle said...

I loved this book but I have to say I agree with your comment that there was a point during the "pagentry" stage where I kinda got that "are we there yet" feeling. It wasn't enough to make me dislike the overall story or stop reading (obviously) but it was the one part of the book I wouldn't have felt badly skimming.

Thanks for answering my question ;)

Beth F said...

I skimmed your review -- will come back and it once mine is written. I read Hunger Games just 3 days ago. Loved it!

In a real sense, people who have read good literature have lived more than people who cannot or will not read. It is not true that we have only one life to live; if we can read, we can live as many more lives and as many kinds of lives as we wish. ~S.I. Hayakawa

The World is a book, and those who do not travel read only a page.
~St. Augustine

Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry, and narrow-mindedness.
~Mark Twain

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