Tuesday, September 18, 2012

The Hunger Games (The Hunger Games #1) by Suzanne Collins (5/5 stars)

Title: The Hunger Games (The Hunger Games #1)
Author: Suzanne Collins
Publisher: Scholastic Press
Date Published: 31 October 2008
Genre: Dystopia
Hardcover: 374 pages
Rating: 5/5 stars

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

I bought this book when it was released, I already started reading it, up to the part where Rue dies then I had to stop because I needed to focus on my internship at the time. Now, long after it has been adapted into a movie (I didn't watch when it was in cinemas, I kept wanting to but I have a policy to read the book first before watching the movie) I've decided to finally finish the book after making my series-to-finish list! 

What makes this book amazing for me in one word is that it's - evocative. I felt Katniss' desire to survive, her anger towards her mother for choosing to be helpless, her desperation when Prim's name was called, even her guilt for using Peeta's affections and worry at what Gale must be thinking of those kisses. The writing style was fluid and simple enough that imagery comes easily. I was reading this when I got to the office really early and I had to stop myself from squealing! 

Question: Did  anyone think that Katniss was never really in a moral quandary during the game like I did? 

She was never put in a position to decide with conviction to kill Thresh after he has spared her life and of course since he was a lot bigger than her, she would have to kill him ensuring that she will not be harmed, so her attack will have to be when Thresh is defenseless. What if when she saw Peeta, near death hiding in the mud, it was only by chance, there was no announcement that both tributes from the same district will get to live, they're the only two remaining tributes and she has an insta-cure potion in her pocket? She can't say she killed Peeta because he was dying anyways. She was mulling it over at one point if she would be able to kill Prue and maybe she couldn't because Prue reminds her a lot of Prim. But what if Prim will be killed by the Capitol if she didn't? Maybe she would choose Prim but she would also be choosing to actively kill someone against passively killing another person and the former is more difficult to consciously choose. 

Dystopian literature shows a future that is regressive and oppressive but I thought a lot about history when I was reading The Hunger Games. When I read about the rebel girl whose tongue was cut, I thought of the extrajudicial killings and enforced disappearances in my country at a time when it was ruled by a dictator. Even in this century, there have been alarming incidents of such all over the world. The Hunger Games itself reminded me of when Gladiators were used by the Romans as entertainment, to show wealth and influence, and as a political tool to satiate the Roman populace. In the next books, they say that Katniss will be the face of the rebellion which reminds me of Spartacus. The overindulgence of the people in the Capitol, callous to the plight of those in the districts, dying of starvation and other hardships reminded me of Marie Antoinette and her words "let them eat cake!". I guess this book just opens up a wide latitude of topics to talk about.

Exciting, gripping and suspenseful! 


  1. I couldn't stop reading this when I started! I have the same reading books before I see the movie rule as well. I had a few issues with Katniss, but that's a whole long discussion! Glad you enjoyed it!

  2. I really enjoyed The Hunger Games. However, I found Mockingjay really disturbing.