Book Review: Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins


Hunger Games. I’m pretty much the last person who hadn’t read this book, but I finally got around to moving it from my To Read to Read list.

I didn’t want to like this book. I’m not sure what it is but I’m much less patient with books outside my genre. It’s like I’m looking for the author to give me an excuse to put them down and move on to the next one on my list. Yet, I couldn’t put Hunger Games down.

In my neck of the woods, we have this expression “sticks in yer craw”. It means┬áthat something has you occupied that is difficult to resolve. That is main takeaway from the book. It was the kind of story that, even after you put the book down,is difficult to resolve. I guess it was the ‘wrongness’ of the whole world (quiet, I’m a writer. I can make up words!)

It was the kind of story that occupied your mind during those times you had to be away from it, those irrating breaks for things like susteance, sleep, and work. I didn’t want to like it, but I had to finish it. There were few moments where the book gave you a moment to catch your breath.

The ending did a wonderful job of the ending setting up a whole new set of conflicts and problems. It makes very curious to see how the next two books play out. I can sort of see where Kantiss’ thoughts are heading, but the odds against her are so overwhelming, I can’t even fathom how she’ll pull it off.

I did have some minor complaints, the chief one being that I found the style offputting. Collins writes in a first person present voice that was difficult adjustment for me. Early on, I would find myself mentally translating her into a more familiar past tense.

There were a couple of info dumps where Kantiss would relay that she wasn’t telling the whole truth and then say something to the effect of ‘now here’s what really happened’ and launch into a backstory. However, by the first time I hit one of them Collins had me so wrapped up into the story that I didn’t really care.

There were some pretty gruesome scenes. So much so that I’m actually a bit unsure if I want to see the film adaptation. One of the advantages to reading is I can control how bad a particular injury might look. The screen doesn’t offer me that option.

I don’t think I can say enough about how well the character of Katniss was done. I have a younger sister myself and I immediately identified with her protective nature. She came across as real, and deep, and complex.

This is the first dystopian I’ve read in a while, although I used to read them heavily. Back then, the cold war was still on and most dystopian was set in post nuclear type of world. I kept thinking about how incredible and appealing our simple messed up world would look to the people who lived in Panem.

I wasn’t able to do much armchair quarterbacking on this one. I ended up reading it more as a reader than a writer. About all I could was tip my hat and appreciate her work.



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