Home > dystopian, Genre, YA > Book Review: The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins

Book Review: The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins


I’m going to start to attempt to feature a review of a book, videogame, or movie once a month.  Be warned there may be spoilers.  Here’s the first!

A dystopian novel set in a future on the North American continent where the USA used to be.  Land mass is significantly less due to global warming, and a new nation has been in place for quite some time called Panem.  It consists of 12 districts and the capitol.  Once a year each district must send one adolescent boy and one adolescent girl, chosen by a lottery, to the capitol to participate in The Hunger Games.  The Hunger Games is a reality show that takes place in an environmental dome, each year the environment is different.  The adolescents must fight until only one remains alive.  The book focuses on a girl, Katniss, who ends up being the girl token from District 12.

I absolutely loved this book.  I read it in one day, as I could not put it down.  While I love reading, this type of all-engrossing engagement with a book has not happened for me in a long time.

First of all, I love the fact that the hero of the novel is female.  Far too much literature out there features a male main character, and most of the books featuring female main characters are those gushy girly-girl books.  They may be a fun quick read, but they don’t have any meat.  This isn’t true of The Hunger Games.  Katniss needs to be smart and strong in her struggle to stay alive, not only during The Games, but before even entering them.  She is the sole provider for her mother and sister.  Here is a strong female character, but simultaneously Collins does not make an issue of the fact that she is female.  Since it is a first-person narrative, you don’t even realize her gender until around three pages in.  Some reviewers *cough* male ones *cough* have complained that Katniss is cold, unfeeling, and not feminine.  These complaints wouldn’t be made if she was a male character in the exact same situation behaving the exact same way.  Katniss does have feelings, just as people of both genders do, but she is in a tough situation and must make tough choices.  It’s wonderful to watch her struggle to make the right ones.

I also like that Collins took something we use as entertainment, reality tv, and shows how easily it could come to be distorted and used as a horrifying tool against the people.  Dystopian literature is strongest when it takes something from the present and shows a plausible way it could go horribly awry.

Finally, Collins’ writing is beautiful.  The conversations flow easily, the action sequences are vividly depicted, and secondary characters are quickly fleshed-out as complete people.

My only complaint is a major spoiler, as it has to do with the end of the book, so I will just let it be known that I am on Team Peeta and this is one decision of Katniss’s that makes very little sense to me.

5 out of 5 stars

Source: Library

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Categories: dystopian, Genre, YA Tags: , ,

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