Short Stories, Irish literature, Classics, Modern Fiction, Contemporary Literary Fiction, The Japanese Novel, Post Colonial Asian Fiction, The Legacy of the Austro-Hungarian Empire and quality Historical Novels are Among my Interests

Sunday, January 1, 2012

The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins

The Hunger Games  by Suzanne Collins (2008, 374 pages)

I never expected until I started reading  The Hunger Games  that a young adult novel set in a post apocalyptic version of North America would be the first book I would finish and post on in 2012.    The Hunger Games is the first work in a trilogy by Suzanne Collins     It and the two subsequent books in the Mockingjay Trilogy are huge best sellers here in Manila and all over the world.    I was lucky enough to win a Kindle edition of The Hunger Games a few days ago.    I was very happy as I do like an occasional change of pace from my normal reading and I do have a fondness for books about dystopic alternative futures.  

I was so captivated by the world that Collins created in The Hunger Games that I read it almost straight through.   I did a Google book blog search on The Hunger Games and there are 100s of posts on it.   Given  this and the fact that I am late to the fair on this book I will not relate the plot.   I will just talk briefly about what I liked about it and what I thought its weaknesses might be.   To get this over with, it is not high art and does not pretend to be.   It is entertainment that can make you think.   I think the intended audience are young bookish teens on up to older readers.   Young adult books are just a huge part of the book blog world.

I think what I liked best about this book was the very believable world that Collins  has created.   She sort of sets out the basic outlines, gives us some details and lets us run with it.   I really liked the idea of the evil Capital Provence creating genetically engineered "war wasps" who leave marks as big as a ping pong ball when they sting you.   Three or four stings can kill.   After the war was over and the Capital area was totally dominate so they left the wasps out in the other provinces just to show who won.   I liked the account of the day to day lives of the ordinary people in District 12, the coal mining district in what used to be the Appalachia area of the USA.

I did not find the characters that well developed and I will say I think I have read stories very like the games that are so central to the plot in some Japanese novels.  

I was kept interested because I wanted to see what would happen next.    Maybe the fact that the people in the story did not grab me that much was due to the fact that I am way out of the demographics of the audience this book is probably meant for.   Given that I liked it a lot and now I have been kindly loaned a Kindle edition of the third book in the trilogy Mockingjay I will read it soon though I am hoping to find a loaner of book two, Catching Fire first.   If I do not, I will read the last book soon as I only have two weeks to read it under the rules of Kindle loaning.  

I endorse this book for sure for young adult readers of cliffhangers (book one for sure leaves you hanging) and those who like books about alternative futures.   There is some violence but no sex.  

I hope to see the movie version which I think is do out in May.

Mel u


Mel said...

I was surprised by how much I enjoyed this book when I read it last year (actually not last year now, the year before :))

I agree with you, I most enjoyed how she depicted the lives of the people in District 12 and the overall building of tension was very well done. I found myself on the edge of my seat so to speak. I also really liked the implicit swipe at reality TV.

I haven't read the other two yet.

@parridhlantern said...

Seen this book a lot,it seems to be everywhere & although a lot of the reviews are positive, what I've read makes me realise it's probably not one for me.

bokusenou said...

Ah, I read the first two chapters in a bookstore, but really didn't like the writing style and put the book back. Maybe it gets better later on...or maybe I just prefer British writing styles when reading non-Japanese fiction.

Emidy @ Une Parole said...

I really need to start this series! Cliffhangers are always so hard, but at least all three books are out now so there's no waiting in between. Great review!

JoV said...

The last YA books I read out of curiosity was the Twilight vampire series. This book has been showing up everywhere but I don't think I would be interested to read it.

Suko said...

I started this book a while ago, and then passed it to my daughter (who has read the whole series). I need to get back to it. I'd also like to see the movie(s).

Happy New Year to you and your family!

Anonymous said...

I loved this series, especially book 1 and 2. Book 3 was boring, in my view and not quite the same kind of book anymore.

I hope you get hold of book 2 soon.

Prashant C. Trikannad said...

I have seen this book displayed prominently in Indian bookstores and often wondered what it was about. I think I'll give this series a shot.

Happy New Year to you and your family!

Mel u said...

Mel-I was surprised also by the book-it is kind of exciting

Parrish Lantern-it is all over the book stores here in Manila also

bokusenou-I actually waited until all three of the series were out before starting the first one!

JoV-it is a young adult book in that the characters are not deeply developed-

Suko-I think I sort of waited until I got a free copy to read it-it is a good teen reader book

leeswammes-I am reading book 3 now and so far I agree with your assessment-

Mel u said...

Prashant C. Trikannad-this book is very big here in Manila-Happy New Year to you and your family!

Prashant C. Trikannad said...

Mel, I need a little help. How do you make your post heading clickable? For instance, I can click on the heading "The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins" of this post. Thanks!

Marg said...

I really loved The Hunger Games, really liked Catching Fire although I did think it was a little repetitive but was a bit disappointed with the final book.

Brooke said...

Looking at this and your post on Mockingjay (as well as a blog draft that I never posted on the series), I think we had pretty similar reactions. I basically read through the entire series in a couple of days because I could get the last two from the library, so I think that my initial positive response to the series came from the fact that the first book was impressive, the second was good enough, and the last book was decent. It all ran together and I think that helped the last book.

I think my overall complaint with series where the author builds an elaborate society and culture is that I usually feel like it was a big missed opportunity because the author never follows through with everything they introduced. I felt like that with the Hunger Games. Collins does a great job of setting up this elaborate world and does good thing with it, but in the end, I was underwhelmed.

I still liked the series, I would still recommend the series to people who like those books, but when I finish a series in August and I'm having to refresh my memory to talk about it in January, it's hard to be too impressed by it.