In the ruins of a place once known as North America lies the nation of Panem, a shining Capitol surrounded by 12 outlying districts. The Capitol keeps the districts in line by forcing them all to send one boy and one girl between the ages of 12 and 18 to participate in the annual Hunger Games, a fight to the death on live TV.
Sixteen-year-old Katniss Everdeen 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 death before – and survival, for her, is second nature. Still, if she is to win, she will have to start making choices that weigh survival against humanity and life against love.
Uh, this is a book about a bunch of 12-18 year olds being forced into an arena where they’re basically told to murder one another. So… read at your own risk.
Years ago, when it first came out, I was, quite literally, obsessed with the Hunger Games trilogy.
I loved everything about the series, from its exciting plot, to its nail-biting suspense, to its noticeable connections to the modern world. Katniss Everdeen was my idle, and Peeta Mellark was my dream boyfriend, putting it simply. (I LOVE YOU PEETA PLS MARRY ME)
Years later, I wanted to see if things had changed. Is the Hunger Games really that amazing? Or did my immature elementary-schooler reading tastes just cloud my judgement? The ultimate question I wanted answered was: Is the Hunger Games actually a good book?
Spoiler Alert: IT TOTALLY IS.
This was my second time reading the Hunger Games and I now love it more than ever, if that’s possible. The two main reasons for this reread were my nostalgia for the OG YA dystopian books and the upcoming release of the Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes (WHICH I AM SO EXCITED FOR BY THE WAY!!!).
This was a very successful reread. Where do I even start?
Suzanne Collin’s characters never fail to steal my heart. They are incredibly realistic, and they bring the story to life. Katniss is a strong female protagonist that I admire and understand. She’s a fantastically complex heroine– the mindset to survive unthinkable circumstances, to push others away as first reflex, to wrap oneself in emotional distance… those are all things that really drew me to her character. I remember when I first read this book, Katniss frustrated me. A lot. I didn’t understand why she pushed people away and denied love from others, particularly Peeta. But now I really get it. Katniss Everdeen is a flawed and relatable protagonist, and ultimately, that’s what makes her a great one.
All the supporting characters in this book–Peeta, Gale, Haymitch, and Rue being only some–are just as significant as Katniss is. In Book 1, we don’t get to delve that deep into each individual character arc– THG is mainly Katniss’s survivalist story. But still, we quickly get an understanding of how different each of these characters are, and how their values, flaws, and identities all contribute to this incredible story.
That leads me to my next topic. Suzanne Collins is a phenomenal storyteller. With this amazing series, Collins has created something so rare, brave, and original. An action-packed page turner, the Hunger Games was impossible to put down, yet I never felt like I was being forced into the next chapter. I don’t know if this is just me, but it bothers me when authors end EVERY SINGLE CHAPTER with a cliff hanger, instead of just letting the story flow. Suzanne Collins knows how to draw her readers in, but one chapter never shoves you into the next.
Experiencing the story in first person present, the reader walks through the world of Panem inside of Katniss’ head. I was sucked right into the book with the surroundings, circumstances, characters, districts, and everything else that Collin’s so expertly articulated. Its astonishing how cautionary connections can be made between Panem’s iron-fisted government and our world today. This makes The Hunger Games by far one of the best mainstream dystopian novels, and I can tell how other books of the same genre have taken inspiration from it.
Overall, it’s easy to see why The Hunger Games is a modern classic. The story is imaginative, filled with action and touch of romance, and well-written. This outstanding dystopian novel is one of my favorites out there, and if you haven’t already read it, I highly encourage you to do so.
This book is an excellent beginning to a series with thorough planning, development, and presentation in characters, plot and setting.