The Hunger Games (Suzanne Collins) Book Review

I couldn’t decide whether I was going to review the Hunger Games series as a whole series review or individually. Eventually, I decided to do them individually. The reason being I have different thoughts on each book and want to be able to write about them and rate them individually. The Hunger Games series is an example of when an unheard of author hits it right and the books take off – like Harry Potter and Twilight. Suzanne Collins, I hope to see more of you!

Either from the movie or the book, most of you probably know the plot, but here it is. Each year, two ‘tributes’ from each district (one to twelve) are chosen to compete in the Hunger Games. One boy, one girl from each district. Of the twenty-four, only one survives – the Hunger Games is a fight to the death. When young Primrose Everdeen is picked, big sister Catniss volunteers in her place. She vows that she will win.

Katniss Everdeen

The plot of this book is a cracker, and I’d say it’s fairly fast moving. In fact, I’d say it drives you to read it! I’ll admit to finding myself reading it late into the night. Well, the early morning actually! It isn’t hard to follow, but it doesn’t hang around. In truth, it’s probably the average plot speed of a fiction book in today’s literate environment. However, in comparison to the Lord of the Rings, and Tolkien – all that I am so fond of, it moves a lot quicker. It’s a nice change though, and does fit well with the scenario. You see, for Katniss, she’s being bundled out of her home, through the Capitol and into the arena as fast as possible. Of course, the scenes in the Capitol city are vital in comparison to the sparse make-it-work at home in District 12. It’s the small things that the author picks up on that make it real. For example, people in the Capitol take vomiting pills during meals so as they can eat more. Back in District 12, they struggle to find enough food to fill them once, let alone need space for more.
In fact, I think that Suzanne Collins does well with the time-scale. It’s a very good sized novel at just under 400 words, yet the actual timespan of events is not very long at all. The whole novel spans a few weeks, that’s it. The majority of the book is The Hunger Games itself, which spans only a few days. This is where the detail comes in. I don’t believe we miss any of the detail at all of the games, which gives a real sense of reality.

I’d just like a few sentences on the moral element of the books. I watched the films recently with my family, and my mother decided she just couldn’t watch them. For her, the idea of children killing children is just too much (she left after the presenters are chatting on previous games, and they show a clip of one tribute killing another with a brick). My nan, however, read the books and watched the films – she thought they were great, she loved them! Just keep in mind, if you are of a sensitive, humane disposition (not that I’m an emotionless brick wall) you may find yourself averse to the violence. In my opinion, it isn’t too graphic in the description, but there are a few gruesome twists.

The characters in the book are fairly deep, for a modern author. They are not at all two dimensional, and I enjoyed reading about them. A feature of the book is the forced romance between Katniss and peeta (male tribute from 12). I think this could have been done a bit better; I didn’t find it interesting at all. I understand the relevance of the romance in the plot, but I think that the emotional side of the romance was fairly blunt. It was almost Twilight in nature. Sort of ‘I have to kiss this guy to survive, but the guy I like at home will be watching it live. What shall I do, as he may hate me for kissing this guy, but if I don’t I’ll never see him again.’ and that, for me, was about the depth of it. It’s not an intense romance novel, which was why. Collins is clearly an action writer, as her fight scenes and chases are thrilling, but her romance slobs are a bit ‘naff.

There’s a strong sense of ‘the people’ in the book, which is really good. Despite everyone being set against each other, the alliances that form do affect the people back at home. For example, when Katniss saves Rue (District 11), but then Rue dies, there is revolt in District 11. Katniss makes the sign of respect, as the people did when she volunteered to be tribute. It adds something special to the book, and draws it together, for me.

The Respect Gesture

I really enjoyed The Hunger Games, it’s a really great book. There’s two more, by the way, but you’ll have to wait for those reviews! The whole trilogy is worth picking up, and I’d advise you do so. If you’ve been with this blog for a while, you’ll know whether we enjoy similar books or not, and perhaps from that you can gauge whether it’s worth you buying the book. For me, I really enjoyed it and I think you would too! Some people preach it as a children’s book, but it’s the adult morals behind it, the idea of oppression, rebellion and indeed childhood slaughter. Don’t look at it as too serious though, it isn’t a hard read!

This book gets 9/10 from me, and that’s praise. Even a good book doesn’t really rise above an eight for me, but this one really hit the spot. It isn’t, however, Lord of the Rings, so it can’t be a ten. Unless it can beat LOTR, it isn’t a ten, so basically there are only three books that do


2 thoughts on “The Hunger Games (Suzanne Collins) Book Review

  1. I found your review of The Hunger Games really interesting to read. I think part of what made the pace of the book move so quickly is the use of present tense because it puts you in the action. It almost feels as though you are jumping in and out of something that is happening right now. That makes it really hard to out down. Whereas in books that are written in past tense, the same urgency is lacking, for me at least.

    I’ve recently re-read The Hobbit, and the pacing was definitely much slower than The Hunger Games. I think that the style of writing is very different. The Hobbit is written as a story, with a very present narrator. It’s what I class as a more traditional story telling. Whereas, The Hunger Games doesn’t have any of that flowery, traditional story-like feel, which makes it go faster. Obviously, you can’t beat the plot in The Hobbit, but I do wonder what it would be like to read a version of The Hobbit that’s written without the story teller quality. So it’s all about the action and what happens.


    • Frances; I have a review of the Hobbit (and The Lord of the Rings), maybe you’d take a look? They are classical fiction. If you like the style, I’d recommend the Inheritance Cycle by Christopher Paolini (I have a review of Inheritance).

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