Wednesday 22 September 2010

The Hunger Games - Book Review

The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins

What is it about:
In a not-too-distant future, the United States of America has collapsed, weakened by drought, fire, famine, and war, to be replaced by Panem, a country divided into the Capitol and 12 districts. Each year, two young representatives from each district are selected by lottery to participate in The Hunger Games. Part entertainment, part brutal intimidation of the subjugated districts, the televised games are broadcasted throughout Panem as the 24 participants are forced to eliminate their competitors, literally, with all citizens required to watch. When 16-year-old Katniss's young sister, Prim, is selected as the mining district's female representative, Katniss volunteers to take her place. She and her male counterpart, Peeta, the son of the town baker who seems to have all the fighting skills of a lump of bread dough, will be pitted against bigger, stronger representatives who have trained for this their whole lives.

What did I think of it:
In short: a very entertaining, though not very original story.

Don't get me wrong. I really liked this book and the characters, but couldn't help seeing lots of similarity with one of my favourite movies 'Battle Royale' which is based on the novel 'Battle Royale' by Koushun Takami.

Teens having to fight each other to the death for the amusement of an audience: check
Using items/weapons that they have been given at pot luck: check
An announcer giving the death toll every day: check

I could go on for a while, but you get the point.
So I can honestly say I raised an eyebrow when reading that Collins claims to have never read or seen 'Battle Royale'.

That being said: The Hunger Games is well written and despite its lack of originality it's a great read.

Why should you read it:
If you like dystopian YA books you will like this book.


Sweet Vernal Zephyr said...

I've been thinking about reading this series for a while. Looks like I should check into Battle Royale as well. Thanks!

titania86 said...

I agree that the first book really isn't that original. I think the second book is really where i started to love the series because it breaks away from the Battle Royale mimicry. Great, honest review!

Aleksandra said...

Yeah, I agree with you! It does remind of Battle Royale, but I still loved it, although I loved the 2nd book more! I loved the movie Battle Royale & I'm planning to read the book, too!

Marlowe said...

Mom says that the books are INCREDIBLY popular. Perhaps not Harry Potter level popular, but pretty close. She says that it is amazing for Suzanne Collins to start out with the Gregor the Overlander books and become such a sensational author in such a short time.

Have you ever read The Girl Who Owned a City, by O.T. Nelson? It's another dystopian young adult novel, but written back in the 1970s. Mom read it when she was a girl.

Enbrethiliel said...


My first thought when I heard about this series was also that it sounded like Battle Royale. But I'm willing to give Collins the benefit of the doubt because sometimes people are independently creative. Then again, I haven't started the series yet. I might think differently when I have! =P

Now I wonder what all the die-hard Hunger Games fans would think if they gave Battle Royale a try . . .

Sullivan McPig said...

@Marlowe: I will check it out.

And boy, some of you won't like me after my review of the second book *whistles innocently*

Heather said...

Interesting... Battle Royale is a book I love, so perhaps I'll pick this one up just to see how close she does get to it!

Thanks for the review!

Anonymous said...

I've seen other reviews comparing it to Battle Royale, which I haven't read. Glad you enjoyed it anyway.