I first heard of The Hunger Games trilogy in 2009, when I worked at a bookshop. Many of my colleagues told me that I must read it, some even suggesting that a good time to read it would be soon. We didn’t have the first book in the shop for almost the whole time I worked there – as soon as it came in, someone would buy it – though there were plenty of copies of Catching Fire (they were on special offer).
Naturally, my TBR being what it has been since I rediscovered the joys of teen lit, I proceeded to not read it anywhere near immediately. I decided to move it higher up the list when I heard that a film was being made. Then I saw the trailer and thought ‘this looks like such a good book. Must get it next year’. Despite the excitement generated by the trailer, I was still a bit
nervous about whether I’d like the book. Yes, everyone raved about it.
But plenty of people raved about Twilight and I resented every excruciating page. But The Hunger Games had one thing going for it that Twilight didn’t: there were people who hated Twilight that said The Hunger Games was good.
So I kept it on the to-read list, and now, after determinedly ignoring forum posts and blog discussions and everything else laden with spoilers for the last two and a bit years, I have actually read The Hunger Games. I read it the week before the film came out. Just before it became The Book everyone was reading on the train. In before the hordes. Oh yeah!
I’m not going to write a synopsis. You know what this book is about. If you don’t, here’s the film trailer, I hope it gets you excited to read it too!
As I said above, I wasn’t completely expecting to like it. But I was hooked from, I don’t know, page two? ‘This is much better than Twilight,’ I said. Probably aloud. The plot is gripping and it only gets better as the story progresses and the consequences of everyone’s actions are fully revealed.
Katniss actually does stuff, and thinks about the consequences for her and her family, at least most of the time. I found her an interesting and appropriate heroine for the story. A more silly, flighty, romantic sort of heroine would not have worked with The Hunger Games‘ plot, in my opinion. I also liked the way her family background was a source of both comfort and anxiety for her, it all helped to shape her character. She’s guarded and doesn’t trust easily but she has reasons for that.
I had mixed feelings about Peeta, her male counterpart . Yes, he’s a romantic idealist, and I can understand why. He works as a great foil for Katniss – but there were a few intriguing elements to his character that I wanted to know more about. I also wanted to know more about Haymitch and Madge, which made me think that it would be likely that the rest of the trilogy would hold my interest easily.
I did get a bit confused about the geography of District 12, but I found the level of description of the arena to be just right. I could picture it easily in my head but there wasn’t so much detail that it got boring (I will freely admit to skipping the eight pages devoted to description of a church in Swann’s Way).
I wasn’t entirely convinced by the way the Games ended, but it wasn’t enough to stop me from eagerly reserving Catching Fire at the library!
Reviews that helped convince me that I needed to read this book: