Release Date: July 3, 2010
Read it in: 4 days
I know, I know, I'm like the last person to read this book, but I finally got a hold of it! Honestly, this is a really hard book to review because there has already been so much said about it-- I don't plan on adding anything incredibly insightful that hundreds of other people haven't already mentioned about its sheer awesomeness, but here is what I thought...
Unlike a lot of other books I read, I went into The Hunger Games with an expectation that it was going to be incredible. I try not to start a book with any preconceived notions, but in this case I really couldn't help it after hearing so many people raving about it. All in all, I definitely was not disappointed! THG kept me in suspense from beginning to end, wondering what would happen next at every turn in this ultimate fight for survival.
Probably one of the things I liked most about this book was the unforgettable characters. Katniss, the female protagonist, was both believable and likable. She had flaws and struggled with things from her past, and this made her very human and very easy to relate to. I loved the fact that she was strong and independent, but she could be very vulnerable as well. As the heroine, Katniss not only fights tooth-and-nail for her life, she also fights against the oppressive regime that forces the Hunger Games on society. This fight for a higher purpose along with her unbreakable spirit brings deeper meaning to the story and makes you even more invested in the fate of the main character.
Peeta was a thoroughly likable character as well, even though he remained a mystery until about halfway through the story. It's hard to tell what his motives are right away. Does he really like Katniss or is he just playing The Game? I thought that the relationship between him and Katniss developed in a very natural way-- it wasn't at all forced. Here is one instance of a "love triangle" that was not contrived or just thrown in as a plot device to make things more "interesting." I really loved Peeta and can't wait to see how his character develops in the later books.
And can I just say? I loved Rue! **sniffle** I think that it is only a very talented writer who can make their secondary characters as memorable as the main ones, and this book had many! Haymitch, Effie, Cinna, Prim-- all of them, even though they played more minor roles in the story, had their own identity and added something to the plot. Gale was a little more difficult-- we don't really learn much about him in this book, so it was kind of hard to follow Katniss' dilemma about whether she liked Peeta or Gale more, but I'm guessing that we'll learn more about him in the next book of the Trilogy.
The action-adventure aspect of this book was AMAZING. This probably isn't too surprising, considering that the plot revolves around a fight to the death in order to keep yourself alive, but it was one of those books where the end of each chapter is just begging you to continue to the next! The Game itself was exciting and suspenseful, and didn't rely too heavily on shock-value to keep you interested.
I think that the ending was slightly predictable, but once again, I think this has more to do with the fact that I've already heard "snippets" from other people, and unless I lived under a rock, it would be hard to not have some idea about what was going to happen. The ending was still satisfying enough that I was fully engrossed in the story up until the last pages.
The only dilemma that I had with THG was at the beginning, where I had a difficult time understanding Katniss' reactions to becoming a Tribute in the Hunger Games. Maybe because she grew up under the reality of knowing that one day she might be chosen to battle to the death? I don't know, but I guess that if I were about to enter a "game" where I had to kill people before they killed me, and there was little chance of me winning, I would be a lot less concerned about the clothes I was wearing or the food I was eating or the guy I have a crush on. Or hey-- maybe all those things would start mattering even more! Still, some parts of the Games seemed really over-the-top, like with the stylists and the interviews. If I were Katniss, I don't know if I could have played along like she did. Granted, it worked to her advantage in the end... sigh, I guess I just over-think things way too much!
THG was a great dystopian fiction and I thoroughly enjoyed reading it. However, I don't think it's fair to say that this book is the be-all, end-all of this genre, and I don't plan on setting this as the benchmark to judge future dystopian books by. There are many, many good dystopians that I have read this year, including Ship Breaker, Wither and Divergent. I am just glad to be able to add yet another amazing book to my list-- it isn't hard to see why this has become an instant classic!