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Book Review of The Hunger Games

Updated on December 28, 2013

Life and Death games where there is only one survivor

Usually people read a book before watching a movie based on it. I did the opposite. I was looking for a movie to watch one night on On Demand and came across the Hunger Games. The movie hooked me in immediately, and then I started wondering about the book. I purchased the book and it immediately grabbed my attention.

The Hunger Games was written in 2008 as a science fiction book by Suzanne Collins an American writer. The story centers around a girl named Katniss ,who is sixteen years old, and who enters into a competitive life or death contest. There can be only one survivor. The government holds this contest each year and one boy and one girl from each District, of which there is 12, is chosen. The ages are between 12-18 the Capitol holds this contest to punish the other districts and to keep them in their places. There was a 13th District that had a rebellion against the Capitol and they were destroyed.

The Hunger Games reminded me the short story by Shirley Jackson called The Lottery in which a small village of 300 people draws names of head of families in the village. If that person is chosen then a member of the family is marked to die by being stoned by the villagers in order to have a good harvest that year. It is a chilling story.

The book also reminds me of the novel 1984 by George Orwell in which the government uses mind control to keep the people in their places and uses cameras to spy on everyone.

Would you have what it takes to survive in The Hunger Games?

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In the entertainment field we have all kinds of reality television shows , Survivor, Big Brother, The Real Housewives series, Mobwives, in which America watches while people either live their lives in front of America or they play against each other for a large prize of money.

The novel has all these aspects rolled into one creating one exciting story.

The story is told in the first person and we see the world through Katniss. This makes the book great because when watching the movie we didn’t know what the character was actually thinking, and the book fills us in.

Some of the main characters of the novel are:

Katniss she is sixteen years old she has had a rough life. Her father died in the mines and her Mom was incoherent for a while leaving Katniss to take care of not only her mother but her little sister Prim too. She is a serious girl with the weight of the world on her shoulders. She has fought to survive by catching her own game in the woods. Going into the woods is not permitted but hunger and a need to escape into the only place she felt at peace compels her to go back there time and time again. She is older than her years, sarcastic, but when she allows herself to feel you sympathize with her and pull for her to make it through these games.

Gale-he is from her district eighteen years old, and he is a hunter too. Gale is strong and wants to leave the district, but doesn’t want to desert his family who depends on him to get the food and money for them to survive. Gale seems to love Katniss, but it isn’t clear if she feels the same way about him. They have a lot in common he too is a survivor and can be serious, he too is older than his years. Later he is the one Katniss thinks about during her ordeal.

Peeta is the boy from the District chosen to compete in the games. He is the baker’s son and his life has been a little better than Katniss’s has been. He has a compassionate nature and is in love with Katniss. In the beginning of the book we aren’t sure if Peeta can be trusted is he is only doing things to survive or does he truly care for Katniss?

Haymitch is a former winner of the Hunger Games years ago and his job is to mentor Katniss and Peeta for the upcoming game. He doesn’t get off to a good start because getting drunk was his top priority. After spending time with them he realizes he finally has a change to coach a possible winner. Haymitch has a rough exterior, but he turns out to be likeable. It must be torturous to relive the events that Katniss and Peeta have to go through bringing back memories of his terrible time in the game.

Rue a twelve year old girl who befriends Katniss. They form an alliance and Katniss thinks of her like her own sister. It is the relationship between these two that makes the reader see the real Katniss and how she can love and nurture.

The novel is fast paced and the reader feels like they are placed in right in the middle of the action. It won’t take the reader long to read and it will have you looking the next two books of the trilogy which are Catching Fire and Mockingjay.

The novel The Hunger Games has something for everyone. It is part science fiction, part love story, part comedy, part drama, and part action and adventure. Katniss is quite a character and the reader will leave the story remembering her and her fellow characters for years to come.


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