The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins (Green)

Hey I’m reviewing that book that everyone has already read.  It’s the number one book on Amazon right now and it’s sure to stay there until Ronos Part I: Catalyst comes out later this year. I bet you’re dying to know what I think about The Hunger Games.  Since everyone has already read this there are going to be some major SPOILERS throughout this review.

There were things about it that I liked and there were things about it that I didn’t like (Duh!).  If you don’t know me then I should tell you that I’m very critical of things that a ton of people like.  I hold those books/movies/TV shows to a higher standard than others.  As a result it often seems like I hate the things that everyone else loves.

I didn’t love The Hunger Games.  Please don’t judge me.  Does it help if I tell you that I didn’t hate it either?

There were a lot of good things about it.  I love the setting of the world.  The country being set up into districts and being run by the capital was cool for me and I was a little jealous of the authors ingenuity.  By having the POV character not knowledgable about the other districts meant she didn’t have to have pages and pages about exposition about what the major industries and cultures of the districts were.  Also, if she needed to change anything for the sake of the story she could just pretend like the protagonist was misinformed about what she knew.  It’s a good writing strategy.

We got to know a lot about district 12 and very little about any of the others.  That left a lot of mystery and intrigue to the world of the story.  The setting alone was interesting enough to keep reading.

I think that along with the setting goes the sweet story setup for why the districts are the way they are.  The Capital runs everything everyone does to remind them about how all powerful the government is.  Just in case that isn’t enough each district is also to send two kids to fight to the death in the annual Hunger Games.  Twenty-four teenagers and kids trying to kill each other; the last won standing wins. That’s cool.  Sure to bring an appropriate amount of antagonism to the story.

The main character is Katniss Everdeen and she volunteers for The Hunger Games so that her little sister doesn’t have to fight.  Katniss is a solid protagonist.  She does a lot of thinking.  Lots of the story beats take place in her head (which is why the movie is going to be lacking compared to the book) especially in the first book.  Most of the in her head stuff is about her relationship with Peeta (who has a terrible name).

Which leads to the weakest thing about this book and the entire trilogy.  Peeta and the love story is straight up annoying.  Suzanne Collins is a good writer.  She knows how to describe things in a unique way and there was never a moment where I thought she wasn’t trying to do a good job, except for this cheezy love story.

Now I’m not one of those guys who is automatically opposed to any love story in everything.  I enjoy anything that is well written.  I’m saying that the love story feels so out of place with The Hunger Games story. I can see what they were going for.  They wanted someone in the games that was going to be very hard for Katniss to kill.  That’s a good idea.  But the way they do it is no good.

And there is a reason I’m saying they instead of her, the author.  The way it reads it almost feels like she doesn’t know how to write those drenched in love lines that Peeta constantly rolls out.  She is so good everywhere else in the book why does she falter when talking about how much Peeta is in love with Katniss.  Most of what he says feels like a cliché.  So I’m saying they because it reads like that was something the publisher told her to include in a rewrite because for some reason in every young adult fiction the lead girl has to make a choice between two guys who both love her more than any teenager has ever loved anyone.

The choice plot is now a cliché, not a convention.  Please stop boring me.

The choice plot makes me upset because it’s used as the climax of the first book.  That made me so mad I decided I wouldn’t read the other ones.  There was no way that’s supposed to be the climax of book one.  I changed my mind a few months later and read the second one where I found the real climax for book one.  It’s the conversation Katniss had with President Snow in case you are wondering and it needs to be included in the first movie if you want to do it right.

The games themselves were entertaining enough but they could have been better.  All the things I didn’t like Collins improved for the second book.  I didn’t like the supplies they needed dropping in exactly when they needed them.  It was kind of explained but not well enough.  It was a little Dues ex machina and was a lazy way to move the story forward.

The best stuff of the actual Hunger Games was between Katniss and Rue. It was sad when that ended because then I knew it would go back to that lame love story.

One last thing.  For a story about kids killing each other until there is only one left standing the climax in the arena was pretty anticlimactic.  I guess in the back of my mind I knew that there were two more books and that Katniss and Peeta had to survive.  There’s nothing wrong with that but one of the principles of story telling is giving the audience what they want but not in the way they want.  There was never really a moment where I was excited about what was going to happen next.  It was always just Katniss and Peeta killing everyone else.  My interest spiked a little when it was down to just the two of them but it should have been spiking a lot higher for where I was in the book.

A lot of the things I didn’t like about this book might sound kind of petty and most people don’t care about them.  It’s still a good enough book and I still think you should read it if you have nothing better to read.

By the way if you do have something better to read let me know what it is.  We got an Amazon gift card for our wedding and we love reading things that are awesome.  Put your suggestions in the comments.

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7 Responses to The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins (Green)

  1. Lindsay says:

    I haven’t read Hunger Games for the same reasons that you listed. I totally agree with everything you laid out about the book, particularly “…the principles of story telling is giving the audience what they want but not in the way that they want it” is brilliant and I want to steal it from you. There are so many better things to read.

    Robin Hobb!! One of the best fantasists I’ve read–beautiful writing that’s had me in tears. Don’t be put off by the bad covers to her novels, not her fault. Start with Assassin’s Apprentice.
    Patrick Rothfuss. I can’t even….just read. Read them now.
    Orson Scott Card.–not just Ender’s Game and continuing series which were amazing but his new stuff such as Pathfinder.
    Brent Weeks. The Black Prism. Really interesting new concept.

    • I freaking love Pathfinder. The next book is coming out in a couple months.

      Also, that’s not my writing principle. I learned it from Robert McKee, the man who knows story telling like no one else. He teaches it for a living. But he’s not Jerry Potter approved so for some reason not everyone likes him.

  2. I enjoyed this review thanks for writing it!

  3. Pingback: Amazon Top Gift Ideas | International Best Selling Books

  4. Pingback: Catching Fire by Suzanne Collins (Green) | Chortle at My Girth

  5. Pingback: Mocking Jay by Suzanne Collins (Red) | Chortle at My Girth

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