"A house without books is like a room without windows." -Horace Mann

Monday, August 16, 2010

Hunger Games

by Suzanne Collins

I know a lot of you may have already read this series, but just in case you haven't, I had to get this recommendation done because the third book in the series will be released soon and I can't wait!

This is considered a young adult sci-fi fiction book, but adults can enjoy it just as much as youth, and I personally found it quite gripping.  I can see why it is considered a sci-fi book, but it is more about the human spirit than anything.  It will keep you on the edge of your seat, or in my case bed, since I finished it at 3am. 

Set in a future post-apocalyptic time where 13 districts of people are ruled over by one powerful Capitol government, the Hunger Games are forced to be played every year by a boy and girl from each district.  It is a game of survival where they are supposed to kill each other until only one remains the victor.  The Games are used by the Capitol as a form of entertainment, but also as a reminder to the districts of their lower status and to keep them in subjection.

It sounds disturbing and it is.  However, I am a fairly sensitive soul when it comes to disturbing and scary topics.  I often have nightmares about books and movies that are just not worth it, no matter how good the material.  This book did not bother me.  I felt Collins covered the graphic parts with restraint, but did not gloss over them either.  I have heard some say that it was too disturbing for them, so take that as you will.

The characters feel real and their relationships are complicated.  Collins does a good job of leading you to think something predictable will happen, and then turning it to something you wouldn't expect.  It leaves you satisfied and interested for the next book, but does not wrap up everything into a pretty, happy ending.  The second book, "Catching Fire" did the first book justice and I won't tell you about it because if you read the first, I don't doubt you'll be hooked.  The third book "Mockingjay" is being released August 24th.

It's refreshing to find a new series which everyone is talking about, and which is worthy of all the attention.


  1. I've read the first two…I need to know what happens next as well. However, I don't know as if I'd let any kids under the age or 14 or so read them…a bit too much death and killing, you know?

  2. Yes, its a little much for younger kids. It would be interesting to see how they would handle it if they ever did a movie.

  3. I read the first two, but I don't think that I am going to finish the series. I would have to say that I personally had nightmares for 2 nights in a row after reading the first book. I don't know why I went on to read the second, only that my curiosity got the best of me.

  4. I loved Hunger Games but didn't like the second book as much. I got a bit annoyed with Katniss at times. I am hoping the third book clarifies the Katniss/Peeta/Gail question...

  5. Awesome books!

    A movie's in the works. There was a Japanese movie made about 10 years ago with a similar premise called "Battle Royale" that was considered so disturbing, no American distribution company would release it. To see it, you had to hit an underground screening or a bootleg DVD. (These days you can get it on Netflix or from Amazon.) Much more pulpy and sensationalized than Hunger Games, but full of good lessons for working with this material on film (both what TO DO and what NOT TO DO).

    The question for the movie is going to be how literal and graphic they go with the violence. Collins is able to suggest and allude to things without glamorizing the gore and leaving just the right amount up to our imaginations. How do you do that on film? That's going to be tough, I think.

    The second one didn't have as neat and tidy a structure to it. It was also introducing a whole new world. You only get that surprise once. She was also probably doing a lot of setting up for the third.

    Did it read like a British novel to anyone else? I was surprised when I read in the back of the book that Collins lives in Connecticut!

    The third one is going to be the first e-book I read. We'll see how it goes...