Book Review: The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins

I’ll admit it; I did enjoy reading Suzanne Collins’s The Hunger Games. I read the whole thing in two days, the intriguing world and concept of the games ensuring that I wanted to keep reading.

But I wouldn’t read it again. And I don’t want to read the sequels.

I know this is going to lose me points, but I just can’t say that I loved this book.

What I most enjoyed about The Hunger Games was the world that Collins developed. It is so easy to see aspects of our society within the world of Panem, so easy to draw links between our own thirst for entertainment and the use of fights to the death to keep the masses both under control, and entertained.

However, I felt let down by the characters.

Katniss has been identified by so many as a strong, brave female role model. And yet, I never warmed to her. Like Haymitch, I found Katniss to be too much of a nothing (yet everything at once) character. Collins spends so much time trying to make Katniss appealing to everyone, that she didn’t succeed for me.

Yes, Katniss is strong, independent, brave, cool-headed, loving, intelligent, angry and surly. But she is both too little of all of them, and too much. By the end of the novel, a part of me was aching to finish it, just so I could wave goodbye to Katniss and the inner workings of her mind. I much preferred the Katniss of the film.

Maybe it comes down to what I’ve spoken of before: it is so hard to imagine a novel for yourself when you’ve already seen it imagined by others. I saw the film before I read the book, and I really enjoyed it. The filmmakers did brilliantly in constructing the film, the games and the world they were set in were brilliantly designed. The film made me want to read the book. It is only that, in reading it, I was disappointed. I wanted more than the book gave me.

For me, the world of The Hunger Games was my favourite part. I wanted to learn more about this world, how ‘North America’ could get to this point, and what happened to the rest of the world as we know it. And my desire to know more about Panem distracted me from Collins’s plotline. The potential of the world and what an author or reader could do with it was much stronger in my opinion then the potential of the plotline.

Overall, I was left sadly unsatisfied. I had heard so many brilliant things about The Hunger Games and the following books, that I really wanted to love it. But I just couldn’t connect with it. I felt no connection with the plot or the main characters, Katniss irritated me, and I wanted to know more. I’m not saying that you shouldn’t read The Hunger Games – you should. Every person would approach this book differently, every person’s reading experience would be different.

This is a great dystopian novel, and I did enjoy reading it, I just wanted more. The Hunger Games is geared towards young adult readers, and Collins handles them well. Despite the fact that the novel revolves around 24 teenagers fighting to the death, The Hunger Games is not full of gore. I think that most people would really enjoy this book. So, if you haven’t already, why not give it a go? And let me know what you think.

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Filed under Book Review, Books, Films, Reading, YA Books

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