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Frannie in the Pages

REVIEW: "The Hunger Games" by Suzanne Collins

The Hunger Games - Suzanne  Collins

Why in the world did I wait so much to read this book?
I seriously should be punished for this.

The Hunger Games is one of the best dystopian novels I’ve read until now, maybe the best. It was so well done and interesting and fast paced that I didn’t want to put the book down but keep reading and keep reading.

I had watched the movie and I had thought that it was okay but nothing special after all and I couldn’t understand why people were raving and raving about it. Now that I read the book I am the one who’s raving about it and wouldn’t stop talking for days.

The world building was impressive and magnificent. Twelve districts and the Capitol, Panem. Every year they draw out a boy and a girl from each district to join the Hunger Games: all the tributes have to train, do interviews and then they are left in an arena to survive and kill each other. There can be only one winner.
They are constantly watched by all the population which can follow every day the Hunger Games on special screens put in every district. There’s no privacy and no mercy. You can’t afford to say what you think or show your true feelings but you have to keep up to pretenses to survive in this deadly jungle and try not to lose yourself along the way.

The Hunger Games are the tool to show people that they are nothing but pawns in the ends of the system, to remember of the past wars and what the Capitol is able to do just for entertainment. They are the spectacularization of cruelness, violence and strength.
The Gamemakers, the sponsors and their gifts, the parade and the mentors, the rules and the history… Everything was so clear and detailed that it seemed more true than ever and while reading you can’t help but having a dreadful feeling that this could all be real one day.

Now, on to the characters.

Haymitch was just amazing. He’s the mentor of the tributes from District 12, he has gone through unimaginable horrors and won the Hunger Games and now he has to relive this every year. He is always drunk, trying to send the pain away but this time he could actually have winners and he knows what to do to let them shine and capture the attentions of the sponsors. He can also be lots of fun.

Katniss was… complicated. She grew up taking care not only of herself but of her entire family after her father died in the coal mine. With her friend Gale, she spends her days hunting in the woods outside the fence, risking her life because it is forbidden but it’s also the only way not to starve.
When her twelve-year-old sister Prim is called as tribute, Katniss volunteers to protect her and this was such a strong and full of love gesture. She was courageous, specially knowing she probably wouldn’t have made it back. But she did it anyway and it moved me.
She’s smart and unbeatable with bow and arrows and that’s how she plans to survive in the arena. Plus, she’s the girl on fire.
Anyway, I didn’t like her as much as I expected to. I was confused by her uncertainty about her feelings. She keeps comparing Peeta and Gale and that sent me astray because there is not much about Gale in this first book and I wasn’t able to pick a side as it usually happens in these love triangle situations.

Peeta, on the other hand, was so sweet. He is conscious of his limits and his abilities and in the arena he did whatever he had to do to keep Katniss safe because he truly loved her and that made me roll my eyes every time Katniss wondered about Peeta’s feelings. How couldn’t she see it? He was just being himself while she was pretending to love him back to maintain the star crossed lovers’ illusion. I know she had to do it keep living and make it home to her family but I just couldn’t bring myself to like her.

I was really impressed by the author’s ability to keep the story interesting throughout all the book. For more than one hundred pages, the reader is left only with Katniss and her thoughts and it could have easily become boring and flat without any dialogues but it never did.

I was also taken aback by the contrast between the poverty of the districts and the uncontrolled luxury of the Capitol, where the Hunger Games truly are just an entertainment while teenagers are losing their lives for others’ fun.

Surely, I can’t wait to read the second book, hoping to better understand Katniss and her doubts but also I want more of this dreadful world. Does it sound strange?

Happy Hunger Games and may the odds be ever in your favor!