Friday, July 02, 2010

Book review: The Hunger Games

Note: What I'm about to say many people won't like... I'm sorry. Don't throw stuff at me.

One line review: I liked the Japanese version better.
Why did I read this book?:
I read this book for a couple reasons.
1) it's been on EVERYONE'S Must Read list.
2) about 75% of my students read it and loved it
3) A lady at the scbwi yelled at me, literaly I was sitting next to Mary Kole and this lady started to yell at me because I hadn't read it yet, it was like I didn't belong at the writers conference because I didn't read it.
4) One of my students said, "out of a rating from 1-10 I'd give it an 11."

The book:
Girl has to fight against 24 other kids to food for her home town.
Here's the thing, it's not a new concept... in fact it was a book, a comic and a movie back in Japan, and it was call Battle Royale. But the kids weren't strangers they were classmates, they had a long and deep rooted history with each other, which made the events that more horrifying.
The main character wasn't highly likable. What I did like about her was she was a girl who kicked ass, and she was smart, but everything else about her was sort of meh.

What I did like about it:
  • Fast read
  • I liked the reality TV aspect and that she was hyper aware that everything she did was going to be broadcasted. I thought it was a nice statement for how we are currently living out lives in a hyper media word. Even now I'm blogging, sharing my thoughts with whoever will read it.
  • I liked how well thought out the world was, I could tell Suzanne Collins spent of time playing around in this world in her head.
  • She wrote great action scenes.
  • The biggest one for me was, not once did I read it and think, "Damn I WISH I could write like this." Possibly the problem was I had literally finished On Writing ten minutes earlier and I LOVED that book. When ever I read something by John Green nearly ever page makes me want to beg the Writing Gods to make me a sliver as talented as he is.
  • It was a little too "telly" and not enough "showy".
  • Did we really need 2 pages about the back story of her sister's goat?<-yes I know character development, time needed to pass so the characters could heal, but still 2 pages?
  • The "rule change" half way through the game was BS. It was a cheep plot device used to get to characters together, but it didn't cause any tension, in fact, released any tension that was there in the story. Lame.
  • I know the book is called The Hunger Games but there was WAY too much description about food.
Overall Review:
Was it entertaining? yes. I finished it in a few hours. But in all honesty I felt that Twilight was more entertaining.
Maybe it was because I had such HIGH expectations for it. And there's a frenzy around the book that I thought it would be better. Maybe it was me and not the book.

Note: I can't imagine the unreal pressure that must be on Collins right now, with the final book coming out. While I didn't love the book, I know millions of people do, and I hope she can live up the pressure and hype and I wish her all the best.

Rating 7 out of 10


  1. I hadn't read it yet, but you confirmed what I suspected - she nicked the premise from Battle Royale.

    Still, I'll read at some point. Thanks for the review.

  2. I've been wary of reading it... I think now I know why!

    A few years back I fell in love with another Collins's series, The Underland Chronicles? That is absolutely BRILLIANT, and this one never seemed on par...

    And wow, creepy old lady... I might have to forgoe reading it JUST to punch someone like that in the face.

  3. Great to hear this. It's on my list, and you're right... the buzz is huge. (If I know about it, it must be). I'll let you know what I think when I finally read it!
    Have a great weekend!

  4. I've heard about this book, but I haven't read it. I think you gave a very balanced review. The book sounds interesting. Thanks for the info.

  5. I really liked the book - Katniss was well developed and real to me. I also loved the entire premise.

    But we all like different things - that's part of the fun! :)

    And I haven't read Twilight yet - although I'm planning to this summer. :)