The Hunger Games

I finally succumbed. Not one to run with the pack, nor read what the average teenager would, I had to read this novel. Literally. Because one of my book clubs chose to read it for January, and what would I have to discuss should I attend unprepared?

In many ways it was inevitable fare for a YA novel: conveniently arranged romance, drama, and taut suspense. Only, you knew the heroine was going to survive because how could the series continue without her?

That said, the imagery in this novel was remarkable. Picturing Katniss, dressed in black with her hair in flames as she entered the arena for the opening ceremonies, will be one of the images that I remember most. Followed by the black dress studded with precious stones which glittered as though they were afire themselves. Red lips, wild hair, love it:

They erase my face with a layer of pale makeup and draw my features back out. Huge dark eyes, full red lips, lashes that throw off bits of light when I blink. Finally, they cover my entire body in a powder that makes me shimmer in gold dust…The creature standing before me in the full-length mirror has come from another world. Where skin shimmers and eyes flash and apparently they make their clothes from jewels. Because my dress, oh, my dress is entirely covered in reflective precious gems, red and yellow and white with bits of blue that accent the tips of the flame design. The slightest movement gives the impression I am engulfed in tongues of fire.

What she’s engulfed in is actually worse, a cat and mouse game of children who must kill each other to survive. Not for the children I teach, and in fact, more resembling a video game than a novel, I still found this novel to be somewhat arresting.

If not chilling, for what humans can do to each other. No matter how young they are.

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20 thoughts on “The Hunger Games”

  1. Loved the series! The first and third were brilliant, and the second was a nice bridge, although not as good as the first time you immerse yourself in this alternative world.

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  2. this sounds very intriguing! Have your read The Book Thief? I am sure you have as my son announced to me that he read it a couple years ago! But it is really good.

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  3. Ms. George, first of all it's so nice to see you! Secondly i can't imagine getting into the second and third books right now after just finishing the first. It was pretty violent, for this third grade teacher, and probably good that a space naturally occured between the publications in this series. I feel a little too immersed in that alternative world. Parts of it seem all to feasible for the future. Maybe thats just creeped out Bellezza talking, though…Sara, I did read The Book Thief. The part I liked best about that book was the clever way the author had Death as the narrator. Still, I was quite upset reading that novel, too, all the more so because the events there really did occur in WWII. Everyone I know loved it, again, Im an exception.Bermudiaonion, I know what you mean! Don't be convinced because like me, you may not love it as they do.

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  4. You should know there's a Japanese novel with a plotline that is suspiciously similar with The Hunger Games. The former has been around for ages (1999), even has movie adaptation (also Japanese). Just saying.. 🙂 Oh the title is Battle Royale.

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  5. I think I will read this at some point, I usually resist crazes at first and then eventually succumb about a month or so after everyone else has finished reading it.

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  6. Mee, thank you for telling me about the Japanese version! I think that would be exceptionally interesting to read right now, not only because I love that genre, but because I could compare the two. I've heard of Battle Royale, but I didn't know the premise.Sam, this has been out for quite a long time. Often when the 'group' jumps on something it is a worthy read; I just like carving my own path. And usually the classics.

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  7. I enjoyed the first book and I'm glad you did, too. However, for me, the series pretty much ran out of steam after that. The final book was my least favorite. And looking back on it now, I'm not sure how I much really even liked the first one – perhaps I just caught up in the hoopla of it all. Either way, I suppose for YA lit its better than the writing in Twilight – LOL!

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  8. I really enjoyed this series. Although, I must admit, I get a bit annoyed when people go on about how original and groundbreaking it is. Have you read the novel Battle Royale by Koushun Takami? Brilliant book that is along the lines of the same idea… yet Collins swears the idea just 'came to her'.. yep, after reading Battle Royale I bet! It is also a fantastic series of graphic novels (my favourite) and a movie.

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  9. Andi, I should have said some of the imagery is lovely. Or, at least, clear. The rest of it is downright gory. Still, the images do tend to stick in my mind be they beautiful or bloody.Funny you should say, that Nadia. I, too, was comparing this to the Twilight series as I read. I guess it was due in part to all the alleged romance and drama…so teen!Suko, you might as well join in the crowd as long as you own the book. ;)Rachel, like Mee, you knew to mention Battle Royale to me. I really have to look at that book now, as you both know how much I love Japanese literature. Interesting what Collins said about the idea just popping in her head.

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  10. I didn't read the comments before, I just saw someone else mentioned it. This is what she said about coming up with the story:"I was channel surfing between reality TV programming and actual war coverage when Katniss’s story came to me. One night I’m sitting there flipping around and on one channel there’s a group of young people competing for, I don’t know, money maybe? And on the next, there’s a group of young people fighting an actual war. And I was tired, and the lines began to blur in this very unsettling way, and I thought of this story."http://www.teenreads.com/authors/au-collins-suzanne.aspMaybe I am just cynical… as the premise for both stories are so similar.. but Battle Royale definitely worth the read 🙂

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  11. Arresting? Yes.Violent? Yes.I read the second in the series, but gave up on the third after a few pages. I'll be interested to see what you think. I wonder if they'll make a movie of this.

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  12. Les, I doubt I'll pick up any more in the series. A little YA (sci-fi/fantasy) goes a long way with me. I'd be more interested in reading the Battle Royale which seems to be the antecedent to this novel, how about you?

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  13. I'm glad you succumbed – I found that it wasn't difficult to get into this even after just reading The House of Mirth. I will tell you that Catching Fire is pretty good, but Mockingjay didn't make me happy. Both do not have the same magic that The Hunger Games did, unfortunately, for me.

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