Series: The Hunger Games #1
Page Count: 374 pages
Find it on Goodreads
"In the ruins of a place once known as North America lies the nation of Panem, the shining Capitol surrounded by twelve outlying districts. The Capitol is harsh and keeps the districts in line by forcing them all to send one boy and one girl between the ages of twelve and eighteen to participate in the annual Hunger Games, a fight to the death on live TV.REVIEW:
Sixteen-year-old Katniss Everdeen regards it as a death sentence when she steps forward to take her sister's place in the Games. But Katniss has been close to dead before--and survival, for her, is second nature. Without really meaning to, she becomes a contender. But if she is to win, she will have to start making choices that weigh survival against humanity and life against love."
I read this book for the first time a little over a year ago, before the first Hunger Games movie was released. I became part of the fandom instantly. This was my first foray into YA dystopian and I fell head-over-heels in love with the series and the genre. Upon reinspection of this series, I've discovered I am still obsessed.
I won't pretend as if there were no issues for me this second time around, because there were. Its that classic occurrence, I think we've all experienced it since we became bloggers. You instantly become obsessed with the first good book you read in a particular genre... then later on you realize that there is better stuff out there. And upon re-reading the book that popped your genre-cherry, so to speak, you realize that it is not the messiah of all YA dystopian (or paranormal or romance, etc.) books.
Here's what I came across this time around that didn't strike me the first time:
First of all, Suzanne Collins is a great writer, engaging and descriptive. BUT... and there is a but... sometimes her narrative in this book was sloppy and even a little awkward. (Only) a few times, I found myself saying "huh?" at a sentence or some dialogue that made absolutely no sense to me until I read it a few times through. It was few and far between, though, so a few bumps in the road certainly didn't ruin the ride.
Something else I realized was that the first time I read this, for whatever reason, I was hard core team Gale. Before, in my mind, what Katniss and Peeta had wasn't real, it was all forced and she belonged with Gale. I also realize that at the time, I sped through this series because of how excited I was so be reading it and loving it. This time, I took my time, enjoyed the book, looked for things I liked and what I didn't and what I discovered was that I don't think I really gave Peeta enough credit the first time. I won't say I'm team Peeta now because that feels like a betrayal, but I suppose *spoiler* the ending of Mockingjay isn't as a hard a pill to swallow anymore *end spoiler*.
Collins does an amazing job building the world of Panem, but at the same time, I want to know so much more. I want to know more about President Snow and the Capitol and the other districts. But I suppose from Katniss's POV, that information would have been limited. I love Katniss' character and I think she's badass and the perfect not-gonna-take-your-shit heroine. For those of you who haven't read it, I think the plot is perfectly paced and other than the rather simple and sometimes bumpy writing, its an amazing read. This book definitely set the bar for me in YA and though I've found some other things I liked better since then, I have yet to find a similar series as whole that I've loved wholeheartedly the way I do this one.
I don't feel as though I came across any great revelations while re-reading this book other than my new-found tolerance of the Katniss-Peeta relationship. It simply felt as if I were visiting an old friend when I picked up this book, warm and comfortable (the story itself is anything but), and its something I think I will re-read for many years to come.
If you haven't read it and you are looking for the dystopian series of dystopian series, start with this book, because as a whole, this series sets the bar pretty high. I'm planning on reviewing Catching Fire the day before the movie premiere and likely reviewing the movie that weekend. Anyone else doing a re-read (or a first read) of this one before the movie? What did you think the first/second (or millionth) time around? Are you going to see the movie?
Can't wait to hear from you guys on this one as it is one of my favorites for sure!