The Hunger Games.

8:29 PM

The Hunger GamesThe Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Rating: 5 stars

I JUST finished this and let me just take a breath *hyperventilates* OH MY GOD. I actually didn't think I'd love this book so much. Simply 'cos I tend to stay away from all the hype. Not because I'm trying to be hipster or whatever. But because I get so afraid of the book not meeting my super high expectations thanks to all the hype. This happened quite a few times to me. Which just RUINS the whole series for me 'cos I probably would've liked it if my expectations weren't so high.

BUT THIS IS NOT THE CASE. Ohhhhh, no. This book met my expectations and went far and beyond them.

Okay, I suppose I should try and do a proper review by starting with a brief synopsis. I'm afraid that otherwise this would just turn into a Love Rant about Peeta.

The story is about a girl named Katniss Everdeen who lives in a dystopian world where the earth has exhausted all its resources and the land is divided into 12 different districts, each focusing on the production of a certain good. All of which is controlled by the Capitol. Every year the Hunger Games are held for everyone to watch. The Hunger Games is basically a morbid Battle-Royale-cum-World-Cup event where one boy and girl from each district are sent to the Capitol and then put into an arena where they have to kill each other off. The last one standing would be the victor and he/she and his/her entire district will be rewarded with food and other amenities that are sorely lacking in places outside of the Capitol.

That is the gist of it. And Katniss has to choose between dying and killing. Dying would mean an honourable death and sort of flipping the finger at the Capitol who is manipulative and playing God with people's lives. But killing and staying alive would be fueling the games and playing right into the Capitol's hands. Also, things are made complicated with Peeta, the boy tribute from her district (district 12), who is clearly in love with her and would protect her, even at the expense of his life. Would Katniss bear to kill him to be the victor?

THIS BOOK IS PACKED WITH ACTION. And I don't mean just random fight scenes thrown in. I mean edge-of-seat life or death situations and survival situations that the readers can only imagine in absolute horror. It's sort of Survivor (the reality show) meets Battle Royale. So there is tons of mind games that helps with the tension throughout the book. I was suspicious of everyone, even Rue. I was so sure she was gonna stab Katniss in the back, literally. But that 'flower scene' broke my heart. Simply 'cos Katniss merged the identity of her younger sister, Prim with Rue (her competitor) and she ended up feeling as though she was fighting against her own sister.

The pacing and writing is really spot-on. I never felt that any scene was too draggy. Even when Katniss was starving or dehydrating. I thought it would be pretty boring but the way it is written, I was still rooting for her. Willing her to stay alive that I was kept engaged throughout the book. AND DON'T EVEN GET ME STARTED ON THE TWISTS. HOLY CRAP. My heart literally skipped a beat each time a twist was introduced into the story and totally changed the course of where I thought the plot was heading. It was totally unpredictable and I was so confused and kinda scared of what might lay ahead. But that was what's SO GREAT about this book.

Characters were ALSO great! I liked every one of them. Even the 'villains', even the Capitol, 'cos they were so morbid and strange. It was like reading of a new species altogether. Katniss was a great protagonist. She was strong, resourceful and hardened by life which means that she wasn't the usual whiny heroine we tend to read about in YA novels. Plus, she's totally badass with the bow & arrow. She can easily pass of as a Ninja (and that is the highest compliment I can give ANY character). I do get abit annoyed with her as she seems a total devoid of emotion. And everything she does is calculated and done with a motive behind it. Even the 'funeral' she staged for one of the tributes (won't say who), though it was done out of respect. I felt that she just wanted to show the Capitol up. And her 'love' scenes with Peeta. It was all... an act. Literally. Which BREAKS MY HEART 'cos I know how much Peeta loved her. Although I doubt she realizes how much she is relying on Peeta and sort of falling for him, she is all too aware of her relationship with Gale (her childhood friend back home) to let any of her feelings develop. It was like trampling on flower buds before they popped out of the ground. Such a waste.

And Peeta. OH PEETA. Peeta, Peeta, Peeta... I am so in love with him. It's not even funny. I mean, yea, to be fair there wasn't enough 'airtime' on Gale for me to feel for him. Although I do find him chivalrous and there is a something true about his partnership with Katniss and the way he looks out for her. But as awesome as I think Gale is, Peeta is just... amazing. He's so gentle and awkward, thanks to the fact that he isn't nearly as badass as Gale and Katniss. But despite his shortcomings he tries his best to keep Katniss alive, even though there were times when I thought he had abandoned her. I SHOULD NEVER HAVE DOUBTED HIM. Katniss kept emphasizing how good Peeta was at "acting" in love with her for the audience who were watching the hunger games. But we readers knew better. He would've done ANYTHING for her. ANYTHING. And my love for him just quadruples with each pages. Until finally my heart was wrenching in pain at the end of the book. (I got really pissed off at Katniss. make up YOUR MIND WOMAN) I felt so bad for Peeta 'cos I knew that the relationship was very one-sided, but he pumped so much love into it that it was completely believable and sincere, looking almost whole.

Okay, I should stop gushing about Peeta and mention other characters I enjoyed. I liked Cinna, Caesar, Cato and Clove. Dunno why they all happen to start with the letter 'C', that's strange. The only downside to this book is that I felt that the characterization wasn't thorough enough. I wanted to know more about the characters to make them less 2D. Even Peeta and Katniss, I felt like I needed to learn more about them. But I guess there will be more of that in the next 2 books in the trilogy.

I also particularly enjoyed the flashbacks about Katniss's father and his connection with Mockingjays. This back story really allowed me to relate with Katniss more and made her character more likeable, as otherwise, I felt that she was kinda heartless at times. I was so relieved to see the softer side to her.

Overall, this book is totally EPIC. It's the only word to describe it. It also left me breathless quite a few times and I had to stop reading for fear of what would happen next. That is usually a good thing and an indicator of the 'Thrill level' this story has. I'm glad that the hype on this series is not misguided and well-deserved. I am looking forward to the next two books as I wonder what is next after the Hunger Games are over. What would happen then? Gritty fast-paced writing laced with lovely characters and the constant foreshadowing of something darker, more dyer up ahead.


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