I'm factoring in the fact that this is a YA book in giving it such a high rating. There are some plot holes and twists telegraphed in an unsubtle fashion that I'd consider amateurish in adult sci-fi, but for a book aimed at teenagers, I can forgive them. (Hell, I like Harry Potter...)
That said, you should know that this is a book in which children are forced to fight each other to the death, and while because it's a YA novel, the violence isn't described in graphic detail, it's still quite grim.
Others have noted that the premise is not original: "Battle Royale" and "The Running Man" have covered similar ground, though aimed at older audiences.
I liked it: although a few parts of the story and the society stretched my credulity, the author carried off a rare combination of dark satire and gritty realism, and the characterization was quite good. The heroine is a bit dense at times, but she's a teenager, so that's not wholly unbelievable. Other than that, she was an engaging, sympathetic, and believable character. I found most of the characters to be quite well developed (although a few were, deliberately, almost caricatures).
There aren't a lot of surprises in this book, but even when the expected happened, my stomach was in knots waiting for it. The author gives us a rather ambiguous ending demanding further resolution: both for the main character's personal relationships, and the horrible, dystopian nature of the society in which she lives.
I gave it five stars because I started on the sequel right away to find out what happens next, and because at the end of the story, I really cared about Katniss Everdeen and her loved ones. However, the 5 star rating still got a bit of a boost due to my affection for the series; it's not a perfect book. Very good, though. Also, I have to say that while Carolyn McCormick's narration was fine, at times I thought she was a little too tween-y.
Audible junkie for sure. As a mom of three littles a wife and full time student, sitting down to read is so nice but also almost impossible
Already have twice! This book catchs you and won't let you go. So amazing
Divergent. They have a lot in common and are both equally amazing I suggest you go and buy both right now, you can thank me later.
Yes I started to cry and did end up crying a lot while reading this book. Not everyone is a crier but I sure am and it got me. Such emotion through the whole book, for that matter the whole trilogy!
Simple you will love it!
Gen-Xer, software engineer, and lifelong avid reader. Soft spots for sci-fi, fantasy, and history, but I'll read anything good.
The concept of youthful contestants pitted against another in a fight to the death in some futuristic, dystopian game show has been done before in fiction, but I don't think it's been done in a young adult novel -- at least, not as well. The Hunger Games is set in a declined, post-United States world where a decadent capitol region exerts its authority over poorer subject states by demanding teenage "tributes" to be sacrificed in its reality TV-esque Hunger Games. However, Collins doesn't focus on how or why we got there. Instead, what gives the book its chilling power is its immediacy and the way its characters seem conditioned to accept the Games as an inescapable reality: the murderous eagerness of the serious competitors, the nonchalance of the capitol residents who grow mushy at players' costumes, but place no value on their lives, or the resignation of the tributes who have little apparent chance of surviving.
Collins keeps the focus tightly on her narrator, Katniss, whose vulnerability, pragmatism, and kindness make her an appealing heroine, but who shows just enough ruthlessness that we're not sure how far she'll succumb to the cynical manipulations of the game makers. Once she's thrown into the arena, the rules, landscape, and cruel tricks of the game offer plenty of twists to keep the suspense level high -- after all, only one player can come out alive. Collins makes the violence shock the old-fashioned way -- not through gore, but by lulling the reader with a calm, familiar scene, and then dropping in a terrible one. There aren't many encounters in the Hunger Games that can be called a fair fight. In this way, Collins makes it hard for readers from Generation X-box not to look beyond the fantasy and draw psychological parallels to today's world. To what depths would we let ourselves sink to be entertained? How far are we willing to go along with the cruel mandate of an unjust authority? A typical 12 or 13 year old won't have to look too far into his or her own experience to know that the possibilities Collins is implying aren't comforting ones.
The novel has a few flaws, such as some cliched moments and characters, a cultural backdrop that could use a little more context, and the fact that its narrator, a coal miner's daugher from a poor, oppressed state where people regularly starve to death, inexplicably speaks like a prep student -- but these aren't major complaints. A gripping read for both young and older adults, and a reminder that there are still authors writing effective, readable literature-with-a-message.
A friend recommended this book and after reading the synopsis I wasn't convinced but decided to get it anyways based upon the high marks. WOW. The story held me captive and I could NOT stop listening until the very end. It's a keep you on the edge of your seat type of story and is easy to follow.
First the qualifier: I'm 30 yrs old, so not technically the intended audience.
I initially purchased this series for my boyfriend during an Audible series sale, thinking it might be a fun sci-fi/gladiator type of story. That didn't work out, the boyfriend was immediately put off by the narrator and the premise, and completely gave up about an hour in. Not wanting to entirely waste the credits, I tried listening to it myself.
I found Katniss to be a pretty annoying heroine - throughout the series she's increasingly whiny and self-obsessed and rarely has a clue. I rolled my eyes a lot and often wished she would just shut up and let us get on with the story. I guess this is the inescapable teenage element in what is, after all, a YA series.
The narrator is also not my favorite. She gives most of the characters the same incredibly irritating drawl, which tended to make me think that reading these books instead of listening to them would have been more enjoyable.
But enjoy them I did, for reasons I can't quite put my finger on. There have even been moments where I found myself misty-eyed and wondering just how the author managed to draw me in despite my reservations about what I perceived as a somewhat flat world/cast/story.
I am now in the middle of the last book. I have no regrets about spending 2 credits on this series. And although I don't think I would recommend this to my friends or family, I do appreciate the secret ingredient, whatever it is, that has kept me listening so far...
In the future America of The Hunger Games, civilization is reduced to 12 districts and a despotic, hedonistic capitol. The annually televised death games ('Survivor' meets 'Truman Show') feature a sacrificial girl and boy from each district. The heroine is one of these; a tough, resourceful 16 year old girl around whom the story flows.
The Hunger Games story is engaging and clips right along from beginning to end. It was hard for me to find a lull in which I could pause and get back to my work. The writing isn't overly complex but it's well done. It was interesting to note, while reading, how some of the most appalling aspects of this culture parallel contemporary American life.
Certain technologies were a bit too convenient to the author's objectives. However, they were also fascinating and wonderfully creepy so I didn't mind. What was repugnant in the beginning of the story, (the nature of the games and the sacrifices required) quickly became intriguing.
It may be intended for an older teen but I'd also recommend it if you're looking for a book that's both entertaining and thought-provoking.
I WANT to tell you this story a bit too feeble. I WANT to tell you the narrator, while not the worst I've heard, was not good. I WANT to tell you the main character isn't all that likable of a person. I WANT to tell you your credit is better spent elsewhere. I want to say I did not like this book...but for whatever reason I can't. In looking back at how it kept my attention from beginning to end I can only say I WOULD recommend this book. Maybe it would have been better for me if I read it rather than listening to the narrator's interpretation. If you like fast paced plot lines that are very linear and want to just sit and be entertained this would be a good book to turn to.
With all the media attention the very shoddily written Twilight series has been getting, I was starting to despair for the future of YA genre fic. Not to worry--Collins spins an excellent tale in The Hunger Games. Fans of dark science fiction will eat this book up like a steaming dish of lamb stew. It touches all the bases with action, intrigue, and deep character development. And none of this gooey, sparkly, teenage-girl-esque writing. It may be written for a younger generation, but any adult reader will find it to be a riveting story as well, with intelligent craftsmanship and a reliance on pacing, not on cheese.
A rival with Libba Bray's series for the spot of Best YA Series Ever on my book shelf.
love to read, love to listen
This suspenseful science fiction novel is written for a younger audience, but thoroughly engaged me. Catness is a likeable and worthy heroine, competing for her life with a number of other adolescents in the sadistic Hunger Games. The author treats all the children with at least some compassion; there are no all-bad-guys or all-good-guys.
Catness develops a rich, nuanced understanding of the despotic system in which she must operate, and maintains her hold on humanity, compassion and love, while sometimes making choices that set these aside for the moment, in the hope that she will live to love another day. Though the situation is life-or-death, the decisions she must make are not black-or-white.
I can find a book to love in any genre -- a beautifully written classic, an interesting mystery or sci-fi, a trashy romance. Bring it!
STORY - (young adult suspense) I'm a real chicken when it comes to violence, so I've been shying away from this book because I feared it would be a teenaged version of The Gladiator. I finally gave in to the hype and listened to it, and I'm so glad I did. The violence is very "watered down," so I was totally okay with it. This was probably the hardest book to put down that I've heard so far. Great story, great characters, great action, blah, blah, blah...
PERFORMANCE - Well done, though I agree with other reviewers who suggest that a younger-sounding voice would have been better for Katniss.
OVERALL - Hunger Games is a great 5-star listen which will keep listeners of all ages on the edge of their seats.