Could you survive on your own, in the wild, with everyone out to make sure you don't live to see the morning?
In the ruins of a place once known as North America lies the nation of Panem, a shining Capitol surrounded by 12 outlying districts. The Capitol is harsh and cruel and keeps the districts in line by forcing them all to send one boy and one girl between the ages of 12 and 18 to participate in the annual Hunger Games, a fight to the death on live TV.
Sixteen-year-old Katniss Everdeen, who lives alone with her mother and younger sister, 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.
©2008 Suzanne Collins; (P)2008 Scholastic Inc.
"[The Hunger Games] is a violent, jarring, speed-rap of a novel that generates nearly constant suspense... I couldn't stop reading." (Stephen King, Entertainment Tonight)
"I was so obsessed with this book that I had to take it with me out to dinner and hide it under the edge of the table so I wouldn't have to stop reading... The Hunger Games is amazing." (Stephanie Meyer)
"Brilliantly plotted and perfectly paced." John Green, (New York Times Book Review)
It is not unusual these days to find a book written for the young adult that has appeal to an older audience. Some of the best fiction these days is in the young adult genre. The Hunger Games falls into this category. Katniss and Peeta are District 12 children, aged 16, who are selected to participate in Panem's annual hunger games. 22 other tributes/contestants are also drawn - 12 boys and 12 girls between the ages of 12 and 18. The objective for the tributes is to be the last one standing. The objective of Panem is to remind all districts that they may not rebel against the Capitol. The book is about the games themselves. If the reader is looking for a fast paced, action driven, gory, bloody plot, this is not the book. The violence of the games is not masked by Collins, but she treats it in a PG13 way, alluding at certain events that cause the deaths of the tributes. After all, it is written for the PG13 audience, not for the mature adult. But certainly a young adult sees and hears far worse on the evening news. The action of the book is far more about strategy, problem solving, critical thinking, relationship building, and the wisdom, or not, of rebelling and why. These are the common themes that young adults face in the teenage years. But they are couched in a plot that contemporaries can relate to. This cleverly created book is well written with good character development. It is respectably read by McCormick and easy to follow. I highly recommend it to anyone and have purchased it and the sequel (the final book in the trilogy will be available in print 8/2010) for two young adults I know. I have also recommended it to my adult friends, who were quite puzzled by my droopy eyes all week as I stayed up until 2:30 or later in the mornings reading the book. Although they know I am a voracious reader, they recognized this as a highly unusual book that fully engaged my attention.
"A reader lives a thousand lives before he dies. The man who never reads lives only one." - Jojen Reed. #ADanceWithDragons
I listened all 11 hours and 14 minutes of this book in one sitting! Seriously.... Onnneee SIITTTIIINNGGGG!!!!!! I have never done that to an audiobook before. Heck I have had audiobooks that are 3 - 5 hours long that took me a week! This book took me one day and I bet if I had the actual paperback I would have finished this book in about half the time. Why? It was downright addictive!
My only drawback, as almost everyone else has stated, is the narration. It wasn't horrible by any chance, it was done very well actually. It is obvious that Carolyn McCormick who voiced Katniss does know how to deliver a great performance. With that being said though, a better choice could have been made to voice her. Someone younger or at least sounded younger could probably have done a better job. Carolyn McCormick did though did a very good job irrespectively.
The story, the story is where this book shine! Any book that can bring me back to a 15/16 year old me spending all day/evening/night engrossed in one book deserves my utmost praise. In fact when I was watching the sun rise as I finished the closing minutes of the book (I stayed up all night listening to the book) I couldn't help but chuckle wondering what my mother would say if she knew I was still sacrificing sleep for the sake of a good book, lol. It was action packed with a fair amount of surprises. Had some gut-wrenching moments and you just plain get to start loving and bonding with each character. The ending of the book leaves you downright begging for more though and I literally am just gearing myself up for another assault on Book 2 in this series. I can see another all nighter looming ever so closer in my future...
OK, you are like me... you are reading this to see if you should use a credit! Yes, yes, yes! I was leery at first because I'm 53 and it was young adult... and a gruesome premise!!!! Hmmmmmmm! But it's so worth it! I read the criticisms of the narrator but don't feel she was bad at all! Our county is doing a promotion to get everyone in the county to read the same book. You get to vote for the book online! Of course, the classics were on there like "Great Gatsby", but they did have two new ones like "The Book Thief" (definitely get this one, too) and "The Hunger Games". I was torn between the two, but voted for "The Hunger Games" because I think it will grab young readers! GO USE YOUR CREDIT!!! :)
As a huge fan of this series I was excited to pick it up on audio book. I should have listened to the sample. They had no business casting her to read this. I can hear her reading Jane Austen but not this. They really needed a younger, fresher sounding voice to read this book.
A great story ruined by the narrator. She speaks with an annoying affectation, and sounds as if she were reading to children. Perhaps she was trying to imitate the speech of the heroine -- but this doesn't explain why her delivery was so devoid of emotion. In all, very distracting. I'll avoid this narrator in the future.
I loved the story, but Carolyn McCormick's voice nearly ruined it for me. When she tried to do a little girl's voice, it sounded cartoonish and it grated my nerves. It was awful. When she tried to make the characters' voices sound surprised, she over played it and startled me each time. It sounds like she should be doing children's books.
If she is the voice for the rest of these books, I'll buy the paperbacks instead.
This is a good story but I wish I would have read it instead of listened to it. The narrator uses such a whiny voice throughout the book that it gets annoying. I've listened to so many great narrators, it can make a huge difference in the entertainment quality of the book.
I have listened to hundreds of Audio books, in a variety of category's, so much so that I am never able to stay within my 2 credits a month. I have never written a review for a book before, but I never decide to listen to a book without heavily considering what the reviews have said about it. I find that the reviews by other listeners are almost always spot on and are very reliable. That is why I felt compelled to review this book.
The hunger games violates all of the rules I have set as criteria for selecting a book. I rarely listen to a series of books and I am not usually a big sci-fi fan. Additionally I am weary of books geared towards young girls, as I don't want to waste a credit on something like Twilight. When I saw that this book had been given almost five stars by over 2000 people I knew it deserved a closer look. When I read the synopses I was skeptical especially since I had just finished Decision Points by George Bush, and was looking for something similar. When I noticed that every single review on the first page was enthusiastically positive I could not resist.
The reviews set the bar high, and the book itself not only met but exceed my expectations. This book and the entire trilogy had me completely absorbed. At certain points in the book I found myself yelling at the characters, at other times I was stopped dead in my tracks and dropped my jaw in shock, and finally I even cried. As I neared the end of the last book I had regretted ever listening to them at all. I loved these books so much that I am now disappointed that the journey is over. I now have to begin the search to try and find an audio-book capable of filling the void left in my life by life by Katniss Everdeen and Suzanne Collins
If you love books, and love to get wrapped up in an amazing story that will have you looking forward to every opportunity to listen, Then you need this book.
For being targeted at a YA audience, this book is surprisingly brutal, but in a good way. There is violence, murder, betrayal, and everything else inherent in a gladiatorial fight to the death. That said, "The Hunger Games" was absolutely riveting. Collins does not pull any punches in saving beloved characters from horror and pain, and she also occasionally pulls the rug out from under your feet. In true series preparation the ending ends on a cliffhanger, making me drool for book number two...
I recomend it to anyone. I could not help pondering over this story long after I had finished it. I was surprised at the thought that entered my mind how far would I go to stay alive?Or, how far would I go to keep someone I loved alive?
This may be listed as a book for adolescents, but as a 33-year-old woman who isn't generally fond of Sci Fi, I can assure you that this novel is a terrific listen for ANYONE. I would award it more stars if I could. I am an avid fan of audiobooks and have had difficulty pausing many of my listens from audible, but I absolutely had to listen to this one nonstop - no choice. I literally paused my life for this book.
From the opening scenes in the dystopic former U.S. where 16-year-old Katniss has to grapple for her family's survival on a daily basis to the heart-stopping scenes in the arena in the Hunger Games, the action never lets up. The strategy and conflict involved in the brutal gladiator-style combat are stark relief to the story of Katniss herself and her unlikely ally - and love interest - Peeta. The narration, while at first a little off-putting because it doesn't sound like a 16-year-old girl, turns out to be spot-on and a perfect complement to the story.
In short, I can't recommend this book highly enough. I'll probably listen to it again before too long. I usually listen to crime novels and historicals, but this book easily outpaced the most nail-biting crime novel I've ever read. Use your credit - get it, get it now.
"Ok for kids, but wow, the narration is appalling."
Firstly let me comment on the story and then I will move on to the real crux of my review, the narration.
I was persuaded by various friend that "no, Hunger Games isn't a children's book it is really good" and "It makes some really good points about politics and stuff". So let me clear this up. Hunger Games absolutely is a children's book and that is no bad thing. I found much of it, especially the politics and characterization, clunky and obvious but that is my own fault as a 40 year old man for listening to young adult fiction. I can easily see how the story and it's heroine would appeal to a younger audience with less jaded and sophisticated tastes.
So I don't want to focus on the simplistic and implausible World Collins has created nor the one dimensional nature of all the character who are simply there to fit one narrative purpose rather than plausible figures to understood and engaged with. The book is fine for what it is but doesn't have the appeal to a grown up audience of say, Philip Pullman.
What is not fine is the narration. As a fan of Star Trek, TNG, I was amused to note that Caroline McCormick was the actress who played the minor role of Minuet in the TV series. The role was basically a hologram with whom one of the characters fall in love. I had assumed at the time that the flimsy nature of the character was intentional as reflecting that she was the creation of a holodeck not a real person with real feelings. Having listened to Carolyn McCormick's narration of these books I am forced to assume that Minuet was the absolute limit of her acting abilities and she is simply incapable of imparting the emotional depth of a sun dried puddle to her performances.
Her reading of this book is truly extraordinary in it's awfulness. Very nearly enough to make me give up on the book altogether. Her attempts to portray different characters are risible and she barely seems to understand the text she is reading - and this is not a complex text after all. It was of no surprise to me to learn, on consulting IMDB, that Minuet still marks a career high water mark for McCormick even thirty years on.
So, in summary, Hunger Games is a perfectly passable kids book but not one that any self-respecting adult should be recommending to their peers. That, however, should be moot since the narration makes the whole experience traumatic for the listener.
When you listen to a book that you don't want to end because it's so good, you know that it's well written, narrated, engaging, has a sound plot and a is an all round good read. I loved the book from start to end. The characters are realistic and the plot addictive! This is a must read. JK Rowling watch out, this is serious competition. Can't wait to listen to book two and three!
"A refreshing female protagonist"
Superficially similar in setup to the famous Battle Royal books/film, The Hunger Games follows Katniss Evergreen who is participating in the annual blood bath, a winner takes all death match. In addition to being an enjoyable, well paced book, there were two things that I particularly enjoyed about this book.
1) The media/viewer interaction aspect. It works well in the post Big Brother world.
2) The book seemed to be lurching into some common tropes used for female protagonists, (the beautiful girl who doesn't know she's beautiful, etc), which I was willing to roll my eyes at and move on, but subverted it in a very nice way.
Considering the subject matter, not overly gory for the squeemish, well read and has twice so far tugged firmly at my heart strings.
The book is gripping, a page turner, almost constant interest and suspense. Although it was enjoyable, I couldn't really see its point. The gamemakers and capitol are so cruel, they put on this bloodbath for the amusement of its citizens - but, for me, this book turns the reader into one of those cruel voyeurs. There is the excitement of the hunt, but very little rebellion against the system. I hope this comes in the subsequent books. The only real tantalising plotline is the "is she in love with him" one, but the female lead is almost comically unaware of her own true feelings, making it not totally believable. The narration is good, but exposes clunkily written dialogue with the repetitive "he said", "she said" jumping out after a while. I didn't hate it though - I listened to it for my bedtime story and it didn't make me sleep!
"Great book, disappointing audiobook."
Let me begin by saying that Suzanne Collins' novel is incredible! I really enjoyed reading the whole trilogy; however, my disappointment came when I purchased this audiobook for friends to listen to on a long car journey. The reader has a clear and strong voice and I'm sure is very suited to other texts, but not appropriate for The Hunger Games. She reads the text very slowly almost as if she is reading a recipe. It's incongruous with the pacy, first person, present tense narrative of the Hunger Games. There was just no drama or tension being developed in the way it was read. I do not want to sound overly critical of the reader, but as I said: disappointing.
"Big Brother - on Acid. Love it!"
A first hand narration by a young girl called Katniss, who lives in a dystopian world where teens between the ages of 12-18 are all possible candidates for what are called the Hunger Games, a contest to the death. When her younger sister's name is chosen, Katniss takes her place.
A very original and a truly gripping tale. Very touching indeed. Highly recommended!
P.S. This is the first of the trilogy: The Hunger Games, Catching Fire & Mocking Jay
"A great audiobook"
I wasn't sure what to expect but I've found this audiobook to be very well written by the author, read beautifully and also quite addictive! I would recommend it to anyone.
"Family Read at its best"
A great story for all the family to read and discuss, great for pre and youg teens, this book was the topic of conversation over many dinners. A well written story which will make you value what you allready have. The other 2 books in the series are equally as good.
"The book that is on fire!"
I like how the story is told from a first person viewpoint of Katniss. I loved the little anecdotes about her time spent hunting with Gayle in the woods outside her district and her struggle in trying to support her family following her father's death. Katniss' viewpoint and these intermittent recollections give a richer understanding of Katniss the person. This is something that I feel is somewhat lost on the film version, which I had actually watched before reading this.
I enjoyed the connection with nature that Katniss has. Katniss is a hunter, she understands different plants and can call out to the Mockingjays in the sky who echo her songs. I enjoyed hearing about how she adapted to living wild in the games with her own awareness as a hunter. I found her resourcefulness very interesting.
This is the first time I have listened to a narration by McCormick and I enjoyed it very much, well performed and clear throughout.
I found Katniss' relationship with fellow tribute Rue particularly moving. Rue is a 12 year old girl from another district who Katniss befriends in the games and tries to protect. I will not say what happens between them so as not to spoil it!
I thoroughly enjoyed The Hunger Games and I am eagerly anticipating listening to the second one! Something I did find a bit irritating was the apparently pretend relationship Katniss has with Peeta Mellark. If you were really in a cave starving and injured with fellow tributes baying for your blood would you really fake a kiss for the capitol which had sent you here in the first place? I found that detail hard to believe but I can see the significance of it in the wider story line.Overall I found it a very interesting listen and one that I couldn't stop listening to at times. Recommended!
One of my favourite reads of all time. Put hunger games on your reading/listening list!
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