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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.
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.
181 of 211 people found this review helpful
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...
118 of 138 people found this review helpful
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!!! :)
110 of 137 people found this review helpful
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.
153 of 191 people found this review helpful
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.
103 of 129 people found this review helpful
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.
114 of 143 people found this review helpful
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.
91 of 115 people found this review helpful
First I'd like to say that I have now read all 3 Hunger Games novels and loved them all. I had to read them on my kindle because I simply couldn't stand this narrator. Her voice absolutely grated on my nerves. I was only able to make it through 1 chapter before her babyish rendition of Katniss turned me off completely.
40 of 51 people found this review helpful
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?
70 of 90 people found this review helpful
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.
85 of 110 people found this review helpful
I love this trilogy and have collected the books in all formats, paperback, kindle e-book & audio, as well as having the film on blu-ray.
Covering a wide variety of social, economical & political issues, as well as having the added edge of believability in this age of reality television, The Hunger Games has me hooked from beginning to end no matter what format i use. (i have the series in paperback, kindle e-books & audible audiobook)
The writing itself is gripping, engaging and fast paced and the narration flows very well.
The characters are well rounded and the relationships between them are strong and well developed.
I have been listening to audiobooks from a very young age and although i have my old favourites that have grown up with me as well as some new favourites, this series definitely ranks in my top 5 listens.
I am fairly new to dystopian fiction and haven’t read many in books in this genre but i have compared this trilogy to my other favourite dystopian trilogy, Divergent by Veronica Roth.
I am huge fan of the 'Young Adult' genre, although the genre title always amuses me as you couldn't find another category that spans a much wider customer base than the title suggests.
From Harry Potter to Twilight, Narnia to Divergent this series holds its own in a very competitive genre and will be a firm favourite with readers of all ages.
5 of 5 people found this review helpful
I never did understand the need to squeeze book (or any other media or art form) into genres such as 'Young Adult' or 'Teen'. I am 48 years old and thoroughly enjoyed the Harry Potter series. A such is the same for The Hunger Games. A well written (and in this case narrated) book I have just finished Part 1 of the Audio Book and am looking forward to the second part.
20 of 23 people found this review helpful
This is a fantastic story, full of drama, action and excitement, as well as a very well written main character who you instantly become attached to, despite her prickly personality. The book is clearly read, although the woman's voice was difficult to listen to, to begin with. She is quite robotic and doesn't inject much life into the characters, she sometimes misjudges the tone or idea behind some of the speech. However you soon get so wrapped up in the story that you forget about this and it only becomes a minor irritant every now and again!
9 of 10 people found this review helpful
It was the publicity surrounding the release of the DVD that got me interested in listening to this book, What a great decision that was, the book is very well read and had me gripped from the moment it began.
I sped through the story in a couple of days, it was a truely captivating with the characters coming alive in the mind.
The story of poverty and oppression has been done before but this seemed so refreshing to have it done so well, I am really looking forward to the second and third books that I also have downloaded from Audible.
Today I watched the DVD and whilst it was enjoyable it did not do the book justice.
But this is a review of the book and as such it is a 5 star cracker of a story.
13 of 15 people found this review helpful
The narrators voice is incredibly annoying, not enough emotion in her voice at all. Very flat and grating. Such a shame as there is over 10hours of her talking but I'm not sure if I can listen to the whole book!! Great story ruined by the narrator who puts no passion into her narrating. Such a shame, very disappointed.
21 of 25 people found this review helpful
I wasn't sure what to expect but I loved it, I have listened to over 100 books and would rate this in my top 5!
12 of 14 people found this review helpful
Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?
This was the best book I have listened to in a year (and I listen to a lot). The scenario was well described and story moved along at a sharp pace. The plot was unpredictable and interesting. Recommended.
3 of 3 people found this review helpful
I enjoyed the story but didn't like the reader. Very unconvincing when she had to do male voices. Also a lot of mispronounciation even allowing for the differences in American and English. Would have been better to have had several readers. Am not going to listen to the sequels for this reason. Have bought them on Kindle.
14 of 17 people found this review helpful
Great book! I enjoyed it so much, an exciting story!
13 of 16 people found this review helpful
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.
8 of 10 people found this review helpful
I did like the story and the story-telling but I really could not get on board with the style of narration of this audiobook.
The Hunger Games is deservedly a best selling novel. The heroine Katniss Everdeen is bold, protective young girl with the heart of a fighter. But she is also somewhat socially inept and at times insecure and confused - not uncommon for a teenager.
The Katniss from Carolyn McCormicks narration is continuuosly exasperated, worried and sounds like she needs rescueing. McCormick's Katniss sounds more like a frail damsel in distress than a stroppy teenager. Even though Katniss is at times a bit thick to understand what is going on but with this narrations she appears even more naive. It is not just Katniss' character who lacks toughness. McCormick's voice regularly conveys fear and sorrow (plenty of opportunity for that in the book) but I could rarely hear a convincingly angry or aggressive person (plenty of situations there, too!).
What is more McCormick has a very slow pace of speaking drawing out the vowels unnecessarily ("eyes" become "ahhyes"). The majority of her speech sounded more bearable when I played it at 1.25x speed.
Sometimes it felt like she was trying to calm down an angry horse by talking slowly in a low, soothing voice. - Only after a while it did the exact opposite of "soothe" to me.
Despite the narrator's voice I could not stop listening to hear how the story would go on.
I really like the book (and the other 2) and I might listen to them again, if they were told by a different narrator.
1 of 1 people found this review helpful
The narrator's voices were fairly similar and some were annoying, but not enough to ruin the book. Overall it was fine, give it a listen first to see if you find it annoying.
1 of 1 people found this review helpful
Great story line, very well read, nice voice. It's one of my favourite books and cannot wait to buy the 2nd one!
Great book! The narrator was not fast but not slow. Good storyline that is action filled
Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?
Yes, I would. Even though I didn't much enjoy the book myself, it was great to listen to it while my daughter followed along reading the hard copy book. I'd been trying to get her to read something and this book came up in her English curriculum. She wasn't keen on reading it so we went down to the beach with our headphones and book and she loved it and has since read the following books in the series.
What was one of the most memorable moments of The Hunger Games?
Katniss taking her sister's place as a tribute.
Which scene did you most enjoy?
The pact made between Peta and Katniss.
Did you have an emotional reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?
It neither made me laugh or cry it was more a bit horrific. Like Lord of the Flies on ICE.
A story I have read many times. Absolutely captivating. Narrators voice seems too mature for Katniss though and makes Peta seem arrogant at times. All round pretty great though. Was able to lose myself in it.
One of the best fiction story. Well worth the buy and time spend listening to it
Been meaning to catch up with this book for some time and I'm glad I did.
The narrator's lisp was a bit annoying at first but once I got into the story I didn't hear it, and her consistency of characters' voices was excellent.
Just downloaded the second book, and I'll watch the film now.
Amazing how much the reader sounded to me like the movie's Katniss Everdeen. She was excellent. the material is disturbing of course and I liked hearing from The Author at the end...
Cracked up laughing at her voice when she "screams" Peeeetttttttaaaahahahhaha. Hahahhaha. Good voicing other then that. She reminds me of what Katniss would actually be like. Tough and weathered. Was good :)