Sixteen-year-old Katniss Everdeen regards it as a death sentence when she is forced to represent her district in the annual Hunger Games, a fight to the death on live TV. But Katniss has been close to death before—and survival, for her, is second nature. The Hunger Games is a searing novel set in a future with unsettling parallels to our present. Welcome to the deadliest reality TV show ever…
*There are no spoilers in this review!*
The Hunger Games novels, all three of them, are books I’ve been told are stunning. Brilliant. They’re recommended by all. But I truly didn’t think they were my kind of book. However I ordered myself The Hunger Games off Amazon, with the intention of giving it a try. I read it a couple of weeks back and I couldn’t put it down, I’m not joking. It pulled me in and it didn’t spit me out until I reached the concluding chapter. I was hooked and I immediately went onto bookdepository.com and ordered Catching Fire and Mockingjay and it’s testament to how good this series is when I’ve read Catching Fire and Mockingjay back to back ON THE SAME DAY. Seriously, I’ve read two books in one day. I’ve read almost 1000 pages in about twelve hours.
My first thought after finishing Mockingjay is that I now need a lie down. My head is spinning with everything that’s occurred in the two books today and I’m stunned and shocked and sad to have come to the end of the trilogy. The Hunger Games was stunning, Catching Fire was even better and although Mockingjay wasn’t as action-filled it was still a brilliant read. I’ve given all three books five stars because they are books I can and will read again, repeatedly. It’s a series that will stay with me forever and each book has been catapulted up my list of favourite novels. I can see now why so many people rave about this series and why they were in raptures over the fact Mockingjay had an embargo placed on it until it’s release last year. I’ll tell you one thing, I’m so pleased I made sure I had Catching Fire and Mockingjay to read back-to-back, rather than having to wait for its release like a lot of fans.
I’m stunned at how realistically Suzanne Collins portrays each book. How easy it is to imagine Panem and each of its districts along with the Capitol. How brutal but absolutely car-crash like The Hunger Games themselves are. How the Capitol get off on making young teenagers face a reaping, knowing it could be them fighting to their death in the Arena. It blew my mind. And it fascinated me – how could it not? The entire plot of each novel is fascinating, in a ghastly way. Because despite the fact you know people are going to die (it’s that kind of book) you still want to read on and see who wouldn’t make it to that final page in Mockingjay. It’s addictive, absorbing, unputdownable and it really resonates with you.
At the heart of the novel is Katniss, who puts herself up for the Hunger Games so her sister doesn’t have to. She drives each book, her passion for her family, her drive to survive, everything makes her an admirable character. She’s someone you love. And then there’s Peeta, Katniss’s fellow tribute from District 12 and Gale, her best friend forever. Inevitably there’s a love triangle, although personally, I didn’t think it was much of a triangle. I was firmly on Peeta’s team and if I’m honest, I didn’t see Gale as anything other than a best friend, but that’s just my opinion. We’re introduced to many other characters, many who come and go during the three novels. Some you love, some you hate, and some you cry over when they’re sacrificed. I could accept most of the deaths but a few made me well up, a few really made me sad because they were characters I had come to like. But I must admit, I was ready for death, how can a book about a brutal event such as the Hunger Games and potential unrest in the country ever get away from death?
Although the love triangle is a part of the story, it isn’t really the be all and end all. The books are about so much more than that, they’re about people standing up for what they believe in. The books are probably about things I can’t even begin to comprehend or explain. Considering how words were failing me a mere half an hour ago, I’ve been able to write a lot of words. These books truly stunned me. And I’m absolutely gutted they’re over. The pages practically turn themselves, and despite the fact Mockingjay didn’t quite hit the same dizzy heights as its two predecessors, I was still absolutely taken by it. It was different to the previous two books but it was a hugely satisfying conclusion and despite all the deaths (that made me cry) I loved the books. The ending of Mockingjay was all I wanted and more. Suzanne Collins is a master storyteller, up there with JK Rowling – the way she brings Panem and District 12 to life along with the Hunger Games themselves is something that takes a lot. I absolutely cannot wait for the movie. It’s going to be stunning, if I could imagine the books whilst reading them, then I can’t wait to see how the movie makes interpret it and I doubt it’ll be a let down.