The Hunger Games: Special Edition Audible Audiobook – Unabridged
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Audible Audiobook, Unabridged
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Emmy Award-winning actress Tatiana Maslany narrates a brand-new special edition recording of the first audiobook in the worldwide best-selling trilogy from Suzanne Collins!
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 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 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 death before - and survival, for her, is second nature. Still, if she is to win, she will have to start making choices that weigh survival against humanity and life against love.
This special edition audiobook includes a bonus track Q&A with Tatiana Maslany!
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|Listening Length||10 hours and 35 minutes|
|Audible.ca Release Date||October 30 2018|
|Best Sellers Rank|| #225 in Audible Books & Originals (See Top 100 in Audible Books & Originals) |
#7 in Action & Adventure Fiction for Teens
#8 in Science Fiction & Fantasy for Teens
Top reviews from Canada
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May the odds be ever in your favour. Welcome to The Hunger Games, the literal fight to the death of teenagers, as a way for the Capitol to show it's dominance. Katniss is 16 and is facing her death sentence taking her place in the games, but she's faced death before and won. Without realizing her abilities, Katniss becomes the one to watch in this years Games, and she's ready to prove District 12 shouldn't be counted out.
When I read this book for the first time, it created a world I couldn't imagine ever existing, while breaking my heart. Now, after re-reading it as an adult, living through a current pandemic, this book set me on edge and continue to break my heart. This book takes place on what used to be North America and some days it feels like that may not be too far off. The way the world is, it seems like this book is becoming a bit too close to reality than fiction. However, I loved re-living Katniss' journey and battle, I loved reading the finer details and exploring the tale I may have missed when I was younger. Katniss is tough and fierce, brilliant and loyal. Most of the characters in the novel make you think, but the way Collins' writes her characters makes you interested to know their story and see what becomes of them. Your heart will ache and tear, wondering what else could possibly come next. Definite must read for the whole family.
Katniss Everdeen and Peeta Mellark are this year's lucky winners from District 12, and what begins as a tv romance to boost ratings turns into real feelings for them both. Peeta has liked Katniss since they were young, but Katniss is usually so focused on survival she doesn't examine her own feelings or notice how others feel about her. It turns out her best friend and hunting partner, Gale, also has feelings for her and there becomes a "Team Peeta" vs "Team Gale" debate within the reader.
Katniss outsmarts the game rules and as a result both her and Peeta are the winners of this year's Hunger Games. What she considered just trying to survive ignites and fuels the rebellion already brewing in many districts. Panem's president is not pleased, and we are left knowing that survival for Katniss will no longer be just about food.
I could not walk away from this story - not since Harry Potter has a story so captivated me. Maybe it's the horrible injustice, maybe it's the love triangle, maybe it's the story of how survival outweighs the consequences of society's rules - whatever it is, I couldn't wait to begin the next book.
Top reviews from other countries
Reviewed in Belgium 🇧🇪 on March 13, 2023
Seventy-four years after brutal war, the United States is divided into 12 districts headed by the capital city of Panem. As punishment for the war, every district must submit two tributes, one boy and one girl, to take part in the annual Hunger Games, a fight-to-the-death competition that is broadcasted for all to view, with the winner's district being rewarded with extra food until the next Games rolls around. Katniss is a sixteen year-old girl from District 12, the region that provides the Capital's coal. She lives in poverty with her distant mother and her younger sister, Primrose. The family's breadwinner since her father died in a mining accident, Katniss spends most of her time illegally hunting for food to trade and consumption and is often the only thing that keeps her family alive. During the reaping, her sister's name is pulled to be District 12's female tribute. Knowing Primrose doesn't have a chance at surviving, Katniss volunteers to go instead with the understanding that she also likely won't return. Paired with the kind yet determined Peeta as her fellow tribute and their cynical mentor Haymitch, Katniss is whisked off to the Capital, where she faces untold horrors and almost certain death in the seventy-fourth Hunger Games.
This is an exciting premise, to be sure. Unfortunately, I'm going to start this review with one of my main complaints with the story. While the concept is interesting and exciting, it doesn't hold up particularly well to scrutiny. The population can be split into two groups when it comes to the Hunger Games: those who are entertained by the carnage and drama and those who just passively accept it. I'd be willing to buy that if we were talking about adults being forced to fight...but we aren't. These are kids, some as young as 12, being pitted against one another. I find it very difficult to believe that there hasn't been some pushback from the population. Today, we see parents go to great lengths to protect their children, particularly in war torn countries where kids are often pressed into service as soldiers or forced into servitude. These parents know they face certain death, yet their willing to do what needs to be done to find and protect their children. Collins tries to explain away the passive attitude toward the games by saying that the population is too beaten down to care or object. Really? There hasn't been anyone, a single family or even a lone parent, that has tried to make a stand? It simply isn't believable when taken at more than face value.
That aside, "The Hunger Games" is an exciting read. The beginning is a little slow, but the pace really picks up once Katniss leaves District 12. Collins deserves a big pat on the back for pacing this so well. It's difficult to find a good stopping point; hard to quit reading when you just want to know what happens next. The story flows well from element to the next and it never feels forced, stilted, or, worse, boring. A lot of the YA novels I've read lately have had incredibly bloated middle portions that slowed the pace of the overall book to a crawl - thankfully, that's not the case at all here. It's also worth mentioning that nothing feels unnecessary. The action is placed where it needs to be and never feels gratuitous, and the more relaxed sequences (even in the beginning) are never seem longer than they need to be and always serve a purpose. It's riveting, it's hard to put down - it's a well-plotted and well-paced story that never bores or strays from its plot.
The plot also deserves recognition because it's damn good. One of my major complaints with books that I've read recently is how predictable they are, especially in the Young Adult genre. "The Hunger Games" is far from predictable; the twists are unexpected and genuinely surprising, and not in a nonsensical way. As I mentioned above, implausibility aside, the premise is engaging and, for the most part, different. I don't think it's a surprise to anyone that Katniss survives, what with there being two more books being told in the first person point of view. How she gets there, though, is quite a journey, full of surprises and twists, some good, some terrible. I was also pleased to see that the dystopian aspect was executed well. I've always loved "1984" and "Brave New World," and wondered how a Young Adult novel would portray the horrors and hardships of a dystopian society. Collins doesn't pull any punches with what is shown. It isn't as gritty as it could be, but we see enough to be bothered, enough to hate the people in charge of this world, and enough to make us think.
Writing-wise, "The Hunger Games" won't be winning any awards for prose in the near future, but the style used is successful for the type of story told. Collins' writing is borderline minimalistic at times, which actually ends up being a good thing. The book isn't padded out with fluff and the story is never lost in a sea of description. Rather, we get enough to understand the setting and what's going on, which gives us a book that gets right to the point and doesn't mire itself in unnecessary prose. This is a story that's meant to move quickly and keep the reader constantly turning the page, not spend pages explaining a room or the history of a particular region. There's no info-dumping here; enough background is provided to make sense, and it's incorporated into the story to not bog down the pace. Some reviewers have complained about the use of fragments, and while that's sometimes a bit of a writing peeve for me, it somehow works in this book to provide excitement and sometimes suspense between pages and, in some cases, even paragraphs. While perhaps not the most complex or technically perfect prose, the writing used in "The Hunger Games" more than serves its purpose: telling the story in a satisfying manner.
On a side note, Rue's death is easily one of the saddest things I've read in a while. To give a little background on myself, I don't like children and really dislike it when authors try to use kids to tug at readers' heartstrings. So the overall premise of the novel wasn't quite as abhorred to me as I'm sure it is to some readers. But, damn, did this little girl's demise kick me hard in the gut. I had to stop what I was doing to cry...and I'm not a terribly emotional reader. It happens so quickly that even if you know it's coming, you don't want to believe it. I expected a lot of death with such a bloody competition and a lot of attempts to make the reader tear up, but Rue's manages to be touching in a very unique way, as does Katniss' moment of defiance to honour her young friend.
Like most Young Adult novels, this one has a love triangle. Unlike many YA books, it doesn't dominate the story. That's not to say I enjoyed the romance, simply because I almost never enjoy romance, but at least the romantic elements were a little different than what we usually see. The relationship between Katniss and Peeta is initially created and played up strictly as a source for televised drama, and Katniss and Gale only have a vague flicker of romance between them with a long friendship that cements their bond. Though Katniss begins to realize she has feelings for both boys at various points in the novel, it never takes over the plot (though it - or at least the act that Katniss and Peeta are putting on - does play a significant role in at least one event). It's also worth noting that both romance options are likable. It's far too typical that the protagonist has to choose between a supernatural bad boy and her loyal best friend, but here she has two decent guys with their individual flaws and attributes. At least in this book, I never saw one as being an obviously better option than the other. Not surprisingly, she doesn't make a decision at the end of the novel, but that's ok since her romantic struggles weren't the focal point of the book.
I'm going to have to rave for a moment about how much I liked Katniss' character concept. She stands out so much from other YA protagonists I've read simply because she doesn't have a lot of the common traits. She isn't a special snowflake with unique powers that is somehow destined to save the world; she doesn't have an inferiority complex that makes her see herself as ugly while everyone else is fawning over her beauty; she doesn't see people strictly for how attractive they are; she isn't a damsel in distress...instead, she's a tough girl hardened by a rough life that has supplied her with a few key useful skills. She's a survivor, first and foremost, and has the abilities necessary to do whatever needs to be done to ensure that her family doesn't starve to death. Her archery skills quickly set her apart from the other tributes, and she's good, but only because her family relies on her to hunt for food. Better yet, she's confident in what she can do...she knows she's good and uses that to her advantage. It's hugely refreshing to read about a character that doesn't simper endlessly about how useless she feels. In the few moments where Katniss feels useless, it's because there's really nothing she can do, not because she's mired in her own self doubt. She can be cold and even caustic, but not to the point of it being annoying...in fact, it's actually portrayed as something of a fault in her character. This is a protagonist to root for, not to pity. You want her to succeed, not because you feel sorry for her or know that the fate of the world is resting on her shoulders, but because she pulls herself up and strives to survive. Well done, Collins, Katniss is one Hell of a good character as far as her design goes.
This makes it all the more tragic that she's a terrible narrator. As a character, I like Katniss quite a bit, but as the story's point of view character, she's incredibly dull. There's nothing particularly unique about her point of view, now interesting bias or flavour to how she sees things. She tells everything in a straightforward manner exactly as it is, and we never really get to get inside her head. The book likely would have been better if written from the third person point of view simply because Katniss is too boring to completely carry the story. It's also problematic that she doesn't really grow as a character. She starts as a life-hardened teenager that's been forced to grow up too fast and as a result holds some disdain for the government...and ends in pretty much the same way. I found myself wishing that she had been from District 1 or 2, someone raised to love the Capital only to be forced to realize how terrible it is after being thrown into the arena. With her beginnings being what they are, there's no room for her to really grow.
I was also disappointed that she never had to make any tough decisions regarding killing other tributes in the arena. It could have been a huge moment for Katniss, being forced to murder someone who, like her, is there for no reason other than chance. Instead, every death that Katniss witnesses or is somehow a part of is set up as chance (Fox-Face), is a mercy killing (Cato), or the victim has been made so unlikable that you don't really care that they've died (Glimmer). Others die around her, but she isn't in any way responsible for it, which absolves her of any guilt she may feel. I wanted to see Katniss struggle with these tough decisions and live with her choices. Instead, Katniss never really faces any moral dilemmas like you'd expect, and her kills are set up like mercy killings or coincidences, which is incredibly disappointing in a book that has the premise of teens being forced to kill their peers for sport.
The other characters vary in their portrayal. Katniss' family is also pretty dull. Primrose is almost sickeningly innocent and sweet. Yes, it helps us see why Katniss feels the need to protect her at all costs, but it doesn't seem terribly realistic given their life of extreme poverty and the plight of those around them. Katniss' mother is distant and uncaring, which essentially takes her out of the picture, as Katniss hates her for shutting down after Katniss' father died. It's almost too convenient as a way to take both of Katniss' parents out of the picture. Gale is more interesting since he seems to want to take a more active role in defying the government, but holds himself back because he has to support his family. Peeta initially seems too nice, but his little speech to Katniss about wanting to die on his own terms shows that there's more to him than just being a nice guy. We don't get to fully know Rue since she dies so quickly, but what we did see was satisfying. Haymitch holds a lot of promise when he isn't drunk, and I hope we get to learn more about him in the next couple books. Most of the other characters fare similarly: they have a lot of potential, but we don't see enough of them to really figure them out.
Despite my complaints, I really enjoyed "The Hunger Games." The premise is interesting and somewhat unique in the genre, even if it doesn't hold up well under scrutiny. The pacing is great and the writing style is very functional for the type of story, making the book an enjoyable reading experience. The dystopian elements are executed well and there are some truly emotional moments in the novel. There is a love triangle, which may initially make some (including me!) groan, but it manages a different take on what is typically seen, as most of the romance is fabricated to create drama for the media. What's better is that both of Katniss' choices of romantic partners are good, interesting characters with their own issues. Katniss is a refreshing, competent character with confidence in her abilities - a real treat with so many YA protagonists suffering from inferiority complexes while possessing superhuman abilities. However, despite her great character design, she's an incredibly boring point of view character that never really grows despite what she faces in the Hunger Games. Many of the other characters vary with Katniss' family being rather dull and most of the other characters showing promise. I have my complaints, but I'll still give it 4 stars. It was highly entertaining and kept me turning the pages for hours. Perhaps more importantly, it stands out in the Young Adult genre for many reasons, all of them positive.
I am an aggressive reader now, for sure, but I didn't used to be. As such I found out about Hunger Games via a trailer on Apple.com. It looked intriguing and the main character had a lean and angry feel to her that I hadn't seen in a while. I like kick ass female heroines and the story seemed to tick all my desirability boxes.
Then a few reviewers said the movie wasn't as great as it could be, so I passed and decided to wait for the DVD release. However, a couple of weeks ago I was trawling for a good book and I thought: Hunger Games, why not? I'm currently writing my own YA book and I thought that I should be pragmatic and check out the competition. I didn't expect it to be good, I certainly expect it to be great. It was just the new Twilight that I had to read because the world demanded it.
The cover for the Kindle version I purchased is the movie tie-in edition. I'm not sure what to think of that. I know that keeping your marketing material the same is a good idea, but would it be such an ask to have a unique Kindle cover that really takes advantage of its grey scale processing? We're not talking a single independent writer here, this is a professional squad. Surely they could design something that grabs you straight off from the get go.
The cover itself is fine. It's Katniss' mockingbird on fire and I already knew it looked great in print at the local bookshop. In greyscale, however, not so much. All the vividness and contrast has been drained out of the picture; therefore, even though it's in super high definition, it doesn't grab me on the Kindle.
It's also strange that the cover suffers from the 'blank space' issue a lot of books have around its left and right sides. I went off at Alan Parr last week about and I haven't changed my opinion. This is really lazy work and whoever put the book together for the Kindle should be spoken to about it. Yes, they would have to modify the file but it would be worth it.
Even though the book still starts right into the novel (please, can we not do that?), I found it had all the essentials: TOC, chapter headings, acknowledgments and a really great way of promoting the next book. Unfortunately, I'm not a huge fan of the way the TOC had been laid out and although I understand it's not the Kindle version creator's fault (because he / she was staying true to the source material) it really reeks of sloppiness.
I can comprehend that fans of the novel would want it changed as little as possible from one version to another, but I'm not sure they would complain about aesthetic changes like chapter headings. I say this because the TOC chapter listings are 1, 2, 3 and so on. It works when you create a printed book because you can make those numbers really large but as TOC headings, it looks like an eighth grader put the table of contents together. Surely they could have changed them to One, Two, Three and kept the spirit of the book.
One thing I love about the layout is their marketing. At the very end of the novel is a picture promoting the new novel: Catching Fire, and it's great. It let's you know that the other book is available, what it's called and it's not trying to force you to read anymore. I'm already thinking for picking it up in the Christmas period (or when I have holidays) to add to my list of reading material.
The story is pretty well known by now: Katniss has voluntarily put herself forward to compete in the Hunger Games so that she can save her sister from a likely death. This games are a survival tournament between the 12 different districts that is held in the Capitol and features participants from the ages of 13 (?) to 18.
The main story: survival, is added to with the possibility of romance, audience manipulation and defiance against an oppressive regime. I loved it. I really loved it. The story arc is tightly wound and just goes up and up in its tension as the book progresses.
I found Suzanne Collins totally ruthless as an author (for this kind of book she needs to be) and that was overwhelmingly refreshing for me as a reader. No-one is spared. Friendships are made because of the need to survive and then characters are dispatched as if the Hunger Games was happening in reality right now. There's no sentimentality in this book or inauthentic moments and that's what makes the story work because it feels as if you're right there every step of the way with Katniss and the other competitors.
Also, the book ends. The Hunger Games end and that makes it a compelling (and fulfilling) read.
It's been a long time since I've read characters who I've cared about so deeply. I love Katniss and her strength, her confusion, her struggle with humanity versus survival. It's powerful, it's evocative and it made my heart jump more than once. She's a character that hasn't just turned up with a bow because that's what the author wants, she's a character who grew to use a bow because of her fierce determination to survive. I feel that things are going to go badly for her in the next two novels but you can't help but hope she makes it somehow.
There's a great mentor in Haymitch who I hope will be fleshed out more in the second book, a complex and volatile love interest in Peeta, an uncertain ally in Cinna and a fascinating interviewer in Caesar. I think what I loved about all these characters was the fact that they arrive as real people. They have histories, secrets and their own goals Suzanne hasn't told us about yet. Nothing feels deliberately hidden in the book but you can feel it lurking beneath the surface and just waiting to explode.
I think Cinna was probably my favourite outside of Katniss and I'm looking forward to seeing if he gets more space in the next novel.
Wow. This is incredibly written. The end of the book says that Suzanne Collins explores the effects of war in her novels and you can feel that. She writes with a purpose and drive that I did not feel in Twilight or Switched. Everything feels stripped back, every word feels as if it should belong on the page and there's no fancy literary games to be played with the author. I felt as if Katniss was speaking to me directly all the way through.
It's written in the first person perspective and in the present tense. I think the narrator is a little unreliable (she's only 18) but has a unique and strong voice that you can hear in each sentence on the page. After reading the big ones: Switched and Twilight, I'm pretty comfortable saying this is in a whole different league. There was nothing wrong with Stephanie Meyer or Amanda Hocking's writing ability in those books, but they were not at this level. Not this gripping, not with this strength of tone and force behind each word. It was like being kicked in the teeth and then pulled behind a chariot for three thousand metres.
Is it worth five dollars? Yes. Hell yes.
I can't tell you how much of a relief it was for me to read Hunger Games. I really struggled through the last two books and thought that maybe I had lost my ability to enjoy well written novels because I was writing more myself. I wasn't. The last two books just weren't that good.
Hunger Games grabbed me from the first page and held me until its bittersweet end. I started it at ten o'clock at night and finished the novel the next morning. It's about 80,000 words but it didn't feel like it. It felt so much smaller than the other two novels I had just read. I loved Hunger Games and it made me believe that there was some more Young Adult fiction out there for me.
You don't need to like YA to enjoy Hunger Games, you don't need to like vampires, love torn women or any of the tropes of the genre. This is fiction at its finest with an immediacy that would have made George Orwell proud.
Disagree? Think it's not that great? Believe I'm being too kind? Too harsh? Bounce over to my website and leave your thoughts in the comments section at [...]
#1. The hungry ignore how she gets food. Katniss says she's one of few who hunt--the rest haven't learnt archery or spear-throwing or fishing. They aren't desperate enough to creep outside the fence, where it's brimming with food and life. "Roots to dig, greens to gather, fish..." And even a strawberry patch! If Katniss' father--a regular coal miner--became a good hunter, why didn't the starving masses copy him?
#2. Katniss' dad would've made them rich. The food he'd fetched would have made him a lot wealthier than a miner, so WHY was he still mining, instead of hunting full-time?
#3. Hunger doesn't drive these people to boldness? "Even though trespassing in the woods is illegal and carries the severest of penalties, more people would risk it if they had weapons. But most are not bold enough to venture out with just a knife." (Pg 6). But the Peacekeepers "protect" successful hunters instead of punishing (shooting) them, and Prehistoric men turned sharpened sticks into spears to hunt and defend against sabre-tooth tigers! Desperate people would hunt like this to feed their children, or even with pitchforks. It's 74 years since the Games started, and hunting/gathering outside is STILL rare?
#4. Animals (meat) are safe inside D12? Katniss tells us there's a lot of livestock INSIDE District 12 and that all are apparently safe from being stolen and roasted. Pigs (Peeta's), goats (Prim's & Goat Man's herd), cattle (the soup lady will tell the Peacemakers her soup is beef), horses (to pull the wagons), sheep (Katniss trades for wool), and enough leather for shoes, jackets, etc. Yep, starved coal miners and orderly teens limp past Prim's goat on their way home to their starving families every night and ignore it!
#5. Everyone's a lawbreaker, but they're terrified of breaking the law? The reason Katniss gives for the above is that it's against the law to steal, the punishment being death, which would be scary if they weren't being killed slowly, anyway. And she *also* says, "...and who hasn't broken the law?" Whiplash! Which is it? 200 years ago in England, the poor knew they'd be sentenced to death or shipped to hard labour in Australia for being caught stealing bread or hunting on private property, but hunger twisted their arms.
#6. Starving people don't make their own veggie gardens? Outside the fence are potatoes, carrots, beets, parsnips, turnips (roots), berry bushes, leafy green veg, herbs and strawberries, all growing hardily without human nurturing, so the seeds/cuttings are right there to cultivate from! Pg.34 has Peeta's yard with a "garden bed, not yet planted for the spring" and Pg.42 K's hungry mother grows herbs, so growing food is legal in D.12 and no one is persecuted in any way for it. Why isn't the whole of D12 swollen in greenery from these hardy crops?
#7. Katniss is well-fed but hungry, poor but sells what everyone wants? She says she still goes to bed hungry at times, so hungry she's needed to put her name in the Hunger Games hat extra times every year for grain and oil. Yet she *also* says their goat (her "gold mine"!) provides so much milk for them to drink that they occasionally have enough left over to make cheese, and that she brings food, including meat, home on a daily basis (Pg.377).
#8. Miners that keep the Capital running on coal are so hungry they can't mine? If the above is true, then miners go to bed even HUNGRIER than Katniss, every SINGLE night, thus they're seriously frail, endangering D.12's ability to dig coal for their overlords = the main theme is a PLOT HOLE!
#9. The Capitol doesn't care about production? A place of technology and comfort, they use electricity (from coal) to maintain that lifestyle. Understandable. The other districts would also be heavy electricity users for their different productions, so coal would be in VERY high demand since no other fuel is being produced. Wouldn't PRODUCTION be the overlords supreme goal? Fear of the Capitol is a done-deal already, since all children must have their names in the hat for the Hunger Games. So the Capitol doesn't have to shoot itself in the foot by having workers who can barely walk in order to maintain control.
#10. Miners with serious illnesses keep the Capitol running? Living mostly on grains and oil would mean these precious workers are severely deficient in Vit.C = scurvy (weakness, anemia, bleeding organs, heart disease), folic acid (anemia, irritability, memory problems, manic depression, bone fractures, low libido, fetal problems) and iron (fatigue, difficulty maintaining body temperature, decreased immune function, anemia). HOW ARE THEY REPRODUCING, let alone working?
11. Given the laws of supply and demand, Katniss would be wealthy. She is one of just a few who are selling the rarest and most desired product to eight thousand people (including the wealthier Peacekeepers) who are all desperate for her meat. However, she trades this commodity that's hundreds of times more valuable than the meat in our stores today, for shoelaces, wool, bread or salt. Lobotomy! Even the organs/heads/feet would fetch high prices! Her mother, being a supposed healer, should know that broth made from boiling fish-heads is an iodine-rich remedy for energy/illnesses, and boiled bones/hooves makes a gelatine and mineral rich broth that boosts the immune system, is an anti-inflammatory, a hormone regulator, and for skin and joint/tendon health. The people in D.12 would *greatly* need these remedies!
#12. Where does she find the time? Every day, Katniss goes to school, hunts in the mountains, sells/trades her extra food in the Hob (where she "makes most of her money") and (I assume) guts and skins her kill for her mother to cook.
#13. The overloads care about schooling the kids (up to 16, at least) they starve and deny futures to. The Capitol pay teachers and other staff while providing classrooms, "sports activities" (Pg.13), and "music assembly" (Pg.366) for children who could otherwise be mining. Poor kids as young as 4, in the Victorian era, were uneducated and mined coal under a MUCH less sinister government. "Somehow it all comes back to coal at school. Besides basic reading and maths, most of our instruction is coal related." Why do non-mining kids, like the Mayor's daughter & Peeta, have to know all about it? Why do future miners even need to know anything about coal that can't be taught on-the-job? Moreover, why do *they* need to be taught even basic reading and maths by their evil overlords?
#14. Or ARE good futures produced from this schooling? Katniss lectures Prim about staying in school on page 42, as if it can improve Prim's future, as if it's a choice Prim has not to go. Yet this is supposed to be a place where mining coal is people's main avenue for income...after the age of 16/17.
#14. Why didn't Katniss give Prim advice to help her life without her? "Prim, forget school that'll get your nowhere. Make and tend a big vegetable garden of berries, greens and roots. That'll be your carbs, so you don't need to enter the Hunger Games for grain rations! Mom, teach Prim reading and maths, and tend the garden with her. Gale, can you trap some baby rabbits for them to breed their own, easy meat in cages over grass?" (since no one would steal them). "With the money you get from selling extra food, buy more goats to sell milk and cheese, too." In fact, why weren't they doing all this all along? Why weren't others? Ah, those darned lobotomies!
#15. Did I miss a law for dark haired, grey-eyed people to mine, or else? What about all the other jobs needed in D12? The majority of D.12 are supposed to be coal miners who get paid very little for their hard, dangerous work, yet there's plenty of other jobs they could do (and that would NEED doing! So...each new generation of coal miners choose not to be meat-hunters, bakers, butchers, teachers, prostitutes, pub staff, Moonshine producers, grave-diggers, police/peacekeepers, staff of the Mayor, fruit growers & dryers (raisins on Pg. 37), hide-tanners (all that leather), fabric producers & dyers (for pretty dresses, "pink" ribbons, trousers, blouses, babies' diapers, sanitary pads, etc--What do they make it from? Cotton? Hemp?), cotton/hemp farmers (unless these starving people can afford to import all that in), animal farmers (pigs, sheep, goats, cattle, horses), wagon builders (pg.48), clothes washers, wool spinners, makers/importers of school & office supplies (paper, pencils, chalk, text books?), herbalists/healers (Katniss' mother), soap or toothbrush producers, black-market businesses, carpenters, plumbers, electricity company workers, electricians, electric bulb & wire & switch manufacturers, steel workers (knives, fences, pots, ovens, nails, sewing needles), guards for herds of livestock?, shoe/boot-makers, garbage men (rubbish bin's emptied on Pg.34), etc, etc.
#16. The Capitol called the games "HUNGER" yet they don't want any of the hungry to believe any of them are so hungry they actually die from hunger. HUH? Pg. 33: "Starvation is never the cause of death officially. It's always the flu, or exposure to pneumonia. But that fools no one."
#17. Which district pumps oil? The amount of fuel to make and transport all these products of "industries" back and forth across the country means fuel needs are immense. They have hovercrafts, trucks, tractors and trains... I thought the trains, at least, must've been coal-produced-electric (given their high speeds), but then the train on page 540 stopped for "fuel"! Not even trains today do that (electric). Soooooooooo...?
#18. THE WRITING.
So many adverbs. So many cliches ("silent as a stone" + "fresh as a raindrop" + "chilled to the bone" + "shaking like a leaf"). So may dialogue tags. If it's just two people in a conversation, we know who's speaking after the first dialogue tag/action beat! This drove me nuts:
"Yes, there's usually some," I say.
"Katniss, it's just hunting. You're the best hunter I know," says Gale.
"It's not just hunting. They're armed. They think," I say.
"So do you. And you've had more practice. Real practice," he says. "You know how to kill."
"Not people," I say.
"How different can it be, really?" says Gale grimly.
Indeed, I thought there were a lot of good things in tHG, despite all the above. I really liked the author's prose and pacing. The "little duck" comments in the beginning with Prim were so cute and creative, I was drawn in right away. And the cat and her hating each other got my attention as well--very unique. I loved the creativity in how simply the author wrote, "Entrails. No hissing. It's the closest we'll come to love." These are what spurred me to click "buy now" ASAP. Loved having a strong female lead who wasn't bitchy or whinny! I think this confuses a lot of writers who aim for strong, but Katniss was created with talent. The rare trope/pairing of "Masculine Girl, Feminine Boy" made the read more interesting, and I think that, too, took talent to pull off. The characters of Gale and Prim were my favourites, and I got teary just reading the Kindle sample where Katniss substituted herself in Prim's place. After the sample is where it went down-hill for me--leaving district 12 and the characters I was most invested in.
Personally, I would have found it a fascinating read without the Hunger Games, but rather a story of how they cope in District 12 (minus lobotomies!), how their survival progresses and how their relationships grow and are challenged in that interesting setting.
The Hunger Games is written from the perspective of a sixteen year old girl called Katniss Everdeen. Having lost her father at a young age, she lives with her mother and younger sister in `District Twelve', which is the last of the twelve districts that surrounds the `Capitol', Panem. Every day is a daily struggle for Katniss; her family live in near-poverty and she has to hunt to get food on the table for her vulnerable sister and her mother, who was almost immobilised by depression after her husband's death. The action is set in a barely recognisable future version of the USA. There was once a District Thirteen, but it was destroyed by Panem for daring to bring about an uprising, and every year, to mark the betrayal of District 13, and as a warning to all the other districts to keep in line, the Capitol stages the so-called `Hunger Games', in which 24 teens between the ages of 12 and 18 - a boy and a girl from each district, are selected to fight to the death via a lottery of sorts, and there can only be one winner.
When her 12 year old sister is selected as the girl `tribute' for District 12, Katniss offers to take her place. And so she is entered into the Hunger Games, with the boy tribute from District 12 being Peeta Mellark, a baker's son, to whom Katniss quite literally owes the life of both herself and her family...
The Hunger Games is a compelling read, full of so many twists and turns it is more or less impossible to quite predict what the outcome will be. Not only is Katniss thrust into an arena full of 23 other tributes out to kill her, but she must work out her feelings towards fellow District Twelve tribute Peeta, and how she will deal with potentially having to kill the person to whom she owes her life. In addition there are traps set by the Gamemakers, who have power over the weather in the arena, and can drown the tributes in torrential rain or blast fireballs at them to spice up the action when things get boring. All of this is filmed and broadcast across the Capitol and the Districts, and is required viewing for everyone. People can place bets on who will survive.
It's like a twisted form of reality TV; Big Brother crossed with a gladiatorial arena
Of course, the Hunger Games is nothing truly new - Collins claims she got the inspiration for the novel while channel surfing one night and seeing footage of Big Brother on one side and real life news coverage of a war zone on the other, and she combined the two together in her mind. The book, however, bears a marked resemblance to the Japanese survival thriller movie Battle Royale, released in 2000, in which a class of teens were entered against their will into a contest in which they were forced to fight to the death on a desert island.
What struck me though, is how awkwardly the moral message of the book is handled, really, considering the weightiness of the issues that make up its foundation. Every now and then Katniss reflects on the unfairness of the Capitol's treatment, but then again, most of the time she is just fighting to stay alive. Perhaps that's all I'd be doing in her situation. Peeta expresses it most succinctly: "(...) (W)hen the time comes, I'm sure I'll kill just like everybody else. I can't go down without a fight. Only I keep wishing I could think of a way to... to show the Capitol they don't own me. That I'm more than just a piece in their Games." It's all about retaining humanity in a world where you are literally forced to kill, where thousands are gawking at you on a screen, placing bets on how long you'll survive.
The violence in the book is somewhat restrained; a thrown knife here, a splash of blood there, without going into particularly graphic detail; it is a teen novel after all. Perhaps the most gruesome deaths are when a girl is stung repeatedly by giant wasps and when a boy is slowly eaten alive by a band of genetically engineered dog-like creatures called `mutts' that are released into the arena by the Gamemakers (perhaps the most shocking scene in the entire book but because of the nature of the mutts as well as the nature of the boy's murder).
If you like kick-ass heroines, this is definitely for you - Katniss is THE kick-ass heroine. Some of the supporting characters are intriguing too; it's just a shame that not many of them are given a chance to develop. Peeta Mellark is an interesting character but is unfortunately stifled by his role of `is he, isn't he?' lover boy. The book does require some mighty suspension of disbelief at times too, with some of the contraptions that the futuristic citizens of Panem take for granted (there is a sort of box, that when touched, sends an electric current to your head that immediately dries, parts and styles your hair. What?!)
Despite its flaws, the book is a compelling read with plenty of suspense to keep you going until the end, but upon finishing the first book in the series, it seems doubtful to me that there is enough material to work with with which Suzanne Collins will be able to draw out another two books, and yet she has done just that.
As teen fodder goes, this is good, but not astounding.