Series Review: The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins

Series Review: Is this series worth your time? Does it get better as the novels progress? Or does it get worse? Find out below:

booksynopsis

Synopsis for The Hunger Games (from Goodreads):

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 twelve 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 twelve and eighteen 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.

If she is to win, she will have to start making choices that will weigh survival against humanity and life against love.

breakdown

SERIESous’ Top Book Series: #6
Series: The Hunger Games Trilogy
Author: Suzanne Collins
# of Books: 3+1 (Full Reading Order Here)
Book Order: Chronological
Complete?: Yes
Genre:
Young Adult, Dystopian, Action, Romance, Competition
Heat Rating:
cold
Point of View: First Person, Single (#1-3); Third Person, Single (#0)
Publication Dates: September 2008 – August 2010
Source & Format: Public Library–Hardcover (#1-3); Audiobook (#0)

thoughts

Movie Review: Catch my thoughts on the Hunger Games movie here! Read my thoughts about the Catching Fire movie here! As well as the Mockingjay Part 1!

My Expectations/Why I Picked it Up:

I jumped on the Hunger Games bandwagon just before it got really big (ie. summer 2011) and read all the books within a week. They were super addicting, especially book 1 The Hunger Games. It was hard to put them down and I got sucked into the world Collins created.

The World:

One thing I really love about Collin’s writing is her descriptions of things. You really felt like you were in the Games with Katniss dealing with the heat and water and everything else that is thrown at her. She is descriptive enough to create the world (so you literally read the book and it plays out like a movie in your head) but not so descriptive that you are skipping sentences to get on with the plot. And although Scholastic publishes the books, the writing isn’t juvenile (ahem, *coughcough* Twilight) in any way. Although tweens will have no problem reading the books, adults won’t be turned off by her writing and will also enjoy the story.

The Characters:

It had been a long time since I read a book with a strong heroine that I didn’t find annoying and actually liked. Katniss is tough, intelligent, brave and perhaps her best characteristic is that she is independent. Unlike some heroines, she didn’t need a boy to complete her and while she does have some romance in her life, it isn’t the focus and she doesn’t let it truly define her.

The Plot:

Book 1, The Hunger Games is by far the best book of the series. It has suspense, action and drama which made the book hard to put down. Book 2 and 3 aren’t as fast-paced as book 1 in my opinion, but they are very good reads in their own right. It’s hard for me to decide which book is better Catching Fire or Mockingjay. Immediately after I had finished reading the series, I would have said Mockingjay just because I was a little let down in Catching Fire. I thought it would be a direct reproduction of The Hunger Games but it had its own little spin that I have learned to appreciate after reading them all. So now, I’d say it’s a toss-up between the two for second place.

Why You Should Read the Books and Not Just Watch the Movies:

I know some people will say, why bother reading the books when the movies are coming out (see my thoughts on the movie here) but if I could just say one thing it would be this: read the books! If you were expecting the movie to be darker, then you will love the books! And while the movies contain a majority of the storyline from the novels, there are something that’s they have changed that make the books a little different (so you aren’t reading a carbon copy of the movie script).

See my movie review here!

updates

–November 17, 2020– Book #0: The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes

So, I think you have to go into this book with the right expectations. This isn’t like the other books in the series: it’s slower and more character focused than world-plot focused (if that makes any sense). Think of it as Snow’s coming of age novel as you watch him become the ruthless Capitol president you meet him as in the original trilogy.

Snow’s character is an interesting one. I had a terrible time getting a read on him–which is the point I think. As one of my favourite reviewers Niki @ The Obsessive Bookseller highlights in her review, it isn’t until you realize Snow is a sociopath that the story clicks into place and why he does everything that he does along the way. I don’t think that is a spoiler by any means because you already know that from reading the original trilogy. But I know I kinda forgot that as I was reading, thinking this was an origin story where at one point I would find out the event that triggered Snow’s evil…when in fact he as been evil all along.

The romance is also a big distraction. At first I didn’t understand how either person would fall for the other. And while I still don’t understand Lucy’s emotional draw to Snow, once you go with the sociopath angle for Snow it makes sense. It was still a big distraction though.

Watching the evolution of the games itself was a lot of “fun”. As a huge fan of the original story, I thought it was super interesting to see how the games become what they are by the time we are introduced to them.

I also think the audiobook was a terrible choice for me. There are so many people to try and keep straight that I could have benefited from a book to flip through when I needed a reminder.

Series Rating: 4/5

The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes 2/5 | The Hunger Games 5/5 | Catching Fire 5/5 | Mockingjay 5/5

overall

I really enjoyed this series–so much so that I actually bought the box set after I had finished them (I had borrowed them all from the library) just so I could own them 😛 I also can’t remember how many times I have lent those books out to people (who have all enjoyed them!) so that they could read them. You can’t go wrong with this series in my opinion!

Read if You Like: dystopian fiction, fast paced stories
Avoid if You: dislike violence

similarreads

  • Divergent by Veronica Roth (Divergent Trilogy, #1)
  • Delirium by Lauren Oliver (Delirium Trilogy, #1)

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