Originally published elsewhere on 20 February 2015.
Sitting on the train beside a complete stranger, I was not surprised by the fact that the young girl was totally absorbed in her reading. I usually sat reading too, but my stop was approaching and I was readying myself to leave the train.
The girl closed the book with a huge sigh and we suddenly had eye contact.
“Good book?” I asked.
“Yes,” she replied. “But I’ve just finished it and feel…” She searched for the right word. “…I don’t know, I want it to continue.”
“What’s the book called?” I ask.
“It was last book of The Hunger Games,” she replied, holding up the book for me to see. “If you haven’t read the series, you should. It’s brilliant!”
Strangely, I had been given a copy of the first book, The Hunger Games, some weeks before this recommendation. I had watched the movie several years beforehand. I could remember, vaguely, the plot, and knew I had enjoyed the movie, but the book (in most circumstances) is always better.
This short conversation on a train with a stranger inspired me to pick that book up and start reading it. Yesterday, I sat in my back yard and put the third book down with a big sigh, knowing how that young girl on the train felt, because I felt the same way.
The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
The blurb: In the ruins of a place once known as North America lies the nation of Panem, a shining Capitol surrounded by twelve outlying districts. Long ago the districts waged war on the Capitol and were defeated. As part of the surrender terms, each district agreed to send one boy and one girl to appear in an annual televised event called, “The 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 is forced to represent her district in the Games. The terrain, rules, and level of audience participation may change but one thing is constant: kill or be killed.
My review: The book kept my interest. I enjoy reading about possible futures of our world. The concept of The Hunger Games wasn’t new, but quite captivating. Couple this with characters such as Katniss and Peeta, as well as a number of others, and it makes for an excellent read.
Some might find Katniss a little annoying, but my take on this is that we never truly know how we would react to any given situation, until we are thrust into it. Because of this, I was willing to accept Katniss’ behaviour for what it was and just enjoy the story.
I found the story to be well plotted, emotional and full of twists and turns. And it made me want to grab book two and continue reading, and that is exactly what I did.
Catching Fire by Suzanne Collins
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
The blurb: Against all odds, Katniss Everdeen has won the annual Hunger Games with fellow district tribute Peeta Mellark. But it was a victory won by defiance of the Capitol and their harsh rules. Katniss and Peeta should be happy. After all, they have just won for themselves and their families a life of safety and plenty. But there are rumors of rebellion among the subjects, and Katniss and Peeta, to their horror, are the faces of that rebellion. The Capitol is angry. The Capitol wants revenge.
My review: The story picks up shortly after the first book ends. I felt a little disconnected to begin with, but soon got back into the storyline, and characters. To win the games and then have to go through what they went through would leave me feeling confused and untrusting too.
I don’t want to give too much away. But the Games in this book was a lot shorter and in some ways I felt it was a little rushed. However, I guess the author didn’t want the book to be too repetitive or a copy of book one. Again, I accepted that decision.
The characters continued to speak to me. I enjoyed their stories, their interaction. I felt as if I knew them extremely well.
This book ended with a cliff hanger, which I am not a fan of. However, I already had the third book so kept reading, but feel sorry for anyone who doesn’t have the book ready to go.
Mockingjay by Suzanne Collins
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
The blurb: “My name is Katniss Everdeen. Why am I not dead? I should be dead.”
Katniss Everdeen, girl on fire, has survived, even though her home has been destroyed. There are rebels. There are new leaders. A revolution is unfolding.
District 13 has come out of the shadows and is plotting to overthrow the Capitol. Though she’s long been a part of the revolution, Katniss hasn’t known it. Now it seems that everyone has had a hand in the carefully laid plans but her.
The success of the rebellion hinges on Katniss’s willingness to be a pawn, to accept responsibility for countless lives, and to change the course of the future of Panem. To do this, she must put aside her feelings of anger and distrust. She must become the rebels’ Mockingjay – no matter what the cost.
My review: I have mixed feelings about this book. The plot unfolded nicely and the characters blossomed, so to speak. Yet, the tone of the story was different, darker. The story was more gruesome.
Where the story goes is not surprising. When I sit down and think about it, the author had given plenty of clues along the way. There was no need to be shocked, but it left me feeling incredibly sad for the two main characters (Katniss and Peeta). In fact, I actually shed a tear I felt so sorry for them.
After I read the final words of the book and put it down, I thought about what had happened and where the characters ended up for a very long time. And then, later, I realised I miss reading about them and that, dear readers, told me everything.
The books left an impression and I enjoyed them immensely.
I recommend you read them all to get the full effect. You will not be disappointed.