DDS REVIEW: The Hunger Games Trilogy by Suzanne Collins

Monday, September 27, 2010 1:00
Posted in category Review

Ash’s Duckies Do Series Review of The Hunger Games Trilogy by Suzanne Collins
Young Adult Science Fiction published by Scholastic Sept 08 – Aug 10

I’ve been wondering for days how to write this review, because I don’t think I can do these books justice. Suzanne Collins is an amazing author, and these books are some of the best I’ve read.  There is also no way for me to avoid spoilers, so be warned.

Book Cover The Hunger Games
14 Sep 08

These books are one long, intense, heartbreaking journey. What starts here does not stop until the very end of Mockingjay. Right away I was drawn into Katniss’ life, her thoughts, her relationships. She is a strong character and it’s easy to root for her. The idea of children fighting to the death as entertainment is truly awful, having to see it through Katniss’ eyes makes it even worse. Watching her change from a teen who supports her mother and sister to someone who will kill to stay alive is at times agonizing. When she holds and sings to another girl who lies dying, I lost it.

Then there is Peeta. When I read this book the first time, I was Team Gale (her friend and hunting partner) all the way. The second time around I’m able to see just how special Peeta is. He is the heart of this series. At the end, which is really just the beginning, Katniss doesn’t yet know about the war that is brewing. Or that she will be the catalyst to set it off.

I think the build-up to book 2, Catching Fire, is done perfectly.

Grade A+

Summary:

Katniss is a 16-year-old girl living with her mother and younger sister in the poorest district of Panem, the remains of what used be the United States. 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.” The terrain, rules, and level of audience participation may change but one thing is constant: kill or be killed. When her sister is chosen by lottery, Katniss steps up to go in her place.

Read an excerpt.

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Book CoverCatching Fire
01 Sep 09

As much as this book is a bridge between The Hunger Games and Mockingjay, it also stands on its own as a very important part of the story. Katniss doesn’t get a break and neither do the readers. There really is no rest for Katniss and Peeta, they have to go on their victory tour and they find out just how evil President Snow is when he calls for previous winners to go back into The Hunger Games.

One of the things with this series is that no one is safe. Suzanne Collins is not afraid to break hearts and one of the deaths I was most upset about happens in Catching Fire. Cinna is Katniss’ stylist, and he seems to be the only one who she’s able to be real with. He might have been in with the Rebels, but I feel like he saw her as more than a weapon against the Capitol. His death is one that, up until the end, I was hoping wasn’t real.

Peeta is still there by her side, and by this book I am desperately hoping that they get a happy ending together. Katniss also has to deal with Gale, who wants her to pick him over Peeta.

The cast gets bigger, we meet more of the previous winners and we get to like a few of them. Of course, it just sets us (and Katniss) up for more heartache This is the book when Katniss starts to get mad and we see her changing yet again into a soldier.

Grade: A

Summary:

Much to her shock, Katniss has fueled an unrest she’s afraid she cannot stop. And what scares her more is that she’s not entirely convinced she should try. As time draws near for Katniss and Peeta to visit the districts on the Capitol’s cruel Victory Tour, the stakes are higher than ever. If they can’t prove, without a shadow of a doubt, that they are lost in their love for each other, the consequences will be horrifying.

Read an excerpt.

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Book CoverMockingjay
24 Aug 10

Mockingjay is everything I was hoping for — and a lot I wasn’t. Things are just a mess and Katniss is right in the middle of it.

Peeta is being held captive by the Capitol and the war is going on stronger than ever. In this book I didn’t like who Katniss becomes, though after what she has been through it’s almost expected. Everything has just become too much at times and her mental health is definitely suffering. I think losing Peeta made her lose a part of herself, even if she doesn’t realize it. They became a team, and I felt his absence from the book just as much.

Then we get Peeta back and he is damaged, badly. The torture he’s put through has left its mark and seeing him and Katniss fighting each other is hard. Like I said, Peeta is the heart, but here he is finally broken down. The way Katniss deals with Peeta (and some other things) makes me hate her at times. He deserves better, and by the time she figures it out, I wanted to shake her.

While this is going on, they are fighting away. Katniss goes into battle and plays her role as the face of the Rebels in District 13. It’s hard to see who the good guys are, District 13 looks like it is just the lesser of two evils. The prove they will do whatever they have to in order to win, and in the end it’s the people who suffer. Both sides are lacking morals, and it makes things that much harder on Katniss.

There is also another death that leaves its mark with me, though not the same one that effects the story the most. Fellow Hunger Games victor Finnick becomes a casualty of war. I actually found myself days later thinking of a funny scene with him, and then getting sad when I remembered he died.  In the end the Capital is taken down, but  no one really wins.

My one complaint with this book is the epilogue. I wanted more closure with some of the other characters. I was ecstatic to see Peeta and Katniss together in their future, but I grew to love all the other characters. I wanted more of them, to know what happened to them. Especially Gale and Haymitch (who, though I have left out of this review, is a major character, another one I loved and hated). With Gale, I am hoping he is happy in the future and still in touch with Katniss. though I got the impression that isn’t the case. While I wanted Peeta to be the one she chose, I couldn’t not like Gale. If Peeta isn’t in the picture, I would have wanted her to end up with him.

Sadly, as great as all the books were, I’m left wanting more of the one thing I was hoping for.

Grade: A

Summary:

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.

Read an excerpt.

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There is a ton of things I left out, there is no way I can cover it all. So much happens, so I focused on what stuck with me the most, even then I left out so much, since I could probably write pages about my thoughts on this. I can’t say this is a happy series, it is basically one traumatic event after another. People I care about died, I got angry, I cried, I hated the characters, and I loved them all at the same time.

Then there are the bright moments, the relationships, the jokes and happy times. These books are keepers, but I don’t know if I will be able to read them again and put myself through this emotional ride. I do know that if you haven’t read these books, you are missing out on an incredible tale. The pain is worth it, and days later I am still thinking about these characters.

ash

Overall Grade: A+

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