I've read Hunger Games for the first time about at least 5 years ago. I remember loving it back then - as Hunger Games were the very first ya dystopian book I've ever read. It was the first ya book I've ever read if I'm honest. So needless to say that Hunger Games is a bit part of my reading journey.
I'm always scared of re-reading books, because there's a slight chance that I won't like them as much second time around. But I'm very grateful to find out that I'm enjoying The Hunger Games.
“Happy Hunger Games! And may the odds be ever in your favor.”
If this is your 1st time reading this series, here are few things that you need to know:
1. This was written and published in 2008. A decade ago.
2. This has basically started the "ya-dystopian-genre" craze! For YA literature at least. Adult genre authors have been writing about things like this for years: Stephen King, William Goulding and George Orwell to name a few.
3. If you are reading a newish dystopian book and you think that Hunger Games took ideas from it - it's probably the other way around (see #1) as after this have been published many authors jumped on the band-wagon of quickly expanding dystopian craze *cough cough* Divergent! *cough*
“I am not pretty. I am not beautiful. I am as radiant as the sun.”
Despite few minor inconsistencies, grammar typos and a very, very annoying first person narration - The Hunger Games (4.25/5 stars) is a very solid read.
Catching Fire (5/5stars) on the other hand is amazing - it's my absolute favorite of the three.
“The bird, the pin, the song, the berries, the watch, the cracker, the dress that burst into flames. I am the mockingjay. The one that survived despite the Capitol's plans. The symbol of the rebellion.”
For many people Catching Fire will seem like it has a "second book syndrome", and I can totally see that. The first half of the book is very, very slow (they don't even enter the arena till about 80% in). But to me all of those little things that happened in the first half of the book represent so much.
Every little rebellious act, every thought in the right direction, every sacrifice and injustice - all of that led to a very powerful culmination.
The first person narration is still a bit annoying, but not nearly as much as in the first book.
Is Katniss Everdeen a strong and perfect female character? She's definitely not perfect. She has flaws, she's emotional and very indecisive. But she's also determined, honest and resourceful.
When I read this for first time about 5 years ago I focused more on romance and found myself being annoyed at Katniss for not being more into the "whole romance thing". But now I applaud her for that. Because to be honest, hers is the most logical reaction of all.
She thinks she can die at any point, she worries her family might be tortured or killed at any point, she constantly sees people being beheaded, mutilated, poisoned etc.
Who in their right mind could focus on romance?? Well, I guess Peeta could. But Peeta is a lover, and Katniss is a fighter.
And even though this was my 2nd time reading, I still teared up a good amount of times.
“At some point, you have to stop running and turn around and face whoever wants you dead.The hard thing is finding the courage to do it.”
As I've said the first time I read Mockingjay (4/5 stars) was at least 5 years ago, and therefore I was a bit hazy as to what happened in it(maybe because it was too painful and my mind tuned it out).
What puts Hunger Games above all other dystopian ya books for me is that Hunger Games are so much more than just an entertaining, bloody and action packed dystopian. It's about friendship, family, love, loss, betrayal, mental health, coping, depression and so much more.
“I clench his hands to the point of pain. "Stay with me."
His pupils contract to pinpoints, dialate again rapidly, and then return to something resembling normalcy. "Always," he murmurs.”
I really loved how with each book the romance have been taking the back seat, and in the 3rd book it was almost completely destroyed. I think that the problem with other dystopian ya books - they are mostly romance sprinkled with action and set in dystopian setting, but Hunger Games is a true, thought provoking dystopian with some romance woven into it.
“But collective thinking is usually short-lived. We're fickle, stupid beings with poor memories and a great gift for self-destruction.”
Mockingjay was very hard to read at times, mostly because of Katniss. But reading this second time around I came to appreciate just how strong of a character she was. She was used and abused, she was sent to die numerous times, people used her image for their own gains, and she was drugged too many times in this book I can count.
So reading how she tried to put herself back together after everything was over was more rewarding than any other "happy ending" could have ever been. It was slow and painful, and not in the least romantic or "happy", but it was the best she could do. After all, who could expect more after what had happened?
Finnick Odair will always be one of the best secondary characters ever. I only wish he had even more page time here - his struggles were so painful, but his joys were so happy - and I definitely wanted more of that.
Also, team Peeta all the way .
“Real or not real?”