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Book: The Hunger Games

September 9, 2011

Not really an RIP book (but definitely some horror and thriller elements!), but it just happens that I finished it in September, so up it goes on the ol’ blog.

Loved it, obvs.

I’ve been meaning to read this for awhile, and actually had it in my hands a couple of years ago, but somehow had it confused with the Percy Jackson series (I don’t know how) and so lost interest and never started it. But then all of a sudden EVERYONE was reading this, and since I really love jumping off bridges and other things that everyone else does, I decided to try it again.

I decided it would be an excellent audiobook for my commute. I started it… and then midway through, at a very exciting point… my recording failed. I had to go back on the waiting list at the library… #9! Oy. That was a long and torturous wait. I finally got the discs again last week and raced through it (as much as one can race when listening to an audiobook). If this were a paper book I would have finished it in one go, I’m sure.

It seems pointless to summarize such a popular book, but for those of you living under a rock, it takes place at some point in the future, when North America has been devastated by some unknown disaster/war/something bad. Now there is just Panem, a new country, divided into 12 smaller districts, lorded over by the evil city called The Capitol. Each year, to remind the districts of their subservience, they must each offer up one boy and one girl to the annual Hunger Games: a fight to the death, mandatory televised viewing for the rest of the country. Katniss Everdeen is the girl from District 12. How she and the boy from Dist. 12 fight the other ‘tributes’ tooth and nail, death after grisly death, in the deadly Arena, makes for classic gladiator-style thrills. The deeper horror is that these are all children, teenagers at best, fighting to the death. The winner gets money, food, status. Most of all, they are alive (the ultimate prize when you’re fighting to the death).

This isn’t light reading. I mean, it’s written in fairly straightforward YA-appropriate language, but there are some pretty heavy themes here. Starvation, war, gladiator-style fighting, human mutations, murder, evil… you name it. It’s written so compellingly that I really didn’t want to stop listening, even though the narrator for this was ATROCIOUS. Gawd, how in the world did they pick this person? I’m starting to be able to form opinions of different narrators of audiobooks and she is definitely one of the worst. Cadence, inflection, voices — all wrong, wrong, wrong. If the book were not so addicting, I am not sure I could have put up with the reader.

Anyway. The book is amazing.

I was annoyed by the love triangle thing, though. Although playing up the “love as a strategy for survival” thing was smart and compelling, I was annoyed by Katniss’s inability to decipher her own feelings. In fact, as an emotional being, Katniss is kind of hopeless. At some points I can understand her chilly interior, but she’s certainly not warm and fuzzy. What she views as a compromise, a survival strategy, the rest of us would view as a pretty dang lucky break. As Westley says to Princess Buttercup in one of the all-time best-ever love movies, “This is true love. You think this happens every day?”

Anyway. My gripes about the love triangle and love-as-strategy aside, I loved pretty much everything about this. It was truly edge-of-my-seat listening. Gruesome and brutal — there was no flinching from the horrors of hand-to-hand combat, made even more horrible by the knowledge that these were kids out there, murdering each other, being manipulated by a gleeful team of game organizers.

On second thought, maybe this is appropriate for RIP, after all.

I thankfully have the second book, Catching Fire, already in my CD player in my car. I couldn’t even wait a single day to start listening to Book Two. I was going to listen to The Phantom of the Opera, but the reader for that audiobook was even worse than the Hunger Games reader, so back to the library it went (which is too bad, because I really love that book and haven’t read it in like, 20 years — how is that even possible that I am that old?!)

Anyway, if you have not read this yet, run — don’t walk — and go get it ASAP. So freaking good.




6 Comments leave one →
  1. September 9, 2011 7:30 pm

    i havent read this although i really want to. i checked it out of the library for monty but he couldnt get into it. (he has not inherited my love of reading and doesnt have the patience to give a book a chance. if hes not pulled in within the first page or two he considers it a ‘dumb book.’ UGH TEEANGE BOYS!!!!!) anyway, we sell it at my store and i could get a discount on the paperback so i may just end up buying it.

    • September 10, 2011 12:39 pm

      Oh, you should totally read it. You’d love it.

  2. September 10, 2011 10:29 am

    i was starting to think it was time for me to read this, at least try The Hunger Games before the movie comes out. Thanks for your review, I think I will! I’m glad you enjoyed it too. I think almost anything goes for RIP too, if you are a little bit on the edge of your seat….

    • September 10, 2011 12:39 pm

      It’s defnitely thrilling, and there are some really horrifying elements, so I say it counts!

  3. September 12, 2011 6:06 am

    I can’t believe how hooked I got on this series!

    I listened to the 2nd one on audio book and the voice didn’t match the one in my head. She sounded too girly.

    • September 14, 2011 11:33 am

      I really, really hate how the narrator voices the audiobooks. Her cadence is bizarre and her voices are just stupid. Hate. But LOVE the book!

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