Re-Read: The Hunger Games

Finally in the school summer holidays, I got round to my planned re-read of The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins, the first book in Collins’ highly successful, young adult dystopian trilogy. A trilogy that went on to spawn a film franchise that was a massive box-office success. After enjoying the films a lot, I was excited to remind myself of the extra details in the books.

This first book, introduces us to the nation of Panem, which was formed from the remains of North America after a post-apocalyptic event. This is a brutal and unfair world consisting of a rich, privileged Capitol region surrounded by twelve poor, working districts. After a failed, bloody rebellion by a former thirteenth district early in its history, the Capitol now reminds and punishes the remaining districts with the Hunger Games, a barbaric and cruel annual televised event. That forces each district to yield one boy and one girl, as ‘tributes’ for the games, who will be forced to fight to the death, leaving only one survivor to claim victory.

It is on the day of the Reaping – a lottery system to choose the ‘tributes’ – in the poorest District 12 that we meet 16-year-old Katniss Everdeen as she selflessly volunteers herself, after her little sister, Prim is chosen. Katniss’ male counterpart chosen is Peeta Mellark, the baker’s son who once showed her great kindness. The games are pretty much a death sentence for them, as they will be pitted against bigger, stronger representatives from the richer districts, some of whom have trained for this their whole lives. But Katniss is a survivor and Peeta will be a better ally than she realises.

What I love about Katniss is that she is an imperfect heroine. On face value she comes across prickly and she can be naïve and fiercely independent – finding it hard to trust people. However she is also loyal, kind, brave and devoted to her little sister, which adds up to make an imperfect but realistic heroine. Peeta on the other hand is exactly how you find him: strong, kind, personable and honest. (If anyone knows where I can find a Peeta of my own please let me know?!) They are both characters you can really root for and I found myself completely invested in their blossoming, complicated relationship.

Loving these characters means, that even though I knew exactly what was coming, I still found myself gripped and on the very edge of my seat as through Katniss’ eyes we enter the arena and have front row seats to the unfolding bloody games. After escaping the opening massacre, Katniss must find food, water and shelter. Whilst always being on guard for other ‘tributes’, because everyone is a possible enemy, including Peeta as only one can win this game. If all that wasn’t bad enough, the games masters also have some horrific tricks up their sleeves: a deadly wild-fire with fireballs reigning down; killer crackerjack bees; poisonous berries; water supplies drying up overnight and finally hideous mutant beasts.

All in all The Hunger Games is a gritty, dystopian young adult adventure, full of hardship, danger, love, death, friendship and courage; that lost known of its shine on re-reading it. I look forward to continuing my re-read of the trilogy with Catching Fire soon. Great read.

Have you read this? Have you watched the films?

This was also book 5/10 for my 10 Books of Summer 2018 reading challenge.


17 thoughts on “Re-Read: The Hunger Games

    1. Hello Voracious Bibliophile, thank you for stopping by and commenting. It is always lovely to hear from a new face. 🙂 Especially a Hunger Games fan! I am re-reading the second book now.

  1. I absolutely loved The Hunger Games – after really not liking the idea of it at all and resisting picking it up. But, I went off the rest of the series. In fairness, the second book was okay but the third just irritated me. I’m glad this one lived up to your original impressions and will be interested to see how the series pans out. I often wonder if I would like the series better with a reread.
    Lynn 😀

    1. Lynn, first time around, I absolutely loved this and the second book, but I was disappointed by the third because I thought it really lost its structure and pace without the games. So I am particularly interested to see how I like the third on re-reading it.

  2. I have to admit to being really conflicted as to who I wanted Katniss to end up with – I really liked Gale too, but I could see the appeal (story wise) of Peeta.

  3. I didn’t read the books but liked the movies a great deal, particularly the first two, and Catching Fire more than the original. I was not crazy about Mockingjay. I think the trilogy lost steam in the final stretch. I liked Gale more than I did Peeta. I never bought or warmed up to the “liking” between Katniss and Peeta in the movies.

    1. Carmen, I wasn’t crazy about the Mockingjay book either – I thought it really lost its structure and pace without the games, which is a shame but still a very good read. But we going to have to agree to disagree about Peeta and Gale, because I never warmed-up or got the appeal of Gale at all!

  4. Was Katniss’ imperfection more apparent during the re-read? I suppose this is, in a way, your third experience of it, given the films too.

    Yes, read the books and watched the films, and thought both versions very good. Just not so keen on Mockingjay’s story – the other two were hard to follow without going along with another games!

    1. Charlie, no I think Katniss’ imperfections were always apparent, and that they made her more believable and endearing. However I have to agree I had the same problem with Mockingjay – I thought it really lost its structure and pace without the games, which is a shame but still a very good read.

  5. I read the Hunger Games in the first two evenings while at Hawthornden Castle on a writers’ fellowship. I loved it so much that someone else there, who happened to live relatively close by, and whose daughter had the set, nipped home for me the following evening and brought back the other two, which I promptly devoured. I then saw the films when I came home and loved them too. They are definitely books I will buy at some stage for myself and re-read.

    1. Margaret, how fortuitous the lady’s daughter had the books so you could on reading! These books really are gripping aren’t they? And I love the film adaptations too – in particularly I think the casting is great.

      1. Yes! I don’t do a lot of bedtime reading at home but when away from home on my own I need to have something to read and these were great.

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