Review: The Hunger Games

Cover_-_hunger_games

I downloaded this to my Kindle late last year (so it counts towards the Mount TBR Reading Challenge). I met someone at a wedding in December and we started talking about books – she said she couldn’t put this one down. I was in the middle of a couple of other books, and it took me about two months to get through the first book in the Game of Thrones series, so I didn’t pick this up until mid-March.

I started it on a Friday and finished it on Saturday. I couldn’t put it down. I took it down to the pool on the Saturday and read in peace. I came back upstairs, got into bed (at 5pm) and continued reading until I’d finished it. 

The book is set in a future where the United States no longer exists. Instead it is the nation of Panem, consisting of 12 districts, all governed by the Capitol (somewhere in the Rockies). Each year, one boy and one girl are chosen from each district and taken to the Capitol, where they have to participate in the Hunger Games. The Hunger Games is a live TV show where the contestants fight to the death. There can only be one winner. 

The story is told from the perspective of the main character, Katniss Everdeen, who is from poverty-stricken District 12. She volunteers for the Hunger Games when her 12-year-old sister’s name is called out during the Reaping (the process of selecting the boy and girl). She and Peeta (the male contestant from District 12) are taken to the Capitol and given make-overs and advice on how to survive this game (‘Don’t get killed’). And then they’re let loose in the arena. Carnage ensues, and it is a little predictable, but it’s a gripping, easy read. 

I usually never watch a movie if I’ve read the book. Film adaptations never live up to the book and I end up disappointed and irritated. But I had a feeling this would be a fantastic movie so I went to see it. Did it live up to the hype? And was it as good as the book? Well, the simple answers are ‘No’ and ‘No’. While the book is fast-paced, I thought the movie dragged in places. So much of the history and detail in the book is lost when transferred to film. I came out of that movie 2.5 hours later wishing I hadn’t bothered to see it.

 

So do yourself a favour: read the book, don’t see the movie!

 

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