Never Have I Ever Read… The Hunger Games Trilogy

“I Volunteer as Tribute” – Suzanne Collins, The Hunger Games

I finally read the Hunger Games Trilogy. Was it worth the hype?

I have never, ever read The Hunger Games.  Truthfully, it did not appeal to me. Dystopian worlds are just not my thing (usually) and I couldn’t picture myself reading about 12-18 year olds running around trying to kill each other. Jackie, however,  devoured The Hunger Games Trilogy. When she found out that I hadn’t read them, she was appalled. And thus, I ventured into the world of Panem via the audible version of the novels read by Carolyn McCormick. Here are my thoughts on each book in the series and if I believe the series lives up to the hype.

*Warning* *Minor spoilers below*

The Hunger Games Trilogy: The Hunger Games

Did I like the Hunger Games Trilogy when I finally read it?

The Hunger Games story start out in grey and cold District 12. The Capitol is picking the children who will compete in the 74th annual Hunger Games – a fight to the death of 2 children from each of the 12 districts as a reminder of what happens when the people rebel. Katniss Everdeen was chosen along with Peeta Melark to represent their district. They are whisked off to the Capital, trained and put into the arena to fend for themselves.

I was rooting hard for Peeta.  I mean, this boy is in love with Katniss and willing to lay down his life to keep her safe. Katniss though, I a little bit want to punch her in the throat. True, she basically kept Peeta alive (the boy may be sweet but he’s no champion) but I couldn’t take her manipulation of him. I thought I would get bored listening to her survival in the arena, but I was fully engaged in her hunting and trekking about. I loved little Rue and Katniss’s bond with her. Listening to her play poor Peeta, on the other hand, nearly broke my heart. His reaction on the train home when he found out her true feelings….well now you understand the throat punch.  #TEAMPEETA

The Hunger Games Trilogy: Catching Fire

Did I enjoy the Hunger Games when I was forced to read it?

Catching Fire is my favorite book in the series. I loved learning more about the various Districts and what they specialized in. The events that unfold during the Victory Tour were interesting but the whole fake-love with Peeta trope got a bit old. I thought the mood of subtle resistance woven through out the story was very well done. I’m a girly girl thought and it bothered me that the author glossed over the engagement scene – that seemed like a missed opportunity to showcase Peeta’s undying love in the face of her reluctance.

The plot picked up for me with the announcement of Hunger Games 75 when Peeta and Katniss would be headed back to the arena. I loved meeting the other Victors and seeing their friendships. I was frustrated with the breakout attempt…she didn’t know the plan at all but all of a sudden was the one to complete the mission? It rang a bit false to be honest. My love for Peeta only increased with this book and I think Katniss is finally coming around to the correct side.

The Hunger Games Trilogy: Mockingjay

Which book was my favorite for the Hunger Games?

Mockingjay was my least favorite book in the series. On one hand I enjoyed exploring District 13 and meeting the new cast of characters. Cressida was a favorite for me (the hair!!).and I loved to hate Coin. There were quite a few twists and turns that kept me on my toes. There wasn’t too much violence (I despise war scenes that go on for page after page) and the majority of the moves and counter-moves were psychological in nature.

This book was my least favorite because A. Peeta was missing until chapter 12 (and Effie was barely mentioned!) and B. Katniss was a whiney little brat 50% of the time. Where was badass brave Katniss? The strong and resilient girl who was willing to give up her life for her sister and Peeta. I didn’t see her much in the girl who was hiding in wardrobes or running into war zones to escape her problems. I was totally with Haymitch when he eventually gave her the verbal bitch slap she needed. Haymitch has totally grown on me by the way. I think he  might be my second favorite character.

The ending of this novel was great but did leave me with questions that I had to call Jackie with to discuss. Why did Katniss vote Yes? Gale – what happened there? Momma Everdeen – really!?!?

Wrap up

So what did I think of The Hunger Games Trilogy as a whole? Well first of all, I did not like Katniss. She was really not much more than a political idol for people to get around. Peeta in my opinion was the real star of the show and I think the story might have been better if told from his perspective. He was a tremendous speaker, quick witted and self-less. He was the original rebel not wanting to be a token of the capital, but Katniss got all the credit at the end. Why was that? Couldn’t the people realize that without him Katniss would be nothing? I agreed with President Coin. Peeta should have been the Mockingjay.

All that being said, I really did enjoy the novels – to the point that I immediately watched each movie after completing the books. (My husband for the record was not thrilled that I forced him to watch them all with me.) I loved the world she created. When authors can create a fictional world that seems realistic even though they differ from our reality, I am always hugely impressed. Immersive stories are the best kind in my opinion. I want to look up from reading and have to blink to be brought back to reality. The Hunger Games totally did that for me. I would say that the Trilogy does actually live up to the hype.

So…what do you think of my assessment of the Hunger Games Trilogy? Are you #teampeeta or #teamgale?

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Never Have I Ever Read… The Hunger Games TrilogyThe Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins
Published by Scholastic Inc. on September 1st 2009
Genres: Young Adult, Social Themes, Self-Esteem & Self-Reliance, Action & Adventure, Survival Stories
Pages: 384
Buy on Amazon

The book no one can stop talking about . . . In the ruins of a place once known as North America lies the nation of Panem, a shining Capitol surrounded by twelve outlying districts. The Capitol is harsh and cruel and keeps the districts in line by forcing them all to send one boy and one girl between the ages of twelve and eighteen to participate in the annual Hunger Games, a fight to the death on live TV. Sixteen-year-old Katniss Everdeen, who lives alone with her mother and younger sister, regards it as a death sentence when she is forced to represent her district in the Games. But Katniss has been close to dead and survival, for her, is second nature. Without really meaning to, she becomes a contender. But if she is to win, she will have to start making choices that weigh survival against humanity and life against love. New York Times bestselling author Suzanne Collins delivers equal parts suspense and philosophy, adventure and romance, in this searing novel set in a future with unsettling parallels to our present.

Never Have I Ever Read… The Hunger Games TrilogyCatching Fire (The Second Book of the Hunger Games) by Suzanne Collins
Published by Scholastic Inc. on June 1st 2010
Genres: Young Adult, Fantasy & Magic
Pages: 400
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Against all odds, Katniss Everdeen has won the annual Hunger Games with fellow district tribute Peeta Mellark. But it was a victory won by defiance of the Capitol and their harsh rules. Katniss and Peeta should be happy. After all, they have just won for themselves and their families a life of safety and plenty. But there are rumors of rebellion among the subjects, and Katniss and Peeta, to their horror, are the faces of that rebellion. The Capitol is angry. The Capitol wants revenge.

Never Have I Ever Read… The Hunger Games TrilogyHunger Games Trilogy - Mockingjay by Suzanne Collins
Published by on June 24th 2016
Genres: Fiction, Action & Adventure, Fantasy, General, Romance, Science Fiction
Pages: 327
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The greatly anticipated final book in the New York Times bestselling Hunger Games trilogy by Suzanne Collins. The Capitol is angry. The Capitol wants revenge. Who do they think should pay for the unrest? Katniss Everdeen. The final book in The Hunger Games trilogy by Suzanne Collins will have hearts racing, pages turning, and everyone talking about one of the biggest and most talked-about books and authors in recent publishing history!!!!