Tag Archives: Hunger Games Trilogy

Book Review: Catching Fire (Hunger Games Trilogy, Book #2) by Suzanne Collins

Catching Fire (Hunger Games Trilogy, Book #2)

Author: Suzanne Collins

Publisher: Scholastic Press

American release date:  September 1, 2009

Format/Genre/Length: Hardback/YA SciFi Action/3891 pages

Overall Personal Rating: ★★★★★

Reviewer: Julie Lynn Hayes

In an unprecedented move, Katniss and Peeta have become joint winners of the Hunger Games, due to Katniss’s threat that they would both eat the poison berries and leave no winner. The Capitol has no choice but to capitulate. But that doesn’t mean that Kat and Peeta don’t both have targets painted on their backs, because they clearly do.

Although she’s alive, Katniss’ life isn’t what she’d hoped for. Gale is keeping his distance, mostly due to the illusion that was created regarding her and Peeta. Peeta has abandoned her as well, since her preference for Gale is obvious, and Peeta’s own feelings for Kat were no game.  But as victors, they have to go on the Victory Tour together that spans all twelve districts. And once again, they have to pretend to be madly in love—their lives depend on it. Starting with District 11, they blunder once again in attempting to honor Rue. Kat begins to suspect there is more there than meets the eye. And whatever is going on may be something she inadvertently helped to bring about. And somehow she and the mockingjay are symbols of the movement.

Katniss’ instinct is to run away from it all, and she intends to bring everyone she cares for. Her plan sounded so good in her head but it meets with unexpected opposition, especially from Peeta and Gale. She wants to take them both, what to do? Then things go from bad to worse when news arrives regarding the Quelle – the games that take place every twenty-five years, between Hunger Games. This year the rules have been changed, and the pool of contestants will be drawn only from previous victors! How can Kat doubt that this is aimed at her and Peeta for the way they both survived? They won’t be able to pull that trick again. Kat decides she must do everything in her power to ensure that Peeta remains alive, and that he becomes the victor of the Quelle.

Things have certainly taken a dark turn in the Hunger Games universe. Not that the first book was all beer and skittles, mind you. But life has gotten harder, and all because Kat has chosen to speak her mind. Rumors have begun to circulate that District 13 is not gone, as the Capitol would have everyone believe. And just maybe if the districts begin to unite, they can overthrow the tyranny under which they live.

Katniss herself is conflicted between her long time feelings for Gale and what she feels for Peeta. Not surprising as she is just a teenager, and she’s never been in a relationship before. There is a lot of pressure on her shoulders. Events will either make her or break her. Be prepared for pain and heartache in this book. I am half afraid to see what the third book will bring. Also looking forward to it.

Book Review: The Hunger Games (Hunger Games Trilogy, Book #1) by Suzanne Collins

The Hunger Games (Hunger Games Trilogy, Book #1)   

Author: Suzanne Collins

Publisher: Scholastic Press

American release date:  September 14, 2008

Format/Genre/Length: Hardback/YA SciFi Action/384 pages

Overall Personal Rating: ★★★★★

Reviewer: Julie Lynn Hayes

In the aftermath of a devastating war, what was once North America is now a nation known as Panem, comprised of the Capitol and twelve outlying districts. Once there had been thirteen districts, but the thirteenth had rebelled against the Capitol, only to be destroyed. As a reminder of what happens to those who don’t obey, the Capitol conceived the Hunger Games. Every year, each remaining district provides two contestants—one male, one female—who are chosen by lottery to represent their district. The contestants are sent to the Capitol to participate in the games, pitted against one another to fight until only one person remains. The last person standing is then crowned the winner, their district receiving benefits from their win. All of which is televised to the entire nation.

Times are hard for everyone. Catniss Everdeen lives with her mother and younger sister Prim. Catniss supplements their meager diet by hunting, which is illegal as it takes place outside the area where they are allowed to go. But survival calls for desperate measures, so Catniss continues to hunt, along with her hunting partner, Gale. She also forages for various herbs and vegetables, which she has learned from her mother, who is a healer.

Time for the Hunger Games again, and everyone attends the drawing of the two participants. Catniss only wants her family to be safe, so is unprepared to hear the first name drawn is Prim’s. Without hesitation, she volunteers to take Prim’s place, and her offer is accepted. The male volunteer turns out to be Peeta Mellark, the baker’s son. Catniss and Peeta are escorted to the Capitol by Haymitch Abernathy and Effie Trinket, the former a drunken fool and the latter an excitable fool.

Catniss hopes that she isn’t killed too quickly, not holding out hope of winning the games. But she is tougher than she realizes, and maybe, just maybe, she can survive this thing if she tries.

This is a really creative story about a dystopian future society filled with barbarism and inequality. The poor have a rough life, while the idiots in the Capitol go blithely about their merry way, watching the annual slaughter that is the Hunger Games. Catniss is a very good, well-written heroine, and Peeta is easily her counterpart. Watching them grow and develop throughout the book, and watching them work together to defeat the others, is priceless. Catniss is a typical teenage girl in that her emotions are all over the place, especially under the circumstances. But she comes through it all with great grace and aplomb.

I really hope this sort of society never comes to be, but I can also see it happening, too, especially in an oligarchy, such as we in the US live in now.  The first book in the trilogy is riveting. Looking forward to the next one.