1,126 of 1,185 people found the following review helpful
An haunting series that will stick with you long after the last page is turned,
This review is from: The Hunger Games Trilogy Boxed Set (Hardcover)
The Hunger Games (Trilogy) is one of the most "unputdownable" books to enter the teen market in a long time. The cliffhangers at the end of each volume are so intense, you can't help but continue on. Knowing this in advance, I decided against reading the series last summer despite the fact that everyone was talking about it. I waited the extra year, and I'm glad I did--even a week was torture when it came to getting my grubby mitts on a copy of Mockingjay.
For the record, this isn't a series for everyone. You will be drained emotionally by its end. The Hunger Games is one of the grimmest dystopian worlds I've encountered in literature. A lot of characters die, and their deaths aren't pleasant. This series may not be for you. Then again, those who know me well would say it's not for me, either. I'm one of the most squeamish people you'll meet, and The Hunger Games more closesly resembles the movie Battle Royale than I thought it would when I started reading. I really enjoyed the series, though. There are scenes so poignant, they'll stick with me. Between this and Stieg Larsson's Millennium Trilogy, I've found that even squeamish ole me can still enjoy a disturbing book if it's thought-provoking and well-written.
Now that I've warned you about the contents, let's move on to the meat of this review. It's hard to go in-depth without giving a lot away, so I decided to focus on the trilogy as a whole instead of singling out Mockingjay and reviewing it on its own (though I do have a paragraph dedicated to it further down). A brief synopsis for the uninitiated:
The trilogy takes place in the future. The USA has been destroyed; in its place is Panem, which consists of thirteen districts and a Capitol city. Before the series begins, the districts revolt against the Capitol and are defeated; the thirteenth is completely obliterated. As retribution for their crimes, each district is now required to send a boy and girl, called tributes, to participate in the annual Hunger Games. The games are centered around survival; there can only be one winner (Luckily, most of the deaths occur off-page, so it makes it easier for the squeamish to read). The characters are very rich and detailed; some of their deaths hit incredibly hard and are forever memorable. In the second book, Catching Fire, there is a lot of unease in the districts, and a lot of anger when the year's Hunger Games take a twisted turn and past winners are forced to battle it out for survival. The final book, Mockingjay, consists of a full out rebellion; the districts are at war with the Capitol and it's do or die in a showdown so explosive, readers never see it coming.
Mockingjay has already received flack for not going in the direction fans anticipated. Most were caught up in a romantic triangle and hoped the final book would have a heavy emphasis on this theme with war as a backdrop and a happily-ever-after on the horizon. At the same time, Suzanne Collins has been setting up the revolution since Day One; the grim nature of the first two books should lead readers to believe that the finale will continue in a similar vein. Yes, people will die and it won't always be fair. That's life. I think the direction of Mockingjay was natural, especially in war-like situations. Characters will not be the same as they were earlier in life; war changes you. I would have been disappointed if Collins sidestepped harsh realities in order to soften the story. The tale she weaves is extreme, but it's also genuine. To me, by sticking to her guns and not copping out for something friendlier, she has created a memorable, haunting series that will stick with you long after you've finished reading it.
I'd also like to bring attention to the amazing book jacket art put together by designer Elizabeth B. Parisi and artist Tim O'Brien. At first glance, they don't mean much, but once you've read the serious, you notice just how ingenious they truly are. Before I read the series, I looked at the preview of the Mockingjay jacket and thought, "Wow, that's bright compared to the first two." Now I know better. Each book features a mockingjay, which is a hybrid mix of mockingbird and jabberjay (a Capitol creation used for spying on enemies during the first rebellion). The first book features the bird as the pin the main character, Katsa's, friend gives to her. The book is black and grim, giving it a desolate air. Every character in the Games feels hopeless, as though he/she won't survive. The second book's mockingbird is trapped inside a clock-like environment, which is the setting of the Hunger Games in this volume. The book is red for fire (both for its title, Catching Fire, and the literal associations with the element in the book), for anger (the fact that previous survivors of the Hunger Games must participate once more), and for bloodshed. Both books feature these circular objects that link to one another representing the way the districts and Capitol are linked. The final book features a mockingjay with its wings spread out. The linked circles are in broken pieces around it. The book is a vivid sky blue, the color of peace and hope. These covers have become favorites of mine; I adore the symbolism.
All in all, I'm personally glad I've read this series and wouldn't change a thing. I'm glad I didn't sidestep it due to its violent nature and extreme situations. This trilogy is one I'll read again to delve into the intricate layers I know Collins has laid out for us. Collins is a master at capturing a society at war and showing the horrors that come when a corrupt government is in control.
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Showing 1-10 of 29 posts in this discussion
Initial post: Dec 8, 2010 7:17:42 AM PST
J. Houghton says:
Thank you for your review. This kind of book does not initially grab my attention. I'm not into futuristic material nor death and dying, but after your excellent review it shall be in my shopping cart for Christmas. Thank you.
You yourself are an excellent writer. You should consider doing some writing of your own.
In reply to an earlier post on Dec 15, 2010 9:08:17 PM PST
Thank you so much for your kind words!
I agree with you: This type of book isn't my normal type of fanfare. I kept hearing such good things about it that I finally caved in and gave the first book a try. I can't believe I waited so long to read it! It is easily one of the best teen series I've read in a long time. I hope you'll send me a comment after reading and tell me what you think! I'm glad I helped you make your decision. :)
(And thank you for the compliments on my writing! I'd love to write my own novel one day. I'm actually in the early stages of one I'd like to someday publish right now. In the meantime, I've been building up my book review blog and reading like crazy!)
Posted on Dec 17, 2010 3:57:35 PM PST
Kim Shikrallah says:
I think that you gave away a little too much information, like about the clock in Catching Fire and that the previous winners have to go back into the Games. Also, this series is so good that i am reading it for the second time, and i'm already about 6 chapters into the book, which is about 75 pages, and i started 4 days ago. That's how amazing this book is!! I could talk about this book and the series all day if i could! I also suggested it to a few of my friends and now they are all reading it too. Collins is an amazing writer and I hope that in the future, she writes more books like these!
I am trying to get my younger brother to read the first book, but he has alot of books that he wants to read, so he put the book on his list of books to read. Also, in a paragraph that you wrote, you said Katniss's name was Katsa... That had me wondering if you misspelled her name or... what?
I would just like to say that if you know someone that has read the book or owns it, that you should talk to them about it and ask them to borrow it or go to a public library. I highly recommend this book to all teen and adult readers that like gory stuff like this, and can read books longer than 100 pages because all the books are well over 250 pages, but they are packed with suspense and amazement at every turn.
Thank you and good-bye!
Posted on Jun 27, 2011 9:20:37 PM PDT
Amazon Customer says:
I read your review after already purchasing the trilogy. I bought the books after discussing them with a friend of mine. They were highly recommended by him. Your review has made me much more eager to receive the books and begin reading, if that is possible. Thank you so much for this extremely discriptive review. I love knowing there are others out there who appreciate the book itself in addition to what's inside.
Posted on Oct 11, 2011 2:30:35 PM PDT
Lucy C. Dixon says:
Loved your review. Got the books on friday and by monday I was done. I agree with all your eloquint comments and vast details. It helped me deside to actually get them. Like you I had heard so much about these books that I needed to read them. I ordered another set today and sent it to my sister. We both love to read. Do you have any other good recommendations? Thank you. I trully enjoyed them, could not put them down. They are still in my mind.
In reply to an earlier post on Oct 12, 2011 7:03:23 PM PDT
I'm going to start reading THE MAZE RUNNER trilogy by James Dashner soon. This year, my favorite dystopians have been DELIRIUM by Lauren Oliver, WITHER by Lauren DeStefano, SOLSTICE by P.J. Hoover, DIVERGENT by Veronica Roth, and POSSESSION by Elana Johnson. I have yet to review the last two, I think, but have done so with the other three! I'm also anticipating the release of LEGEND by Marie Lu in November!
I'm so glad my review was helpful for you. Thank you for telling me! I'm glad you loved them so much!
Posted on Dec 6, 2011 5:17:42 AM PST
T. L. Moore says:
Awesome review! Written so elequently, yet so easy to read. After reading your review, I too am buying the set. Thanks! Feel free to message me with your blog link (you must have one).
In reply to an earlier post on Dec 6, 2011 5:19:44 AM PST
Thank you so much!! Your comment means a lot to me :) And you're right, I DO have a blog! It's:
Thank you again for your lovely reply. I'm so glad that this review made you want to buy the trilogy. I hope you enjoy it!
Posted on Dec 6, 2011 1:57:33 PM PST
Posted on Dec 15, 2011 2:12:03 AM PST
Last edited by the author on Jan 1, 2012 8:26:24 PM PST
! Aesop - Sam says:
An informative and helpful review!