Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Literature Rec: Suzanne Collins

Have you ever read a book that you just couldn’t put down?

I mean, you're sitting in your bed at two in the morning, angry at yourself for weeping incosolably over a characters death. Mourning the death of a fictional character may or may not be pointless but definately slows down your reading.

Yea, I did that last Thursday.

Happy Hunger Games! And may the odds be ever in your favor!
If you enjoy reading any sort of YA fiction, I urge you to put down whatever you are reading and pick up The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins.

It is one of the best books I have ever read. My one complaint about it is that I have to wait until September for the next one and I really need to know what happens next.

The story takes place in a post-apocalyptic future, in what used to be known as North America. The land has been divided up into twelve districts which are all ruled by The Capitol, a wealthy city with technology and weapons. The Capitol stands in contrast to most of the other districts, which are poor and ruled with an iron fist. As part of the Capitol’s control once a year, two youths, a boy and a girl are chosen, mostly, at random from each district to participate in the Hunger Games. A “tournament” between twenty four people, a fight to death. The winner gets fame and fortune—the losers die to entertain the masses.

The main girl, Katniss, hates the Capitol. She hates the Games, and yet she volunteers to go to the Games in the place of a loved one despite all that they represent. The boy from her district is someone she barely knows but was present for an important turning point in her life. And as he joins her in their journey towards the Capitol (where the Games are held), Katniss has to work to imagine herself killing him (“Kind people have a way of working themselves inside me and rooting there. And I can’t let Peeta do this. Not where we’re going.” Pg 49) as well as the other twenty- two people between the ages of twelve and eighteen that will be participating in this year’s Games.

Katniss struggles with her anger and disappointment in the world throughout the book, but also has a deep love for her family and a snarky sense of humour which keep her grounded. Her humour is such that even in the midst of all the gruesome killing, there are believable light moments—even laughter. Katniss relies on her resourcefulness and small stature to make it out of many sticky situations. The author does a fantastic job of having Katniss participate in the games in such a way that keep her a sympathetic character while still keeping her a main player in the game. She doesn’t just sit on the sidelines and wait for the others to be picked off.
Yes, we see our main character kill other people, and she is not overburdened with guilt about it.

The future world in which the story unfolds has places like District 12 where people mine coal by hand and hunt for food with a bow and arrows contrasted with places like the capitol that has silent helicopters, invisible television cameras, and other technologies far beyond that of today. This contrast and the general feeling of the games sends a very clear message about the Capitol: they are in control, and there is nothing the people of the districts can do about it.

Each moment in The Games is a struggle, and although I knew the main character would make until the end of the game, as one always does when reading these types of books, it always felt as if she was truly in danger. And, as gruesome as this sounds, all the deaths that the reader is witness to are different and interesting. They have their own reasons and repercussions. My favourite is definitely the mutant wasps. That was creepy and disgusting and... kind of cool.

Somehow, in the midst of all this killing, the author manages to write a love triangle. I’m still not quite sure how she did, it but there is one, and I have definitely chosen a side. I really can’t say anymore without spoiling some very important things but I was very intrigued, and am really looking forward to how this plays out in Catching Fire, the sequel.

My precious.
Ah, the sequel. Never have I lusted more for a book! (OK, that’s a blatant lie, Deathly Hallows, I still love you!) The wait feels like an eternity. Forget the four years between Goblet of Fire and Order of the Phoenix, two and half months is simply unacceptable. Despite an end to the plot of the Hunger Games, there is still so much that can happen. So much that I’m curious about. What really happened to the mysterious District 13? Who really controls the capitol? And, most importantly, are we going to see them taken down?

I need to know.

So read this book, then talk to me on chat or twitter, and help me stand the wait. We can theorize about what’s going to happen and argue about who is better for Katniss.

Accio Catching Fire! (nerdfighter joke.)

ALSO! I'm still accepting (begging) for blurbs from people who have read GOOD books featuring vampires or werewolves. Especially werewolves, no one seems to have read any of those. Please email temptationtwilight@gmail.com

Moon.witche is biting her nails, tapping her foot, and desperately trying to win an ARC copy of Catching Fire. That is, when she isn't being attacked by insane crows.


  1. :-) Good rec! You already know how I feel about this book! "My precious" indeed. Can't wait until September!

    For the record, I have yet to get my book back in my possession since I finished reading it over six months ago. It's just like Twilight in that sense, I guess. Everyone is borrowing and then giving off to the next person on the list.

  2. Good to know you liked this one, I'll be picking it up the next time I'm in Borders.

  3. I loved the Hunger Games. Err.. I recently read the Vampire Acadamy books and kinda liked them. As for non-vamp/werewolf books: did you ever read Noughts and Crosses by Malorie Blackmann? It's an AU like The Hunger Games.

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  5. If you liked "The Hunger Games", I highly recommend "The Secret Under My Skin". It's a superbly written novel with some great ideas and a look at a mysterious and devastating future.

  6. I actually just finished this myself last week, reading it in one day.

    Oh man, I am super pissed that I didn't know it was a trilogy, now I wait on pins and needles for the next instalment!

  7. I JUST finished reading the ARC of Catching Fire yesterday!

    Read it in a day. LOVED it! It's worth the wait.

  8. Okay confession: I bought this, found out it was a series and decided to wait for the next two before I started it. And you so brilliantly stated why:

    "The wait feels like an eternity. Forget the four years between Goblet of Fire and Order of the Phoenix, two and half months is simply unacceptable."

    Harry Potter KILLED me!! I want to read this book SO BADLY. I've had it for 6 months now, but I WILL not put myself through any more waiting. THE END.

    Thanks for this great post. It makes me EVEN more excited to read this book one day. And I will for sure buy the next two.

  9. Wow, my twelve year old twins loved this book and can't wait for the sequel (we've already pre-ordered). I guess its good for adults too, huh.

  10. To ocd indeed:

    The...jealousy...I can't...it...

    I WANT IT!

    Can I steal it from you...I wonder if I know someone who knows where you live (that's not creepy...)

    Sigh, I'm going to be whining about this until I read the book. If you want to email me spoilers, please feel free. Actually, don't. There's only one thing I want to know in advance. The rest I want to discover as I read.

  11. Ask away!
    I passed it on to a friend, and I am dying for her to finish so we can discuss!

    I won't give away anything, unless you want me to. Just ask. ocdindeed@gmail.com

    The problem now...I'll have to wait 18 months for the 3rd book!!!

    I love these books! If anyone reads my fic, I've stolen a little bit here and there from them. ;)

  12. I loved The Hunger Games. I also read it in pactically one sitting. Came across a rec for it on SMeyers website...she loved it.

    And...ocd_indeed, I've often wondered if you had read the book. I began The Fallout just after I had finished The Hunger Games and was instantly struck by your use of 'districts' and of course the post-apocalyptic setting.

  13. In honesty, I picked this up because I heard Stephenie Meyer rec'd it. And I wasn't disappointed. It kept me up until the late hours of the night and I'm waiting on pins and needles for the next one. I simply have to know more about Katniss, her family, and other -----SPOILER----- things of that nature.

    And now that I have noticed this... and genlaren brought it up, ocd_indeed, you do seem to borrow bits of THG for The Fallout. That last scene with Edward and Carlisle visiting the community reminded me of Katniss in the beginning with her family.

  14. MW, these look amazing. Thanks for the rec! I've needed a good summer read.

  15. If you want werewolves, you might try Maggie Stiefvater's Shiver when it comes out (which is in August, I think). Those who have been lucky enough to score an ARC have been giving it excellent reviews, so it's definitely worth the wait.
    Her Lament: The Faerie Queen's Deception was also a great urban fantasy--I fell in love with all of the characters.

  16. Yep.

    This book was delicious!

    I would rec the "Moon Called" books by Patricia Briggs. She's a "walker" -- different from a werewolf (like a shifter), though there are none like her so she fits in with the werewolves (infected humans that shift with the moon).

    It's a REALLY good series with some love triangles goin on.

  17. Just want to say THANK YOU.
    I was ordering books for school last week and decided to order a book or two to kill some time till school starts. so there i am, staring at the computer screen and can't decide which book to order. Then i remember seeing some recs here on TLYDF and find huger games. The book is really one of the best things I ever read so thank you so much for recomending it!


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