"The Hunger Game" "Catching Fire" and "Mockingjay" by Suzanne Collins

No point in writing a review on just one of these fantastic books; if you read one, you have to read them all. And the back cover of "Mockingjay" is right; the sequels DO make the story better. I think it's because it's not the kind of sequel that is episodic. It just continues the story, sort of like the Harry Potter books. And like the Harry Potter books, I am so sad that I am done reading these.

All though, I will say, the night after I finished "Mockingjay" I had the most terrifying nightmare of my whole life. These books are not for the very young, or the very faint of heart. They are serious, and increasingly more violent as they progress. Nothing sexually explicit. But just when you think that things can't possibly get worse, or more demented, or scarier, they do. And that combined with my postpartum hormones made for very, very scary nightmares. Maybe it wasn't the best choice of books to read right now.

If you like Greek and Roman history, these books will be especially interesting.

If you like dystopian worlds, this will also be interesting. I felt like the book was kind of a cross between "The Uglies" and "The Handmaid's Tale" and even a hint of the last book I read, "Seeing Stars." Well...sort of. It really was its own thing.

I will say that the love story in these books is by far the most moving love story I've ever read! Very believable. And as the books go on, you realize that Collins is very good at showing rather than telling. But be prepared to read every paragraph; it's not one of those books you can skip ahead a few sentences to read the exciting dialog; if you do, you will miss something. Also, you need to pay attention the first time she describes a character; often that half sentence is the only description you will get. There was one character (Darius) who I had totally forgotten about, and when he came up again, I was confused and did not remember who he was.

She does a great job with showing the "panem et cirenses" idea. It's basically the idea that people will exchange their political freedom for cheap/free food and entertainment. If I were a High School English teacher, I would have my students analyze the meaning of hunger in the book. She does a great job with the entertainment part to the point where it's eerily spooky to actually read the book: after all, reading a novel to be entertained is pretty similar to watching the hunger games. I think it would be even more ironic if they end up making "the Hunger Games" a movie. I don't see how they can do it without it being one of the most disturbing rated R films in existence. So far I've resisted the urge to look up reviews of this series online, or anything about it online, so I can write my thoughts about it unbiased-ly (is that a word?).

I am so glad that Collins left out religion from her books. If she hadn't, it would have been so depressing. But because she did, she leaves us an alternative to her scary world which so closely resembles ours. The truth is that death is not the end, and if you have faith, you can hope for a better world. Not a dystopian, scary world. She does kind of leave it open as to whether or not you just witnessed the evolution of mankind, but it seems doubtful.

Interestingly, my husband seems to relate and like Gale more than Peeta, which is just so bizarre to me. Like, how could Gale possibly think that the prep team deserved to be punished the way they were? And how could he set up a death trap in that mountain? So horrible. Danny says he thinks they are totally justified. I have to keep my mouth shut so that I don't ruin the series. I can't wait for him to finally finish, which hopefully he will today!

I keep thinking about one of the things Peeta was supposedly coerced into saying, about how Katniss needs to find out who she is working for. I think he's right. But honestly, I'm not sure if that would actually be possible, given the circumstances.

The scary part is realizing at the end that they are still basically in the "Hunger Games", but the cirenses part, the entertainment part, is the current events. It's so spooky to think about how similar this is to our lives, and our world. Is this how our government controls us, by the "spectacle" of war? By distracting us and feeding us, so that we are willing to sell our political freedom - by becoming complacent?

What a warning. It's taken several weeks of reading scriptures and serious thought to stop being spooked by this book. I'm so glad that she didn't put religion into it; that way, the real world has the opportunity to be better.

I actually felt really sad when I finished this series because I felt like I knew the characters deeply. Collins is an excellent writer, and I think her books will stand the test of time. It would be so fascinating to see how the characters with Roman names relate to their real life versions. Like, is Plutarch really Plutarch? Hmm.


  1. Danny would like Gale. Kidding! Hahaha. But really, I loved Hunger Games, too. I've discussed it with a few people around these parts (these parts = BYU, of course), and there is a general consensus that part of what makes it so good is the extreme violence. And some people have complained about the writing style, which you commented on briefly, but I think it really helps out the story, in general. It was a bit like Handmaid's Tale and what I've read of Pretties, but it also reminded me a lot of Brave New World. It was definitely a book that made me think about current politics and events. I loved the ending, too. I know a lot of people who don't like the third book or think of it as the weakest of the three, but it was just right for the series, in my opinion. I'm so, so, so glad you've read it, too! You have no idea.

  2. There is a movie in the works. It will be interesting to see what they do with it.


  3. Even though the third book was really, really gruesome, I think it was probably my favorite. It really had me worried, what Peeta said about Katniss needing to figure out who she is working for. It's just such a paradox because he was being coerced into saying that, most likely, but what he was saying was true - but there was no way for her to actually find out...

    I loved the writing style. Several of my friends have commented that it's "an easy read" as well as "not really that well written". Pff. I think it's really hard to write a good, compelling, entertaining suspense/thriller, one that can bridge several genres: action/adventure, dystopian allegory, murder mystery, suspense/thriller, etc. I liked her writing style. It will be sad when they make a movie out of it because one of the best things about her writing style was how much was left to your imagination. Like, my version of Effie was TOTALLY different from Danny's.

  4. I just finished reading the series and I'm kind of at a loss for words. I really loved the story, grew really attached to the characters (especially Peeta), and feel like I've read something incredibly insightful but can't quite identify the deeper meaning... Perhaps I'll just have to read them again.


Add a comment!