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The Hunger Games (The Hunger Games, Book 1)

The Hunger Games - Suzanne  Collins Soo. When this book first came out it was really popular and everyone was reading it. While I do like a good book, I'm usually don't read mainstream books. I'm usually all about the first time authors. Dystopian books are usually not on my reading list and are not one of the genres I care for. Having said this, my sister read the book and loved it. My sister and I have very similar tastes from books to music to hot celebrity guys. So, I listened to her rave about the book(s) and she told me I had to read it or I was stupid (if I wasn't going to). After debating with myself for a few months, I decided to but the books. Around this time the movie came out and I did not want to see it because I like reading the books first before I see the movie. So I bought them and left them on my shelf for about six months and they would have stayed there if not for a reading challenge I am participating in, which more or less forced me to read the first book. Needless to say, I absolutely loved the book and can't wait to read the rest of the trilogy.

One thing I do have to say about this book is that the names of the characters are ridiculous. I mean "Katniss"? Really? That's like "Buffy" from Buffy the Vampires Slayer.

Anyway, When I first started the book, I immediately liked the character of Katniss. She's brave, heroic, dependable, kick ass, a hunter and great with a bow and arrow (I jealous because I always wanted to take archery). I like that she stepped up to the plate when her father died and took care of her sister and her mother (who was depressed). I admire the love she has for her sister and the bravery it took for her to take her sister's place in the games, even when she "knew" she was probably going to die. I like how she doesn't care about making friends, which unfortunately would hurt her in getting sponsors. I like her sarcasm (she reminds me of me :D) and her discontent for the capitol, their treatment of the people and the games itself. I would feel the same way. I admire Katniss' survival skills and how intelligent she is during the games (ex- she figured out about the mines in the career tributes camp). I also like how the heroine in this book actually gets HURT. She's not a prim and proper girl, who can fall off a mountain and come out completely unscathed. She gets injuries like everyone else and has to deal with them. Her gentleness with Rue and her caring for (emotionally and physically) make her a well rounded character who is easily likable.

I also really liked Peeta. Needless to say I am on "Team Peeta". I don't know what it is but something about Gale rubs me the wrong way. I don't like him. Peeta, on the other hand, likable, caring and realistic in the fact that he knows there was no way he would survive the games. He faced reality and dealt with it. (I would just like to interject here that if the Hunger Games actually existed, I would either be one of the first ones to die or I'd be the idiot who fell on my knife or ate poisonous berries. I don't really like the outdoors and there's no way I'd survive that). I like the kindness Peeta showed Katniss (in her memories) of when he "saved" her by giving her the burned bread. I like how he can camouflage himself in his surroundings and its admirable how he goes out of his way in the games to save Katniss (ex- telling her to run after the tracker jacker incident).

Another character I really liked was Cinna. Even though he had a small part in the book, he played a big role in Katniss' life. She even says that he was the only one she really liked. Besides dressing her fabulously, it seemed that he understood her feelings and it was like he was a "father" figure for her.

The world building in the book was amazing. It was crazy to read about Katniss' life in District 12 and then about life in the capitol. It was like time travel- District 12 was like life in the middle ages while the capitol was like life in the future. I do have to say, I would love to have that shower that Katniss had in her room in the capitol. Pressing buttons to get different scents and a massage would be wonderful. If it has not already been invented, someone better get on that. Another thing I liked was the buttons Katniss pressed for food. She pressed any buttons and the food was delivered to her in minutes. I need that in my house- I don't like to cook. The descriptions of the people in the capitol were outrageous. I mean, one of Cinna's team members had green skin! How is that possible? The arena was another amazing "world" in the book in the aspect that people in a room controlled all the environmental elements. The game-keepers controlled the weather, the time of day dangerous things like fire/fireballs and the tributes access to water. Its amazing how they controlled and herded the tributes like sheep. It's scary to think that things like that could be invented and used in the future.

I really liked the story of the book as well. The other tributes were given good personalities and abilities. The story had me laughing one minute, horrified the next and sad the minute after that. I particularly felt sad and almost cried when Rue died. What got me was when Katniss sang to her while she died. That was so sad and I got angry at the capitol for creating the hunger games at that point in the book. Rue was so young and had so much to live for. It shouldn't be kids and teenagers who have to participate in the games because they have just begun to live. If anything, it should be adults competing.

The ending was riveting when the last tributes alive were Katniss, Peeta and Cato. I was wondering what Suzanne Collins was going to do with that confrontation. Cato has had it out for Katniss from the beginning. It was crazy how those wolf like things came outta nowhere to attack the 3 tributes and that the wolves had the features of the other tributes who had died. That came outta left field and I was pleasantly surprised. After Cato died the end of the games was irritating when the voice announced that the rule stating that there can be two victors if they were from the district was changed back to the original rule of only one victor. I was like wtf? Now what? That pissed me off because it was like the capitol was saying "Haha tricked you". I liked how Katniss was quick on her feet to suggest faking a couple suicide. I would have never though of that. Serves the capitol right for being showed up by Katniss and Peeta.

Now for the romance. Even though Haymitch kept on pressing on the fact about faking up a star-crossed lover's romance, it was clear by the middle of the book that Katniss and Peeta had feelings for each other (yay!). Peeta's affection was clear from the beginning when he played up Katniss' skills and abilities to Haymitch. As for Katniss, the reader can see her develop feelings for Peeta while she is nursing him back to health. This can be seen when: 1) she kisses him when they both are recovered from their injuries; 2)when she feels comfortable lying/sleeping with him in the sleeping bag; 3)when she risks her life to get him medicine; 4)when she panics when she thinks he died when she was hunting and he was collecting berries, 5)when she stated that there was "no way she was letting him go" as they were hauled up in the hovercraft after the games and 6)finally, when Peeta was taken to the surgery part of the hovercraft where a glass wall separated Katniss from him and she was banging on the wall and screaming his name. I rest my case that she had feelings for Peeta that are more than "like". Eat your heart out Gale!

After reading the book, I saw the movie. While I really liked the movie and it basically was accurate with the book, the ending kinda threw me off and I was like ehhh. I didn't like how the used beasts to attack Cato, Katniss and Peeta. I like the original version of the scene where the wolf creatures have the features of the other tributes. In that scene it was like the fallen tributes were getting their revenge for being killed. I felt it was a crucial and unique part of the book and it was a shame it was changed in the movie. I also didn't like how Peeta didn't get bit on the leg by the wolf, causing the scene in the hovercraft where Katniss is pounding on the glass wall that separated her from Peeta and screaming his name. To me that was another crucial part in the story as well and shouldn't have been cut out. It was also a big deal in the book that Peeta lost his leg because of the wolf bit but again it didn't happen in the movie. Another thing that I didn't like in the movie was that they omitted the scene when Katniss tells Peeta that she's not "sure" of her feelings for him, which sets up their romance (triangle?) for the next book. That something that could of take all of 2 minutes to put it. After the games in the movie it seemed like the directors rushed to end the movie because they were reaching the 3 hour mark. Its a shame because all the things I mention are what made the book and I was disappointed that they weren't in the movie.

So I am very happy that I gave this book and chance and read it. I can't wait to read the rest of the trilogy and see what happens.