Book Review: The Hunger Games Trilogy by Suzanne Collins

by Jenn (eating bender) on March 20, 2012

I picked up a copy of The Hunger Games on a whim last summer. Less than one week later, I had plowed my way through all three books. It’s no secret that I love young adult books – Harry Potter and Twilight, anyone? – but this was the first series I had come across with a dystopian edge. In honor of the movie coming out this Friday, I thought it was about time I shared a review!


In Short

Read these books if you enjoy action, adventure, a little romance and, most interestingly, a somewhat bone-chilling view of a “future” world. As my sister-in-law put it, these books are 1984 dystopia meets Lord of the Flies savagery, with a thoroughly modern twist. They also reminded me a lot of the gladiator games, which the author herself has said was an inspiration. What I found most enjoyable was the amount of detail Suzanne Collins uses. She is incredibly effective at creating her own world, much like Hogwarts or any other fictional place where anything goes and unlimited things can happen. I always find it impressive when an author is able to paint a broad and vivid picture of what she has created, and Suzanne Collins is no exception. The reader is thoroughly transported to “Panem” every time they pick up the book.

The Details

The Hunger Games trilogy is told from the perspective of 16-year-old Katniss Everdeen, a girl who lives in “District 12,” one of the (formerly) 13 districts that make up the nation known as “Panem.” Panem is essentially what is left of the continent of North America in the future, after the current world has been destroyed. It also has a Capitol, a rich and luxurious city by comparison to all the districts, that exudes power over the entire nation. To punish the districts for a previous rebellion, the Capitol forces one boy and one girl from each of the remaining 12 (the 13th was destroyed during the rebellion) to participate in the “Hunger Games” each year. The Games are televised for the entire nation to see. Its participants, called “tributes,” must fight to the death in a dangerous arena until only one remains. As you can probably guess, Katniss ultimately becomes one of the tributes through a series of unfortunate circumstances, and the books take off from there.

There is a fair share of violence and gore that comes along with games that fight to the death, but the book also has a lot of both humorous and sweet moments. The character development is incredible – you will come to know names like Peeta, Gale, Haymitch, Cinna and more. Her creativity with these names – have you ever met someone named Cinna? – gives you a peek into the creativity of the entire series. The three titles are The Hunger Games, Catching Fire and Mockingjay.

If you haven’t read The Hunger Games trilogy yet, I recommend doing so immediately. :) I know that several of you mentioned them in my book giveaway, so I’ll be very excited to hear what you think once you finally do read them.


Have you read The Hunger Games trilogy already? If so, what did you think?


1 Molly March 20, 2012 at 10:25 am

I love the trilogy!

2 Jenn (eating bender) March 20, 2012 at 2:51 pm

Woo! :)

3 Judi Nadreau (@JudiNadreau) March 20, 2012 at 10:42 am

It’s been a while since I’ve read The Hunger Games Trilogy so I can’t go into detail. I know I love the fast action and characters. I was really not thrilled about the theme of children killing children. My main disappointment however was the ending. I felt the series ended rather flatly without much imagination. That would be my only dissention.

My grandson read the book at age 12 and I was concerned about having him read about such violence between children but my daughter said it was ok. I guess things are different nowadays.

4 Jenn (eating bender) March 20, 2012 at 2:56 pm

Thanks for the thoughtful comment, Judi. I definitely understand your hesitation with the violence, and know that it is not something everyone would want their kids to read. I also agree that the ending was not exactly as I envisioned. There were a few loose ends I wanted to be tied up better than they were, but overall the fast pace and excitement of the rest of the series made up for it in my mind.

I’m glad you shared – thanks again!

5 Erica March 20, 2012 at 10:50 am

There is SO much buzz about this right now! It sounds intriguing. Even this non-reader may pick up the first book to give it a go!
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6 Jenn (eating bender) March 20, 2012 at 3:05 pm

You must!! I promise you won’t regret it. :) I know a few non-readers who are as obsessed as I am!

7 Cara (Twinthusiast) March 20, 2012 at 11:08 am

When I first saw the movie preview where the voice counts down the seconds until they’re all in the arena, I literally had knots in my stomach. Makes me think that the movie will do a good job representing the books :)
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8 Jenn (eating bender) March 20, 2012 at 3:06 pm

I felt the same way! Can’t wait for our girl’s outing.

9 Kelli H (Made in Sonoma) March 20, 2012 at 3:21 pm

I also felt the same way watching the trailer!
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10 Jenn (eating bender) March 22, 2012 at 10:44 am

:) :) :) :) :)

11 Glenneth March 20, 2012 at 11:18 am

I have ready the trilogy and am looking forward to the movie. I must admit, I had a hard time getting into book 1. After a few chapters, I thought the pace picked up and then I loved it.
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12 Jenn (eating bender) March 20, 2012 at 3:12 pm

I’m glad you kept going! :) I agree the first part is slow when compared to the rest of the action.

13 Kelli H (Made in Sonoma) March 20, 2012 at 3:20 pm

great review! I loved the trilogy and can’t wait to see it this weekend!
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14 Jen @nutcaseinpoint March 20, 2012 at 6:42 pm

I’m 1/3 into Mockingjay…I can’t get enough!

15 Jenn (eating bender) March 22, 2012 at 10:44 am

Woohoo! You’ll have to let me know what you think of the ending!

16 BroccoliHut March 20, 2012 at 8:39 pm

Thanks SO much for posting this! I was just considering whether I wanted to read these books–there’s a discount for buying the whole trilogy in the Kindle store right now. After reading this, I can feel confident that I’ll like the whole series :)
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17 Jenn (eating bender) March 22, 2012 at 10:45 am

YES! It truly makes my day that I was able to convince you to get the series. :) Let me know what you think when you’re done!

18 Caroline March 21, 2012 at 6:44 am

I LOVE the Hunger Games. I just read them all earlier this year and I can’t wait to see the movie! They reminded me of 1984, too. I think the whole idea of the “future world” was one of my favorite parts of the books.
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19 Jenn (eating bender) March 22, 2012 at 10:45 am

Mine too!!

20 cherie May 5, 2012 at 4:33 am

i just want to talk about the ending. i could not decide how the author wanted me to feel and i was not so much as confused about the plot but more so about the relationships i suppose. maybe i’ve read too many books and like a happy endings where i know what people are up to, but it ended so abrubtly within 4 pages that i am still left thinking about it and it’s been 4 days. can you tell me how you felt at the end please

21 Brian June 20, 2012 at 2:21 pm

To Cherie….I feel the same way about the ending. Very, very disappointed. It kind of comes out of nowhere and several things are left without closure. Even the eventual reunion with Peeta is a “Oh by the way….they get back together….and this happens”. It’s as if she was up against a time deadline and just finished the book in 30 minutes.

What happens to Haymitch? District 12? The Capitol?

I was rooting for Gale, but halfway through book 3 I knew he wouldn’t win her heart. The war had changed Gale and Katniss view on the world and humanity.

In the end, Gale goes to another district and just never reaches out to Katniss again? I can imagine why, the whole bomb-prim connection (to much pain), but I’m supposed to assume that? He just moves on? Even his capture in the final assault was kind of lame.

I didn’t expect Gale to end up with Katniss. The capital had turned his heart black and full of anger. Not the type Katniss would be with in the end. Heck, all they did is argue. Their relationship as more than friends was broken.

Katniss just lets her mom live in another district? The mom doesn’t want to be with her lone surviving child? They don’t talk or visit?

Is Katniss just mentally insane?

Who was Boggs referring to when he said “Trust noone. Kill Peeta. Don’t go back”? What was the point of his message?

Bottom line, the ending was just horrible. I’m also a sucker for happy endings…or at least well thought out endings. Pretty much everyone dies without a good reason. They spare Gale but he just moves to another district? I would rather have seen him die to save Katniss or Peeta or Prim.

I’m rambling. I know. This ending is a headscratching disaster.

22 Joni July 2, 2012 at 10:47 am

COMPLETELY agree!!! That’s the first thing I thought – she was up against a deadline and abruptly ended the series without much thought. I could not stand the ending either. Hoping that they change it for a better ‘Hollywood’ ending in the movies…

23 Brian June 20, 2012 at 2:23 pm

Seeing the way this ends, I would rather one of them had died in the original Hunger games and not have a trilogy. Ugh. Disappointing.

24 Mike September 2, 2012 at 3:23 am

Honestly I loved the ending. (I’ve just finished Catching Fire for the second time and I’m about to start Mockingjay for the second time). I’m so glad Suzanne Collins didn’t try to explain everything at the end. The main characters, especially Katniss, are people who for over a year have been waking up most nights with nightmares, and they are never going to be fully sane again. In addition to that, Katniss’ point of view has always been reflective of her attitude which was has always been a bit impetuous and not analysing everything that happens. There is clearly more that happened in the resolution, but it wouldn’t make sense if we (the audience) heard about it from Katniss POV. Her self-imposed mission in the final third of the book is a complete failure by any measure, but the way it falls apart is instructive to why she acts as she does in the end. War never resolves neatly, and it was clearly hinted that the leaders of the rebellion had the potential to be just as bad as President Snow. So she acted impulsively to change that, but it’s not like she was ever going to be put in a position of power (nor did she aspire to that). Gale will forever in her mind be associated with what happened to Prim, and if she had had a personality more like Peeta she might have been able to be introspective and eventually forgive him, but that was never going to happen because of who she is. Everything about the ending is utterly perfect if you consider the fact that it’s Katniss telling the story: a character who is clearly flawed but people love her anyway. What crimes she commits are forgiven because of her larger heroism. So much to think about and I’m still going, but I’ll stop writing here :)

25 Adi October 16, 2012 at 11:57 pm

These books are the best I’ve read in a while!!!! I really hope that Susanne Collins will want to extend this triology, you know what I mean! This series should get as huge as the Harry Potter series, I just can’t believe it on how Susanne Collins develops a world beyond our imagination and how the characters transform. Sometimes I literally start questioning myself, “What if this will be our future??”. Susanne really alerted our minds and at moments I even enjoyed how with the ever-growing technology Susanne shows the developing villages. Over all, I just LOVE these books!

26 jordy November 27, 2012 at 7:51 pm

I have read each book 4 times and i agree that the ending could have been a little better but if you read it over and over again you start to see that the way i ends coincides with Katniss. Her personality, her love life, her friendship with Gale, and the love for Prim and hate to the capitol after prim dies this all goes with the ending. The ending pretty much says that Katniss loves Peeta crazy or not and she is not going to give up on him as for Gale i knew since book one they weren’t meant to be, the part about her mom confuses me because why would a mom leave right after her daughter finishes a quarter quell and a war against the Capitol and Prims death. Well imma read it again see if i could get something out of this :D.

27 Lily December 2, 2012 at 7:35 am

I have a 12 year old daughter who read and loved this trilogy, she also loved the movies. She actually read the books before she went to bed some nights, and they helped her sleep better(???).

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