Cannonball Read IV

A bunch of Pajibans reading and reviewing and honoring AlabamaPink.

Archive for the tag “The Hunger Games”

Alli’s #CBR4 Review #39: The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins

I wasn’t immediately sold on reading “The Hunger Games”. I am one of those people who get turned off when something is too popular. However, having said that I do take into account the opinions of those that I value before making a final decision on something. I had heard only good things from those people and I was just waiting for the right time to dive into these books. I had started two books in the last month but neither really grabbed me. Also I am going through a transitional time at work and I also started going back to the gym, so I really needed a book that I knew I would enjoy and that would get me back on track and back on pace to finally finish my goal of 52 books in a year. So now here we are, back in love with reading and with 3 more books under my belt.

Read the rest on my blog

llp’s #CBR IV Review 12: Mockingjay by Suzanne Collins


I finished this book several months ago, and am regretfully so far behind in my reviews… Mockingjay was great, an excellent end to a very satisfying trilogy.

llp’s #CBR IV Review 11: Catching Fire by Suzanne Collins


Again, this series has been reviewed to death, but it is just so, so good.

llp’s #CBR IV Review 9: The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins

Like everyone else, I love this book. I borrowed it from a friend so that I could read it before I saw the movie, stayed up until 2 am to finish it, and then bought the boxed set the next day so that I didn’t have to wait forever and a day for the last two to come available at the library. It’s love.

narfna’s #CBR4 Review #34: The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins

I put off and put off the re-read of this series for as long as I could, but I finally gave in. I picked it up, read the first paragraph, and before I knew it I was accidentally fifty pages in, so I was just like, okay, fuck it: this is my Saturday (and Sunday and Monday for books two and three, as it turns out).

It’s funny how when you’re a a part of an online community how different pop culture can feel, and how things can trend with a certain group of people. Everything feels more personal. The online circles I tend to frequent are full of smart, geeky, enthusiastic wonderful people, and in those circles shit like The Hunger Games — intelligent thrill rides that you can finish off (or rather, that you HAVE to finish off) in a single sitting — tends to flourish. Unfortunately, that also means I have little beyond my own thoughts and experiences to add to the discussion. This book might just be the most reviewed book in this here Cannonball. Plus, with the release of the film, it’s Hunger Games fever out there.

I do have some things to say about reading this book for the second time, which was a much different experience than reading it for the first time. It’s the true test of a good book if it’s still enjoyable the second go-round even though you know what’s going to happen, and the Hunger Games series definitely holds up (I will even venture to say that it was better on re-read for me).

I had some issues with the writing the first time through, but because I’ve now spent so much time with these characters and this story, and I love them now, that was much less important to me this time. This time around it was less about what’s going to happen next and more about watching how this thing sets up the next thing, or how this other thing is paid off later, or how this other other thing reads completely different now that I know how that thing over there turns out. The narrative makes even more sense in retrospect, as does Katniss. Especially after the glut of YA dystopian/romances I’ve subjected myself to since reading this book for the first time, I really appreciate the Katniss of it all. Her particular brand of individual personhood is refreshing. She struggles with her feelings, and she doesn’t act like a typical character in a dystopian romance, bland and non-specific. She is three dimensional and has a definite personality, one that is wonderfully grating at times.

Actually, I think the love triangle gets too much play out here in the real world. This book is not about a love triangle; that’s just a secondary thing. Katniss’s love life is secondary, maybe even tertiary, both to the narrative and to her as a character. Obviously, her fake “love life” put on by the cameras is very much in the foreground, but in those moments we’re inside of Katniss’s head, it’s almost never about love. It’s about survival, and playing the game. Any real feelings she develops for Peeta or discovers about Gale are so muted and confused for her that she can’t even begin to sort them out until all of this is over for good. This is a war story, a story about how greed and spectacle are used to anesthitize the masses and keep the status quo, and sure it’s got love in it, maybe even as driving force, but not the kind of love that makes teenagers ask each other if they’re Team Peeta or Team Gale.

What surprised me the most about re-reading this book is how completely absorbing this story still is, despite having read it before, and despite having just seen the movie. It was just as un-put-downable as the first time I read it, and because I’ve internalized it, the story feels like it’s mine now. So yeah, I’m adding a star to my previous four star rating. I think the book has earned it.

[Link to original review here.]

Malin’s #CBR4 Review #26: Mockingjay by Suzanne Collins

This book is the third in The Hunger Games trilogy and this review WILL contain spoilers for both The Hunger Games (Book 1) and Catching Fire (Book 2). So skip over this if you’ve managed to avoid the series so far. You really should read the books, though. : )

Katniss Everdeen has survived not one, but two Hunger Games, and is now a wanted criminal. Her home district in Panem has been completely destroyed, but luckily her best friend Gale and her family, as well as a few hundred survivors have been rescued and taken to the believed to be destroyed District 13. While Katniss is still alive, she’s not allowed any respite. The survivors of District 13 have rebuilt their civilization underground, and manage to feed, clothe, train and educate everyone through rigid order. They are now in open rebellion against the Capitol and want Katniss to help them mobilize the rest of the country by operating as a figurehead and symbol, the Mockingjay.

“My name is Katniss Everdeen. I am seventeen years old. My home is District 12. I was in the Hunger Games. I escaped. The Capitol hates me. Peeta was taken prisoner. He is thought to be dead. Most likely he is dead. It is possibly best if he is dead…”

While Katniss was rescued from the 75th Hunger Games by District 13, Peeta was not, and it turns out that there are fates worse than death. Peeta appears to support the cause of the Capitol, and begs Katniss and the rebels to agree to a peace treaty. Katniss agrees to be the Mockingjay on the condition that Peeta (and some of the other surviving Hunger Games contestants unaccounted for) be rescued, and not executed as traitors. Until he is, it’s quite obvious that President Snow is torturing him specifically to try to break Katniss’ spirit, and through her the rebellion.

Is Katniss right to agree to be a figure head for a civil war she wants no part of? While she has survived the Hunger Game arena twice, it’s quite clear that war, politics and propaganda are just as deadly a game to traverse, and she has to make sure her loved ones are safe. She lives with the knowledge that District 12 was destroyed in retaliation of her actions, that Peeta is being tortured because of her, and that if she steps a foot out of line as figurehead, she could endanger the lives of the loved ones she has left. Unable to truly trust anyone, she has to make the best of a dreadful situation, and hope that things turn out right in the end.

While I thought that Catching Fire became a bit of a rehash of the first book in the series, Collins takes the book and her heroine in a different direction in Mockingjay. The districts of Panem are now in open rebellion, and while the first books had fights to the death as televised entertainment and a way to keep the population cowed and contolled, this book depicts full on civil war. Katniss is still so young, but forced to make nearly impossible decisions, to keep herself and her loved ones safe. She’s racked with guilt about Peeta, who’s being tortured and brainwashed by the Capitol and President Snow. She feels conflicted towards Gale, who seems to excel  and thrive at guerilla warfare and advanced weapons development. She knows that District 13 and its President need her to act as figurehead, but that also that because of her popularity, she may not live long once the war is over, no matter what side emerges victorious.

I didn’t have books like this when I was a teenager, that’s for sure. I kept putting off reading Mockingjay because the previous two books were so dark, and I had heard this one was especially bleak. However, The Hunger Games trilogy are now the publishing phenomena of the season, with a very good film adaptation in the cinemas, and teenagers everywhere devouring the books. Three of the teenage girls I teach claimed that they couldn’t do their homework properly (which among other things, involves writing a reading log), because they were worried they were going to spoil the book for me. Obviously, I can’t give my pupils excuses to skip their homework, so I devoured the book in the course of a weekend, and can now with authority join in the discussion of whether Team Peeta or Team Gale should win. I certainly think teenage girls (and boys) have much better role models in these books than they get in the Twilight books. Collins certainly can’t be accused of underestimating the intelligence or maturity levels of teens, and teens today could do much worse than reading and discussing these books. A very good (if bleak) ending to an engrossing series.

Originally posted on my blog:


Even Stevens’s #CBR4 review #7: The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins

I re-read The Hunger Games in anticipation of the movie coming out this weekend. This is actually my fourth time reading the book, I believe, and I’m pretty sure at this point everyone and their mother has been bombarded by The Hunger Games or knows someone who loves it, so this is going to be more of an informal review and my general musings on why I love this book so very, very much. As a bonus, I also followed Mark Reads through each chapter as he experienced The Hunger Games for the first time. That added an extra, very fun layer to re-reading the book.

Please note: Spoilers lie ahead

First and foremost, I think that every single time I read the book, as soon as I put it down I forget just how brutal some of this stuff is. The basic story is that what was formerly known as North America suffered a crippling civil war, in which the common people tried to rise up against the government and lost, and now the government keeps each of the districts (the areas that emerged after the war) in check by keeping them hungry and forcing 24 teenagers (2 from each of the 12 districts) to fight to the death. The added insulting and dehumanizing aspect is that these games are treated much like the Olympics and people are expected to revel in the games and the death of these children. Seriously, I don’t know how I forget how brutal this is, but I seem to manage it every time.

What struck me last time I read the series, and was even more apparent this time, was that Katniss, while pretty bad ass, can be a hard character to connect with. I completely understand why she is how she is, she’s a survivor and has to act as such, but man can she be frustrating! It’s most definitely Peeta that humanizes her here (and even more so later in the series). Katniss and Peeta’s relationship is also one of my favorite literary relationships. There’s so much there: respect, admiration, love, a shared horror in the Games. Their relationship ties in seamlessly with the story and while it has some bumps, it’s well earned. Also? My favorite part of reading along with Mark Reads was his dubbing Katniss and Peeta “Katpee” or “Peenis.” I could not stop giggling (yes I have the humor of a 12-year-old boy on occasion).

Many have accused Collins of having a choppy, too-direct style of writing, but I think it serves the Games perfectly and I think those descriptors sell her short; there is so much to consider in her story: brutality and oppression, class differences, the war-like mentality that can develop from the games (it gets downright Lord of the Flies-ish in some parts), power and who wields it… there’s just so much. And if Collins does one thing exceeding well, it’s write action and suspense. There are some parts that still give me tingles and having seen some of the movie promos, I’ve gotten actual chills; I choose to think it looks so good because of the strength of the source material.

I also noticed some foreshadowing for the future books a little more prominently, aside from the obvious rebellion plot points. For instance, we get a couple of examples of how Katniss handles trauma and extreme stress: she tends to shut down and shut it out. That most certainly plays into the story later, and I liked seeing the setup here.

And oh man, Rue. Rue still gets me, even on the fourth read. I lied, Peeta isn’t the only thing that humanizes Katniss. In fact, I think Rue might even edge Peeta out in that area. Katniss is her strongest and most relatable when she’s acting in defense of those she loves and the development of her relationship with Rue, and her handling of Rue’s eventual death is both sweet and heartbreaking.

This remains one of my favorite books of all time, and most certainly hold up on a re-read (or several). Also, if you have the time, do yourself a favor and check out Mark Reads.

taralovesbooks’ #CBR4 Review #6: The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins

Cannonball Read IV: Book #6/52
Published: 2008
Pages: 388
Genre: Young Adult/Dystopian

I first read this book back when it was first released and loved it. I was already a fan of the Japanese novel Battle Royale(which I need to read again) and this was a similar plot, although a little watered down for the teens. I decided to reread it before I see the movie in March.

Katniss (ohhh how I loathe her name) lives in District Twelve in the dystopian society known as Panem. Each year, every district has to draw the names of a boy and a girl teenager to participate in The Hunger Games. In the Games, they all will fight and kill each other until only one person is left alive. Supposedly this is a way to keep the districts in order, but I still don’t really get how that works. I figure they’d just be MORE likely to form an uprising if you keep killing their kids. Oh well, we can overlook that since there’d be no story otherwise.

Siege’s #CBR4 #3: The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins

In which Siege gets sucked into The Hunger Games, despite her best efforts.

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