Review: Hunger Games Leaving Us Hungry For More?

The Hunger Games

Suzanne Collins

[xrrgroup][xrr rating=4/5]
[xrr rating=4/5 imageset=grenade label=Manliness:][/xrrgroup]

 

 

Bad pun aside, I should probably clarify the title of this post. Overwhelmingly, the Ultra Manly contributors all gave The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins a great score. To risk ridicule and insults due to the popularity of this series, I gotta say it: we had a problem with the trilogy in its entirety. I’ll spend most of this post talking about the first book, as it’s our official Ultra Manly Book Club book, but I’ll touch on our problem with the trilogy at the end.

As a stand alone book, The Hunger Games does not disappoint. While written for young adults, the book should be enjoyable to anyone at any age (like most great Young Adult books are). I should also point out that the Ultra Manly Book Club doesn’t worry about the gender of the author, as some of our favorite Ultra Manly books are written by women. As a whole, the story was entertaining and intense enough to force you to keep turning the page long after your bed time. The book is filled with diverse and interesting characters: some easy to root for, some easy to root for their untimely death. All in all, I can’t imagine anyone regretting reading the book. In fact, this may be the best book discussion we’ve had as an Ultra Manly Book Club.

Book Club Snap Shot

(Hover over names for ratings and recaps.)

[tippy title=”APC” width=”900″ header=”off”]
I thought hunger games trilogy was a thrilling, edge-of-my-seat page turner. the distant-future America that Collins creates is genius and well thought out. the first book is the strongest, and I certainly was anticipating a more thrilling conclusion than we were given at the end of Mockingjay. Also, there were times when the teenage girl romance triangle got obnoxious. I'm all for a good blossoming love story amid a terrific story, but this one got annoying after a while. but overall, amazing and fun read (took me 4 days to finish the entire trilogy) - clearly written for young adults, but that doesn't mean it isn't enjoyable.
[/tippy]
[tippy title=”Cory” width=”900″ header=”off”]
Yep, my #1 man book is a first person novel from a chick’s perspective. But man, this book is nuts. It’s a pos-tapocalyptic(ish) book about how the Capital chooses one boy and one girl from the 12 districts left of Panem (what used to be North America) to fight in an arena to the death. The one survivor wins. That’s freakin’ epic.
[/tippy]
[tippy title=”Dave” width=”900″  header=”off”]
If you are looking for an entertaining read after your afternoon bungee jump, this will make your blood flow. It'll drive your adrenaline through hand to hand fights, rotten deaths, and wooded hunting adventures. I offer you a macho-caution though, you must realize that as you sweat the battles, there is a 13 year old girl twitterpating the kisses between Katniss's indeciciveness and her Twilight-esque boyfriends. This is equal parts manly blood bath and teenage heart-throb romance.
[/tippy]
[tippy title=”Graham” width=”900″  header=”off”]
...Kids are forced to compete to the death in a futuristic, post-apocolyptic America. An older sister steps up to take the place of her younger sister when her name is drawn. It makes Rambo's childhood seem docile & nurturing. Loved it...
[/tippy]
[tippy title=”John” width=”800″  header=”off”]
For me this series was all about entertainment. The first book delivers on the promise. The next two fall short. However, the idea, the setting, the heart of the story still intrigue me, and I recommend the series. Best series you'll ever read? Not by far. Worth the week or so it will take you to complete it? Definitely.
[/tippy]
[tippy title=”Luke” width=”800″  header=”off”]
The books were pretty entertaining for the most part, so-so writing, a little drawn out in parts (first half of book 2 especially), annoying love triangle, and a somewhat annoying main character. A love triangle as a main driving force of the series–not manly.
[/tippy]

What We Liked:

  • Obviously, the concept of the Hunger Games should appeal to any man’s sensibilities.  A fight to the death in a giant, wooded arena sets a great backdrop for any book for men.  Add in strange/inventive deaths and weapons and we’ll be generally hooked.
  • The action built with more and more momentum throughout the book.  The end of the games is the kind of ending that inspires and sets the stage for an epic showdown within the rest of the series.
  • In general, the characters developed well throughout the book. The glaring exception to that is the main character, Katniss, who stayed (in our eyes) pretty much the same as when we met her in the beginning.
  • Haymitch, Katniss’ mentor, is awesome in general.  By far the most loved character.  A funny, tough, lovable SOB if there ever was one.

What We Didn’t Like:

  • The book focuses way to much on an immature love triangle.  Every kiss, every thought that Katniss has about her feelings screamed immaturity.  It reflects both on Katniss’ age (she’s only 16) and Suzanne Collin’s failure to keep the romance from feeling cheesy.  Too Twilighty
  • Katniss.  It seems weird to like a book as much as we did, but dislike the main character.  Our main problem with Katniss was that she never matured or developed throughout the book.  Again, most of this comes from her unwillingness to make mature decisions when it comes to her feelings.
  • The book didn’t end right after the games were over.  The series peaked at the end of the first book, and took us on a constant downhill ride throughout the next two books.

Overall, we loved the first book (8 out of 10 is pretty good), we just wished it was left at that.  The rest of the series was still very entertaining, you can’t go wrong with a second games that features a new hero whose weapon is a freaking Trident.  It just left us wanting.  The main problem was that the first book set up the story so well, that anything less than a truly epic adventure would disappoint.  The next two books focused too much on the (still frustrating) love triangle and action sequences that were just a little too ridiculous.  A young adult reader or someone reading solely for the action, probably wouldn’t notice the slide in the last two books.  But as Ultra Manly Men who actually do care a little bit about character and plot development, we saw the flaws.

Even though we threw up in our mouths a bit with the love stuff and were disappointed in the last two books, The Hunger Games is still a great read.

About zach

Staring out across the hazy mountain range on his latest summitting of Mt. Kilimanjaro, Zach saw with a clearness he had not yet seen. "People should tremble at the very sound of my name", he thought. And it was so. "I should master the manly arts of the world, such as barehanded hunting and blacksmithing". And it was so. "People should call me Z$". And it was so.

Currently Reading

-The Great Gatsby by F Scott Fitzgerald
-The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern
-Twitter for Good by Claire Diaz Ortiz

Comments

  1. Two grenades Luke? C’mon, there are definitely some things that take way from the manliness, but the whole book is centered on a fight to the death. That’s gotta count for something!

    Unless your two grenades was for the entire trilogy and not just the first book. But still pretty low…

  2. that was a rating for the whole series–i’d give the first book higher. but i said it in my mini-review, stealing from twilight and having an annoying adolescent love triangle as your driving force throughout the series: not manly. if the story was really more about the games and about the colonies fighting against the capitol, then it would be higher too. but the way it was written was that those things were just the platform for the romance.

  3. where does one even begin with this? i for one LOVED it…all of it, even the stupid love triangle…because, being a woman who was not too long ago a teenager i understood the nuances of katniss’ reactions and thought processes and actually appreciated the overall self-discovery as she saw others react to her. she learned about herself throughout the process and you see that slight molding throughout the three books…to end with her being who she is, not someone that the many around her wanted her to be…and not only being who she is, but feeling strong in that. that entire understory made me love the book even more.

    and the idea that collins came up with, just the premises of the book is fascinating…i read the entire series two times in a row, just to ponder and think about this future idea. really captivating.

    had two of my stronger english seniors read it in my advanced english class…it was amazing the impact it had on them…not only their reaction to the book but how it spurred them on to being more active readers in the other classwork.

    definitely one of my favorites.

    • Good points, Sarah. Your comments go to show the difference between how guys and girls read and view books. While I really enjoyed the books and see why some people would love them, there were definitely some negatives for me that would be positives for others.

  4. So interesting to think about how different men and women are…how each has the ability to see and analyze and appreciate things are so many different view points. i’d love to hear what kristen thought of it 🙂 hello to you all and hope you are well.

  5. Firstly, the premise of the series is NOT a love triangle, it’s about the violence of the capital and the wicked-awesome gladiatoresque games they made children be a part of. But yes, by the third book I found myself secretly wanting to kick Katniss in the face for her inner-monologue. And yes, the third book was so hard to read because it wasn’t even close to as brilliant as the first novel (the 2nd one was ok, but it would have been totally redeemed if there was a half-decent 3rd one). I just pretend there was only one Hunger Games written, and therefore it was incredibly epic. #LukeSecretlyLovesTwilight

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