The Hunger Games books

It feels like we have been working our way through quite a few dystopian stories lately but even after everything else that we have read I have to admit that our absolute favourite dystopian series has been the Hunger Games (I am talking books not movies). We loved the Divergent series, really loved it but the writing in the Hunger Games is just that bit more captivating. The way Suzanne Collins has crafted this entire trilogy, the way the characters develop, the manner that the events unfold and how small things that you read in the very first book come full circle in the third book, really exceptional writing.

Now I must confess I actually watched the moves first and although I enjoyed the movies I was not sure if I really wanted to do the book series with my kids, I was reluctant at first because it is essentially kids killing other kids. Then I spotted the first book at our local library, borrowed it and could not put it down. As much as I enjoyed the movies there are details that are missed in the movies but are in the books, details that just made everything seem that much more clearer and I started to really understand the characters and the dynamics and the themes.

After loving the first book I borrowed the next two and again I tore through them. So I suggested to my kids that we should read the first one as one of our family reads. They loved it and begged to read the other two books.

After we had read the books we did watch the movies, which both of my kids enjoyed, but my youngest did say that he was really glad that we read the books first. He felt that by reading the books he understood the decisions that Katniss made, why Katniss and Gale had such a deep friendship, why Haymitch is the way he is and even the final twist when the person who is suppose to be saving the country is actually not, he felt like those key elements were not truly explained in the movies.

Okay. Hunger Games concept – America does not exist but there is a Capital and 12 (used to be 13) districts that supply the Capital. The Capital is wealthy and people who live there have a life of excess, the districts are poor and life there is hard. Every year there is a game where one girl and one boy from each district is reaped and has to fight until the there is only one victor. In the first book Prim (the younger sister of Katniss) is reaped and Katniss volunteers to take her place. So the whole first book is about how Katniss and Peeta (the boy tribute from 12) fight to survive their game.

And the 2nd and 3rd book continue with Katniss as she has to fight again and again to stay alive (in another Hunger Games and in the rebellion).

One of the things that I really appreciated by this series is all three books are brilliant. Often in a series the first is exceptional and then the subsequent ones are not as good because the author end up repeating their formula and it reads like a poor copy. But in all three of these books, the relationships grow, the characters develop and the events unfold in unique ways. There is no formula that is repeated. All three books are exceptional stories which build on one another.

If you are going to read just one dystopian series then this is the one to read.

Age wise – I would definitely say for kids over 11 years and actually for a lot of kids it might be better to read this more around the age of 13/14. My son was 11 years old when we read it together but we read it together so I was explaining and talking about certain concepts, I would not have liked him to read this by himself at 11.

About ofamily

Home educating family based in the UK. We try to make learning fun
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