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Friday, September 24, 2010

The Hunger Games AND Catching Fire by Suzanne Collins - BOOK REVIEWS

Title:  The Hunger Games
Author:  Suzanne Collins
Publisher: Scholastic
Publish Date:  January, 2009
Paperback, 454 pages
ISBN:  9781407109084 

Good Reads description: In a dark vision of the near future, a terrifying reality TV show is taking place. Twelve boys and twelve girls are forced to appear in a live event called the Hunger Games. There is only one rule: kill or be killed.

When sixteen-year-old Katniss Everdeen steps forward to take her sister's place in the games, she sees it as a death sentence. But Katniss has been close to death before. For her, survival is second nature.



Title:  Catching Fire
Author:  Suzanne Collins
Publisher: Scholastic
Publish Date:  September, 2009
Hardcover, 391 pages
ISBN:  9780439023498 

Good Reads description:  Against all odds, Katniss Everdeen has won the annual Hunger Games with fellow district tribute Peeta Mellark. But it was a victory won by defiance of the Capitol and their harsh rules. Katniss and Peeta should be happy. After all, they have just won for themselves and their families a life of safety and plenty. But there are rumors of rebellion among the subjects, and Katniss and Peeta, to their horror, are the faces of that rebellion. The Capitol is angry. The Capitol wants revenge. 

My Take:  Yes, I know ... why am I just now getting around to reviewing these? :)

Well, back in July, I won a copy of this book from Feed Your Reading Habit. It had been on my TBR list for some time, but even then, I held off on buying it because .. I don't know ... maybe I have some sort of aversion to wildly popular books ... sometimes I think things like, "Anything that has such mass appeal is probably sophomoric and wouldn't hold MY interest"...well, except for Stephen King ... I love me some Stephen King!  Reading his stuff is like literary crack for me .. just can't help it.  Where was I?  Oh!  Once I started working again, I treated myself to a couple or three book shopping sprees which resulted in ALSO having "Catching Fire".  The weekend that "Mockingjay" came out, I finally sat down to read these two.

I ended up propping my feet up on the couch and only getting up to refill my coffee and to go to the restroom (my daughter cooked and brought my plate in to me).  That was Saturday afternoon.  I finished BOTH books within 24 hours of starting.  I had to take a break to sleep (which kind of made me angry at a body that for some reason DEMANDED that I take a break), woke up, washed my body, brushed my teeth, brewed some more coffee and went right back at it.  I was done before 11 AM.

I can't say anything in my review that hasn't been said all over the place ... I LOVED these books!  I loved Catching Fire only slightly less than The Hunger Games, but the cliffhanger ending left me wanting Mockingjay RIGHT THEN AND THERE!

But .. I waited until Tuesday (payday) and went on yet ANOTHER mini book-buying spree, which netted not only Mockingjay, but "The Girl Who Played With Fire" and "The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo" (the only reason I didn't get "The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet's Nest" is because it was only on the shelf in hardcover, and I wanted all of the books to match each other).  You see, reading The Hunger Games' first two books made me realize that maybe .. just maybe .. sometimes mass market appeal means that the books are actually GOOD .. in this case, better than good.

I was totally caught up in the dystopian world that Katniss finds herself in.  I could feel how she felt, learning to hunt in order to feed her family while her mom "abandoned" her and her little sister to the depression she fell into after her husband's death.

I applauded her sacrifice at "the reaping".  I cried with her when she lost a friend in "The Game".  I got a glimpse of what the mockingjay might symbolize to the districts at large, then much more than a glimpse in "Catching Fire".  I felt Katniss' confusion and betrayal in "Catching Fire"..when she should have had no more worries.

If you haven't read these books, and you like fantasy, drama, sci-fi, suspense, and even mystery mixed with hints of romance - READ THEM!

Seriously, go out and buy them right now.  If they are sitting in your TBR pile, go ahead and indulge .. just make certain you don't have any plans that involve budging from your favorite reading spot for a while!

The Hunger Games Sample Chapter download (PDF file)
Catching Fire Sample Chapter download (PDF file)

Book Rating:  4.75 out of 5 stars (5 stars for "The Hunger Games"; 4.5 stars for "Catching Fire")

BUY THEM:  At Amazon, and other on and offline booksellers.

Disclaimer:  I won a copy of "The Hunger Games" from Feed Your Reading Habit, who requested that I write a review in exchange.  "Catching Fire" was a personal purchase.  All opinions expressed are my honest opinion, and I received no compensation for this review.

10 comments:

  1. Such a memorable series! I haven't reviewed them either, or finished the series for that matter, but I definitely will. I like to review and feature debut books or lesser known books to give them some air time, and that takes up most of my reading time, but I will be reading Mockingjay as soon as I get some down time!

    ReplyDelete
  2. I haven't read this series either, even though as you said it is wildly popular. I have them on my wish list though and eventually I'll get around to it LOL...

    Great review!

    ReplyDelete
  3. I'm glad you really enjoyed them. I loved The Hunger Games as well, the series is so well written. I read them when the hype first started and I was so glad I read them. Enjoy Mockingjay!

    ReplyDelete
  4. GIRL! I just did the same thing this week too! I thought I'd die if I didn't finish them

    I'll wait till you're through Mockingjay and then we can RAVE and RANT! Don't read the Mockingjay review yet until you're done. I don't have any spoilers but just hold off on reading it on Aisle B until you finish it.

    Holding off buying the last Hornet book until I see it on sale... Yes I've got the other 2 just waiting.

    I swear makes me want to major kick myself in the head for waiting.. What was I waiting for??

    Great review and so what team are you?? Team Peeta or Team Gale??

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  5. @Aisle B: Right now, I'm Team Gale ... BUT .. my daughter is reading Mockingjay and without giving me any spoilers, she says that he acts like a butthead in Mockingjay, so that may change! LOL!

    I went to a Poetry Slam last night ... at a bookstore ... and, of course, I can't go into a bookstore without buying at least ONE book .. so I ended up getting the last Larssen book (in hardback, which doesn't match my paperback copies of the others) and one of the Diary of a Wimpy Kid books for Bebe Boy James.

    I thought about adding it to my 24-hour-readathon pile, then actually looked and said, "Um .. no ... I think I'm good" :)

    Which team are you after Mockingjay? And did YOUR team change as you read?

    ReplyDelete
  6. @Carolina Valdez Miller - I also like to review lesser known (but worthy) books, because word-of-mouth gets them out there and more widely known. :) But I ALSO have a big table full of TBR books that ARE more widely known, so I've decided to mix it up a little :)

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  7. Hey Julie, Glad you finally got around to posting the review. It's always nice toget a follow up review from our competition winners. I finished the last book in the series, Mockingjay, a couple of weeks ago. Though I really loved the series, the ending was a bit flat for me, but I won't spoil it for anyone. I will go and post a link to your review from my site right now!!

    Amber
    Ambire Secondhand Books
    http://www.readinghabit.com.au
    http://feedyourreadinghabit.blogspot.com

    ReplyDelete
  8. Hey Julie, Glad you finally got around to posting the review. It's always nice toget a follow up review from our competition winners. I finished the last book in the series, Mockingjay, a couple of weeks ago. Though I really loved the series, the ending was a bit flat for me, but I won't spoil it for anyone. I will go and post a link to your review from my site right now!!

    Amber
    Ambire Secondhand Books
    http://www.readinghabit.com.au
    http://feedyourreadinghabit.blogspot.com

    ReplyDelete
  9. Such a memorable series! I haven't reviewed them either, or finished the series for that matter, but I definitely will. I like to review and feature debut books or lesser known books to give them some air time, and that takes up most of my reading time, but I will be reading Mockingjay as soon as I get some down time!

    ReplyDelete
  10. I'm glad you really enjoyed them. I loved The Hunger Games as well, the series is so well written. I read them when the hype first started and I was so glad I read them. Enjoy Mockingjay!

    ReplyDelete

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