My name is Tamara Welch and today I am writing a review of The Hunger Games Trilogy for the Man Vs Books Club!
I probably should be slightly embarrassed to admit that as an adult how much I love The Hunger Games trilogy. Actually, a better phrase would be practically obsessed with the trilogy. I read through these books quickly, and enjoyed them so much, I started raving about the books to all my friends. The storyline kept me on the edge of my seat, the sheer amount of emotions the trilogy evokes (seriously, I felt I was on an emotional rollercoaster), and action, romance, role models, and a greater message- if the reader is willing to listen.
At first, like others, I scoffed at the idea of reading a story about a dystopian society. I felt it was going to be “too out there” for me. My brother had read the trilogy and he was quite insistent that I read the books. He wanted someone to discuss the books with, so I told him I would read the books. Still, I could not bring myself to read it; but then the previews were out for the movie, he was still insisting, and I just gave in. I was so glad I did. This trilogy is now one of my favorite book sets. While the book is targeted at the younger set, adults will find there is much for them to enjoy about The Hunger Games trilogy.
The Hunger Games
The Hunger Games was ordered by the Capitol to punish the Districts of Panem for the uprising they attempted many years ago. Because of that, each District has to send a boy and girl tribute to fight in a winner take all death match that is staged in an arena that holds many dangers besides the other 23 people trying to kill each other.
It is Reaping Day in the Districts of Panem. The unthinkable happens and Primrose, Katniss Everdeen’s sister, is chosen. Katniss without thinking volunteers in Prim’s place. Shortly, Katniss finds out the boy tribute is Peeta Mellark. Since Peeta did her a kindness years ago and she’s never found a way to thank him- it’s unsettling to her that he was chosen as male tribute. Katniss and Peeta quickly learn that while the Hunger Games is about winner takes all, it’s also about the show that can be put on- the best outfits, make-up and personality. The Gamemakers want a show that the Capitol people can fully enjoy, people to root for, people to despise. The Gamemakers also have no problem manufacturing conflict or creating a dangerous event to add drama to The Hunger Games. Without Katniss’s knowledge, Peeta and Haymitch plan a scheme where Peeta claims to have a crush on Katniss. Thereby making them the star-crossed lovers of District 12 and generating a good show for the Capitol- which will help them get sponsors.
During The Hunger Games, there are alliances, possible betrayals, and chances to show the audience why they should bet on particular tributes. In the past, other tributes have used certain ploys to help them win; but it’s the star crossed lovers that are the game changers. Due to them, halfway through the Games, it is announced that if the last 2 tributes remaining are from the same District, both can win. Katniss and Peeta use this rule to their advantage- both of them helping each other, knowing that with each tribute’s death- victory and going home to District 12 is much closer. They have several obstacles, plus the star crossed lover’s angle gives Katniss trouble at times because she’s unsure of how she feels about Peeta.
Finally after a grueling night where the Gamemakers set up a particularly horrible show down between Katniss, Peeta, Cato and a pack of mutts, Cato dies- leaving Katniss and Peeta as the remaining tributes. Sure that victory is theirs; they are horrified to learn that the earlier revision of the rule change has been revoked. Only one can go back to District 12. Both Katniss and Peeta are tired and wounded, and they make the case to one another as to who should go home. Katniss, in a fit of desperation and anger at being a pawn in the Hunger Games because she realizes the Gamemakers have set them up to give the Capitol the biggest show, realizes that either 2 tributes can win or no tribute can win. She gambles on the fact that the Game Makers would rather have 2 winners than none. Katniss pulls out some nightlock berries, she and Peeta take a handful- hold their hands out and as they begin to put them in their mouths, Claudius Templesmith hurriedly announces “Stop, Stop- I give you the 2 winners of the 74th Hunger Games- Katniss Everdeen and Peeta Mellark!”
Katniss and Peeta have won the Hunger Games, but with the nightlock berries, they have made fools of the Gamemakers and President Snow. By doing this, will life be worth living for the victors? Katniss’s defense was that she was crazy in love with Peeta, and could not bear to be without him. While most of the Capitol believes that, President Snow does not. Katniss and Peeta make it back to District 12 without any form of retribution, but not without sorrow. Peeta has figured out that while he does truly have feelings for Katniss, she’s not sure. In fact the only thing she is sure about is that she was using the star-crossed lover angle to get them home.
Peeta and Katniss have won the 74th Hunger Games, so life should be sweet for them. Living in Victor Village and preparing to be mentors for the 75th Hunger Games. However, life is not sweet. President Snow is displeased with the nightlock stunt and feels that Katniss does not care for Peeta, as she’s claimed- that the star-crossed lovers are a trick. President Snow visits Katniss and lets her know that she needs to convince him of her love for Peeta. So Katniss and Peeta go on the Hunger Games tour and with each district try to douse the rumblings of rebellions that Katniss started when she pulled out the nightlock. In each district, they face problems with this plan. Katniss’s act of rebellion has started a spark that cannot be put out. Peeta, at Katniss’s suggestion, even does a public proposal in the Capitol. However, it fails to impress President Snow.
On the night that the announcement of what the Quarter Quell is supposed to be, Katniss and family watch President Snow say “To remind the rebels that even the strongest of them cannot overcome the Capitol, male and female tributes will be reaped from existing pool of victors.” It takes Katniss a minute to realize the horror: She’s going back in the arena. Katniss and Peeta begin to train for the Quarter Quell. Haymitch was reaped, but Peeta volunteered so he could protect Katniss. Haymitch and Katniss make a deal: This time they are making sure Peeta gets home, because since Katniss is an enemy of President Snow, her life is not worth living.
When the victors make it back to the Capitol for the Quarter Quell, they go through training and the interview process. During the interview with Caesar, each tribute makes an impact on the crowd. When Katniss comes out in her wedding dress- the wedding the Capitol people had been looking forward to- the crowd becomes more upset. It’s Peeta who has the most impact, though, when he informs the crowd that he and Katniss have been married in a secret service and that Katniss is pregnant (neither is true, though). Even with the news, the Hunger Games will still go on.
During the 75th Hunger Games, Katniss, Peeta and the others find that the Gamemakers have set up a particularly gruesome arena. One of tributes has figured out it’s a clock- each thing of horrors has a predetermined time. Uneasy alliances have been made, and as the time goes on, Katniss feels she is missing something because it seems that other tributes are trying to protect Peeta. Peeta and Katniss have a heartfelt talk where he tries to convince her to let him die and for her to go home. Katniss tells him that if he’s gone, her life won’t be the same. Both know they’ve made deals with Haymitch on who can come home; neither knowing whose deal will be honored.
Beetee comes with a plan to blow up the force field, but in the middle of it- total chaos happens. Johanna knocks Katniss out- leading Katniss to think the alliance is over. Unbeknownst to Katniss and Peeta, a plan is in motion to rescue the tributes from the arena. Katniss tries desperately to find Peeta, and when she can’t; she blows up the force field herself. Later Katniss finds out about the plan, that she is the face of the rebellion and that’s why she was saved. Katniss also founds out 2 more things: Peeta has been captured and District 12 is no longer.
District 12 is no longer, and District 13, once thought to be no longer inhabitable has moved underground. They are offering District 12 refuge and leading the Rebellion against the Capitol. President Coin rules District 13 with a tight fist, as well. The residents have electronic monitors and food is rationed- with punishment if the rules are not followed. Katniss is not sure what to make of the new situation, Peeta’s capture, and the feeling of being a pawn. The people in charge need Katniss to take on the role of the Mockingjay, but Katniss is not sure. Finally, she agrees- but she has her own conditions. She wants immunity for the tributes that were captured, but most importantly, she wants to kill President Snow. President Coin readily agrees to her demands. However, Coin lets her know that if she fails to be the Mockingjay as they need her; the demands she’s made will not be honored.
Katniss works hard at being the Mockingjay- she tries to keep the rebellion going; even though she feels inadequate at times. Seeing President Snow having Peeta tortured on Capitol TV is enough to break her. The rebels stage a break-out for the captured tributes- Katniss and Haymitch are overjoyed to have Peeta back, until Peeta tries to kill Katniss. He’s been hijacked- all of his memories of Katniss have been altered. He thinks Katniss is the enemy. The rebels try various methods at reversing the hijacking, with some success; but Peeta was still prone to outbursts.
The rebels decide to invade the Capitol after all the Districts have turned against the Capitol. The fight is not over, though. The Capitol uses children as a barrier the President Snow’s place, and Katniss sees a plane dropping silver parachutes to the kids- the same kind that are used in the Games to give gifts. As the children reach for them, some explode. Then Katniss sees a familiar person in a medic outfit helping the children- it’s Prim. She calls out to her just as the rest of parachutes explode.
While Katniss is in the hospital overcoming her burns, she puzzles over why Prim was there and the double exploding parachutes. She’s sure that’s a Rebel weapon, not a Capitol weapon. It does not make sense to her, though, until she finds President Snow. When he informs her that Coin ordered that, she does not want to believe him; but she knows Coin has her own agenda. Coin takes the remaining tributes to vote on having a Hunger Games with Capitol kids, while some are in favor; some are against. Katniss votes “Yes” for her sister, Prim. The Coin tells her that it’s the day to execute Snow, and that she’ll make sure Snow knows of the new Hunger Games. As Katniss prepares to shoot Snow, she flashes back on the conversation they had about Coin. Then she tips her arrow up and shoots Coin instead.
In the chaos that follows, Katniss thinks she’s been taken to be tortured and killed somewhere. In reality, a trial is happening and Katniss if found innocent essentially because she is suffering from PTSD. She and Haymitch head back to District 12 to live in Victor Village and help in the rebuilding efforts. Weeks go by and Katniss has to work through her depression of losing Prim, her life being forever changed. One day Peeta comes by, bringing plants of Primrose flowers, and slowly they begin to rebuild their friendship and connection. Peeta and Katniss start a book to remember people and events that it’ll be a crime to forget. Through this, Peeta and Katniss grow closer together. Peeta still suffers from flashbacks and Katniss suffers from nightmares, but then one day Katniss realizes that she and Peeta were meant to be- she needs his influence that things can be good again. And only Peeta can give her that kind of hope.
Years later, Katniss speaks of her and Peeta. They are married and have 2 beautiful children. They live in a world where Hunger Games is no longer. Katniss reflects that she still has to name acts of every goodness she’s seen people do. She calls it a game, even repetitive at times. But, as Katniss says, there are much worse games to play.
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