Note: I previously posted this review on Goodreads, and I thought I’d share it here too. Please note, if you haven’t yet read The Hunger Games, this review may have some spoilers in it.
This was a great YA sci-fi book, and I’m really looking forward to the next two. It reminded me a great deal of The Lottery by Shirley Jackson and Invitation to the Game by Monica Hughes. Because I didn’t have much knowledge of the series going into it, I wasn’t sure what to expect. But I wasn’t disappointed. The plot was well paced, the setting descriptive enough that I felt like I could be there (I even fell asleep and dreamed that I was Katniss in the Games twice while reading this book).
On a couple of occasions, I felt like the author avoided some tough choices that she should’ve made. For example, although I was greatly relieved that Katniss didn’t have to kill Rue or Thresh, it would’ve added a lot more dramatic tension if she had been forced to at least consider doing it before she was interrupted (or, rather, saved from committing the act). One could argue that Katniss did have to deal with these issues merely by being involved in the Games at all, but as the reader, I didn’t get to see her wrestle with those thoughts and choices. She always avoided thinking about them with something along the lines of, “but I didn’t want to think about that right now.” We didn’t see her grapple with the decision to kill Peeta either. In fact, once she drops the wasp hive on the Careers, we don’t see Peeta at all until we find out that it’s safe for District 12 to become allies. We also don’t see Katniss wonder how far her sister, Prim, would’ve been able to make it in the games. I can’t imagine that it wouldn’t have crossed her mind more than when she’s trying to heal Peeta’s leg wound.
All that aside, I agree with the folks and publishers who commented on Twitter about this book a while back. It’s definitely a good read, and the characters are easy to like. I recommend it to anyone who likes YA sci-fi.