Audiobook Review- The Hunger Games and Catching Fire

Thursday, September 24, 2009

This is the spoiler free part of the review -

The Hunger Games has been making waves all over the blogosphere lately, and this month I finally got around to reading it. I was lucky, because the second book came out while I was reading the first, so I didn't have to wait long to pick the story up again. You'll probably want to have the second book handy after you read the first, because the first ended in a way that had me itching for JUST ONE MORE CHAPTER, COME ON!
And now I am unlucky, because the third book is still being written, and I have to wait at least a year to read the conclusion. I hate that. The second book basically drops a bomb on you with the last sentence, so if you're a really impatient person, I would suggest waiting until the entire series has been published before picking up the first book.

A while ago I talked about how I was reading The Hunger Games for my book club, and at that time I wasn't really sure what I would rate the book. I still think that the first book isn't as strong as it could have been. The plot was somewhat predictable, and some parts of the narrative felt as though they had been put there with the sole purpose of playing with your emotions, rather than moving the story forward. I was also often frustrated by the seemingly thickheaded and overly-cynical Katniss and the almost 'Gary-sue' Peeta. But, overall, it was an enjoyable read, and one that I think would appeal to many teenagers and adults alike. BUT I would suggest that you reserve this book for the older and more mature teens, as there are some disturbing themes and situations throughout. I mean, it's a book about 24 teenagers trying to kill each other, so I would hope that that would be common sense, but... you never know.

MY RATING: by itself I would give The Hunger Games a 7/10
I enjoyed it, but thought that parts of it could have been stronger and less predictable.

Paired with Catching Fire, however, the grade goes up to an 8/10.
I thought that Catching Fire was more fun, because it was less predictable. There were a couple of good twists in there. I was still frustrated by Katniss' thickheadedness at times (get a clue, girl!) and also by the love triangle. But I think that, together, the books form one very entertaining package, and I await the next installment with eagerness.

THIS is where the review gets SPOILERIFIC, people! Highlight the text if you want to read the spoilers.

THE HUNGER GAMES - Specifically, for those of you who have read the book, I hated the wolf muttations at the end. I got the idea that they had used body parts from the dead tributes to make the werewolves, and I thought that the idea was used purely for the shock value, because there had been nothing leading up to it. I kept thinking "Did it mention before that The Capitol had used humans in muttation experiments? Is this going to be a major theme in the next book? Where the heck did this come from!?" It took me straight out of the book. I thought that if the theme of human/animal muttations was going to carry on into Catching Fire, then I would be okay with it appearing suddenly at the end of The Hunger Games. But, it didn't. As I read Catching Fire I began to see that the muttations were NOT made from the bodies of the tributes, but that The Capitol wanted the living contestants to think that perhaps they had been. So. I don't know if that's better, or not. For some reason, those creatures just bug me.
And, seriously, how could Katniss really be so thick headed as to think that Peeta was just acting?

CATCHING FIRE - Okay, the whole bit with the Game Maker showing Katniss the mockingjay on his watch? Again with the thickheaded thing! Though I admit that I wasn't really sure what the Game Makers and the rest of the tributes were planning. I wonder how long Heymitch has been planning this coup? And what's the deal with Peeta and Gale? I'm almost positive that Collins is going to kill one of them off, but I can't decide which one it's going to be. Either that or Peeta will be all perfect and self-sacrificing and still be Katniss' best friend even though she chooses Gale over him. Ugh. I hate it when authors yank you back and forth between love interests like that. And the cliff-hanger ending OMG.

I would love to hear everyone's comments about the books but please specify whether there are spoilers in your comments, so that we don't ruin anyone else's experience.

I would also like to add that I did listen to both of these books rather than reading them. The Audiobook is read by Carolyn McCormick, and she is a FANTASTIC narrator. It's amazing how much the person who is reading the book can affect your opinion of it. Carolyn was smooth and believable, and transitioned between characters with ease and clarity. Two thumbs up.


Brooke said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Brooke said...

I have been debating whether or not to read these books,... Thanks for the review (and the spoilers, I love spoilers) (How did you do the cool highlight trick, BTW?) Now, I can't wait to get started on them... I'm going to do the audiobook version, also! Thanks agian! I love having someone who's review's I trust.

Jessica (BookLover) said...

I absolutely loved the first book! I somehow convinced my husband to read it with me and he also enjoyed it. I really like how the first book was wrapped up (for the most part) with the purpose of the book (The Games) resolved. Yet it still left me wanting more and on a sort of cliffhanger. It took so long for the second book to come out and now that I have it, I'm afraid to open it. Especially since I know I'll have to wait so long for the third book.

Also, I'm looking forward to the movie!