A Review of The Hunger Games

Katniss Everdeen lives in District 12, a poor community controlled by the Capitol. It was founded from the ruins of North America, somewhere near the Appalachians. Every year, one boy and one girl between the ages of 12 and 18 is chosen to compete in the Hunger Games, a televised fight to the death between 24 tributes. All citizens are required to view it and it is used as a tool to remind them to never rebel against the Capitol. And when Katniss’ little sister, Prim, is forced to join the Games, Katniss volunteers to go for her.
But you probably know all that anyway.

I guess I’ll start with the characters. Katniss is a strong-willed, loyal, brave, strong, resourceful person, someone perfect for the Games. I loved hearing the story through her eyes, because she is analytical and calculating, yet can express plenty of emotion. It is the perfect way to view an unknown world.

Peeta is kind, also loyal, charismatic, and a bit soft, having grown up in the richer section of District 12. Because he was also selected for the Games, Katniss views him as someone to avoid due to the fact that they’ll just have to kill each other eventually. but eventually their feelings for each other grow.

Of course, Haymitch, Effie, Cinna, Portia, and the rest of the crew are all loveable, and in some cases ridiculous, and Effie and the design team really add to the comfortable, cushioned, luxurious, ridiculous way of Capitol life.

Rue and Prim are very similar, yet different, and I love them both. Prim is the basis for the whole story, and is very delicate and sensitive, but very small and quick and overall has the same stature and aura as Rue. However, Rue is a little more resourceful and brave, eager for a challenge, and is one of my favorite characters in the book.

Now onto the setting.

Panem is a land of contrasts. You have the Capitol, where people are drowning in luxury, very self-centered, and rather ridiculous, in appearance and demeanor. Then you experience the districts, especially the poorer ones, where people die every day from starvation and disease, and they are completely controlled by the Capitol.

The government and reasoning behind it is very cruel, but well explained. And the arena settings are very interesting and all the creatures and plants in them are cool to read about.

The plot was very well done and I found it very hard to put this book down, and the pacing was practically perfect. In a very high-speed story, I still felt that it was in-depth. I guess Suzanne Collins just knows which spots to hit.

The word choice made the story feel sharp and analytical, yet I still fell that depth that allows me to know background. The writing was just excellent, and in many scenes I felt like I was watching it like a movie in my head.

Some questions about the book: 1. Are the only people in the world in North America, or are there other continents? 2. If there are other continents, are there people on them? 3. If there are not other continents, is North America just between the Rockies and Appalachians that the Capitol stretches between, or is the more land. 4. Also, do you have to be born in the Capitol and have  a lot of ancestors living there to not be counted into the Games?

Anyway, very addicting, and I can’t wait to reread Catching Fire!

My Review of Shadow and Bone (The Grisha #1)

The Shadow Fold, a swathe of impenetrable darkness, crawling with monsters that feast on human flesh, is slowly destroying the once-great nation of Ravka.

Alina, a pale, lonely orphan, discovers a unique power that thrusts her into the lavish world of the kingdom’s magical elite—the Grisha.  She is trained physically and mentally to use her power, which could possibly destroy the Shadow Fold. Her charming master, the Darkling, might not be as trustworthy as he first seemed, however…

This book was incredibly addicting. I read it in a day and a half, and wish I hadn’t because now I want more. Rather homely Alina, a spunky girl with a sad past, is suddenly the nation’s only hope if they want to destroy the Shadow Fold.

The writing was beautiful. It didn’t suck you out of the story with superfluous language, but it conveyed the character’s personalities, feelings, and struggles perfectly. I felt like I knew what it was like to live in her country of Ravka, because I got to know the people’s fears and hopes so well, but I also could picture the diverse landscape in my head.

This book’s setting was very unique compared to other YA stories being published currently. It had Russian culture (and some Russian words were thrown in there as well), but went under the name Ravka. The barren landscape and the Shadow Fold (known on maps as the Unsea) made for a very interesting landscape.

I can’t wait for the sequel!

The One and Only Ivan

I really loved this book, and can definitely see why it won the Newbery.

This book was written from the viewpoint of a gorilla, The One and Only Ivan, who has been imprisoned in a sorry mall for the past twenty-seven years. He barely remembers his childhood in the jungle and doesn’t give much thought to wanting to escape the mall. After all, he is fed, and his friends Stella the elephant and Bob the dog are there.

But when baby elephant Ruby arrives at the zoo, he knows something has to change so that she can have a happy life.

And so, with his artistic talent, he changes their lives.

The writing was amazing and simple, and it fully conveyed the feelings of all the characters. It is also a short read. (I finished it in a day.)

I loved the personalities of the characters. They all seemed so real. And when I found out that this book was a true story, it made me feel sad, yet hopeful that things can change for anyone, anytime, any place.

Before the story begins there is a quote: “It never too late to be what you might have been.” -Georeg Eliot. I think that conveys the theme of the entire story and fits every moment into those 11 words.
Definitely check out this book!

Liesl and Po

Liesl and Po, by Lauren Oliver, is amazing. When I was reading it, I knew I would have to review it, so here it is:

Eleven-year-old Liesl sees a ghost (Po) three days after her father dies. The same night, Will, an alchemist’s apprentice, screws up a delivery containing the most powerful magic in the world. This has a huge effect on all of their lives.

To me, the premise is excellent, and it turned out even better than I thought. Oliver’s writing was amazing, and really let you get into the story.

I also adored setting. It is a rather interesting setting. It’s rather steampunky, because the houses and clothes seem Victorian, but the characters also have things like kitchen sinks, toasters, and waffle irons. It takes place in this world as well, for some common countries and cities are mentioned.

The characters were developed very well and were in some cases outrageous, but for the most part lovable (yes, the villains are in included in that lovable.)

The author deftly weaves all these characters into a beautiful intricate web that all fits together in the end.

One of my favorite parts to this story were the trains. Liesl said that she loved trains, and that there whistles reminded her of birds, and oftentimes she imagined them with wings. Isn’t that beautiful?

The charcoal/pencil drawings were a perfect touch to this story, and brought so much character and interest to it.

Rebecca Stead said, “For me, this book was like a ride in a sleeping car on a fabulous train, one with deep, plush upholstery, shining brass window latches, and secret compartments; one where the bed slides out soundlessly and the sheets are not too new but not too old, and where small amazing cakes arrive regularly on lacquered trays while the night rushes by outside, the moon always visible.”

This is definitely my favorite modern-day fairytale.

Jeremy Fink and the Meaning of Life

I know that I already have a review for this book on my goodreads shelf, but I liked it so much that I thought that I might as well review it here:

I would definitely give this book five stars. I have read several books my Wendy Mass before, but this one is definitely my favorite. The book starts off by introducing Jeremy Fink and his best friend Lizzy. They get a box in the mail that says “The Meaning of Life, For Jeremy Fink to Open on His Thirteenth Birthday”. So he and Lizzy go on a hunt for four keys to unlock the meaning of life. There were some parts that made me laugh out loud, parts that made me put the book down so that I could think, and parts that I had to reread because they were so interesting. I really like the characters in this book. Jeremy Fink is the quirkiest character that I have ever read about. I also really enjoyed this book because it was  totally unique. I had never read anything like it and I know that it will never be accused of copying Harry Potter or something like that. So all I can say is that this book is a must-read!