Mark Reads ‘The Hunger Games’: Chapter 3

In the third chapter of The Hunger Games, Katniss wishes her family and friends goodbye; we also learn about games past, the significance of the mockingbird on the cover, and get a peek at Katniss’s competition. Intrigued? Then it’s time for Mark to read The Hunger Games.

I’m willing to take into account that Katniss’s narration is an extension of her worn, beaten personality. After years of suffering, disappointment, and pain, it’s pretty unrealistic to wish she’d be chipper more often. With the fear of the Hunger Games looming over her life (and it’s a realistic threat), she’s been hardened into a young woman who knows that expressions of emotions are signs of weakness in her society. I will say that I enjoy that there’s no real demonization of femininity, at least not yet. There’s no one (yet) in this story who strips Katniss of her womanhood for how she acts and behaves. I sort of expected that because that tends to happen in fantasy and adventure stories with a strong female lead. But here, she’s a woman and it’s uncontested. I dig it.

I’m going to refrain from repeating myself, but I’m still not sold by the writing. It’s very abrupt and sometimes I wish there was more substance to the prose, but I’m going to continue with this ride. There’s a lot to like here, content-wise, but I still wish I enjoyed the execution more.

We’re reminded again that everything happening is going to be televised:

I cannot afford to get upset, to leave this room with puffy eyes and a red nose. Crying is not an option. There will be more cameras at the train station.

I really want to know more about how these sort of things are televised and who watches them. It’s made clear that most of those in District 12 are too poor to watch television, so who does? And how did a system for distribution get set up in the Districts?

When I am done with instructions about fuel, and trading, and staying in school, I turn to my mother and grip her arm, hard. “Listen to me. Are you listening to me? She nods, alarmed by my intensity. She must know what’s coming. “You can’t leave again,” I say.

My mother’s eyes find the floor. “I know. I won’t. I couldn’t help what—“

“Well, you have to help it this time. You can’t clock out and leave Prim on her own. There’s no me now to keep you both alive. It doesn’t matter what happens. Whatever you see on the screen. You have to promise me you’ll fight through it!” My voice has risen to a shout. In it is all the anger, all the fear I felt at her abandonment.

Is it bad that I wanted to make a joke about Katniss using an exclamation point? Am I a bad person?

Regardless, I feel like this is going to play a huge part in the future. Obviously, since there are two more books in this series, Katniss isn’t going to lose the Hunger Games and she’ll have to return home. Will Prim be taken care of? Will the mom shut down again? I don’t honestly know. I don’t have much information and there’s not much more said.

Peeta Mellark’s father, the baker, visits Katniss as well and promises to look out for Prim, to make sure she is eating. I thought it was an incredible sign of compassion and indicative of how The Seam looks out for each other. They’re a community made up of the most vulnerable people and because they recognize this, they know that even the smallest gestures of kindness can mean survival.

Gale is last to visit and I rolled my eyes at the end of this:

Finally, Gale is here and maybe there is nothing romantic between us, but when he opens his arms I don’t hesitate to go into them. His body is familiar to me—the way it moves, the smell of wood smoke, even the sound of his heart beating I know from quiet moments on a hunt—but this is the first time I really feel it, lean and hard-muscled against my own.

HOW MUCH FANFICTION DID THIS SECTION INSPIRE? That’s not a sleight against Collins, for the record, but I could see this going one of two ways: either nothing ever happens between Katniss and Gale and the fandom fills in that gap, or this is foreshadowing for a relationship to come. Though I imagine it would have to wait for the next book, since Gale isn’t going to be around.

Their conversation does reveal some of the past Hunger Games and how fucked up they can be:

Another year, they tossed everybody into a landscape of nothing but boulders and sand and scruffy bushes. I particularly hated that year. Many contestants were bitten by venomous snakes or went insane from thirst.

Ok, first of all, that is messed up. Second of all, I guess there are televisions in District 12, or else Katniss couldn’t have been able to see past Hunger Games. Hmm.

We spent one Hunger Games watching the players freeze to death at night. You could hardly see them because they were just huddled in balls and had no wood for fires or torches or anything. It was considered very anti-climactic in the Capitol, all those quiet, bloodless deaths. Since then, there’s usually been wood to make fires.

Jesus, guys. I’m not surprised that the Capitol does what they can to make these contests as brutal as they can for entertainment, but I didn’t expect them to be so varied. Also, the more this varies, the less I will compare it to Battle Royale. I’m ok with that.

I sort of assumed that the districts were states or cities based around Washington D.C., but I was proved wrong when we find out where Katniss is headed:

Of course, I’ve never been on a train, as travel between the districts is forbidden except for officially sanctioned duties. For us, that’s mainly transporting coal. But this is no ordinary coal train. It’s one of the high-speed Capitol models that average 250 miles per hour. Our journey to the Capitol will take less than a day.

In school, they tell us the Capitol was built in a place once called the Rockies. District 12 was a region known as Appalachia. Even hundreds of years ago, they mined coal here. Which is why our miners have to dig so deep.

Well, shit. I was wrong. Why the Rockies? Height? I mean, the rich love to physically be higher than the poor geographically, so maybe that? Also, this means this story takes place far in the future as well. NEW THINGS WE KNOW. YAY.

Let’s continue to learn NEW THINGS. Madge gave Katniss a pin of a golden mockingjay with a ring around. The real significance of the mockingjay? It’s a sign of how the Capitol did not get the best of their citizens. I’ll let Katniss explain it.

During the rebellion, the Capitol bred a series of genetically altered animals as weapons. The common term for them was mutations, or sometimes mutts for short. One was a special bird called a jabberjay that had the ability to memorize and repeat whole human conversations. They were homing birds, exclusively male, that were released into regions where the Capitol’s enemies were known to be hiding. After the birds gathered words, they’d fly back to centers to be recorded. It took people a while to realize what was going on in the districts, how private conversations were being transmitted. Then, of course, the rebels fed the Capitol endless lies, and the joke was on it. So the centers were shut down and the birds were abandoned to die off in the wild.

Pretty neat, if I say so myself. She goes on to explain how they evolved to only be able to recall melodies, human and non-human. It reminds her of her father, and how his voice commanded the attention of the mockingjays in the area; the comfort this image provides gives Katniss some hope.

The dinner scene in the train is another instance to Collins to elaborate on the class divisions in this alternate world:

“At least, you two have decent manners,” says Effie as we’re finishing the main course. “The pair last year ate everything with their hands like a couple of savages. It completely upset my digestion.”

Effie Trinket, your life sounds like it is full of tragedy.

The pair last year were two kids from the Seam who’d never, not one day of their lives, had enough to eat. And when they did have food, table manners were surely the last things on their minds. Peeta’s a baker’s son. My mother taught Prim and me to eat properly, so yes, I can handle a fork and knife. But I hate Effie Trinket’s comment so much I make a point of eating the rest of my meal with my fingers. Then I wipe my hands on the tablecloth. This makes her purse her lips tightly together.

Good for you, Katniss. High five on the astral plane. Fuck this sort of “dignified” classism, by the way.

There’s a brief moment where we get a look at some of the other tributes from other Districts:

A monstrous boy who lunges forward to volunteer from District 2. A fox-faced girl with sleek red hair from District 5. A boy with a crippled foot from District 10. And most hauntingly, a twelve-year-old girl from District 11. She has dark brown skin and eyes, but other than that, she’s very like Prim in size and demeanor. Only when she mounts the stage and they ask for volunteers, all you can hear is the wind whistling through the decrepit buildings around her. There’s no one willing to take her place.

Katniss is going to make friends with the girl from District 11. PREDICTION TIME. I don’t know about the rest, but I really hope they start these Games soon. I’m interested to know how far Collins is going to take this.

About Mark Oshiro

Perpetually unprepared since '09.
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317 Responses to Mark Reads ‘The Hunger Games’: Chapter 3

  1. Wolfmane says:

    By the excerpts, I can see why you're not in love with the prose. It does seem heavy-handed and blunt. I hope to find a copy soon and catch up with you ASAP. This is all very intriguing so far! Thanks for doing this!

  2. azurefalls says:

    I am so psyched for you to get to the Games.

    I still agree with you about the writing style, it's not my favourite. But as you've already said, the content far redeems it. And it does seem to work in some scenes; I think it's just in the opening chapters that it seems a bit stilted.

  3. Claire says:

    "Obviously, since there are two more books in this series, Katniss isn’t going to lose the Hunger Games and she’ll have to return home."

    Okay, see, this is why I think first-person present is not only justified but necessary. We might jump to that conclusion, as you did, but Katniss believes she will probably die very soon. If told from a past perspective, then she knows she lived to then tell us about it. Does that make sense? Basically, it's the only tool Collins has to effectively ratchet up tension.

    • Ashley says:

      Also, this wasn't originally supposed to be a trilogy, was it? Back when it was first published, we could assume that anything might happen.

    • lossthief says:

      Actually, I remember reading a Manga series where at the end that entire assumption that "Oh, this is in past tense so obviously the main character got out alright" was thrown on its head. The entire manga was a flashback, and then we find out the narrator is actually dead (actually something even worse but that's a looooooong story) the entire time.

    • Katie says:

      Also, no guarantee that Katniss narrates all three books.

      • Claire says:

        True, and in fact I haven't finished the first. I'm just saying it's the logical conclusion to draw, you know? So since most people assume Katniss survives, the present tense is necessary to convince us that Katniss has NOT assumed that.

    • thirty2flavors says:

      Third person in past tense would be just as, if not more, effective at maintaining suspense about whether characters live or die, I would say. Even if she's narrating in present tense, I'm going to assume the narrator won't die mid-sentence. It's true that there COULD be a shift in narrators, but third person past would achieve this just as well, and would make a potential narrative shift less abrupt.

  4. SorrowsSolace says:

    This is turning out to be a really interesting read (even in the short bits you post), I love the imagery of the devastated world and the completely blunt and casual explanation of the Hunger Games. It doesn't seem that hard to see that this book would be read alot in high school and analyzed.

  5. Clare says:

    I meant to read with you, but I got sucked into the whole book and finished it within a couple days. . .
    I loved these first chapters though, I'm pretty well able to skim over writing style and just take in the content so the writing didn't bother me so much. Everything seemed pretty dark to me- so Katniss' outlook on the world didn't surprise me either. Its very jaded, and I think that's what to be expected with this kind of tragic way of life.

  6. tethysdust says:

    So, I know this is horrible, but Katniss' father is now a Disney princess in my head. I had to stop, laugh, and reread that part like three times. He has a beautiful voice, and the birds basically flutter about him in the forest offering answering phrases to his lovely songs. Somehow I'm okay with this. Her dad might be my official favorite character so far. I wish he were still alive to sing more duets with the birds ;_;.

    There are things that bug me about Katniss as a character, but I'm hoping that they will be explained or sanded off as the story continues. I am really hoping to see her fail drastically at something, in a way that has irreversible consequences and that can be blamed on no one but herself. Thus far, she's experienced loads of hardships, but nothing has ever been her fault. Basically, despite all her setbacks, she has a 100% success rate at everything she's ever done. I would really like to see how her character deals with personal failure.

    I totally agree about the District 11 girl. I bet they become best friends and she protects her as if she were Prim. I can't wait to see what happens next :).

    • myownmetaphor says:

      Bleh Katniss so far really bothers me. Like, I know you've gone through a lot of stuff, but she sort of victimizes herself? Like, I know she IS a victim, but its very like, First this happened to me, but I solved it. No biggie. Then this other person did something very bad to me but I know how to handle it all, so I was fine. I take care of the bidniss. It is like she's bragging all the time (this may be due to Collins' writing style, however).

    • Tabbyclaw says:

      "It was the thing that had always amazed me most about my father, how he managed to move so stealthily through the forest in a floor-length sparkly ball gown. He never even tangled his tiara in the branches."

  7. Treasure Cat says:

    Personally I think it's far too easy blaming the author's poor writing skills on simply Katniss' inner monologue. This isn't a critique of you Mark or anybody else really, I just think you cannot believe the author intentionally wrote poorly to fit with the life of her character. Collins is not the best writer, and whether her style is supposed to support Katniss' character or not, that cannot be denied. I hope I made that point clear and didn't accidentally insult anyone!

    This chapter is also a perfect example of how much I hate the way Katniss treats her mother. How dare she speak to her like that? Even under the pressure of what she's going through, there is no excuse for punishing your own mother and ordering her around like you know more about life than her and are more capable of taking care of your sister, her daughter, than her.

    Mark, what do you think of Haymitch? You haven't said much about him yet.

  8. Cailin says:

    I'm just so excited that you're reading these books. I was never that bothered by the prose because I was so into the story, but I can see where you're coming from. The Hunger Games Trilogy is no Harry Potter (of course), but I would have to say that this series is one of my very favorites, probably third behind Harry Potter and the Gemma Doyle Trilogy

  9. Robin says:

    I was going to read along with you… and then I finished the book…

    As for the prose style, it's not my favorite, but it seems appropriate for the character (it makes sense that a blunt and awkward 16 yo would have a blunt and awkward narration?) and is easy to read, so i don't mind it too much.

  10. EmilyAnne90 says:

    The whole part when Katniss decided to basically give Effie the finger by eating with her hands? Bad. Ass.
    I'm so glad you mentioned it, because I always loved that little moment.

  11. theupsides says:

    I was wondering how you felt about Haymitch so far, since you haven't mentioned him.

    And Peeta, too. Like when she sees him crying after he says goodbye to his parents, and Katniss wonders if that's his strategy, to appear weak. Thoughts?

    • myownmetaphor says:

      That kind of made me hate Katniss. She just seems like such a bitch. It is understandable considering her life but I just wanted to shake her and be like, not everyone is as emotionally stunted as you Katniss!. But I also kind of adore Peeta so far, and I don't like that she thinks he's weak.

      • tethysdust says:

        Well, to be fair, she doesn't think he's weak. She thinks he's trying to be crafty, and she thinks it's a bad strategy because he is obviously physically strong.

        • myownmetaphor says:

          True. On further reflection I think it was because she didn't understand that he might just be upset.

          • Katie says:

            Since he'll be trying to kill her shortly, she really has no choice but to overanalyze his moves. Giving him the benefit of the doubt isn't really an option if she wants to approach the games strategically (and since she's not just giving up and accepting death, that's what she's doing).

  12. Kaybee42 says:

    I made a few notes on this chapter when I read it.

    "Makes out well with her goat" – ?!?!
    Random note I wrote: God Katniss is annoying
    I like Prim, she's nice.

    Strange that Kat has no idea about her winning the Hunger Games but she clearly will cause there is 2 more books to come

    "Isn't in my nature to go down without a fight" But you already said you have given up! Urgh shut up.
    Who's Haymitch again?
    There is the sign from the covers.
    You can actually hear his heart??
    It was going to be "I love you" duh.

    Crowds and cameras remind me of the opening night of BB.
    Jabberjay thing is cool!
    "high and clear" is how Voldies voice is described, which is disconcerting.
    Oh is Haymitch the mayor? Why is he with them?

    "Silent salute"? is she referring to the kiss thing, or their refusal to clap? or both? slightly unclear…
    Oooooh Haymitch was the drunk! Why is he there??
    sponsors? gifts? what????

    sorry I never wrote the page numbers down! I did in the next chapter notes 🙂

  13. Jenny_M says:

    The first time I read a description of Haymitch I pictured this dude. [youtube 3AEkLXkDgWI youtube]

    The old man, obviously, not Aladdin or the monkey. Even though that is totally not what Haymitch is described as looking like, I haven't been able to shake it.

    • Moonie says:

      oh my god this is beautiful I WILL SEE THIS AS HAYMITCH AS THE END OF TIME.

      Obviously they just need to make The Hunger Games film animated.

    • Treasure Cat says:

      I can't help but picture Haymitch as Coach Oleander from the game Psychonauts (epic points if you know who I'm talking about). Similarly the only Katniss I picture is the one from the front cover of my copy of the book and Peeta in my head is Finn Jones (British actor best known for appearing in the soap Hollyoaks).

    • ldwy says:

      I can't help picturing Haymitch as an older, drunker Mundungus Fletcher. Probably because I'm coming right out of Harry Potter, but hey. Similarly bumbling and disheveled.

  14. Purreloek says:

    My Predictions: Katniss will at one point have the opportunity to kill the twelve-year-old. She won't be able to do it. Then they'll team up with the rest of the contestants (and Gale) and find a way to escape. Either that, or Katniss will have to kill the girl in self-defense or something. Also, the mockingjay pin is really a super powerful weapon that'll save Katniss' life.

    (I have not read past chapter 3, so these predictions are totally not spoilers.)

  15. petite-dreamer says:

    I think I missed the bit about where District 12 and the Capitol are in terms of our North America. Where's their destroyed District 13 (assuming it did exist)? I kind of want it to be Canada, since I theorize that 13 is actually a ~secret organization~ or something.

    Also, it's not that the jabberjays evolved, it's that they mated with wild mockingbirds, hence "mockingjays." I want one. Just sit it by the radio for a spell and presto! A pet that doubles as an iPod!

  16. exbestfriend says:

    I am glad to know that I am not the only person on the planet that wonders how things are wired in together. Like logistically how does that work? Are they still using satellites or is it some sort of really advanced wireless deal? And if they can genetically engineer animals, why are they still using coal for their power? I know those two types of science are very different, but I cannot imagine research going that far into the future on one type, without improvements to the other. Or is the whole coal mining thing some sort of Sisyphean torture that the "Capitol" has devised to keep these people busy and tired so they do not have the energy to rebel?

    Or is it just a literary device used to help me understand what sort of class of people that District 12-ers are in terms that are relatable to me and easy to understand, so maybe I should just stop worrying about the minutia and move on with the plot.

    • newageamazon says:

      Serious bonus points for the use of the phrase "Sisyphean torture."

      • exbestfriend says:

        Thanks. I have a word problem, in that I like them a bunch and want to use them constantly. Mainly to make up from the fact that I use the crappy ones excessively.

    • ldwy says:

      This is just a beautifully written comment. And I'm wondering the same things.

    • jessimuhka says:

      The TV thing makes me think of a like China or North Korea style square with a giant projection TV in it out where everyone can see it. Because then you don't have to worry about how the individual families have TVs, and it makes it worse when a family member is killed in the Hunger Games, because you couldn't even observe it in the privacy of your own home. You have to see it in full view of all your neighbors, in a society where it's already established that showing emotion is a way of showing weakness.

      Also, A+ for "Sisyphean torture"

  17. banabou says:

    Oh god, I LOVE Katniss' reaction to Effie's snobbery. It's badass, well-deserved, and also deeply teenager-ish. "You don't like messes? Well, I HATE you and your STUPID FACE, so I'm just going to fingerpaint with these mashed potatoes while death-glaring at you."

  18. Jenny_M says:

    Okay, now that I'm not posting Disney cartoons, I have an actual comment on this chapter. When I read the bit about the games being different every year to appease people, it struck me how much it sounds like our current day reality television. Oh, the Apprentice was a hit. But now we're losing viewers. So…let's make it about celebrities. Let's put it on an island. Let's bring in a surprise judge. Let's get The Donald a new toupee. Oh, people didn't like that. Well, let's do something else to keep our ratings up! But for the Capitol…what's the equivalent of ratings? I mean, I don't think they've got Nielsen families sitting around making programming notes.

    • Erin says:

      I read an interview with Collins saying that she first came up with the idea for the book when the Gulf War was being televised. Then all of the reality shows popped up and people became so obsessed with televised violence… hence all the t.v.s in the books and the cultural obsession with the games and violence.

  19. lossthief says:

    What exactly is it you don't like? I found him just sort of…there. Not really a plus or minus just, there.

  20. DameDallas says:

    I love the mockingjay explanation along with the remembrance of her father as well.
    And I know I'm "shipping" here, but did anyone else notice that Gale said "Katniss" for the first time instead of "Katnip"? I will vulnerably admit that I got teary-eyed during that scene.

    Also, is there any speculation as to why Madge was so insistent about Katniss taking the pin? Yes, it's a special emblem to District 12, but I have a sneaky suspicion that it or Madge will come up later on in the story.

  21. tethysdust says:

    Haha, that would be intense. I highly doubt it'll happen, though. I don't get the feeling that Suzanne Collins is quite into that sort of 'grim and gritty'. However, we're only three chapters in, so maybe!

  22. myownmetaphor says:

    All the chapters so far have just screamed Look at how cool Katniss is. She is so cool. She is smart and strong, dontcha see it? Katniss is just the best. You should like Katniss because she doesn't listen to anyone. Its all very…tell-y. Like for some reason when she is 'showing' us what a super speshal snowflake Katniss is, I still feel like its all just forcing us to like her. Not feeling it.

  23. lossthief says:

    awwww, i got down voted ;__;

  24. Sarah B. says:

    Mark, are you posting tomorrow, or taking time off for the holidays? Also (and you may have already answered this), are you back to just posting on weekdays?

  25. karadudz says:

    I've never read this book. Because I thought it was about a bunch of girls starving themselves or something. But since you're reading it and doing chapter by chapter reviews I decided to give it a try (after I figured out the plot wasn't what I thought it was). I was going to do chapter a day thing you do but I got addicted. I only started yesterday and now I'm at chapter 16. SO basically I'm very addicted to this book, probably even almost done with it and just wow!
    Here are my thoughts though (from up to the chapter you've read so I don't spoil anything for you)
    1. I didn't make the same assumption you did that Katniss had to survive this book because there are two other books. i thought they would have to be about Prim or Gale or something. But yeah I guess there's a chance that she might actually win the games because there are two other books LOL. OH WOW. 2. Effie Trinket should die in a fire. 3. Haymitch… is just as annoying as Effie, it's like they were given the worst mentors or something. 4. Collins' writing gets on my nerves sometimes. But you're right, it might have to do with Katniss' characterization and that's why things are so straightforward
    So YEAH….never would have thought this would be a great book. K YEAH I'M GONNA GO BUY THE TRILOGY SET NOW.

    • myownmetaphor says:

      I don't really think the bad writing has to do with Katniss. Idk, it reminds me of Smeyers way to much. Like, oh, she's just showing the simplicity of Edward's and Bella's *luv*.

    • notemily says:

      Haha, when you put it that way "The Hunger Games" does seem like a book about competitive eating disorders.

  26. Jasmeen says:

    I feel like I'm one of the only people here who did not like the book. I thought that if I followed along with Mark, I might see things I didn't see the first time I read the book, but if anything, this is just cementing my dislike for it. Of course I will totally still stick around, but is there anyone else who didn't like this book? or am I just weird like that?

  27. myownmetaphor says:

    I always think of The Capitol as Las Vegas. That's (kind of….) the Rockies. Oh, and the Seam thing totally needed to be pointed out. Cause classism still exists in a ridiculous totalitarian world.

    • monkeybutter says:

      Hehe. Desert, mountains, whatever. I think it's somewhere else, but that's the fun about not knowing the specific locations. Everyone starts building their own map of Panem.

  28. sageofmudora says:

    Yay! I've caught up!

    Trinket is reminding me of a 'nice' Dolores Umbridge at this point. Maybe she'll get better. Hmmm.

    I'm betting Katniss will team up with the young girl too. I think she'll remind Katniss too much of Prim to kill. Maybe. I could be 100% wrong!

  29. Jenn says:

    I just want to comment and say that I lol'd because Jabberjay is a kind of obnoxious little bird in the Super Mario Galaxy games who you thankfully only have to deal with a handful of times.

  30. hoodd1 says:

    My first thought, when Madge emphasized that Kat should wear the pin ALL THE TIME, was that maybe there's a tiny camera embedded in it, so the Mayor's family gets a first-person view of the violence and carnage. Cynical? Me?

    • Lunace says:

      That's what I thought! Although more of a microphone so she couldn't come up with any sneaky plans or whatever. But then I figured that didn't really make any sense since they'll all be followed by cameras anyway. I am clearly a very distrusting person.

  31. myownmetaphor says:

    Nah. Stephanie Meyers endorsed the book before it came out, I don't see that happening anytime soon.

  32. plaidpants says:

    There has to be more to the mockingjay. I think there's some kind of helpful weapon/secret hidden inside.

    I have more admiration for you Mark in reading these things only a chapter a day. At this point, although I know the set-up is important, I just want to get to the actual fighting! (And subversive action of course and Katniss and who else band together to bring down the Capital!)

    I too wondered how, if the Seam is so poor, they were watching the progress of past games on TV. Perhaps there are tvs in the town center that they all go to watch.

  33. rainbowsinside says:

    Ok, that part about Katniss starting to eat with her hands was pretty funny. I can just imagine her deliberately putting her fork down and picking up her food while staring at Effie. Although this isn't enough to make me like Katniss yet.

    I don't have many thoughts on this chapter so here are some of my predictions so far.

    When Katniss gets back after the Games, Prim will have undergone a huge character change. She's not going to be anything like the sweet little girl at the beginning. I see this happening one of two ways: Either their mother will die (or something equally terrible) or something will happen with Katniss in the Games to make all the kids tease and bully Prim.

    Also, one of the girls mentioned (the 12-year-old or the fox-faced girl) is going to become a badass killing machine.

  34. lossthief says:

    So I've heard that Chloe Moretz is interested in playing Katniss in the film version of "The Hunger Games" Depending on how the book turns out, I may be very excited to see this movie, seeing as I LOVED her in "Kick Ass"

    • myownmetaphor says:

      Really? Isn't she a little young?

    • karadudz says:

      As much as I'd love to see Chole Moretz play Katniss I think using unkown actors is best for the movie adaptation of the book. Because if Moretz plays this character everyone will just assume that she's badass because her character in Kick Ass was insane!
      I don't know… just what I think.
      The whole idea of unknown/not so well known actors playing characters in this book could just give the whole mysterious what the fuck effect that this book gives while reading it…
      Does that even makes sense?! o.O

    • trash_addict says:

      I read about another actress as a potential Katniss (Kaya Scodelario from Skins) before I started reading, and she has been my mental image of Katniss the entire way through. I really don't know how I'm gonna deal if they cast anyone else – which sucks, because I watch Skins and I'm don't actually think Kaya's a good enough actress to pull the character off without becoming a monotone Bella-type.

  35. celestineangel1 says:

    Yeeeaaah, the whole part about her hugging Gale, and there's never been anything romantic between them BUT HEY LET'S TALK ABUOT HOW ROCK-HARD HIS BODY IS, OKAY? Sigh.

    Effie, Effie, oh Effie. Let's get you a pink bow and you can start going around with a "hem hem" and we can offer you lozenges. And then maybe a group of centaurs will haul you away. That'd be fun.

  36. 4and6forever says:

    You want to know my prediction? Mark, I predict that Haymitch will be to you what Hagrid was in your HP posts.

    P.S. Is this going to be a new thing- you reviewing books that start with ‘H’? Harry Potter, Hunger Games…

    • stellaaaaakris says:

      Then he should read His Dark Materials next!

      • Jenny_M says:

        Ooh, I second this! Talk about not even being remotely prepared!

      • xpanasonicyouthx says:

        I don't know if I'll do it next, but I will do that series.

        • lossthief says:

          I'd just like to put my hat into the ring for "The Bartimaeus Trilogy" by Jonathan Stroud.

        • Treasure Cat says:

          Yay! Also, I'm going to throw Artemis Fowl out there as a suggestion. And in case you need tempting further, one of the books in the series is called 'Artemis Fowl: The Time Paradox', because we know from HP how much you love your time travel Mark <3

        • Kelseyintherain says:

          Mark, when/if you do that series, your blog is going to be my life. That is still one of my all time favorite series of books after all these years. 🙂

      • EldaTaluta says:

        Oh! If we're voting on things we want Mark to read, I'm putting a vote in for House of Leaves. Maybe he'll be able to make some sense of it.

    • Joanie says:

      I really don't think there will ever be an equal to Hagrid. 😉

    • ArneNieberding says:

      Hilight, Harry Potter, Hunger Games…


    • Kripa says:

      I vote for: The Inheritance Cycle; Percy Jackson and the Olympians; The Kane Chronicles; Artemis Fowl. And as for watching? MAD MEN! And Battlestar Galactica. and The Vampire Diaries.

      • 4and6forever says:

        Oh, I second PJO! I would reccomend Maximum Ride, but I feel that you wouldn’t like it. (“But the plot? Where’s the plot? What is happening?!?!?”)

      • lossthief says:

        I don't think he'd go for the Kane Chronicles since there's only one book out so far, but the PJO series would definitely be a good one.

        For one I think he'd hate? Probably the "Cirque De Freak" books, if for nothing else because the writing is so UGH.

  37. myownmetaphor says:

    Did you know that foreshadowing is a literary device. People like to use foreshadowing as a way to give hints about what is to come. Collins knows how to foreshadow so well.

    • celestineangel1 says:

      Collins will foreshadow the shit out of you!

      • IsabelArcher says:

        OMG! That's why Stephanie Meyers liked this series: She must have been Collins' mentor in how to foreshadow. She must have been soooo disappointed in her student when we found out what the Hunger Games were in chapter one: "No, no, Suzanne, you must tell everyone on the back cover that Katniss is going to the Hunger Games on the back cover, hint about it for about 20 more chapters, have her do a search on her favorite internet server about the Hunger Games and the likelihood of going, THEN come up with the shocking reveal!!! Also, you need to put a section in there about Gale's tall, statuesque figure and rock-hard abs. Yeahhhh."

    • kaybee42 says:

      I'm so sorry I just tried to click thumbs up on your comment but clicked the wrong one and it wont let me undo it. I'm just gonna go ahead and thumbs up a couple of your other comments to make up for it!

  38. myownmetaphor says:

    Yeah it has to be pretty small if Katniss knows like everyone in it. I mean, its described as being like one town.

  39. Lily says:

    If there's anything to complain about The Hunger Games: 1.) it's not Harry Potter, 2.) the prose. I admit to being completely turned off by first-person ever since Twilight (or, really, Breaking Dawn), but first person in present tense? Blah. But after finishing it, I felt that it was a perfect fit. Katniss lives for the moment, not the future.

  40. tgyr says:

    It's really weird to be on the prediction making side instead of the "OH GOD I CAN'T SAY ANYTHING IN CASE IT'S A SPOILER" side…

    I get the feeling that Haymitch is going to come in handy later. Like, as Katniss and/or Peeta get farther in the Games, he's gonna start to sober up and actually help them. I don't know, just my guess.


  41. Emily says:

    One of my favorite aspects of this chapter (and I actually got disturbingly excited) is something that you seemed to have missed, Mark. I love love LOVE that District 12 is in Appalachia! I'm not sure if you know much about coal-mining towns, but they are some of the most fucked up stories of corporate oppression you'll ever encounter. Even now, that area is one the poorest and least educated parts of the country. Homes are still being destroyed for mining. The fact that this is acknowledged by a well-known author blows my mind. I'm looking forward to more parallels; working with coal justice always gets me pretty pumped 🙂

  42. Revolution64 says:

    I figured out why these books irritate me. The foreshadowing makes me want to vomit. It's "Twilight" status foreshadowing. Collins is just slamming the future in my face.

  43. BradSmith5 says:

    We are bad people when we make jokes about Katniss using exclamation points, for they are luxuries that cost twenty squirrel pelts to use. We are rich, elitist snobs with our high-dollar, gold-plated punctuational marks!

    Phrases and periods––it's all they have left, Mark! It's all they have LEFT! :'(

  44. leaenalittera says:

    People keep commenting on the nature of the prose, so I have to throw in my two cents here, and apologize right off the bat if my opinion sounds aggressive, because this particular topic inspires some very strong emotions in me.

    I hate this blunt style of narration, quite possibly more than any other writing behaviour that I have ever seen, and I know exactly why: Because this is the style of every angsty, pretentious twentieth century Canadian novel/short story/poem that I had to read in high school and which caused me to dive headfirst into Renaissance literature when I went to university. Okay, you’re “gritty and realistic,” we get it. Move on and learn a sentence structure other than SVO. Embedded clauses are not the enemy.

    I’ll stop before I get onto a full-on rant about everything I hate about twentieth century lit, but I will make one more comment, in response to the people who keep saying that the style fits with Katniss’ character and therefore it’s okay. Purple prose and bitching was in keeping with Bella’s character in Twilight. ALL CAPS ANGST was in keeping with Harry Potter’s character in Order of the Phoenix. The difference between the two is that one author realized that what is good as characterization is not necessarily good as a narrative style, and one didn’t (well, SMeyer didn’t realize a lot of things, but this is one of them). It’s entirely possible to write a tough, beaten-down protagonist without overusing choppy sentences and heavy-handed symbolism. In other words, “It’s her character” is a bullshit excuse.

    I say nothing about the possibility of a good story overcoming weak writing or people enjoying a book written in a style I hate, because I don’t dispute that at all. If this is one of your favourite books, more power to you. I simply know that I, for one, cannot get past it.

    If anyone needs me, I’ll be reading anything written before 1900.

    [WORDPRESS HASHCASH] The poster sent us ‘0 which is not a hashcash value.

    • IsabelArcher says:

      Meh. I see your point, but I don't think everything written before 1900 is guaranteed good writing. In fact, I think I'd rather read "blunt" writing than nearly all writing by transcendentalists (except Emily Dickinson). Don't get me wrong, my area of concentration is Medieval-Renaissance, and I have a very personal relationship with Milton, but I enjoy Modern/Post-Modern writing as well.

      (Of course, I should probably qualify all of my statements by admitting that I also read terribly trashy books between translating OE and writing feminist criticisms of Paradise Lost and Comus. Seriously. I read VERY trashy, terribly written books in my down time.)

    • Joanie says:

      Oh, I don't think the style of writing has anything to do with Katniss' character at all. I always just figured Collins wrote like this. It is a weakness.

    • bibliotrek says:

      Renaissance lit is the greatest. I mean, revenge tragedies? SO AWESOME. That is all. 🙂

  45. theupsides says:

    I was going to point this out too, about the Mellarks not being from The Seam. I can see how some would miss it, though.

  46. ldwy says:

    The fact that the baker could come talk to her was really impressive. She’s his son’s opponent, but he still can see past that to know that she didn’t choose it any more than his son. So I really respected him. And his willingness to look out for Prim. I think, like you said, Mark, that it says a lot about terrible the situation in the Seam too. Her goodbye with her mother wasn’t too forced, although I’m not sure how realistic it would be. I guess the anger she’s feeling bubbles up because of her fear for Prim? That works.

    And awww, saying goodbye to Gale, and how he’s the one she clings onto (not her mother and sister?). “Nothing romantic between us” my ass. There is. That is an obvious fact. And it clearly seems that he was going to tell her how much he loveeeees her. Which is super super predictable, but really? I think I’m okay with it. And even though experience tells me that falling for your best friend is usually a terrible idea, it always seems to work out wonderfully for the characters in books. This part was definitely one big cliche and of predictable structure, but for now I'm okay with it. But I don't think anyone will be surprised when we get to where this is going.

    The new development about them having a sponsor (unfortunately, their’s is a drunk) was interesting: I’ll be excited to see what kind of role that is.

    It is kind of driving me nuts that Collins cannot seem to make a point without laying it on SOOOO THICKLY. She is really becoming the definition of UN-subtle. All of her points: tough girl, impoverished conditions, no-win situations…could be made so much more interesting and artful if they weren’t just beaten into our skulls. But I am very intrigued by the story, so I am more than willing to keep on reading.

    • notemily says:

      And even though experience tells me that falling for your best friend is usually a terrible idea, it always seems to work out wonderfully for the characters in books.

      That annoys me too! I really appreciate the few books I've read where it DOESN'T turn out great.

  47. Reonyea says:


    The 12 year old contestant will turn out to be an unpleasant bloodthirsty badass.

    Peeta will follow Katniss around until she gets used to him not dying and makes friends.

    Um, that's all I got.

  48. CuriousApe says:

    I wanted to read along with you, Mark, but I accidentally finished the book in one night 🙁
    I figured that Katniss would become friends with District-11-girl, too; she just had too much of an introduction for it to be different. I also wondered if the girl would maybe surprise everyone by being a really vicious killer or something, it just seemed like something that might happen.

    • karadudz says:

      I did the exact same thing. I was planning on the whole one-chapter-a-day thing but as soon as I started reading I couldn't stop. =P

  49. Penquin47 says:

    I unfortunately chose the "making out well with her goat" paragraph to read to my brother to give him an idea about the writing style. He immediately nicknamed Prim "Aberforth".

    Also, oh hi 3rd chapter RECAP! This is written for young adults, I shouldn't expect subtlety exactly, but unless this was written for that dude from Memento, I don't think we need to be reminded of the plot points from the previous chapter, thanks.

    Why is the author taunting the shippers?

    I'm thinking Katniss gets that bow made, but because it's a crappy poorly-made bow she finds herself in a situation where she comes across the huge guy trying to kill the 12-year-old and tries to shoot the big guy dead but ends up killing the 12-year-old instead. This sends her into a mental breakdown, causing her to learn empathy for her mother, until Gale shows up and loves her out of it. Also, the fox-faced girl kills Peeta and Katniss kills her right back.

    • trash_addict says:

      Why is the author taunting the shippers?

      Because it's fun!
      I mean, if it keeps happening over and over and over again it's frustrating, but a bit of shipper-teasing is alright. I don't think Katniss – who is a bit of an emotional cripple – could have handled a declaration of love from him anyway.

    • kajacana says:

      Prim = Aberforth — I AM DYING OF LAUGHS

  50. Silverilly says:

    I loved that little remark that the announcer makes about District 12 being "backward but charming." Not in the way that I loved the announcer, I mean, I just loved that little tidbit of information that lets us know how other districts might have perceived the silent salute.

  51. lossthief says:

    Adding onto my last comment, I'm interested in the little bit of satire we got when they were watching the other Tributes being chosen. It seemed like it was sort of doing a dark parody of the news and reality TV shows we have these days, and I'm hoping we get more of that.

  52. karadudz says:

    So i know everything in this book concerning the Hunger Games is EFFED UP.
    But did anyone get shocked at Gale's "How different can it be, really?" comment when he was comparing hunting animals and hunting the tributes in the games?
    Like WOW MAN… is it really that non-chalant in their world that in the case of the Hunger Games it's totally ok to think of murder as correct? I know it's a survival game/punishment from the Capitol…

    • petite-dreamer says:

      Or is it Effied up?

    • 4and6forever says:

      See, this is why I hate hate HATE Gale. He’s all “Hurdyhur, let’s all go around killing people because it’s no different than hunting! I have no morals! Yay!” Grrrr. hatehatehatehatehate.

    • theupsides says:

      I think you're the first person to mention this, and I found it to be a really striking part of the chapter. Like, really? How different could it be? The whole thing is so messed up.

    • amythis says:

      This is awful, but after watching all the HP movies this past week, and with all the Effie =? Umbridge, Prim = Aberforth, now I'm hearing Luna delivering the "How different can it be, really?"

    • Pagefivefivesix says:

      Although I agree that it’s ‘effed’ up, he’s thinking reasonably, the hunger games predate them by quite a bit so they’ve obviously been watching people getting murdered for a good portion of their lives. She’s a hunter and that’s what he’s telling her to do, hunt. If she were too emotionally charged and seeing these people as “human” essentially she might not be able to kill them and will end up getting killed herself. Just my thoughts :3

    • Pagefivefivesix says:

      I think I’m going to cry, I just typed out a really long comment on my iPod, only for me to post it to be told that I was posting too quickly, so I can’t retrieve my comment. I’ll give you a sumary though: I think the way Kat adressed her mum was justified because she couldn’t let prim be hurt, I adore Haymich and picture him being Scottish ( probably because I’m Scottish myself) and I imagine The districts being spread out in a big moon shape, with 12 and Capitol being far inland and 4 or 5 ( can’t remember the fishing district) being near the ocean. Probably because I have no idea what north Americas like or what “the Rockies”(?) are. So yeah. Sorry for any weird typos Im on my iPod and it tends to do that, gutted you couldn’t read my massive comment. Love this series so much!

      • notemily says:

        Also, until I read your comment just now, I never realized how silly it is to name a mountain range the Rocky Mountains. I mean, of course they're rocky! They're made of rock!

    • notemily says:

      And here you have my least favorite thing about Gale.

  53. Suspicious Cookie says:

    The whole thing about the Capitol guys putting wood in the arena every year so that they don't get anticlimatic deaths…what sort of people are these? Are there citizens in the Capitol? Are they all bad? :/ They might view the District players as below them, like animals…I read a very interesting book called 'Salt' recently and it had a simimilar kind of abject poverty – rich people dynamic.

    Not feeling the Gale/Katniss, but I can see it. Look, Katniss says that she can feel his hard muscled body. There will be a relationship. That's my (probably wrong?) prediction.

  54. Tabbyclaw says:

    I'm having a hell of a time not saying anything spoilery just because I can't remember which chapters things happened in.

  55. oohlivia says:

    You know, I don't get the impression that the writing style is deliberate as a reflection of Katniss' character. I think it just so happens that Collins simply isn't that great at writing. I don't know, but either way I'm willing to look past it because the actual story is good, even if the prose isn't.

    I really like Katniss. I really get the impression she has lived through tough times in her life and has hardened herself against the world. She seems so world-weary, despite her young age, which is really very sad. She's practically a child yet she's already become so accustomed to how unjust life is.

  56. xkcdhobbes says:

    I read this chapter pretty fast this morning. It is very hard not to read ahead. I remembered thinking about the same thing about the games: How does everybody get to watch it? Also, I don't think that Effie should be regarded as evil in the upset digestion case. Imagine someone eating naked and scratching himself inappropriately when you eat with him/her. You would probably be a bit upset. It is just because you were brought up thinking that it is not acceptable to do so and it upsets you. Same goes for someone eating without closing his mouth properly. Many people are just horrified by that. The same goes for eating with hands in the case of Effie. I'm not saying that the view is the right one, but it is not Effie specifically that believes that, we get a feel that the higher society just works that way and she just does what she was taught.

    • pennylane27 says:

      Yeah, that's what I thought too. Effie has some misguided notions about the Hunger Games (hey, let's watch a bunch of kids kill each other, there's good entertainment!), she is acting according to what she has been taught living in the Capitol. She isn't trying to be insensitive or mean, she just can't relate to these kids who didn't have anything to eat and struggled to live, because at the Capitol everything is just perfect.

  57. Amber says:

    I find it funny that everyone pictures Effie as Umbridge, because I totally saw her as Rita Skeeter! Am I alone here?

    • exbestfriend says:

      I did not immediately think of Effie as either, but my picture of her is much closer to Rita than Umbridge. Just more self centered than pure evil. I mean Rita does a bunch of questionable things, but more in the vein of just not realizing how actions affect others when they benefit her.
      Then again I consider comparisons to Umbridge equal to comparisons to Hitler. If you claim that someone is like Umbridge you are diminishing just how evil Umbridge was.

    • theupsides says:

      She's totally more Rita and Umbridge.

  58. Remus5 says:

    There is a map of Panem that i found on the internet when i was reading the first book. The link (no spoilers) :

    • pennylane27 says:

      I have trouble picturing the country in my head. The book says Panem is what used to be North America, does that include Canada and Mexico? Is it just the US? And for some reason, my mind had the districts in numerical order, from West to East. Is that weird? Also, what happened to Mexico in that map? 😉

    • stellaaaaakris says:

      Damn. I'm underwater. I always suspected that would happen in the future. The map isn't exactly what I picture, but it's very interesting. I feel like there's a lot of land that doesn't belong to any of the districts and is sort of a no-man's-land.

      • pennylane27 says:

        Yeah, I got that feeling too, like if the districts are fenced off, then there must be some land between them that isn't part of any. I also wonder what happened to the rest of the world. I think that if they have something like the Hunger Games, either the rest of the world is shut off or destroyed.

  59. Tabbyclaw says:

    Okay, this is one of those "Don't ask me where I'm getting this 'cause I don't even know" things, but in my head Peeta is represented by the thickset and slightly dimwitted classmate from Invader Zim.

  60. Dani says:

    I'm glad I wasn't the only one who liked Katniss a little bit more because of regional loyalty. XD I'm stuck between Appalachia and the South, so it was cool to have a heroine from an area near me.

  61. xkcdhobbes says:

    I can't wait to see how far Collins is going to push her characters too. Imagine if Katniss comes to a situation where she either must kill the 12 year old prim-like girl or die, how would she react? Suppose Peeta and Katniss are fighting, would Katniss be hampered by the thought of Peeta being nice to her? So many questions! The thing that I dislike about first person is that the book will most probably run the whole way like that. This means that we probably won't get to know much about the rest of the people through the games, for example, how is Prim reacting to her sister suffering in the games? But the good part of this is that we will be surprised if we do hear about the other characters changes through the time Katniss is gone.

  62. ladylarla says:

    Im still at the not liking the narration style but not being able to give up because I really want to know what happens next. Also I figured that they must just screen the Games themselves on big screens with compulsory attendance (sort of like how they do with various World Cups).

    I'm also intrigued to actually meet the other contestants, this reading one chapter a day is hard, thankfully I get to see Harry Potter today so that should distract me 🙂

  63. Karen says:

    I actually really love the theme of being filmed and watched and thinking of how to present yourself. I know this is going to make me sound like such a pretentious asshole, but it really does make me think of Foucault and his work on the panopticon prisons. Idk. I just really love the idea of thinking about how surveillance and gaze etc modifies behavior and self-regulation.

    I also LOVE that moment where Katniss eats with her hands just to piss Effie off. I love Katniss. And YES, I love that she's a heroine who isn't traditionally feminine and that's ok. She is who she is. The end.

    PS Do we have a spoiler thread yet?

  64. simply_shipping says:

    I really kind of sympathize with Katniss's mom. To me, laying in bed and staring at the ceiling while everything goes to Hell in a handbasket is pretty close to how I felt before I got put on antidepressants – which it sounds like Katniss's mom got too, if her reference to medicine is anything to go on. I mean, I understand why Katniss is still mad at her, and I definitely understand why she's worried about what would happen to Prim if/when she gets killed in the Hunger Games, but I sympathize more with the mom.

    Also, Prim is starting to annoy me with her AWESOMESAUCE GOODNESS AND PURITY AND EVERYONE LOVES HER SEEEEEEEE?! :/

  65. Kelseyintherain says:

    I don't recall if it's ever stated clearly in the book, but I kept getting the impression that the citizens in the districts watched the games together in the square on a giant screen or something.

    • 4and6forever says:

      Yes, they talk about how you watch the Games in later chapters. I hope that that doesn’t count as a spoiler, but I didn’t really disclose any important information?

  66. jessimuhka says:

    Man, I'm getting really anxious waiting for my copy from the library with these reviews. I've moved up 10 places in line just this week though, so hopefully it will be here soon.

  67. Kelseyintherain says:

    I don't think the scene with Haymitch vomiting was supposed to be funny. I thought it was just to show how much their mentor sucks and how that's really going to cripple them in the arena.

    • lossthief says:

      To Me it just felt like it was meant to be one of those "Gilligan Cut" jokes you see in sitcoms, it was just missing the laugh track.

      • Kelseyintherain says:

        Hm, I can see where you might get that impression, but I guess the tone of the book is making me read everything from a very cynical perspective.

    • notemily says:

      I agree, I think it was supposed to make him look pathetic and not like anyone who could help them. I really hate vomit humor scenes, but this one I was OK with because it wasn't just to be funny, it had a point.

  68. Karen says:

    RIGHT? I am having so much trouble restraining myself from spoiling. I need a spoiler thread in which I can express my ~feelings~.

  69. Nakeefeet says:

    I'm just caught up, and I'm not sure what I think of Katniss, but I know the writing style is bugging the crap out of me. I just asked my husband if they'd stopped teaching clauses and commas, because they seem to be absent in recent writing. Or maybe they're uncool and an author wouldn't want to be accused of being uncool by knowing that pesky proper sentence structure.

    I did like Katniss eating with her fingers and wiping them on the tablecloth. Effie can kiss every poor lesser soul who's ever had the misfortune to be in her presence's ass.

  70. Amy says:

    So I was doing a bit of re-reading last night, and after getting through the first few chapters, I came to an interesting conclusion:

    The first three or four chapters? They kind of suck. They’re boring and feel so out of place with the rest of the trilogy, for me. With the writing, I think you just get used to it. After a while it seems to blend in with the storyline. But the beginning isn’t a good impression of what is to come.

    Peeta. <3 My favorite character in the trilogy.

    I almost hate knowing all of the answers, because for some things (particularly Gale/Katniss) I want to go 'YOU SEE, THIS IS WHAT HAPPENS.' But I won't.

  71. JapaneseAlps says:

    Glad to see that Katniss did prepare for Prim’s welfare.

    Okay, Katniss’s hardbitten attitude is definitely not supposed to be a virtue. She’s just short of not comprehending that people could be upset about killing complete strangers.

    Prediction times: either the twelve-year-old contestant will join that escape I theorized about earlier, or she’ll be killed as an example to the reader.

  72. EldaTaluta says:

    It could be because about 90% of it is utter trash. For example, I tried listening to a dramatic reading of "My Inner Life" today, and it caused me physical pain. I'm not exaggerating. When I was listening to it I had a terrible headache and was begging for it to stop. And then I realized I didn't have to listen to it, and shut it off. The headache went away real quick. Point is, in order to read good fanfiction, you have to sift through a lot of "My Immortal"s, and sometimes that just doesn't seem to be worth it.

  73. EldaTaluta says:

    My Predictions:

    The Baker's son guy will end up making friends with Katniss, and dying for her at some point during the games.

    Katniss and Gale are totes gonna get together at some point.

    Katniss's mom will go into BSOD mode at some point in this book.

  74. amythis says:

    I read the first book very quickly because I was running out of time and had to get it back to the library. (Tons of holds.) I found myself not knowing if I liked it or not, but I knew I had to read on. I'm halfway through the second book now. I will say that the story draws me in, makes me want to know what happens next, even if I don't necessarily like where it's going. I'm finding I'm skimming these reviews (and comments) more than I did with MRHP, not through any fault of yours, Mark, or your readers, but just because you know, I love Harry Potter and have read the series multiple times. (Just started CoS, yay!) This, I can't tell you what I think of the writing style because it doesn't stand out to me and I don't have whole sections committed to memory as I do with HP. As for the plot and characters, I probably won't comment till you get further in because my thoughts are definitely too spoilery, while at the same time not being fully thought through, since I'm at the midpoint of the series. Sorry for the rambling. Anyhoo, time to go back to CoS and– I've already forgotten the title, which should tell you how much less I'm into it– Catching Fire I think. Still, better than Twilight, right?

  75. Miranda says:

    Yeah, I agree. I don't particularly care for the way it's written.
    Mainly it's the first person point of view that bothers me. It's basically ever since I read Twilight. Twilight ruined first person point of view for me… :/
    Meh, ohh well.
    I imagine it's not TOO difficult (or at least, not as difficult as it was as Harry Potter) to read it chapter by chapter? At least, not yet. 😛

  76. Riley says:

    Haymitch reminds me a lot of Gregory House, actually.

    The Games are bloody ridiculous and terrible. They make them vulnerable and put them out there for slaughter for the entertaining of the Capitol tossers and the agony of the poor and dysfunction districts. The ends do not justify the means at all and this is coming from a Slytherin, so you know, shit just got real.

    I'm really interested in who you are going to end up liking more, Gale or Peeta. I have a feeling it will be Peeta, but I could be terribly wrong.

    • notemily says:

      People have suggested Hugh Laurie to play Haymitch, but I don't really see it. Haymitch is too manic and has a kind of cackling glee going on, plus he's described as "paunchy."

  77. rissreader says:

    About the Capitol being in the Rockie Mtns. I'm a Stargate Atlantis fan, and we all know that NORAD (North American Aerospace Defense Command) is under The Mountain. There is also a military base and the Air Force Academy nearby. Perhaps, after whatever disaster happened, the military regrouped at NORAD where there were still weapons and tech and became the new government. Hmm, I wonder if there are cross-over fics with this idea.

  78. Kripa says:

    In my head canon, the Capitol is in Denver.
    Also, people who ship Katniss and Gale make me think of people who ship Harry and Hermione. I bet they're one and the same. Also, I bet they ship Joan and Roger in Mad Men. And to all three ships, a big "DO NOT WANT" from me.

    • mmcgonagall says:

      I picture the Capitol in Denver too.

    • mrbobby says:

      Deeply, deeply agree with your views on Katniss/Gale shippers.

    • Amy says:

      Definitely not one in the same, at least for me. I love HHr, but I can’t stand Gale and Katniss.

      • mmcgonagall says:

        I never wanted H/Hr together, but I agree that the ships are totally different. Without getting into spoilers, neither Harry or Hermione are anything like Gale. They would never think that hunting animals for FOOD (not sport) and the killing of humans in a game (even for your own survival) are the same.

        • bibliotrek says:

          On the other hand, both ships are based on the development of a long friendship into romantic love.

          • mmcgonagall says:

            Oh I totally agree with this. I want to type some more, but it is so hard not to write spoilers. I miss the HP spoiler blog.

    • bibliotrek says:

      I ship Joan/her pen necklace. So by extension, I think that means I ship Hermione/Hogwarts, a History and Katniss/bow.

  79. EruditeWitch says:

    I wanted to comment for a second on your mention of hope.

    It is the absence of hope on every page that is astounding to me in this series. And when hope shows up, I as a reader cling to it like it's the only water I have. The book is rather a Hunger Game itself…like we're all fighting a war with Collins.

  80. Marie_Goos says:

    From what we've seen already plus the fact that there are three books, I could see this going the way of some sort of rebellion against the Hunger Games which evolves into civil war. Let us hope things get that exciting. Also, I predict the fox-faced girl will be a rival for Katniss, but eventually they will settle into a truce not out of friendship, but respect for each other's super huntar skillz. And if it sounds like I'm pulling this out of my ass, that's because I am. P.S. – EWWWW VOMIT PILE.

  81. tethysdust says:

    Probably because it's usually pretty badly written. However, in my opinion, that's not the point. I've always thought of fanfiction as sort of training-wheels writing for young writers first attempts. You take someone else's scenario, so the characters, their relationships, and the world is already set up for you. All you have to work on is writing believably and constructing a plot.

    So sure most of it is crap, because most of the people who write it are typically very inexperienced. But really, I don't know if I could deal with a future generation that did NOT daydream up stories about their favorite fictional characters…

    • notemily says:

      Some fanfiction is amazingly written. I've read some that blew me away. I generally only read fanfiction if it comes highly recommended, though.

  82. fnoodles says:

    I cannot see book 3 as a movie at all. :/

  83. Lor says:

    I had read the first book before I found out you were reading this series! I read every single one of your Harry Potter reviews and loved them all! I was so happy when I found you were doing The Hunger Games, I started terracing book one and i finished the last one tonight!

    The writing style is hard to get used to but I have no doubt you’ll be pulled in eventually 🙂 Mark you are not prepared

  84. jonni13 says:

    I'm actually really getting into this. The writing style suits my mood perfectly at the moment tehe feeling a bit grim. Bit pissed off that I got spoilt about a couple of things but oh well, it may not be as big a deal as I think :~/

  85. Arania says:

    Why is the Capitol in the Rockies? My guess is NORAD. It must have survived whatever cataclysm created this world in the first place.

  86. Jolene says:

    I'm yet another who was going to read a chapter a day with you, but I'm somewhere in the 20s.

    Pretty much agree with every comment that you've made. Don't really have anything worthy to add.

  87. Hash says:

    I'm reading this with you and I totally agree with you about the writing. I feel like she's being too obvious. I feel bad saying this but, with the whole fantastic 'Hunger Games' plot, I wish it was written better.

  88. kaybee42 says:

    In the interest of full disclosure I thought I should say that I read up to chapter 9 making notes as I went (I never planned on doing 1 per day, cause I knew I could never do it). And then I stayed awake till 5am one day into starting the book to finish it. I will wait till you start the next book before I start it, though 🙂

    • Kaybee42 says:

      Argh I forgot to write my predictions I had written down from this chapter. They were as follows:
      Haymitch dude isn't really drunk or doesn't really get drunk every day. Don't know why.
      I will grow to love Peeta. Don't know if that counts as a proper prediction. whatev. i think it counts.

  89. chickenpopsicle says:

    i started reading them because they were your next series. but… eh, i gave up after they got to the games. the writing style was just too…bleh for me to enjoy even the context.
    i hope you enjoy the series more than i did!

    also wordpress is weird compared to buzznet. :{

  90. lossthief says:

    #3 just got the "Transformers" theme song stuck in my head.

  91. bibliotrek says:

    Why not? I'm curious because as I was reading, I kept thinking how fantastic a movie version could be! In many ways, I think the books might actually improve as movies, given the relative sparseness of the narrative style. In a (well-done) film, the story would have extra layers of meaning in the visuals and sound.

  92. Val says:

    Mark, I predict that you are not going to enjoy this series. You are a guy with some taste, and the writing style, and content of the other two books are not going to live up to your high expectations. The only way you are going to enjoy this is if you lower your expectations.

  93. Silverilly says:

    I think I'm too used to Mark reviewing twice a day. My patience can't take the suspense!

  94. bibliotrek says:

    It makes me sad to see so many people talking about hating first-person narrators, especially hating them due to Twilight! Oh, y'all, first-person can be SO MUCH BETTER than that! Authors can play really fun games with voice and with questions of who knows what when, and it can be amazing. See, for another YA example, Justine Larbalestier's Liar Liar.

    So don't give up on first-person altogether just because some writers execute it badly!

  95. mmcgonagall says:

    I think I figured out who Effie reminds me of… Mrs. Jennings from Sense and Sensibility. Something about the way she treats the Dashwood girls, teasing them loudly in company about their suitors, and kind of looking down her nose to them the way she does it because they are poor and must marry well, reminds me of Effie looking down her nose at the District 12 people's manners. Both are actually good-natured (IMO), and want their "charges" to succeed, but are going about it a wrong and dimwitted way and not understanding that the systems (the marriage system for gentry in 19th century England and the Capitol's Hunger Games) they are promoting are flawed.

  96. Euk says:


  97. Ned says:

    Hi! I'm new! I read this book in my Adolescent Literature class last year and it was–well. Fantastic, though I didn't like it much at first either. I think the analysis helped it a lot. I never got around to reading the sequels, but I guess I'll have to do that so I know what you're talking about later.
    Have a nice day!

  98. pagefivefivesix says:

    I had a really long essay type comment typed up on my iPod, but it wouldn't let me post it and it disapeared so just give you a summary xD
    1. I think the way Kat treats her mum is justified, she's just looking out for Prim, because Prim's one of the only people she's sure she loves and if her mum 'leaves' again there'll be no one to look after her.
    2. I love Haymich <3 I always picture him as Scottish, probably because I am a Scot, but he's one of my favourite character.
    There was, a lot lot more but I can't remember it now SOYEAH.
    I love this series and I really hope you enjoy it.

  99. purplejilly says:

    Hi Mark! I haven't read this series, and to be honest I don't think I would like it much, from what I've seen so far, but I just wanted you to know I am reading your review of it every day, even if I am not commenting. I just don't have that much to say about it yet. Just wanted to let you know I am still your loyal fan and here, and waiting for the day you start watching AVPM 🙂

  100. akismet-d6ea96dbd67baeebc26802383c019728 says:

    Okay, it's purplejilly above, can anyone tell me why my name is showing up as an akismet key instead of my name? LOL.. old lady needs help..

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