Mark Reads ‘The Hunger Games’: Chapter 5

In the fifth chapter of The Hunger Games, Katniss meets her stylists, everything is incredibly goddamn weird, and somehow, her and Peeta gain an advantage over their fellow tributes. Err…murder victims. Or something. Intrigued? Then it’s time for Mark to read The Hunger Games.

Oh man, how weird (and, admittedly, unexpected) is this chapter???

I know I am a broken record at this point because I keep saying BATTLE ROYALE BATTLE ROYALE BLAH BLAH BLAH. But now we’re seeing the signs of precisely how different this book is from that premise.

I think most of us are set in this story enough that we can largely avoid some of the writing and focus more on what is actually happening. But I want to do this now because WHAT IS GOING ON HERE.

This is some strange shit here in chapter five. We learn about how the tributes are prepared for the opening ceremony by a group of stylists whose main inspiration for design is cultural appropriation.

I knew that Katniss and Peeta would clash with the members of the Capitol, but I didn’t expect it to be so grating.

Why do these people speak in such a high pitch? Why do their jaws barely open when they talk? Why do the ends of their sentences go up as if they’re asking a question? Odd vowels, clipped words, and always a hiss on the letter s….no wonder it’s impossible not to mimic them.

I like the juxtaposition present in the two cultures and how Collins makes sure that Katniss seems offended by how bizarre this all is. It’s even weirder for her because of the way they deal with her body:

I’ve been in the Remake Center for more than three hours and I still haven’t met my stylist. Apparently he has no interest in seeing me until Venia and the other members of my prep team have addressed some obvious problems. This has included scrubbing down my body with gritty foam that has removed not only dirt but at least three layers of skin, turning my nails into uniform shapes, and primarily, ridding my body of hair. My legs, arms, torso, underarms, and parts of my eyebrows have been stripped of the stuff, leaving me like a plucked bird, ready for roasting. I don’t like it. My skin feels sore and tingling and intensely vulnerable. But I have kept my side of the bargain with Haymitch, and no objection has crossed my lips.

So the Capitol values purity in way: they want their women (and possibly their men, but we don’t learn if Peeta was waxed as well) to be smooth and clean and presentable in the most childish way possible. And I mean that more in a sense that they’re reducing Katniss’s appearance to that of a young child in removing her body hair and her imperfections and making her appear so drastically different from what she was. THIS IS SO ODD.

“You’re doing very well,” says some guy named Flavius. He gives his orange corkscrew locks a shake and applies a fresh coat of purple lipstick to his mouth. “If there’s one thing we can’t stand, it’s a whiner. Grease her down!”

WHAT. Is this how stylists dress? Look, there is no way orange and purple EVER go together unless you’re a bag of candy or in Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory. What is this?

Venia and Octavia, a plump woman whose entire body has been dyed a pale shade of pea green, rub me down with a lotion that first stings but then soothes my raw skin. Then they pull me from the table, removing the thin robe I’ve been allowed to wear off and on. I stand there, completely naked, as the three circle me, wielding tweezers to remove any last bits of hair. I know I should be embarrassed, but they’re so unlike people that I’m no more self-conscious than if a trio of oddly colored birds where pecking around my feet.

WHY IS SOMEONE’S SKIN DYED PEA GREEN. What the holy shit is going on? And why are they plucking all of her body hair if she’s going to be clothed? Also, good god, she is going to be itchy as hell in a day or two.

The three step back and admire their work. “Excellent! You almost look like a human being now!” says Flavius, and they all laugh.


Cinna, Katniss’s stylist, isn’t quite like his partners.

The door opens and a young man who must be Cinna enters. I’m taken aback by how normal he looks. Most of the stylists they interview on television are so dyed, stenciled, and surgically altered they’re grotesque. But Cinna’s close-cropped hair appears to be its natural shade of brown. He’s in a simple black shirt and pants. The only concession to self-alteration seems to be metallic gold eyeliner that has been applied with a light hand. It brings out the flecks of gold in his green eyes. And, despite my disgust with the Capitol and their hideous fashions, I can’t help thinking how attractive it looks.

Honestly, I didn’t expect any of this. The addition of the stylists and their over-the-top style is an interesting detail to add this world and helps me further understand how the Capitol operates. I suppose this is just an extension of the privilege these people live with. They have access to anything and everything they could ever want; why wouldn’t they dye their hair and their skin and surgically enhance their bodies?

The interaction between Cinna and Katniss, however, is not as indicative of their social differences, as it seems Cinna has some strange sort of respect for her, and not in a necessarily damaging way.

I had expected someone flamboyant, someone older trying desperately to look young, someone who viewed me as a piece of meat to be prepared for a platter. Cinna has met none of these expectations.

Exactly why does Cinna treat Katniss that way? I don’t actually recall there being a reason in this chapter at all, but, for the most part, he doesn’t other Katniss at all in this section

Cinna invites me to sit on one of the couches and takes his place across from me. He presses a button on the side of the table. The top splits and from below rises a second tabeltop that holds our lunch. Chicken and chunks of oranges cooked in a creamy sauce laid on a bed of pearly white grain, tiny grebe peas and onions, rolls shaped like flowers, and for desert, a pudding the color of honey.

What is the magical fuckery at work here

What must it be like, I wonder, to live in a world where food appears at the press of a button? How would I spend the hours I now commit to combining the woods for sustenance if it were so easy to come by? What do they do all day, these people in the Capitol, besides decorating their bodies and waiting around for a new shipment of tributes to roll in and die for their entertainment?

I like this section because it made me think about what I would do if I weren’t bound to working full time and having bills that take up most of what I earned. What if I lived with that sort of life? I mean…I’m so used to not being able to take free time for granted, or some extra money every month, or getting to travel or buy something that requires saving for weeks and months on end. These are all staples of my life and have always been that way. I can’t fathom what my life would be like if I was freed of that. I can’t even imagine what I would do each day.

Do you?

For opening ceremonies, you’re supposed to wear something that suggests your district’s principal industry. District 11, agriculture. District 4, fishing. District 3, factories. This means that coming from District 12, Peeta and I will be in some kind of coal miner’s getup. Since the baggy miner’s jumpsuits are not particularly becoming, our tributes usually end up in skimpy outfits and hats with headlamps. One year, our tributes were stark naked and coered in black powder to win favor with the crowd. I prepare myself for the worst.

I want to read into this a sharp commentary on the absurdity of fashion, especially fashion aimed at cultural exploitation and appropriation, but I fear I’m being a bit too harsh. Still, it’s a horrifying concept, that people in the Capitol can view hardships and suffering as a method for dressing their tributes.

A few hours later, I am dressed in what will either be the most sensational or the deadliest costume in the opening ceremonies. I’m in a simple black unitard that covers me from ankle to neck. Shiny leather boots lace up to my knees. But it’s the fluttering cape made of streams of orange, yellow, and red and the matching headpiece that define this costume. Cinna plans to light them on fire just before our chariot rolls into the streets.

“It’s not real flame, of course, just a little synthetic fire Portia and I came up with. You’ll be perfectly safe,” he says. But I’m convinced I won’t be perfectly barbecued by the time we reach the city’s center.

What the holy hell is this. No, seriously, what? This is so odd, guys.

There is a bit more info, briefly, about what is happening next.

The ride lasts about twenty minutes and ends up at the City Circle, where they will welcome us, play the anthem, and escort us into the Training Center, which will be our home/prison until the Games begin.

Ah, so there will be training before the Games begin. Interesting. So it will probably be another a chapter or two until things start.

We learn that more rich Districts (District 1, for example) get more expensive items for the opening ceremonies. I imagine they’ll either get better training and weapons too. Probably both.

When Peeta and Katniss enter the parade of tributes, we also find out exactly what Cinna did for them:

The pounding music, the cheers, the admiration work their way into my blood, and I can’t suppress my excitement. Cinna has given me a great advantage. No one will forget me. Not my look, not my name. Katniss. The girl who was on fire.

For the first time, I feel a flicker of hope rising up in me. Surely, there must be one sponsor willing to take me on! And with a little extra help, some food, the right weapon, why should I count myself out of the Games?

I wonder exactly why Cinna did them such a great service. Out of respect? To move on to a more luxurious District? Whatever the reason, it worked. And now I know that sponsors can actually provide an advantage to the tributes and that, unsurprisingly, money once again means everything here. And in that case, Katniss and Peeta are at a distinct disadvantage.

Still, there are now a few more factors that can come into play in this story. And with Peeta and Katniss both experiencing a spark of hope, I’m still wondering exactly how their relationship will grow. OR END. Dun dun dun.

And then he gives me a smile that seems so genuinely sweet with just the right touch of shyness that unexpected warmth rushes through me.

A warning bell goes off in my head. Don’t be so stupid. Peeta is planning how to kill you, I remind myself. He is luring you in to make you easy prey. The more likable he is, the more deadly he is.

But because two can play at this game, I stand on tiptoe and kiss his cheek. Right on his bruise.

Oh man. Shit is going to get so real.

About Mark Oshiro

Perpetually unprepared since '09.
This entry was posted in The Hunger Games, The Hunger Games (novel) and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

216 Responses to Mark Reads ‘The Hunger Games’: Chapter 5

  1. andreah1234 says:

    I actually liked this chapter, I know, I'm odd like that. Maybe because of the fact that I know how Katniss feels, always being the one with not so much money and always with the less fancy clothes, and to see other people wasting their money in things as insignificant as flashy clothes just seems odd to me. AND I LOVE THE CRAZY FASHIONS, It just seems so fitting with the kind of society that Collins is presenting us (And I like futuristic shit, all right? stop judging me. thank you). And I liked that you thought it was all weird as hell, because it is, that's the beauty of it.

    • 4and6forever says:

      It rememinded me of the city Diego from the Uglies series, because of all the weird fashions. Although admittedly, I was in denial about the whole dyed pea green and purple lipstick thing.

      Oh, and I totally forgot to say this in my last comment: Mark, if you, (and us) had no obligations and lots of free time, you would do what you’re doing now. Read books, then write reviews for them. Every hour of every day.

      …Okay, so maybe that might get a little repetitive.

      • myownmetaphor says:

        Oh my Godddd Diego. How did I not make that connection?!- Its so perfection. And I always thought that the freaking jeweled backwards clock that Shay had would be a big hit in The Capitol

      • andreah1234 says:

        mmm Question: Are you me? Because I totally thlought of Diego when I first read this chapter.

        As for the second thing… wouldn't that just be incredible *dreamy sigh* /totally doesn't mind repetitive.

        • andreah1234 says:

          *thought, it's thought self not thlought *facepalm*

          And I was wrong, the first thing I THOUGHT about was Lady Gaga (Damn she would fit sooooo well there =D), THEN I thought about the Uglies series.

      • notemily says:

        The whole series has a lot of connections to the Uglies series. I enjoyed that while reading them.

  2. IsabelArcher says:

    🙂 I think this is the first chapter that I really started to enjoy this series. I really love the portrayal of the stylists, and I too felt like there was a larger commentary about fashion and how it could be viewed by the impoverished. I even feel that way sometimes about current society: Really Vogue? That's what you think is in style? And how much are you willing to pay to look like a drugged-out sailor? Wow. That's, uh, great. You know people still starve to death, right?

    • deleted2934595 says:

      Exactly. Like, I love fashion, and love clothes, and all of that. But there are moments, like you said, when I am just blown away by it. I mean, I almost never buy clothes (I think I've spent less than $100 on clothes this year, and $40 or so of that was one really cute skirt that I wear all the time now), but the things I would love to wear cost so much money, and then the things that I see other people wearing sometimes just don't make any sense to me AND they cost more money. It's just an odd sensation sometimes, and I have no problem at all thinking that Collins was talking about fashion and beauty in a world where mass media representation can be (literally, in this case) life or death.

  3. Lily says:


    I love the imagery of Peeta and Katniss riding in this chariot of sorts on fire.
    It might be a little heavy-handed to LITERALLY have them "shinning" as the stars, but I like it. For the 1st time, people are going to take them seriously. And while that is good, it can also be bad in terms of gaining the attention of the other tributes.

    I'm looking forward to seeing how far they are going to push this fiery metaphor.

  4. Treasure Cat says:

    This has nothing to do with the Hunger Games, but last night I dreamed about Harry Potter, specifically about the bit when Ron and Hermione finally get together in the Room of Requirement. When I woke up my first thought was 'Omg I can't wait for Mark to read that bit…oh wait, he's finished Harry Potter', and then I had a small sad 🙁
    But then I had a happy because you're reading these books now 🙂

  5. DameDallas says:

    I really did enjoy this chapter, and I too was shocked as hell with the woman who was dyed pea green. I mean, REALLY?

    What do they do all day, these people in the Capitol, besides decorating their bodies and waiting around for a new shipment of tributes to roll in and die for their entertainment?
    Like with you, this sentence tugged at my heart. It shows the Capitol's ridiculousness and also is incredibly grim.

    That chapter-ending sentence, with Katniss kissing Peeta directly on his bruise, was AWESOME. I was like, "You play the game, girlie, and win this shit!" As always, I had to close my laptop in order to NOT read the next chapter. lol.

  6. DameDallas says:

    Also, I really enjoyed Cinna. It's almost sad, but I understand where Katniss is coming from; I liked him because he wasn't some crazed-Capitolist, but a guy who just genuinely wanted to help the District 12 tributes out.

    Who knew that all you had to be was NORMAL just to give a girl some hope?!

  7. I didn't think about it when I read this chapter (a few hours ago) but holy shit she IS going to be itchy in the next few days. Why must hair removal cause such irritation?

    • myownmetaphor says:

      I always thought that they must give them special stuff so the hair doesn't grow back right away, like a blocker or something. Maybe that's why the lotion burned? I don't know these things, I can't afford to be professionally waxed

  8. momzter says:

    I have not had a terribly difficult time putting this book down every day and not reading ahead. Until now. I loved how strange and bizarre this chapter was and am eager to see what happens next.

    One thought, of course, is that helping Katniss and Peeta get sponsors also makes them more of a target to their competitors?

  9. duckrebel21 says:

    Yeah, their fashions are weird and stuff. It makes me think of something I heard about French nobility and their fashions… like their hair ornaments were so elaborate that they would literally have landscapes in their hairdos.

    Also I never made the connection between hairlessness and innocence… It seemed very natural to me that they would wax her because even today women are supposed to be hairless and smooth. She's supposed to be entertaining the Capitol… can't have her looking like some dirty hairy ragamuffin that will offend the people's eyes.

    One last thing- Was I the only one reminded a little bit of the Olympics opening ceremony during their procession?

  10. Karen says:

    I kind of love this chapter. I mean, the ridiculous fashions makes sense when you think about it. If you're not working hard every day to put food in your mouth… you have a lot more time to fill. And like you said, I can't even imagine what I'd do each day. I guess the people in the Capitol just fill their lives with things like fashion. It gives their days some sort of meaning. Something to talk and gossip about.

    I think Cinna is really interesting. He CHOSE District 12 (a really undesirable district). Why? Was it because he felt sorry for them? Or did he just want to show off his neat ideas like the synthetic fire?

    Also, I just really love the various interactions between Peeta and Katniss in this chapter. First is that little moment before they're about to be paraded around when Katniss jokes about it being a good thing that Haymitch isn't around since he's so full of alcohol he shouldn't be around the flames, and they just laugh. I think it just shows a really human need to let out all that tension and stress. Idk. I just like the little things that remind us that even though Katniss and Peeta are competing against each other for their lives, they're both humans and they're both caught in this web the Capitol has woven and that connects them. Similarly, I like that moment when they're both just holding on to each other's hand. Sure, it's because Cinna and Portia want them to present a unified front for some reason, but it also just goes to show that they aren't really each other's enemies. The real enemy is one that they have in common – the Capitol. But then at the end, even though Katniss seems to kind of like Peeta, she remembers that they ARE in this game of life and death where one will have to kill the other.

  11. theupsides says:

    This is the chapter that really got me invested in the story. I thought the stylists were so weird but interesting. But mostly, I loved seeing Katniss and Peeta playing off of each other for the crowd, and wondering just how it was going to pan out.

  12. cantthinkofaname says:

    Those stylists really freaked me out.

  13. myownmetaphor says:

    God I love Peeta. WHY DON'T GUYS SMILE LIKE THAT AT ME!?! (I do realize that he might be doing it to try and kill Katniss but I kind of don't care. He just seems amazing.)

  14. 4and6forever says:

    Yeah, I totally missed the paragraph a about training the first time around. I thought that they were going to be thrown into the arena in their costumes, so I was like “maybe setting her on fire isn’t the smartest thing to be doing?”

    Also, does anyone else think that Collins thought up the Games before the reason for them? I always think that the Games were too extreme a punishment for a rebellion.

    When she kisses Peeta on his bruise, I know that she meant to hurt him, but kissing someone on the cheek is generally very light, and bruises don’t hurt if they are only brushed. I knew it- all this aggressivness on her part is a sign of repressed sexual tension.

    Can’t wait for you to get into the Games, Mark! You’re not prepared. At all.

    • Karen says:

      I always think that the Games were too extreme a punishment for a rebellion.

      But it's not just a punishment for the rebellion. It's a constant reminder of the power that the Capitol has over the districts. It's telling the districts that every year they will take and murder two of their children for their own amusement and there is nothing you can do about it. In fact, you have to watch and act like it's something to enjoy. So in that sense, it's just as much about the suppression of any uprising through demoralization as it is about punishment.

    • momzter says:

      I didn't take the kiss as her trying to make it hurt. I took as trying to seem tender.

      • mrbobby says:

        But with the emphasis on "right on his bruise", it seems like it was definitely done to make a point. Not to seem tender, or even necessarily to hurt, but just to remind him that they're gonna be in competition with each other and she's not going to be fooled by his kindness.

        • improved says:

          I took at as Katniss being sensitive to him and kissing his bruise affectionately, not that he was deliberately trying to warn him of his vulnerability.

    • LOTRjunkie says:

      I always took that kiss as a "I could hurt you if I wanted to."

  15. myownmetaphor says:

    Like I know they don't mention it cause its a young adult book or whatever, but she must've like freaked out during the bikini wax. And these people totally would've forced a brazilian.

  16. Marie_Goos says:

    I'm guessing this chapter had a point in showing more of what the Capitol is like and the traditions of the games… And maybe there will be more later on, but still, this chapter felt weird and a little disposable. I agree that the depictions of the stylists seems a little over the top, like how post-apocalyptic future fashion was depicted back in campy movies of the nineties. (Not that I have a problem with that :B). Time for a totally accurate prediction: Cinna is either from District 12 or has some sort of loved one/mentor/etc. from District 12. I CANNOT WAIT FOR THE REALNESS OF THIS SHIT.

  17. LoonyLu says:

    I was like you and totally WTF all through this chapter.

    “Excellent! You almost look like a human being now!” says Flavius, and they all laugh.
    ONE OF YOU HAS GREEN SKIN!! Guess what? That's not the normal skin color!!!!

    Also, my sister watches The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills (I tried to get her to stop but she is addicted) and was when Katniss was talking about how the capital citizens had been so surgically altered, it reminded of the way it literally hurt my eyes to watch those "real" housewives.

    This is the last thing, but do they ever talk if the Capital has to send tributes to the games or are they free from it? If they are then i feel total RAEG at that!

    • pennylane27 says:

      The Capitol doesn't send kids, it's their privilege for being the ruling city, and they created the Games as punishment for the rebellion, and reminder of their power.

  18. Silverilly says:

    "And with Peeta and Katniss both experiencing a spark of hope, I’m still wondering exactly how their relationship will grow."
    I don't know if that was intentional, but BAHAHAHAHA.

  19. Nightstar says:

    Because this is set in a future society, they probably don't celebrate it, but can you imagine how awesome their Halloween would be! If they have green skin and orange hair for normal life, I think the Capitol would go all out on the night where you are supposed to dress up crazily. 😀

  20. empath_eia says:

    Oh, Cinna. I love Cinna so, so much. If I had to pick a favourite character…

  21. JessicaR says:

    I really liked Cinna and the way he was introduced in this chapter. He seemed like a nice break from Effie Trinket. But the other stylists' appreance really bothered me. Pea green skin, really? If this is what would be considered fashionable in the future I'd rather read Twilight XD

    Oh and Mark, are you really going to do only one chapter a day for the enitre series? I'm not complaining but I would jump in joy if you'd do more than one, your reviews always make my day 🙂

  22. kaybee42 says:

    Reading this chapter made me feel SO guilty! We aren't painting our bodies green or anything but sometimes we might as well be. We wear stupid clothes and dye our hair and sit on our computers essentially doing nothing- people living in poverty in third world Africa must look at us in exactly the same way as Katniss sees the Capitol people 🙁 What would I be doing if I didn't have to work (well, go to uni and do uni work)? Probably sleep, eat, drink, read and sit on the computer. Which is what I do every weekend! Urgh I am a horrible human being!!!!!

    • bibliotrek says:

      Yeah, me too. I think that's part of what Collins wants people to think when they read this! Again, she's not exactly subtle, but that doesn't make it less effective (for me, anyway).

    • Beckah says:


      My friends who have read the books do this thing where they try to figure out which district we'd all be from and I'm always like uh…. dudes? We all live in America and go to college. We watch Glee and Survivor and Real Housewives but not the news. We are ALL from the Capitol. That is the POINT.

  23. Lutralutra says:

    See, this is what I mean, Capitol= The Tribe, [url=""%5Djust take a look[/url].

    I loved this chapter btw, I love all the wierdness and how different and cruel Capitol is.

  24. skillwithaquill says:

    The stylists are just so bizzare. They sound more like parrots than people. (And it amuses me to no end that the ad at the bottom of the page is for a hair salon game with cartoon characters that have blue and green hair. How appropriate!)

    Cinna stands out so well in comparison to the rest of the prep team. For as loud and ridiculous as they are, he is as equally reserved and dignified. The flame costume is downright amazing.

    • ldwy says:

      …more like parrots than people…"
      What a perfect analogy.

    • bookling says:

      Katniss uses that same analogy in this chapter. She says the stylists remind her of brightly colored birds.

      • Cat_Eyed_Fox says:

        What I love is that while they dehumanize her she's doing the same thing to them. Katniss is just as judgmental and dismissive of them as they are of her. It shows how *real* Katniss is.

        • tethysdust says:

          Yeah, I noticed this as well. Their dehumanization matters more, though, because they also have power.

          • Cat_Eyed_Fox says:

            Do they though? True their job is too make her "human looking" and it's all so she can be forced to kill other children, but aren't they just as much victims as Katniss? Imagine having to spend all this time and energy on a child, getting to know her, talk to her, only to send her too her doom. Year after year after year. The fact that they're silly and dehumanizing but still sweet and genuinely care for Katniss suggests that they might have hidden depth. Without giving anything way I must say I pity them for their ignorance which is most likely willful and defensive.

  25. cait0716 says:

    I really like the part where they strip all her hair off. I always thoughts our culture’s obsession with shaving and making women hairless was a bit ridiculous and I was glad to see it portrayed that way here.

  26. lossthief says:

    My rambling, mostly ridiculous thoughts on this chapter:
    p.60: So there's apparently a meaning for "Muff" I didn't know about.
    p.61: Even in a dystopia, Orange and Purple do not go together
    p.61: So, Flavius is a raging asshole
    p.62: "It's hard to have my prep team" not for me it isn't
    p.63: Every time the narration says "I Say" I imagine Katniss as a very offended Englishman
    p.65: "Stark Naked, covered in a black powder" How Avante Garde
    p.66: Did I miss something, why are we cutting to hours later without even the little starry things in the center of the page? This is a bit jarring.
    p.66: "Katniss, The Girl Who Was On Fire" that is a terrible slogan. It sounds like a rejected Stieg Larsson book
    p.68: OMG Cinna is a wizard and is using the Flame Freezing Charm we learned about in PoA. I have discovered the books final twist!
    p.69: "He is so steady, solid as a rock" watch out Gale, Peeta's stepping in. And as we know, he can play the game
    p.69: That's still a terrible slogan
    p.70: "Everyone wants my kisses" *Dies Laughing*
    p.70: President Snow? Jon Stewart would have a field day.
    p.71: "unexpected warmth rushes through me" is that some sort of innuendo?
    overall, this was a nice chapter that offered a bit of world building that I felt had been lacking in the last few. I like that there's these strange and bizarre fashions that have caught on amongst the capitol, and this seems like a bit of a parody of ridiculous fashion trends that catch on.
    Final Grade: "B"

    • pennylane27 says:

      I literally laughed out loud with your p. 66 and 70. AWESOME

      But I don't think that Flavius (or the other stylists for that matter) is necessarily an asshole, he just acts and says things (albeit completely inappropriate and sort of racist) according to what he's been taught living in the Capitol. I suppose that being used to pea green skin and all that, seeing Katniss with her hair, irregular nails, etc., would be quite shocking for him.

    • myownmetaphor says:

      I may be a little in love with you for this

    • ldwy says:

      These are so fun to read. I haven't been taking notes while I read, but I've been writing down my reaction after each chapter, so it's all fresh in my brain,and then mostly copy pasting here.

    • monkeybutter says:

      Yeah, like the shippers weren't at it as soon as Peeta took the stage as the second tribute. They will sniff out any possible pairing!

      • simply_shipping says:

        I bet there are Katniss/any guy who was mentioned in ONE LINE shippers out there. Because they're shippers, and that's how they roll.

        Also, barring some horrible awful madness, I'm now shipping Katniss/Cinna. DON'T JUDGE ME, Cinna is awesomesauce.

    • Arione says:

      I think you must be reading the same pdf copy that I did. I found it very confusing until I realised that muff was supposed to be stuff. then I giggled thinking about how people might try to justify that sentence… “[my body] has been stripped of the muff.”

      • ldwy says:

        Ahahaha, I must be reading the same one too! I didn't realize that was an error, haha. I just took it at face value, kind of thinking that a muff (for your hands) is usually furry/fuzzy/fluffy, so why shouldn't that be Panem slang for body hair? Haha, the brain can rationalize practically anything if it tries hard enough.

  27. Smurphy says:

    It's weird. This chapter didn't catch me by surprise. We see it all the time in reality tv. The people get dressed up and morphed into the person that the general american population would want to see. We don't typically see it but we know it goes on…. we are already so obsessed with perfection and body modification… its not that huge of a leap for me…

    • maddielu says:

      I think the parallel to today's society was partly the point, except that in this future society, people have become so desensitized to "shocking" television that nobody blinks an eye at stylists making sure children look good during their fight to the death. That was my impression, anyway.

      • Smurphy says:

        Agreed… I'm just not sure if a post-apocalyptic world and the fear of a tyrant capitol is necessary for our society to degrade to this level of behavior.

  28. residentgamer says:

    I had the whole Battle Royale thing playing in my head so this chapter threw me. I don't dislike it, but I thought once they get to the Capitol, it was going to be carnage.

    "Look, there is no way orange and purple EVER go together unless you’re a bag of candy or in Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory. What is this?"

    LOL This whole chapter also remains me of that part in the Fifth Element movie when they get to the resort planet.

  29. theupsides says:

    This fanart of the prep team is pretty cool and makes me laugh, just because they're so ridiculous looking.

  30. BradSmith5 says:

    I agree that this chapter was much easier to read. Since the action wasn't being cut off by a flashback every page, I could get into the story without being interrupted every five freakin' seconds. I did have a bit of a scare when the food popped out of the table and Katniss turned into a Food Network host––going on about substituting chickens for turkeys and stuff––but it was brief.

    I was also thankful that the Capitol accents were NOT represented phonetically. Oh man. For once, thank you SO much for taking a paragraph to tell me how they speak instead of making me read goofy lines with hissing spelled out for chapters and chapters! :*

    • lossthief says:

      Oh god do I hate phonetic accents. I had to read "Their eyes were watching God" last year, and damned if I didn't about throw the book down with the constant phonetics.

      • BradSmith5 says:

        I never read that one, so I looked up some quotes. Oh man. Stuff like that might have worked a bit better when an author's work was more localized––but not today. Anyone from any country could be reading your dialog; don't assume that their accent is like yours and that they'll know the cultural phonetics.

        They should update all those books to be easier to read, ha,ha-ha. 😉

        • lossthief says:

          The story itself is alright, (Except for the RIDICULOUS ending) but the dialogue, of which there is much, is absolutely excruciating to read chapter after chapter.

      • monkeybutter says:

        Ah, I remember that from high school. Zora Neale Hurston got a lot of criticism from other black writers at the time because of the phonetic spelling, among other things, so you're definitely not alone.

      • simply_shipping says:

        Oh god, I wish that book would go die in all the fires. Hated it so.Freaking. Much. Mostly because of the damn accents.

    • momzter says:

      What? You don't want to write Hunger Games fanfiction in the form a recipe book?!?

      • BradSmith5 says:

        Ha,ha,ha. I should write one where the competition is like "Iron Chef."

        "As the competitors arrive in District Thirteen's Kitchen Stadium, President Snow performs a perfect backflip down the red carpet, landing next to today's secret ingredient! Now, with all eyes on him, he lifts up the platter! Oh! Look at that! It's dandelions! And I see that the challenger from District Twelve is pumping her fist! Iron Chef Morimoto could have problems with this one!"

  31. Megan says:

    I bought the book to read along with you, and I knew you were on this chapter next….but I got to it and next thing I knew it was 2 am and I had finished the book. 🙁 Maybe I'll try for your next series?

  32. Penquin47 says:

    I liked this chapter a lot. With Haymitch turning out to actually be useful and their stylist being brilliant, this isn't going to be a "plucky heroine survives against all odds because of her sheer pluck" story. Sure, Katniss has more than enough fight not to go down easy, but she's going to need the training and sponsors, and I like that she's actually got a shot at getting them.

    I also enjoyed how the people in District 12 have "normal" names (Gale, Peeta/Peter, Katniss and Primrose aren't exactly normal but naming girls for plants is) while the Capitol people take Latin names. Latin = pretentious doesn't seem to have gone away!

    • duckrebel21 says:

      Peeta's name annoys me to no end. I did make the connection to Peter but it was overpowered by this thought process: Peeta… pita… baker's son… pita bread. I dunno… I don't think there are many "normal" names in the series.

  33. ldwy says:

    This costume sounds fierce! Hahaha, but it does sound really cool. In an insane sort of way.

    I really want to know the backstory of Cinna. I think the fact that he requested distict 12 is going to have some meaning. It sort of suggests to me that he’s from district 12. Also the fact that he seems more “normal” than most capital folk to Katniss.
    Also, I can't be the only one hopelessly intrigued by the line:
    ““I want the audience to recognize you when you’re in the arena,” says Cinna dreamily.
    “Katniss, the girl who was on fire.” It crosses my mind that Cinna’s calm and normal demeanor
    masks a complete madman.”

    My prediction (Disclaimer: I haven’t read the book yet, so it’s a real unspoiled prediction!) is that Cinna was somehow involved in a previous hunger game (that could certainly make you a "madman"), and is not originally from the Capital. If he wasn't directly involved, maybe one of his family members or friends was a district 12 tribute? And he wanted to get involved and give the current district 12-ers an edge they’ve never had before? I DON’T KNOW. Okay, that was more a rambly musing than a prediction. Oh well.

    Okay. And the more and more that Katniss goes on about how she mustn’t fall for Peeta’s wily “too nice” tricks, the more I believe they aren’t tricks. He’s really that nice. And somehow, her assumptions that it’s all an act and part of her strategy will come back to haunt her.

    • simply_shipping says:

      Yeah, there's always the chance it will be some massive twist, but either Peeta's a ridiculously good actor, Katniss is spectacularly unobservant (and thus not giving us some vital clues), or he's a genuinely nice guy who got very unlucky.

    • pagefivefivesix says:

      I think she called him a madman because he wanted to set her alight…albeit with fake fire, but she was still worried, I don't think she actually thought he was a 'madman'

  34. Yusra says:

    I just finished reading it, as in 3 days ago (one of the trilogy per day :D) But, I want to read it again. With you, chapter per chapter.

    Can I restart telling you the level of your unpreparedness? Because it gets higher with each chapter.

  35. lossthief says:

    Posting my *super magical* predictions:
    Katniss and Peeta play this whole sexual tension thing up for the cameras. Get people to start rooting for the *tragic couple* to get better gifts and support from sponsors. I'm probably dead wrong but this just seems like what they'd do on Reality TV Shows, so I'm going with that.

    Cinna is really a secret revolutionary plotting to use Kat and Peeta as a focus to overthrow the Hunger Games somehow.

    Peeta and Kat start to like each other, but the fact that they'll be trying to kill each other, coupled with the whole "playing to the cameras" will leave doubt, this will be a subplot through the following novels, since I think through some loophole/deception, they'll both manage to stay alive. Possible love triangle with Gale.

    *braces self for being totally wrong*

  36. xkcdhobbes says:

    This chapter was awesome! I just can imagine the scene with Katniss on fire, and think about how much help Cinna is giving to the 2 of them. My first thought was actually that Haymitch was in on it and that he knew about Cinna's idea, but that's just preposterous. I also found interesting that Katniss uses Peeta's technique on him, making him believe she is falling for him (I don't think she actually wants to make him fall for her because that would be really a fail for Peeta considering that his plan is for her to fall for him) and using that as a means to have a better chance at survival. This just shows that the fight for survival isn't starting in a few days, it has already begun.

  37. monkeybutter says:

    I like to imagine Octavia and Venia as the Patsy and Edina of our dystopian future. The Hunger Games movie will never live up to what I see in my mind!

  38. Kaybee42 says:

    Pg 62- Pale green?! Whyyyyy? How?!
    63- I like the funny bits 🙂 🙂
    -oh my god put your robe one!do it now!
    – gold eye liner? huh. that's odd.
    -Of course he isn't touching you- ew!
    65- a reference to the second one? catching fire? maybe?
    66- synthetic fire?! wha?
    – "masks a complete madman" I really liked this sentence :):)
    67- I finally liked an entire page 🙂
    69- well they are both attractive, isn't that lucky?!
    -will she stop repeating the "the girl who was on fire" crap? It sounds stupid. reminds me of twilight for some reason.
    70- can't tell if peeta is being pathetic or just good at 'game playing' . I like him either way.
    – Calling it now- the rules will change and they get to be a team.
    71- now he is annoying. stop sucking up.

  39. oohlivia says:

    'Right on his bruise.' I don't know why, but that made me laugh, it sounded so dramatic. But everything Katniss says sounds dramatic because of how clipped the sentences in this book are.

    I don't really get why people would compare this to Battle Royale. Maybe it's the notion of CHILDREN killing each other that makes the comparison easier, but really pitting two people together for entertainment is a very Roman idea. The Capitol people remind me of rich Romans who would just lie on couches eating until they threw up, and then eat some more, and then they'd go and watch some gladiators fight lions or each other because guys, it's fun!

  40. Tabbyclaw says:

    I really don't understand why people continue to insist that orange and purpose don't go together when they clearly do.;…

  41. bookling says:

    <img src=""&gt;

    I can't remember if they mention Cinna's race or skin color in the book, but I always picture him as Lafayette from True Blood. I think it's the gold eyeshadow, which I definitely remember Cinna wearing in the book.

    <img src=""&gt;

    This fan art is by barnsdale11 on deviantart, of the opening ceremony. Awesome!

    The really sick part of the games is the way the Capitol residents really treat it as entertainment. For most of the people in the Districts, it's horrible to have to watch your children die on television. It's a punishment. That's why watching the Games is mandatory and why the government provides public TVs in the poorer districts. But for the Capitol, it's just TV, something to bet on and gossip about. And the Tributes' appearances are part of that — who's going to root for or sponsor Katniss if they can tell she came from the Seam? They've got to polish her up and make her presentable for TV, otherwise the people in the Capitol won't give two craps about her.

    ETA: Sorry, I'm trying to fix the pictures.

    • Tabbyclaw says:

      In my head, Cinna looks a little like "the cool Weasley" from Harry Potter (Bill or Charlie? I can never remember!) and a little like the first appearance of the Lone Power in So You Want To Be a Wizard (which, hey, there's another series you might be interested in, Mark).

    • simply_shipping says:

      Oooh, that is a very pretty opening ceremonies picture.

    • xpanasonicyouthx says:

      I would make out with Lafayette without even thinking. FYI.

    • jonni13 says:

      Great comments! Love the fan art and the Lafayette comparison, I pictured him dark and pretty too!

  42. crazy4hp says:

    Hey, Mark. When I saw that you started the hunger game, I thought I will read it with you, chapter by chapter. Do you know where I am now? Chapter 14! I wish I already finished it. This book is too exciting to stop. I donno how you are doing it. This chapter is really good. Cinna is the first good person we meet in the capital. Even though it is his job to help Katniss and Peeta, he also starts to become kind of good friend to them and help them.

  43. Moonie says:

    Loooove this chapter. Admit it, those outfits are so cool. And it is the beginning of the "hahaha i hate you but lets hold hands" thing, which is always fun.

    Also, someone who knows more then me: …would a kiss on a bruise actually hurt?

    • oohlivia says:

      Probably not. But it depends how fresh the bruise is. Usually they only hurt if you really press down on them.
      Anyway I don't think she was trying to hurt him, just seem like she was 'looking after him'

  44. lindseytinsey says:

    I found this chapter strange. Dressing up people and making a huge fuss of them and blowing kisses at them? At people… children, who are going to die. It's all very twisted. But I've enjoyed what I've read so far. Moving on to chapter 6 now… hmmm, I have no idea what might come next.

  45. bibliotrek says:

    One thing that this chapter made me think about pretty explicitly was social class and how Panem's society is capitalism gone crazy, with the Capitol enjoying the fruits of the districts' intensely exploited labor. I mean, already the book is emphasizing Katniss's alienation from the people who live in the Capitol. I think Collins has set up a really interesting society in these books because it's a totalitarian yet capitalist state in which only the Capitol benefits.

    In economic/marxist terms, the alienation of base and superstructure is made so concrete here: the Capitol lives off the economic base that the districts provide, but the whole superstructure of their economy — their ability to buy and sell goods in the city — is built on the backs of the coal miners in District 12 and the fishers in District 4 and the agricultural workers in District 11 and so on. And as much as this book is warning about the dangers of an entertainment industry taken to extremes, it is also a warning about the exploitation of workers, too.

  46. Karen says:

    Oh oh oh! I thought of something else I wanted to say about this chapter. I mentioned a couple of reviews ago that one of my favorite themes of this series is the idea of surveillance and what that means about behavior and self-regulation etc. And I think that this chapter adds another layer to that. I mean, this chapter is all about appearances and its central event is the fact that Katniss was able to make a huge impression on the Capitol crowd based on how she looked. There's a very conscious structuring of appearance for the tributes. Cinna is incredibly thoughtful in how he dresses Katniss. She looks strong and powerful and memorable, a fierce warrior. The Capitol controls information and can control the population that way, but at the same time the tributes/stylists have a sort of power in that they can control how they are perceived by the audience. Idk. It's just an idea I like playing with.

  47. Revolution64 says:

    I…I dunno if I can get over the bad writing. I keep trying to read this, I really do, but it's just so annoying for me. I will try though.

    P.S. – You seem to read a lot of fiction, but what's your favourite nonfiction book?

    • Cat_Eyed_Fox says:

      If you just… sort of immerse yourself in it, it stops being "reading Katniss' thoughts" and becomes "being in Katniss' thoughts" if that makes any sense. I hate 1st person present too, but somehow only having Katniss' impressions of things makes it better. She's just as confused as we are, and when she figures something out she doesn't hesitate to share it. Plus it brings up really great points about unreliable narrators. Can we trust Katniss? How warped is her world view? It takes a while, but I hope you stick with it.

  48. Ana says:

    I've finished the book and there is one thing I cannot get out of my head. From the first time Peeta is introduced, I've imagined him as Krum from HP. Even after re-reads! I have noooo idea why…And even after all the descriptions of Peeta and the fanart I still see him as Krum. Also in the fanart and the illustration for the book cover, both Katniss and Peeta look quite young. I imagined them as more…developed 16 year olds. I dont know!!

    • theupsides says:

      Haha, well, I imagine him as Hunter Parrish now, since he's the popular choice for Peeta. So now when I watch Weeds, I think Silas Botwin = Peeta.

  49. Kylie says:

    Longtime fan of your commentary, Mark, and I decided to start commenting back with the new changeover. (God I hated Buzznet. Damn ads.) As someone who has read all three Hunger Games books, I'll try to avoid saying spoilers, cross my heart. 🙂

    So for this chapter I just have to say CINNA IS THE BEST, FIERCEST PERSON EVER. Also, Peeta is cute.

  50. kajacana says:

    The styling process sounds horrible… all that hair removal and scrubbing… eugh.
    BUT, I love love looooooove Cinna. Love. A lot.

  51. simply_shipping says:

    So the Capitol values purity in way: they want their women (and possibly their men, but we don’t learn if Peeta was waxed as well) to be smooth and clean and presentable in the most childish way possible. And I mean that more in a sense that they’re reducing Katniss’s appearance to that of a young child in removing her body hair and her imperfections and making her appear so drastically different from what she was. THIS IS SO ODD.

    Actually, I don't think it is. Now granted, a lot of their other fashions are odd to the max, but them wanting the women at least to be smooth and hairless? Hello, modern Western beauty standards!

    Also, Cinna is awesome. I'm building a shrine to him.

    • xpanasonicyouthx says:

      Sure, that's a good point. I suppose i meant in this context it was odd, but not to our larger world. 🙂

  52. Robyn says:

    haha! My school is performing Willy Wonka this year!

  53. Elfy says:

    Mark, I'm reading this along with you. I really enjoyed your Harry Potter read, but I went into that as someone who had read all the books multiple times and knew what I was in for. I'd wanted to read The Hunger Games for a while, and your read gave me the perfect excuse to read it and do it in such a way so that I've only just read the chapter when you post about it. I can see the Battle Royale comparison, that struck me at first too, but with this chapter I think we went more into the way gladiators were treated. If you can, have a look at the recent Starz series Spartacus, and you will definitely see some comparisons with the way the gladiators are trained and treated with what Katniss and Peeta go through in this section of the book.

  54. Cally_Black says:

    I've never commented on any Mark post before, although I've been reading your blogs since Harry Potter. I just found a really good fanart from this chapter that I wanted to share.

    • ldwy says:

      Oooh, that's beautiful! Pretty much how I imagined it.

    • xpanasonicyouthx says:

      That's fantastic!!! Thanks for sharing. (And joining to comment, too!)

    • theredqueen says:

      THANK YOU!!

      I've been DYING to see a really good depiction of that scene and there it is! It's very much how I pictured it – absolutely gorgeous 😀

      Do you know who the artist is on this? Like on deviantart or something? I'd love to see more 😀

  55. LadyLately says:



  56. Suspicious Cookie says:

    The flame costume seems a bit silly in my head – really, full body 'unitard' and boots? And a cape? But…being on fire pretty much changes everything, I guess.

  57. Leesh says:

    Since the writing style was mentioned a lot before..
    I think since it's in Katniss' POV, it makes sense that it's not subtle.
    I don't think Katniss is the type to beat around the bush. In my mind she seems more straight to the point, blunt.
    So either she's writing in Katniss' mindset completely or she's just got a really awkward way of writing.
    I like the first better though.

    But yeah I really loved this chapter because it shows the contrast and treatment between the Capitol and those living in the poorest Districts. It makes it more clear how cruel they are by making it all into some giant party with parading the tributes around when 23 of them are bound to be murdered. The odd appearances are a nice touch, too.

  58. sageofmudora says:

    This chapter took the story to a place I never expected it to go. I like it!

    For some reason I think the tournament and events leading up to it are going to be like Reality TV taken to extreme levels and without the participant's consent. I'm thinking I like the parallel.

    • kaybee42 says:

      I have loved the idea of entire populations being forced to be possible contestants of HORRIFIC reality TV since the games world episode of Doctor Who. Have you seen it? I couldn't stop thinking about it when reading the lead up chapters!

      • sageofmudora says:

        I've never seen that episode, but it sounds intriguing!

        "Huh, you mean people used to VOLUNTEER to do this crazy stuff? Lame. Watching people's worlds crash down around them is half the fun!"

  59. jonni13 says:

    I suppose this is the way the 3rd world might view the wastefulness of the west. They possibly view our obsession with fashion quite obscene since they are fighting just to survive. Sobering thought 🙁

  60. Dragonizer says:

    Yeeg, Katniss's three stylists will never cease to freak me out. I mean, every time I imagine them in my head, I want to gag. XD
    Cinna is cool, though. I loved the imagery of the outfit Katniss wore, and only partly because I have a small obsession with fire. c:

  61. angelllla24 says:

    In my opinion, the people of the Capitol most likely do not even realize that these other districts contain people that are suffering. The stylists beautify Katniss, but don't bother to wonder why she isn't the picture of beauty. Even Cinna, who is the most attentive to Katniss at this point, makes a full table of food apprear at the push of a button without a second though. The Capitol is obviously big on propaganda, stating that the Hunger Games are punishment and the ceremonial aspect of it all, so I feel that the citizens in the city are told that the people in the Districts are happy. Yes, District 12 mines coal, but they are happy to do so. Its a great industry. Noone there is starving! In a society this controlling the Capitol's view of things are sure to be skewed. And with such a huge class/power/money differential, those on the top most likely have no idea of the suffering of those below them. As long as they are happy and have everything they need, who cares where it comes from.

  62. samibear says:

    Well I know what I would be doing if I had the free time. Trolling the internet for distractions. Ah, to lead that kind of life…wait.

  63. TheRedQueen says:

    I love this chapter because it just describes this totally crazy culture that, oddly enough, isn't much of a stretch from what we have today (Okay, I mean, it is – but I can see how, after a few hundred years or whatever amount of time they are in the future, things would get to this point).

    I read an interview with Collins once where she mentioned how reality TV inspired the way the games are treated, and I thought that was really horrifying/interesting.

    Also: this does not pertain to the Hunger Games, but I saw this and it tugged at my heart strings (LIKE, A LOT, MORE THAN IS REASONABLE. I'M JUST SAYING) and I INSTANTLY thought of you, Mark:

    :') awww

  64. rowanlee says:

    This? Is probably my favorite chapter so far. I'm a sucker for fashion and the silly dance of politics and PR. It's going to be a while before I stop thinking "CUT-RATE BATTLE ROYALE" but at least it's… different? And Cinna! I'm liking Cinna the best of everyone so far. Anyone who comes up with the idea to set someone on fire is awesome in my book. And damn, but I can hear someone shipping Peeta/Katniss right now. ALSO:

    Look, there is no way orange and purple EVER go together unless you’re a bag of candy or in Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory.


    • Tabbyclaw says:

      Anyone who comes up with the idea to set someone on fire is awesome in my book.

      You would love my college marchingband director. "I dunno, maybe we'll just set Tabby on fire" was his suggestion for visual interest at the football game where we couldn't afford the full pyrotechnics we'd done for our exhibition show.

  65. kaybee42 says:

    Theory that I wrote down after this chapter:
    "Cinna is related to Katniss! Or he loves her.. but that's weird. I think he is her uncle or something!"
    anyone else come up with stupid cinna based theories? I basically fell in love with him in this chapter… 🙂

  66. BinahtheBold says:

    I am a hopeless romantic, I must admit. At the end of this chapter, I was thinking, "You judgmental fool! He really *does* like you!"

    But… yeah. They DO have to kill each other and all. :/

  67. celestineangel1 says:

    I just now read this chapter because somehow I misplaced my copy of the book until this morning. X.x

    So… the orange hair made me think of Oompa Loompas.

    Maybe Cinna is originally from Distrist 12 somehow? I don't know. Or maybe he's a winner from one of the other poorer Districts and sees working for District 12 as a way of getting back to his roots or look I am as clueless as anyone else reading this for the first time.

  68. Kira says:

    I don't think you get to be a stylist unless you are from the Capitol.

  69. Sauce. says:

    Actually, orange does go with purple, but only with green; it's a triadic color scheme.

    /art major

    /nonsensical commentary

  70. Erin says:

    This was definitely the chapter that got me hooked into the book! At first, I was like, uh-huh, uh-huh, dystopia, yeah, YAWN. But the introduction of the stylists, the politics of vying for sponsors, and the intersection of money/performance/image/power are what really makes this series stand out, IMO. The fact that the Games are played on so many levels before they actually start is pretty freaking great.

  71. DuskQ says:

    Hey Mark! (I'm a) Long time reader, first time poster.

    I can't wait to talk about all the things I hated about this book with you and other readers. I think this chapter is a great example of how Collins allegories are a heavy-handed. I agree with simply_shipping and others that this is Collins distaste with superficiality and materialism, that which the Capitol seems to be entirely based upon. Cinna is the only character from the Capitol so far that is even remotely likable because he isn't as extreme. I wasn't a fan of the cookie-cutter characterizations. I think Harry Potter has some of these, and I've been trying to think of how Rowling's cut-out characters are interesting. For instance, Lucius Malfoy exists solely to be a bigot, but at least in Chamber he is a real antagonist.

    Also, what bothers me is a breaking of a cardinal rule of writing: never make you protagonist more stupid than your audience. None of us believe that Peeta is playing a game or plotting her death. So it just comes off as frustrating to the reader that she can't see his genuine interest in her.

    I liked her experiences surrounding the food. It sounds like Katniss has never seen or eaten rice among many things. She describes them in ways that makes sense for someone of her limited palate. She also, is rightly upset by how wasteful and unappreciative the stylist are. Cinna doesn't think twice about food appearing at the press of a button but Katniss can't help but be reminded of all the times she has scavenged for food and gone hungry.

  72. Steeple says:

    I've been reading all these in a row, and while the text does seem a little… heavy-handed, the content is defitintely engaging.

    I said above that the name "Cinna" reminds me of the FF9 character, but when I saw the green skin, the first thing I thought of was old-school Star Trek! The stylists sound like a mix of that and Lady Gaga. XD

    A quick aside – Mark, is there any way to contact you? Such as by email? I can't seem to find one…

  73. Maribeth Martell says:

    Reading your take on this is almost as fun as reading it for the first time! I cannot wait until you get to the next chapter! Read fast, okay? lol

  74. Steeple says:

    Okay, I was thinking about how orange and purple might go together, and I think I have it! Obviously bright orange and purple would look completely ick, but if it were more pastel, I think it could happen. Like, have soft, sunset shades, and I think it might work.

    Of course, it'd help if the rest of his appearance supported those colors. You're right that it's a combo easy to get wrong, though.

  75. caitlin the shark says:

    I've already read all of the Hunger Games books and I really enjoy reading your take on them. When I began I had the same issues with the writing style but all I can say is that you get used to it. At least you can give Collins credit for being consistent with that style through all three books.
    My favorite part of this chapter was when Katniss was gazing at the food and thinking of what she would have had to do back in 12 to get a sub-standard equivalent of the meal. You get more insight on her personality, lifestyle, and it brings up, among others, the question of "Where does our food come from?" One reason I love these books is because of their bold social commentary.
    I'm very excited to follow you through the EXTREME journey that is the Hunger Games.

  76. motdujour says:

    I just read the entire first book over my Thanksgiving break. There's so much intensity I really couldn't put it down.
    I think I liked this chapter because it shows just the kind of people who live under such a ruthless government like the Capitol. They're shallow and clueless and so caught up in themselves that they never question the cruelty of the Hunger Games. The stylists just focus on their bizarre fashions and nothing else.

  77. Warmouth says:

    Flaming cape wut?

  78. RaeLynn says:

    I bought the book two days ago, finished it, and now halfway through the second book. My biggest complaint about this series is the LACK OF DETAIL. I sometimes get lost and am like "what? wait? Where are they?" and have to go back few sentences to pick up the fact they had like all of a sudden entered a new building lol. It just bothers me. The writing is sooo rushed. It's like the author is like "yeah yeah yeah, setting here, setting there, ok finally I can start writing the drama…*writes drama* oh great, now I have to move my characters. *quickly transports them to another area*" That's how it feels like to me. It's pretty jumpy.. AND she STILL hasn't gotten me emotionally connected to any characters. Sometimes I feel as if she intentionally made Katniss an unemotional person just so she has the excuse of not diving into great details of feeling and elaborating more on perspectives. Anyway, that's just my opinion… And to make it worse, I read the back of the book and saw that Stephenie Meyer RAVED about this series lol. That doesn't give me much hope.

  79. alexis says:

    Okay so I've never read these books, so I'm relying on your reviews Mark to get the story.

    I noticed that you're complaining mostly about Collins' writing style…which to me, and this is probably NOT TRUE, but it's very reminiscent of text Role Playing. I used to be deep into text Role Play way back when, and the abrupt staccato of the text was the norm; it got it's point across to the players, but if someone read it, it would just seem off-beat and gritty.

    Just a thought.

  80. marylacey says:

    I want to be able to post gifs on here so bad. Is that possible?
    Anyway, this is as far as I've read to. I've made a sort of vow to read this at the same time you do. I wish I could be sitting here typing SHIT IS GOING TO GET SO REAL :p like I did for HP, but I can't. I'm along for the ride just as much as you are.

    So, this chapter is kind of insane. I am so intrigued to see what the challenges are going to be in these Games. This whole book has been extremely unsettling for me, and yet put me really on edge. It's good, but I also think it kind of genuinely freaks me out … ? Weird. Huh.
    Oh well :p
    Continue reading 😀 I still want to know if I can post gifs.. gah.

  81. Mauve_Avenger says:

    For me, this chapter took on a very strange sexual vibe that I'm guessing wasn't intended by the author. Probably because the action here largely mirrors a scene in a pseudonymous Anne Rice novel I read a year or so ago. (I thought it was going to be similar to what Angela Carter tried to do with Bloody Chamber, but it really, really wasn't, and I really needed brain bleach.)

    I think it's also in part the fault of the way this novel is written. You can mention nudity as Katniss does multiple times, but unless you give context for what that means in this fictional culture, people are just going to revert to their own connotation, which is usually sexual. Combine that with the fact that, in the previous chapter, Haymitch says that, "You're not going to like what [the people who may or may not force you to walk around/ be televised naked] do to you. But don't resist." Katniss contradicts him, of course, but there's no sense of how she feels about it or where her resistance to the idea is coming from. Without that, it sounds incredibly messed up.

    I mean, it is messed up, but in a book where the author hasn't done much to establish the boundaries of her villains' depravity, it's not nearly as messed up as one might expect it to be, which tends to ruin the effect.

  82. Stephalopolis says:

    I like finding out more about the disparities between the capitol and the rest of the districts. I can just imagine the culture shock Katniss is going through, living in such despair but then experiencing first hand how luxurious others live.

    As someone who doesn't have a job (alhtough I put out daily applications) and is not currently in school, and is pretty much doing nothing in life (though I do have bills), my answer to your "what do you do all day" question is- Read Mark Reads. 😛

  83. Kal says:

    "Why do these people speak in such a high pitch? Why do their jaws barely open when they talk? Why do the ends of their sentences go up as if they’re asking a question? Odd vowels, clipped words, and always a hiss on the letter s….no wonder it’s impossible not to mimic them."

    …I think that's my accent. Damn.

  84. someone says:

    i really liked the way the author described everything…… but WTF!! who would kiss a bruise on the enemy's cheek???? i mean come on…. this book is so unexpected but very interesting!!!

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