Mark Reads ‘The Hunger Games’: Chapter 6

In the sixth chapter of The Hunger Games, we learn about casual misunderstandings and Katniss’s possible weakness. Also HURRY UP AND START, GAMES. Intrigued? Then it’s time for Mark to read The Hunger Games.

Ok, let me get this out of my system:

SERIOUSLY CAN THE GAMES START LIKE IN THE NEXT CHAPTER OR SOMETHING. I really, really need to know what the Games are going to be like and I need to know now and this is all my fault because I agree to read things one chapter at a time.

Ok. There we go. I feel a little better. LET US CARRY ON.

The walls of this elevator are made of crystal so that you can watch the people on the ground floor shrink to ants as you shoot up into the air. It’s exhilarating and I’m tempted to ask Effie Trinket if we can ride it again, but somehow that seems childish.

Is it strange that this might be my favorite moment so far? It’s a reminder of how young Katniss is and how her life is completely different from everyone who lives here in the Capitol. I think Collins has done a great job with this juxtaposition, and I like that even Katniss can recognize how impressive this sort of technology is without losing her focus on why a place like the Capitol is so awful and oppressive.

As the talk turns to sponsorships, it becomes obvious again that Effie does not have Katniss’s best interest in mind; in fact, she demonstrates a great misundertanding of what life is like outside her privileged bubble:

“I’ve been very mysterious, though,” she says, her eyes squint half shut. “Because, of course, Haymitch hasn’t bothered to tell me your strategies. But I’ve done my best with what I had to work with. How Katniss sacrificed herself for her sister. How you’ve both successfully struggled to overcome the barbarism of your district.”

Barbarism? That’s ironic coming from a woman helping to prepare us for the slaugher. And what’s she basing our success on? Our table manners?

I’ll take it one step further: Isn’t the Capitol inherently causing whatever “barbarism” exists in the first place? I mean, their economic and political policies have put in place the type of society that exists in District 12. But for a woman like Effie, she’s mostly likely either willfully ignorant or maliciously dense. Either way, that doesn’t work in Katniss’s favor.

“Everyone has their reservations, naturally. You being from the coal district. But I said, and this was very clever of me, I said, ‘Well, if you put enough pressure on coal it turns to pearls!’” Effie beams at us so brilliantly that we have no choice but to respond enthusiastically to her cleverness even though it’s wrong.

Don’t pat yourself on the back so hard, Effie. I hate this sort of self-congratulatory shittery. Not only are you wrong about the science, but you’re doing that well-intentioned condescension thing that privileged people do when they think they’re doing you a service by insulting you. NO, YOU ARE NOT. Go away, Effie.

We learn that Haymitch is actually the one who garners sponsors for District 12, which then makes me wonder: What if a District has never had a previous winner? Who gets sponsors for them? Do they go without them until someone wins?

The shower alone has a panel with more than a hundred options you can choose regulating water temperature, pressure, soaps, shampoos, scents, oils, and massaging sponges. When you step out on a mat, heaters come on that blow-dry your body. Instead of struggling with the knots in my wet hair, I merely place my hand on a box that sends a current through my scalp, untangling, parting, and drying my hair almost instantly. It floats down around my shoulders in a glossy curtain.

Um I think I really want this to be real and to be in my bathroom now. Most of the garish, over-the-top nature of the Capitol is a bit too much for me, from the auto-food-producing machines to the ridiculous wait service provided for them during meals.

The wait service scene does provide us with another flashback of Katniss’s, though, that I actually do enjoy. She recognizes a redheaded girl almost instantly, but can’t place where she remembers her from; I was confused when Effie says it is probably impossible for Katniss to know her.

“Don’t be ridiculous, Katniss. How could you possibly know an Avox?” snaps Effie. “The very thought.”

“What’s an Avox?” I ask stupidly.

“Someone who committed a crime. They cut her tongue so she can’t speak,” says Haymitch. “She’s probably a traitor of some sort. Not likely you’d know her.”

WHAT THE FUCK. Ok, that is BRUTAL. Maybe this story is going to be more violent than I expect?

Peeta covers for Katniss by suggesting they recognized someone else in District 12 and not who Katniss thought she was. It’s a clever ploy by Peeta because he waits until after dinner to call her on it. She struggles with the idea: She remembers where she remembered the girl from, but should she trust Peeta?

Besides, the idea of the girl with her maimed tongue frightens me. She has reminded me why I’m here. Not to model flashy costumes and eat delicacies. But to die a bloody death while the crowds urge on my killer.

Blunt, sure, but it’s a worthy metaphor. Not as important as what Katniss reveals about the mysterious girl, though. Peeta convinces Katniss to head up to the roof of the Training Center, a place where it’s much harder to overhear conversations.

Electricity in District 12 comes and goes, usually we only have it a few hours a day. Often the evenings are spent in candlelight. The only time you can count on it is when they’re airing the Games or some important government message on television that it’s mandatory to watch. But here there would be no shortage. Ever.

I like the insinuation that the outages in District 12 are planned, most likely as a further way for the Capitol to control its subjects.

But Peeta and Katniss escape the Capitol’s control (if briefly) on the roof, the wind providing them a safe escape from being constantly monitored. There, Katniss shares her story: Gale and her were on a hunt when two people, a boy and the girl who was waiting on them at dinner, ran into a clearing. A hovercraft appeared, shot a spear through the boy, and captured the girl in a net.

What haunted Katniss (and what she doesn’t tell Peeta) is that the girl saw Gale and her and called out for help. The two of them did nothing.

The guilt of her inactivity is a new angle (and possible foreshadowing) for the story ahead. She watched a boy die and she allowed this other girl to be captured. I don’t blame Katniss for not doing anything; I mean, what could she have done? But the memory adds a new twist to Katniss’s personality: her dedication towards showing mercy, towards altruism, towards acting out of the kindness of her heart. She’s been at the bottom of society her entire life and when she sees others who are too, she instinctively wants to help them.

Perhaps the girl doesn’t even remember me. But I know she does. You don’t forget the face of the person who was your last hope. I pull the covers up over my head as if this will protect me from the redheaded girl who can’t speak. But I can feel her eyes staring at me, piercing through walls and doors and bedding.

I wonder if she’ll enjoy watching me die.

Again, the foreshadowing isn’t that subtle, but it might also be because I’m consuming this a chapter at a time. But this girl will turn up again and she’ll play a big part in what happens to Katniss during the Games.

About Mark Oshiro

Perpetually unprepared since '09.
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178 Responses to Mark Reads ‘The Hunger Games’: Chapter 6

  1. Internet User 027 says:

    This chapter really interested me when I first read it — like, tugging at my heartstrings. Through the writing I could feel how Katniss felt, that guilt of inactivity, even though I haven't felt quite that way before.

    • Katie says:

      This is ultimately why I feel the first person narration is so necessary here – it doesn't come through very much at first, but once things start getting really intense for Katniss, it sucks you into her world view and all the fear and paranoia she has thrust on her.

  2. Inseriousity. says:

    I've finished reading this series today (without indiciations of where chapters start and end so I'll just stick with what you've written in the reviews). Like HP, shit starts to get really real!

    Anyway, the story of the Avox, the brutality of the Capitol with their barbaric punishments and Hunger Games is really heartbreaking. 🙁

  3. Claire says:

    I don't know how you do this one chapter at a time. I finished the first book last week, went out and bought the second, finished it in two days, and bought the third during my lunch break just now. These books are compulsive.

    This was also around the time in the book that I really started enjoying Katniss as a narrator. I think she's good company.

  4. Arania says:

    "Maybe this story is going to be more violent than I expect?"

    Mark, Mark, Mark… I think it's a safe bet that book called "The Hunger Games" about teenagers forced to fight to the death is, yeah, going to be more violent than you expect.


  5. Hermione_Danger says:

    The minute they said Avox, my rudimentary understanding of Latin kicked in and I said, "OMG they tore out her voicebox!"

    So the alternative, cutting out her tongue, is worse than what I thought. Or better, from a narrative standpoint: much more symbolic and meaningful.

    • Claire says:

      Yeah, I noticed the whole Capitol is all Roman-y–at least in theme and naming conventions. I guess it's not very subtle, but personally I like it.

    • myownmetaphor says:

      I mean the entire country is Panem- that's bread in Latin, right?

    • bookling says:

      One of the great things about re-reading these books with you guys is that I'm stopping and noticing more things, instead of tearing through each one in a night. I didn't even notice all these Roman names before.

    • Kadi says:

      That's something I actually really, really love about this series – so many of the names are meaningful, often in multiple ways. I love that the tribute selection process is called the reaping, especially. It brings up the idea of gathering by cutting, but also the term reaping what you sow.

  6. Karen says:

    I really, really need to know what the Games are going to be like and I need to know now and this is all my fault because I agree to read things one chapter at a time.
    Awww… pobre Mark. Actually, this was a major reason why when I read this book for the first time, I read it in pretty much two sittings. I just HAD to know what the Games were going to be like. I can't imagine how frustrating it must be to only read this one chapter at a time.

    It’s a reminder of how young Katniss is and how her life is completely different from everyone who lives here in the Capitol.
    I love that moment too just because it helps to make Katniss seem more human and relatable. I think that as a character Katniss is so pragmatic and closed off that it can be hard to relate to her, but then little moments like that remind me that she is still just a 16 year old girl.

    LOL. The coal -> pearls thing that Effie says is actually incredibly hilarious to me. It just cracks me up how proud of herself Effie is for thinking up what she thinks is such a brilliant line that she can use to sell Katniss and Peeta to the sponsors, but yet she's so wrong. And I think it also demonstrates the complete and total disconnect between the Capitol and the districts that provide them with their goods.

    Avoxes are really horrific. I mean, not only is it completely barbaric to cut out someone's tongue (obviously), but it serves to underscore the importance of information and controlling information. The Capitol punishes those who are considered traitors by cutting out their tongues, in theory preventing them from being able to spread their traitorous ideas while at the same time being a visual reminder to all the other members of the Capitol of what happens to those who betray the government.

  7. theupsides says:

    I really like how you see the solidarity between Katniss and this girl, the Avox, and between Katniss and Peeta, here. Katniss feels so guilty for her inaction, and I think that speaks about what kind of person she is. Peeta covers for Katniss without really knowing what he's covering for. There's allegiance there, simply due to the fact that they all hate the same thing–the Capitol.

  8. monkeybutter says:

    You have to get through all of the world building before you get to see the games! I don't know how you can read a chapter a day, though. The unsubtle foreshadowing does make you want to keep reading. Stay strong!

    I've stayed somewhere with a heater on the ceiling above where you step out of the tub, and my god do I want one at home, especially now that it's cold in the mornings. Add in an automatic detangler and I could die happy.

    • forthejokes says:

      Another really great thing that's sort of like that but I'd never buy are towel racks that heat your towels for you for when you get out of the shower.

  9. Sharon says:

    Hi Mark!

    I'm following you from your MRHP page, and this is my first time reading Hunger Games too, and I'm doing it a chapter at a time. I'm kind of starting to understand the frustration you had from reading HP 1 chapter per chapter.

    Anyway, here are my two cents:

    I'm enjoying the story so far, I had trouble with the way Collins writes at first too, but I'm kind of getting the hang of it and I'm enjoying the way Katniss sees and speaks about things, so it was weird for me when I felt frustrated with the way this chapter was written I mean, come on, I think there were like 3 paragraphs of indecision with Katniss awkwardly standing in front of Peeta in silence where I could only thing "Just tell the story already!"; I think part of me was just impatient to hear about the red-haired girl, but I really didn't like it. I thought it was weird how Collins dragged the characters out to the roof and it almost felt like a forced suspense.

    Idk, maybe it was just me but either way I'm enjoying the series so far so I can't wait for the games to begin either

  10. stellaaaaakris says:

    Mark, are you reading any other book at a normal pace? Because this one chapter at a time would kill me. I've read these books one day each. How do you have such will power? *impressed*

    I would love that heater/detangler magic. I can't stand to dry my hair because it takes about 30 minutes to become just damp. Which is why my hair is usually a big frizz pot. Le sigh.

    I think the reason I like this flashback, other than substance, is that it comes about it a more normal manner. It's not dandelion cookies. It's more she's recounting a part of herself to Peeta. I tell stories about myself to people all the time. I get that. I do not throw cookies out a train window (would NEVER do that), see a flower, and then think about a specific story when that flower was important to me.

    Also, I adore Peeta. True story.

    • Karen says:

      Also, I adore Peeta. True story.

      Fact: Peeta is my fictional boyfriend. Or at least he would be if it wouldn't make me a creeper seeing as he is 16 and I'm 23…

      • myownmetaphor says:

        STAY AWAY FROM MY MAN. hehe, I just share in the major Peeta love.

      • ldwy says:

        Haha, I'm swiftly arriving in the same boat.

      • stellaaaaakris says:

        Well, I'm 22 so no judgment here. And I fell in love with Neville when he was 15 (to be fair, I was around that age too when OotP came out, but my love for him grew stronger and he stayed the same age). Gah, so much love for fictional characters!

    • myownmetaphor says:

      Why hello, are we the same person? I think so.

      I also read the books in one day each. I also have the frizziest hair like ever, and want that detangler thing NOW. I would never throw out cookies and agree about recounting a story. and PeetaPeetaPeeta. I used to HATE his name cause like, Peeta/Pita; his dad is a baker, don't you get it?!?!, plus is sounds super feminine but gahhh do not care anymore. He is my love. My fictional love that I share with many other characters in many other series, but its still a sacredlove.

      In closing, WE ARE THE SAME PERSON.

      • stellaaaaakris says:

        It's nice to meet you, me! But since we are the same person, obviously I knew you already. And I completely understand about the sacred fictional love. It is REAL.

    • riddlemesphinx says:

      PEETA <3<3<3 I seriously devoured these books (ha…hahaha…) just to read more about Peeta.

    • kayla says:

      I'm jumping on board with the Peeta lovin's and the sacred fictional love. (Though I can't be you for all of my tangly hair it is stick straight. Alas I'll have to settle for someone who admires you.)

      • stellaaaaakris says:

        I have more than enough waves and frizz to share if you want some! My head actually begins to look a bit like the symbol for the deathly hallows when I let my hair dry naturally, especially on a humid day. I swear, my hair becomes a triangle. I have picture proof, it's ridiculous. And my head is kind of circular. And I have a neck? That's kind of like a straight line, right? Or I could just draw one down my face. Whatever.

        • notemily says:

          TRIANGLE HAIR. You need to go to a hairstylist that knows how to work with curls! Triangle hair is the result of curly hair being cut like it's straight hair, WHICH IT IS NOT. Get some layers up in that shizz!

          Although being the Deathly Hallows symbol would be pretty awesome.

          -fellow curly girl

  11. plaidpants says:

    I really enjoyed this chapter. I mean, blurting something inappropriate out because you’re too drunk? Who hasn’t been there? But seriously, what I loved about this chapter is that it showed how Katniss is not perfect, that she hasn’t always been the saviour of her family/village etc. She did something that’s very easy to do – nothing. What she did is one step along the line to what the Hunger Games are – people sitting by and watching while others are being murdered.

    My theory: District 13 is still totally in existence – the subversive, rebel district, fighting against the power (maybe Canada?). I’ll bet those two were running away to it to join the fight. Maybe the stylist is from there too/a District 13 sympathizer, who’s trying to bring down the government. (It’s so hard to remember all the names!)

    I did love how although they’re being put up in style, they know they’re being watched and are guarding themselves accordingly.

    • Karen says:

      She did something that’s very easy to do – nothing. What she did is one step along the line to what the Hunger Games are – people sitting by and watching while others are being murdered.

      This is an excellent point, and a good reminder about how easy it can be to just sit back and do nothing which is what the Hunger Games are, except taken to the extreme.

  12. karadudz says:

    I remember while reading this chapter that I thought the exact same thing… THE GAMES THE GAMES START NOW NOW NOW PLEASE COLLINS?! Then I also remembered that I broke my chapter a day pact and then I continued reading and found myself finishing the book on the same day.
    Then I also wondered for a while how we would pronounce the word Avox. Would it be.. AYvox or AHvox?? LOLz.. please pardon my randomness…

    ALSO I was wondering whether the Training Center was as magnificently mansion-like as she describes it or if it just looked like a normal 5-star hotel that we would get these days (in our times of 2010 normalcy)… Description coming from a child who came from a life of poverty, anything that doesn't look like D12 could be magnificent mansions right? Mansions for her could be normal for us but the way she describes it makes it look more "mansioney" in our imagination…

    I mean…. She's never seen anything like that before in her whole life so she's really excited and feels like everything is more than what it really is. I remember feeling like that myself when I first stepped in Paris (where I lived for 6 years) after living in one of the corrupt Asian countries….Oh and I was 6 and everything just looked extraordinary…

    So that's how Katniss describes places in the Capitol. Probably less extraordinary than they really are…

    • Claire says:

      I suspect AY-vox, as in AY-moral or AY-tonal. Same use of "a-" as a prefix meaning "without".

    • tethysdust says:

      Yeah, it sounds like it's basically a twelve story hotel with a glass elevator and a roof garden. It could be a normal 3-star hotel, probably, if you took away the incredibly awesome hair detangler (and other tech).

    • Roxie says:

      according to the audiobook, AYvox

  13. kytten says:

    I still haevn't picked up a copy yet, but I might. I'm really enjoying this.
    I think this girl will effect the plot in some way- perhaps positively or negatively, but my genre savvy will say she has a chance to help Katniss in some way, makes her think she won't and does, therefore proving herself 'better' than Katniss.

    I don't think this can be spoilery- as I have never read the series.

  14. Pan says:

    Why hasn't Katniss ever heard of avoces? The Capitol isn't very subtle about telling the people in the districts, that they won't tolerate any form of resistance (Hunger Games, the ruins of district 13, …), and treason isn't limited to the inhabitants of the Capitol either.

    But in general, I liked this chapter. Mainly because of the idea, that there *is* resistance going on in the Capitol, but I also enjoyed that Peeta and Katniss are having secrets to their team – also a form of resistance. (Foreshadowing, anyone?)

  15. myownmetaphor says:

    Sorry but like, PEETA! I say it every freakin' review, don't I, I just– he's so sweet. He is like the Ron of this book, only completely different. I sound like a Twihard, don't I? Ugh. Not my intention, I'm just a romantic at heart and he seems like such a sweetheart…so far.

    I LOVE the technology in The Capitol. I know its built with slave labor and all, but can we please have that hair drying thing in the future, only like, made by people with a living wage? Cause it would really speed up my morning routine.

    Um, being an Avox may be like my worst nightmare. Okay, being in the Hunger Games is no picnic but losing my tongue seems more likely somehow, and I would freak the fuck out. How do they even swallow?!

  16. bluejay says:

    Just wanted to say that I really admire your ability to read this book one chapter at a time! I've read The Hunger Games five or six time and I still can't do that. I was going to read along with you and I ended up going through the whole book in one sitting. Oops.

    • Elise says:

      me too! I don't even have my copies right now b/c I loaned them to a friend, but I found an online version and a couple hours later I was through it! oops indeed

  17. pagefivefivesix says:

    I keep reloading the page avery 10 minutes just incase you're feeling frivolous and read two chapters today, I know it's probably not going to happen but I eagerly await your updates <3
    The Avox thing scared me, it was really eerie, how Effie and the rest of the Capitol could just accept that these people have had their tounges removed.
    I loved the lift part, I suppose it'd be like your first go on a rollercoaster or something, I'm begining to fall in love with Katniss, she should marry me >_>; :3

  18. Warmouth says:

    Oh Mark, I feel your pain. I want to know what the games will be like too. WHY DID I AGREE TO READ THIS ONE CHAPTER AT A TIME WITH YOU?

    I also really want Peeta to be good, like terribly so ;_;.

    • ldwy says:

      I want Peeta to be good tooo!!!! I refuse to believe it isn't so!

      • xpanasonicyouthx says:

        I'm glad you guys feel this way. It's weird how I don't want him to end up being evil either.

        • Warmouth says:

          Maybe it's because it's nice to have a decent human in this Crapsack world? I don't really count Prim, because she's just too perfect and nice for my liking.

    • DameDallas says:

      I agree. I think it is kind of sad how I just want SOMEONE to be genuinely nice and not suspicious/evil/cunning/weird. Just ONE nice person can give you a ton of hope.

      I said in the last review that I was almost ecstatic that Cinna was just NORMAL.

  19. tethysdust says:

    The existence of people on teleporting hovercrafts that harpoon children has successfully convinced me that Katniss could not have fled District 12 with her family before the Reaping. But seriously, who is doing this? We haven't seen any of the secret police or military yet. I highly doubt people like Effie and Cinna are harpooning children at night. All the citizens of Capitol we've seen seem to just be frolickers.

    This is the first flashback I've liked, both because it was done in a reasonable manner and because of what it shows about Katniss. To me, it shows that she is human. She has done something in her life that was not admirable and praiseworthy. I like that she even admits that she and Gale could likely have hidden them, but they just didn't react. Maybe I'm weird, but I like Katniss a lot more now that she isn't the wondergirl who succeeds at all the things.

    Also, I want to know their strategy. Haymitch needs to step up.

    • Warmouth says:

      Crap, because of everyone saying Effie is Umbridge now I can't get the image of Umbridge running around with a harpoon out of my head. 🙁

    • myownmetaphor says:

      I think it might have to do with how they held hands during the like opening ceremony part. Idk. Didn't Collins' specify that they were the only one doing that?

      • tethysdust says:

        I meant their fighting strategy, like Effie said (paraphrase) "I've been really vague about your strategy to the sponsors, because of course Haymitch hasn't told me anything yet."

        But I guess if you extend the hand-holding, teaming up as a pair to take on the rest of the districts could be a really good idea.

    • BradSmith5 says:

      I've been wondering about some of your questions as well. Where's the bad guy? Who is this story's antagonist? All of the people from The Capitol––including the president––just seem to be lackeys. Shouldn't there be some silken-robed emperor running the show here? Shoot––it would be nice to see some of Katniss' competition!

      I say, book! Fetch me some villains for my petty amusement!

      ::Leans back in his throne as twenty servants feed him grapes::

  20. theieffect says:

    I am going to get my hands on these books somehow; just reading your reviews makes me want to know what happens next!

    P.S. I've been lurking for a while, but am deciding to un-lurk. Hello! I've really been enjoying journeying with you through all these books/movies/etc., Mark! 🙂
    P.P.S. I live in Riverside, CA and I have all my life. I'm sorry you have awful memories of here 🙁 Not much has changed though. So good job for getting the hell out of here and making your own life, is what I'm trying to say. Yay!

  21. ldwy says:

    And I’m liking Peeta more and more. I really want it to turn out that he’s a genuinely nice guy. I predict he and Katniss will somehow band together to help each other. And they’re being the only tributes who held hands will be foreshadowing of this, rather than just the “image” Cinna had them portray, to set them apart.

    Toward the end of this chapter we get some more details about how (bad) things are in Panem. I really want to know the story of the Avox girl. What a horrifying punishment and constant reminder. Why/What had she fled? Are consequences like these part of why leaving District 12 doesn’t seem to be a viable option for anyone?

  22. monkeybutter says:

    I have Hermione hair, so I understand. My only hopes for manageable hair are magic or an auto-detangler. Why must these YA authors torment me so!?

  23. Stella says:

    Yay, Mark, I finally found you! (Right, that wasn't supposed to so quite so obsessively stalker-esque) Nah, I forgot about you after the whole Mark reads Harry Potter (albeit, it was only brief!) and now I found you again! I'm so glad that you're reading the Hunger Games.

    I remember when I first read about the whole Avox thing, I did this weird swallowing motion for a while. I was trying to imagine not having a tongue and I've come to the conclusion that not having a tongue would kind of really suck big time.

    You're so not prepared, Mark!

  24. Pan says:

    "the auto-food-producing machines"

    (I haven't read the books, so this is a speculation.)
    I don't think, that this is a machine. Maybe because I have the house elves of hogwarts in mind, but don't you think that it is weird that she has to TALK to the food machine while ALL the other machines work with buttons? And I think that "less than a minute" is still quite long for a machine to deliver what you want.
    I suspect a gigantic army of slaves in the basement of this (every?) building, that has to cook for their masters.

    In general, I suppose that the Capitol is less shiny and perfect than it is presented right now and that there are a lot more Avox-like people without rights or wealth. Why should slavery be limited to the districts?

  25. Sarah B. says:

    “Maybe this story is going to be more violent than I expect?”

    Oh, Mark, you are not prepared…

  26. Lindsey says:

    Yay! New review. I will admit I’m up to chapter 9 now… just couldn’t resist. The book is all right so far.

  27. embers says:

    Oh I loved what you said about The Capitol being responsible for the 'barbarism' of the districts (when we can see that the citizens of the Capitol who watch the games are really the barbarians). It reminded me of decades ago, when South Africa still had Apartheid and a friend actually said to me that the South African's couldn't give the Black Africans the vote because they're illiterate… And I said "whose fault is that??": they cannot suppress people and prevent them from becoming educated and then use lack of education as an excuse to continue to suppress them. That is insane troll logic.

  28. Arthur says:

    Effie Trinket really comes off as a dismissive airhead in this chapter…especially the barbarism. Also, really? Coals become diamonds under pressure, not pearls, pearls are formed from silt in clams.

  29. Kaybee42 says:

    pg 73- over exaggeration was funny and made me laff. I want that shower!
    75- you like to describe food… a lot!
    76- the american approach to drinking makes me laugh
    77- the avox idea is really interesting. i love this plotline.
    78- oh for goodness sake you aren't drunk!
    Peeta's help was nice 🙂 I prefer him to katniss.
    79- i didn't realise they had training. i want them to just be thrown in!
    80- TELL! I'm in your head, i don't care if you don't tell peeta but tell me! why have 1st person if you don't use it?
    81- "the pair was in trouble" sounds kind of awkward… is that grammatically correct?
    HOVERCRAFT?!? Awesome!
    82- the bit about her last scream was chilling. brilliant!
    83- "you favour each other" sounds kind of stupid…
    84- awesome last sentence
    REALLY liked this chapter! Want Games NOW though!!!

  30. Tinabug23 says:

    At this point I have become very interested in the story, but from the excerpts that you are using I know the writing style would bother me. I really want to read this for myself, but I'm not sure yet. Maybe over winter break I might give it a shot.

  31. DameDallas says:

    When I first read about the Avoxes, all I could think was, "Good Lord! How brutal is the Capitol? Like having the Games and not feeding people properly isn't enough? Now you have to spear people to death from hovercrafts and cut out their tongues AND enslave them?

  32. Jenny_M says:

    Heh, I read this entire book in about a day and a half, and I still remember being at this chapter and thinking, "ISN'T THIS BOOK CALLED THE HUNGER GAMES? WHERE THE HECK ARE MY GAMES, COLLINS?"

    So, in conclusion, doing it a chapter at a time is a feat of inhuman strength of will and I salute your fortitude, Sir.

    The Avox immediately made me think of Titus Adronicus, and the Julie Taymor movie version with the freaky sequence in the field and ew, ew, ew. Tongue cutting out = I can't even. No.

    • klmnumbers says:

      I also thought of Lavinia! The imagery from Taymor's film has stuck with me forever following her rape and disfigurement. =(

  33. skillwithaquill says:

    Things just keep getting darker and darker in this book as the Games draw nearer. An Avox is a terrifying concept. Criminals/"Traitors" to the Capitol are captured, tortured, and forced into slavery for (presumably) the rest of their lives. *shudder* These Captiol people may be bubble-headed morons but the government controlling them is downright malicious.

  34. hedgehog85 says:

    BTW, not having a tongue will not only make it very difficult to speak, but also very hard to eat. We move food around with our tongue in order to chew.

  35. Celina says:

    I felt the exact same way with this book (but I read it in one sitting… so… :P). It's like, HURRY UP AND GIVE ME THE GAAAAMES.

  36. Krayton. says:

    Has anyone else noticed the "personalized twilight" ad on the home page. I imagine Mark crying himself to sleep over it. I would.
    I am glad you're enjoying the book. I was scared you would rip into the writing after J.K., but I feel like the plot makes the blunt writing alright.

  37. lossthief says:

    My Thoughts:
    p.72: Crystal elevator? Willy Wonka would approve
    p.73: I'm starting to enjoy cat more
    p.74: I want the shower. it shall be mine one day
    p.74: Goose Liver? ew
    p.76: Kat, you're supposed to cut the wine with water. Also, I was expecting Kat to be a mean drunk.
    p.76: Cut her tongue out? It's getting all Code of Hamurabi in here
    p.77: Peeta again shows that he can play the game (yesIamgoingtomakethisarunningjoke STOP JUDGING ME)
    p.79: It's just about time for a flashback I guess. *sigh*
    p.79: "Vast field of fireflies"? Ugh, IDK why but I hate that simile
    p.79: "But" doesn't go in the front of a sentence. Grrrr
    p.81: Well, we staved off the flashback for a while
    p.81: Hovercraft? For some reason I find this hilarious.
    p.81: Kat, you are trying way too hard to sound dramatic with this monologue
    p.82: "the wind and the story have blown all warmth from my body" i can't help but chuckle at this
    p.82. More shipping fodder
    p.82: MOAR shipping fodder
    p.83: They were headed to District 13 obviously. Calling it now, that whole D13 is crap. There is no way ruins would be smoking for decades.
    Overall, I thought this chapter was pretty good, and I certainly didn't see the Avox detail coming. I still find Kat annoying at times when she tries to sound dramatic, but I'm starting to get used to her narration. I'm interested in the future of the whole District 13 nonsense.
    Grade: "B"

    • oohlivia says:

      This whole book is full of Willy Wonka references. I imagine the Capitol citizens to look like Oompah Loompahs as well.

    • Tabbyclaw says:

      p.81: Hovercraft? For some reason I find this hilarious.

      OH MY GOD, ME TOO. The rest of the dystopian sci-fi nonsense seems reasonable enough, but SILENT HOVERCRAFTS FROM NOWHERE WHAT.

    • xpanasonicyouthx says:


      • lossthief says:

        Doubt it. I'm not ecstatic about Collins' writing, but I'm damn sure she wouldn't expect us to believe that a ruined town would continue smoking for decades. The only town I've ever heard of doing that was Centralia, at that fits more with District 12 and the whole coal mine thing.

        • tethysdust says:

          Possibly Silent Hill, but I think that was also due to a coal mine. I honestly don't remember the lore details.

        • notemily says:

          God, Centralia is so awesome. I mean, not really for the people who live(d) there, but the fact that it exists at all is one of those weird things that I love.

      • Tabbyclaw says:


      • notemily says:


    • IsabelArcher says:

      What's wrong with starting a sentence with "But"?

      • lossthief says:

        Grammatically speaking it's almost always incorrect. It can be used to begin a sentence in certain situation, but more often than not, if somebody uses it to begin a sentence there's a better way the statement can be phrased.

        • IsabelArcher says:

          I'm pretty sure that's not true. As long as the sentence is complete it is grammatically correct to begin it with a conjunction. However, even if it weren't, I have a problem with "standardized English" rules anyway. They were artificially created by grammarians in the eighteenth century and based on a Latin paradigm (though English is Germanic in origin). Regardless, We'll probably have to agree to disagree. Grammar is a tricky business that pretty much everyone feels passionately about, one way or another, and I am not an expert. Seriously, my grammar and spelling are normally terrible.

        • Tabbyclaw says:

          There are many situations in which 'but' makes a fine sentence opener. None of the times Collins uses it are them.

          • drippingmercury says:

            Exactly – there's proper grammar and then there's style. I suppose it's true that Katniss has no reason to make her inner monologue strictly grammatically correct (and somehow I doubt D12 has a stellar education system, given that education is bad for maintaining oppressive regimes), but I get the impression that it is not intentional on Collins' part. I'm not familiar with the rest of her work, though, so I can't say for sure.

  38. oohlivia says:

    When I read the part about the shower, I instantly thought about the Prefects' bathrooms in Goblet of Fire

    • pennylane27 says:

      Me too! 😉

      Although I prefer the Prefect bath, because I’d rather have a huge bath than a shower.

      Also, I don’t think I like this new way of commenting grr

  39. Whispy360 says:

    I haven't read this book in a while <3 I just recently finished Mockingjay, though. Maybe I should look up that online version and read along with you guys. 😀 I actually really liked the build-up to the games, because I always enjoy reading stuff about the setting of the book (that's why scenes like the Diagon Alley introduction in Harry Potter make me so happy). But I don't think I would have enjoyed them as much if I had to wait a whole day to read the next chapter. How do you do it, Mark? D: I would have given in after the first couple chapters, lol.

  40. petite-dreamer says:

    How does/would it even work? Is the idea that each strand ends up with the same electric charge and so they all repel each other, like super-static? Oh god, I'm such a nerd ^_^

    • ldwy says:

      That's pretty much the idea I had. Or that the current moving through from root to tip would somehow straighten, thereby pulling them out of tangles. But that has less support.

  41. Penquin47 says:

    I'm resolute. I *will* do this the Mark way. I will NOT read ahead.

    Earlier, I predicted the little 12-year-old would be nearly killed by the big guy and Katniss would kill him. This flashback strengthens that prediction for me, because Katniss won't want to see someone else die when she can save her.

    Avox = brutality. They're not just Roman Empire, they're Roman Empire by way of the Inquisition. ::shudder::

  42. Hotaru-hime says:

    It’s funny, but despite the fact that we see this world through Katniss’ eyes and deal with her rather intimately, I still don’t feel anything for her. I’m more interested in Haymitch, Peeta, Gale, and even Effie. It’s strange, but I don’t like Katniss.

    • xpanasonicyouthx says:

      I don't find that strange either.

    • stellaaaaakris says:

      Eh, you don't have to like the protagonist. She has a polarizing personality in a way. I personally like her at the moment, but I very often don't like the main character. It took until the end of GoF for me to like Harry the way he deserved. Then he won my undying devotion. But in general, I'm always more drawn to the secondary characters and the way they interact with the protagonist. While I'm intensely interested in Haymitch and Peeta, a lot of that interest comes from the way Katniss deals with and sees them.

      Hmm, looking back at what I just typed out, I guess my point is trying to be, I don't think it's strange!

  43. bookling says:

    I can't really hate Effie, ignorant as she may be. I do facepalm an awful lot when she's around, though.

    • ldwy says:

      For me, I can't really like her, but I can't hate her either. She's almost like a little kid, saying horrible offensive things, because it's what they've been taught, where you almost (and in her case, just almost, since she's not a child) can't blame them. I just want to take her off and educate her somehow. Put some sense in her.

      • Tabbyclaw says:

        Not a child, no, but still a Capitol citizen. When and where would she ever have had the chance to learn differently?

  44. 4and6forever says:

    When I was at this point in the book, I was all, “Okay, where are the Games?” and then when ~something else~ happened, I was like, “K, now CUT TO THE CHASE!”

    It got to the point where I skipped a few chapters and counted the pages until the Games started. I know, I know: I fail as a patient reader. I do this with all my books.

    (Yes, even the 7th Harry Potter book. I accidently read the bit where Fred died when I was only in the middle. 🙁

    • IsabelArcher says:

      That is so sad. I tried skipping to the back of the book to find out what happened exactly one time in my life (when I was like 10 or something). It was "The Bridge to Terabithia." I found out the girl died, cried for an hour, never read the rest of the book, and never skipped to the back of any book again. True story.

    • stellaaaaakris says:

      Oh no! That's a horrible way to find out Fred dies. I don't usually skip ahead (it happens accidentally some times and I FLIP OUT and spend the rest of the book trying to forget what I read or to convince myself I must have misunderstood) but I do often read the last paragraph. I didn't with DH though. I was with a lady though who bought her copy, flipped to the end and read the epilogue. Then she said, "That's interesting," and left. I was going to start cracking heads if she had told me what happened. The spoiler gods were on my side that day.

  45. Kylie says:

    Kristin Chenoweth for Effie, y/y?

    You know, I really like the writing style. It's not subtle, but dammit what else would Katniss narrate like? It's her voice and I like that she has a clear head that can call people out on their shit even if she can't say it out loud. It's better than the alternative.

  46. Moonie says:

    BTW, Mark, Dameon Lindelof is a huge Hunger Games fan.

    (One of the creators of LOST, for all you noobs out there.)

  47. klmnumbers says:

    Yeah, it takes forever to get to the games. I remember the first time reading, I similarly felt RAGE at having to read so much build up to the games, but I think it works. You are in this little bubble of the Capital, the technology, and the momentary safety, and she lets you linger in those chapters longer than you might expect.. perhaps giving a sense of comfort..


  48. tethysdust says:

    oh, well that makes a lot of sense then :$

  49. Lilliana says:

    I want that shower now.
    The tongue thing is pretty harsh. In a way, it's crippling a person and at the same time practically preventing them(without out-right preventing them) from re-entering society(if somebody had a sign above their head that say "I robbed a house", it's pretty likely that they won't make friends and etc.).

  50. Kate Monster says:

    I don't know how you do it, Mark. I'm coming to the realization that I can't help but read a book in one sitting. I tried. I am quite incapable of it, even when it's books for class that I don't particularly care for. These books? Read all three in 24 hours. WANTED MOAR.

  51. pennylane27 says:

    Roman Empire and Inquisition: Uhh horrible mix.

  52. Kelseyintherain says:

    I'm really beginning to wish I'd had enough restraint to read the books along with you, Mark. As much fun as I had when you were reading Harry Potter, knowing what was going to happen and waiting for you to freak out about it, I think it might be even more fun the theorize along with you. Ah well, if you ever read another book/series that I haven't again in the future, I'll try not to finish everything in one sitting.

    That said, at least you're one chapter closer to The Games with each review. 😉

  53. rosieechan says:

    Haha! I remember I was at rage, too, when the Games wouldn't come. I mean, the book is titled "Hunger GAMES" and it's already taking this long to get to the games? XD ARGH. But I think she purposely does this to let us get into the story, like so we would be knowledgeable about her world and stuff. And for more build-up.

    Like the above poster said:
    "…and she lets you linger in those chapters longer than you might expect.. perhaps giving a sense of comfort..


  54. Revolution64 says:

    Holy shit that freaked me out. They cut her tongue? NOT COOL.

  55. theieffect says:

    That's awesome! Good to hear!
    Omg I was in the same city as an ~internet celebrity~

  56. Elisa says:

    jk rowling has trained you well.

  57. Elisa says:

    also: after the hunger games, i suggest you read the uglies series by scott westerfeild 🙂 OR east, by edith pattou

  58. Caitlin says:

    Peeta's great, and I can totally see where all the Peeta!Love is coming from, but personally, I'm rooting for Gale. Judging from the (admittedly very limited) interaction between them in the first few chapters, I am convinced that Gale is secretly deeply in love with Katniss and wants to run away with her and make a new land populated with tiny hunter children.

    • DameDallas says:

      That is what I have been thinking since we last heard from Gale. I'm like, "Peeta is cool, but Gale LOVES you, Katniss. Stand tough and don't fall for the competition!"
      …even though it would be great if Peeta is truly a sweetie.

      Ugh, I am SUCH a shipper.

    • forthejokes says:

      Sigh. This is reminding me of all the shipping – that's exactly what I thought of Gale when I first read the book.

    • gredandforge says:

      Agreed! Something about Gale is just so appealing.

  59. Jen says:

    After reading the five chapter reviews you did on this, I went on the hunt for the books online. >.> I had never heard of them before, but I finished all three in two days. They are a far cry better in the terms of YA literature than Twishit.

  60. Marie_Goos says:

    I think you're right about this girl being important. We've been given so many "building blocks" so to speak, and I'm anxious to see how they fit together. Also, I WANT SOME HUNGER GAMES. I feel like a bloodthirsty monster for that, but these aren't real people, anyway. Anyway, this chapter was a grim reminder of the world this book is set in, and I'm hoping we learn a whole lot more about the history we've briefly been shown and the other districts. Plus, I'm REALLY curious as to what's going on outside of Panem… What has become of South America? Europe? Asia? Australia? Africa? Antarctica (probably the same, but what if there were penguin death games that would be some crazy shit)? And I'm really hoping Peeta turns out to actually be as nice as he seems. Basically, I am also dying to read more.

    • DameDallas says:

      That's a great point! What HAS happened to the other continents? Did they just let America battle it out in their own civil war and let the chips fall where they may? Did they interfere and lose, or do they have their own Capitols now?

  61. jayzhelle says:

    hello Mark! im so glad you're reviewing THG. I don't know how you do it but darn, I would be crazy if I have to read each chapter what at a time. btw, i had a read-a-thon last night of your HP SS, CoS and PoA reviews. I feel so left out I wasnt able to hare to excitement back then. But hooray for you being a certified HP fanboy. I hope you'll like THG trilogy. I don't actually know what to post aside from this rubbish lol. coz i dont want to spoil you. :))

  62. curiousGirl says:

    Ever since I heard you were gonna read the The Hunger games, I made it a point to read the books so that I can continue stalking your blog/s. I can't imagine how hard it must be for you to read this one chapter at a time!

    When I first read the book, I couldn't put it down except if I feel I am about to die of hunger or thirst (and the occasional bathroom break). I read all three books in one sitting. I started around 7pm after work and finished 7am in the morning where I had to return to work again. I am annoyed that I finished it that fast, because now I have nothing to read again.

  63. Suspicious Cookie says:

    You've probably all figured this out, but Avox is Latin-ish. Vox = voice. Add the prefix 'a' to it and it means 'without voice' 😀

  64. forthejokes says:

    You should definitely get the books, they're fantastic. It'll be hard to do the one-chapter-a-day thing though. Also I've decided with these books to un-lurk as well, so yay!

  65. forthejokes says:

    Oh Effie. She means well, but she just doesn't get it. If you think about what Cinna's assistants are like, they're much the same. It's the whole Capitol thing, and it's awful – they don't realise how much other people have to suffer for them to be able to live in luxury.

  66. GravityKitty says:

    It's painful watching you read this one chapter at a time because I still remember the first time I ever read it. I tried to just follow along with you reading one chapter a day and read your response afterward, but it couldn't be done. I have actually read the first book already, but I never read the other two because they weren't published yet when I read the first one. I just never got around to the other two until now. I'm in the middle of the third one now, but I'll keep my mouth shut for you 🙂

    The only thing that upsets me about the series is how I heard about it. Unfortunately, at an earlier time in my life when I was ridiculously stupid, I liked Twilight. I heard about this series because Stephenie Meyer recommended it on her site. Bleh. Much better than Twilight though, it's not all sparkly.

  67. Steeple says:

    Avoci, I believe.

  68. IsabelArcher2 says:

    Okay… I think I've almost figured out this whole "commenting" thing now. Hooray for profile pictures and clickable names!!

  69. jonni13 says:

    The shower actually weirded me out. I rolled my eyes, feeling as if it was an attempt to out do the bathrooms in 'Brave New World' that puffed powder all over your body.

  70. gredandforge says:

    Yeah, the first book does get violent. And you'll reach a point where it becomes so suspenseful, you'll want to read it all in one sitting — not unlike HP.
    But this action is just to prepare you for the 3rd book, where there is no action you'll be invested in and Katniss just mopes 🙁

    • lindseytinsey says:

      Thank you for spoiling the 3rd book for me and possibly Mark too if he read this.

      • gredandforge says:

        I think the only thing I spoiled is that Katniss lives till the 3rd book, which I'm sure everyone knew as this is a first person narrative; if she didn't live till then, there would be no 3rd book. And the "moping" is more of my analysis of her behavior; there are other people who view the events of the 3rd book differently and greatly enjoyed it. I didn't mean there's no action period; I meant there was just no action I personally was invested in, due to the way it was written. You'll find as you read on that my comment won't affect your reading of the series at all, but I do apologize if this is viewed as a spoiler. I'm trying to find a way to delete or hide my comment but I don't think that option exists 🙁

        • lindseytinsey says:

          Ehh, ok, but it still counts as a spoiler. If you read what Mark wrote on the other page "Welcome to Mark reads!" he lists what counts as a spoiler. One of them being "2) Hinting that something happens in the future."

        • notemily says:

          "You'll find as you read on that my comment won't affect your reading of the series at all"

          How do you know that?

  71. lindseytinsey says:

    Why would people vote down my comment just because I said the book is all right so far. I read until chapter 9 and it was all right til then nothing major to get excited about in my opinion. Just because one person doesn't believe it's the best thing ever you all shun people who slightly dislike it :-/
    Having said that though, I'm at chapter 14 now and finding it hard to stop reading. I think this book gets better the further you read. Would have liked it more if it grabbed me from the first chapter.

    • Kaybee42 says:

      Yeah I've noticed down voting of comments that aren't essentially "LOVE THE HUNGER GAMES ORGASMMMMM"
      And it's annoyingly passive aggressive- they aren't debating it with you or trying to convince you otherwise… they are just saying "you're wrong". I would prefer the system without the option to down vote and leave only the thumbs up… I've not down voted anyone on here anyway…

  72. Cara says:

    Effie is so hilariously clueless. I love it.

    Oh, and I love Katniss. A lot. I just…think she's an incredible character with so many dimensions to her. Plus I love the name Katniss. Would it be weird to name my future daughter Katniss? lmaoo.

    But I don't love Peeta. Nope. Not fond of Peeta. Never was. I just…..something about him annoys me. I don't know. I just don't like him.

    I agree – whyyyyyyyyyyy did you agree to read this one chapter at a time???? It's agony for me to wait for you to read each chapter. HURRY UP AND READ ALREADY. My day is not complete without Mark (okay, that sounded slightly creepy…..). But it's true!!! I'm alternating between obsessively checking Mark Reads for the next chapter and obsessively checking Cleolinda's site for Deathly Hallows in 15 Minutes. ONE OF YOU NEEDS TO POST SOMETHING NOW. kthxbye 🙂

  73. jgrec87 says:

    I don't know maybe I'm the only one, but I had a very difficult time getting through this part of the book. It sounds like most of you wanted to read about the games so badly that you couldn't put the book down, but I actually put it down for months before picking it back up because it felt like it the games would just. never. happen. already. (so glad I kept going though!)

  74. Stephalopolis says:

    WHAT THE FUCK. Ok, that is BRUTAL. Maybe this story is going to be more violent than I expect? Well, so far we've had exploding fathers and cut off tongues. I'm starting to wonder what your expectations ARE in regards to "violence" 😛 😛

  75. Ken says:

    Being all excited about the crystal elevator isn't a sign of being 16. If I could manage not to be scared silly going that high in a clear elevator, I'd totally want to ride it three or four times and I'm 36! Hell, I even love the 12 story glass elevators that some hotels have.

    Interesting the way that a life of ease and luxury seems to make people stupid, especially in this portrayal. Coal turning into pearls? With that much time on your hands, why *not* learn as much as you can about as many things as you can? What else is there to do?

  76. lindsay_314 says:

    Mark, I've been following you since you were reading Goblet of Fire, I believe–I heard about your site through Mugglenet. I've commented a couple of times, and I must tell you I love your reviews and the insights you give. I couldn't read along with you during Harry Potter, (I'm at university and I left all my copies at home), but I'm excited to read along with you for The Hunger Games! I bought a copy over Thanksgiving break and I'm trying reallly hard to only read one chapter at a time along with you, but yesterday I kept reading for an entire chapter (although I'm behind, I'm trying to read each of your reviews before I keep going). Oops. 🙂 I'm finally getting into this book.
    And I'm ready for the Games to start, too!

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