Mark Reads ‘The Hunger Games’: Chapter 14

In the fourteenth chapter of The Hunger Games, why does this exist nightmares forever. Intrigued? Then it’s time for Mark to read The Hunger Games.

There’s no shame allowed here and certainly no judging. But I read chapter fourteen before I went to bed and I absolutely had a nightmare.

In my dream, I was camping on the North Rim in the Grand Canyon. (If you recall, I went there during my read of Half-Blood Prince and it was also when I inadvertently re-ignited the Ginny Weasley Slut Shame War of 2010. THANKS GUYS.) Anyway, that’s not actually the point. In my dream, I’m camping in the sparse forest up on the top of the rim and because I am the very worst klutz of all time, I somehow tripped on a fire? Look, I don’t even know how that’s possible, but it happened. And then the tent was on fire. IT’S A NIGHTMARE IT IS NOT SUPPOSED TO MAKE ANY SENSE. When I set the tent on fire and no one else was freaking out, I then upset a nest of tracker jackers. And guess where they decided to sting me? No, not there.

My armpits.

Seriously, it was an awful dream, despite being so comical. So let’s start off this review with a compliment: Suzanne Collins, the tracker jackers are one of the most horrifying creations I’ve ever read. Bravo.

My eyes follow the line of her finger up into the foliage above me. At first, I have no idea what she’s pointing to, but then, about fifteen feet up, I make out a vague shape in the dimming light. But of…of what? Some sort of animal? It looks about the size of a raccoon, but it hangs from the bottom of a branch, swaying ever so slightly. There’s something else. Among the familiar evening sounds of the woods, my ears register a low hum. Then I know. It’s a wasp nest.

YEAH THIS IS GOING TO BE TERRIBLE. Even re-reading this a second time, I am not a fan of this.

More likely they will be one of the Capitol’s mutations, tracker jackers. Like the jabberjays, these killer wasps were spawned in a lab and strategically placed, like land mines, around the districts during the war. Larger than regular wasps, they have a distinctive solid gold body and a sting that raises a lump the size of a plum on contact. Most people can’t tolerate more than a few stings. Some die at once. If you live, the hallucinations brought on by the venom have actually driven people to madness. And there’s another thing, these wasps will hunt down anyone who disturbs their nest and attempt to kill them. That’s where the tracker part of the name comes.

So, first of all, they are SOLID GOLD WASPS. Then Collins continues to make it worse. Poisonous? Sure! Stings that cause swelling the size of plums? Totally! Fatal reactions? You betcha! Hallucinations that happen EVEN IF YOU SURVIVE THE STINGS? Oh, definitely! And if you can escape all that, WAIT YOU CANT BECAUSE THEY TRACK YOU.

Pure genius. A terrifying brilliance, yes, but genius nonetheless.

The problem here is that Katniss now has a weapon against the tributes, but it’s one that can hurt her and can definitely kill other people. The risk she has to take is one that will probably hurt herself and will change our view of her if she actually goes through with killing other Careers.

Katniss takes advantage of the anthem playing to provide sound cover for her as she makes her attempt to saw the branch holding the nest off.

Once I’ve got a groove, the work requires less effort but is almost more than I can handle. I grit my teeth and saw away, occasionally glancing at the sky to register that there were no deaths today. That’s all right. The audience will be sated seeing me injured and treed and the pack below me. But the anthem’s running out and I’m only three quarters of the way through the wood when the music ends, the sky goes dark, and I’m forced to stop.

GOD DAMN IT. She was hoping the smoke would keep them groggy and that the anthem would mask the sound of her cutting down the branch, but both of those hopes have now been eliminated. It’s frustrating to read, but the fact that so much goes wrong adds a bit of realism to an otherwise fantastical story.

That sort of realism is the only thing we really have to ground any of this. It would be more entertaining for events to simply continue, for the nest to drop to the ground and for Katniss to escape because we could feel as if she’s being victorious, as if she has a chance. I appreciate that this is still difficult for her, though, and that random chance can still affect her life.

In the faint light of the Careers’ torches, I inch back down to my fork to find the best surprise I’ve ever had. Sitting on my sleeping bag is a small plastic pot attached to a silver parachute. My first gift from a sponsor! Haymitch must have had it sent in during the anthem. The pot easily fits in the palm of my hand. What can it be? Not food surely. I unscrew the lid and I know by the scent that it’s medicine. Cautiously, I probe the surface of the ointment. The throbbing in my fingertip vanishes.

Is it weird to say I was looking forward to see how Katniss deals with her burns? Not on a personal level, but just to see how Collins wrote it. This is an interesting way to deal with the burns and to also show us how the sponsors actually work towards a player’s advantage in the game. And I’m ok with that, especially since we get this moment instead:

“Oh, Haymitch,” I whisper. “Thank you.” He has not abandoned me. Not left me to fend entirely for myself. The cost of this medicine must be astronomical. Probably not one but many sponsors have contributed to buy this one tiny pot. To me, it is priceless.

I don’t think we’ve seen a moment of humility like this from Katniss so far. So much is about her display of her ego and her contempt; this, however, is something more raw and real than anything before. She genuinely means it when she thanks Haymitch.

After rubbing the ointment on her, which quickly begins the healing process, Katniss has a newfound sense of purpose: it’s time for her to drop the tracker jackers’ nest. She decides to warn Rue before she does so, though:

I call Rue’s name in a hushed whisper and the eyes appear, wide and alert, at once. She points up to the next again. I hold up my knife and make a sawing motion. She nods and disappears. There’s a rustling in a tree nearby. Then the same noise a bit farther off. I realize she’s leaping from tree to tree. It’s all I can do not to laugh out loud. Is this what she showed the Gamemakers? I imagine her flying around the training equipment never touching the floor. She should have gotten at least a ten.

WHAT!! Oh man, now I’m cheering for Rue to somehow survive with Katniss. I don’t expect it to be long before they pair up either.

At the tree limb that holds the nest, I position the knife in the groove and I’m about to draw the teeth across the wood when I see something moving. There, on the nest. The bright gold gleam of a tracker jacker lazily making its way across the papery gray surface. No question, it’s acting a little subdued, but the wasp is up and moving and that means the others will be out soon as well.

And thus begins the most harrowing and disgusting set of scenes in the book. I don’t know whether to trigger warning this or just put a general disclaimer, so this will have to do:


First of all, as Katniss is cutting the branch, a tracker jacker stings her on the knee. So even if Katniss gets away, it’s already going to be horrible. Then a second and a third sting sends poison into her system and even though she manages to pull the stingers out, the poison is already doing its work. But what happens below is just…jesus fuck.

It’s mayhem. The Careers have woken to a full-scale tracker jacker attack. Peeta and a few others have the sense to drop everything and bolt. I can hear cries of “To the lake! To the lake!” and know they hope to evade the wasps by taking to the water. It must be close if they think they can outdistance the furious insects. Glimmer and another girl, the one from District 4, are not so lucky. They receive multiple stings before they’re even out of my view. Glimmer appears to go completely mad, shrieking and trying to bat the wasps off with her bow, which is pointless. She calls to the others for help but, of course, no one returns. The girl from District 4 staggers out of sight, although I wouldn’t bet on her making it to the lake. I watch Glimmer fall, twitch hysterically around on the ground for a few minutes, and then go still.

Oh my god. She did. She killed someone, right? I honestly thought Collins would find a way to avoid Katniss actually killing someone, but she didn’t. Oh my god.

People have not exaggerated the effects of the tracker jacker stings. Actually, the one on my knee is closer to an orange than a plum in size. A foul-smelling green liquid oozes from the places where I pulled out the stingers.

WHAT THE FUCK IS ALL THIS. This means that if Katniss’s ONE sting did this, then…

The swelling. The pain. The ooze. Watching Glimmer twitching to death on the ground. It’s a lot to handle before the sun has even cleared the horizon. I don’t want to think about what Glimmer must look like now. Her body disfigured. Her swollen fingers stiffening around the bow…

This is seriously so gross. Also KATNISS KILLED SOMEONE WHAT THE FUCK

Katniss realizes she has precious little time before the canons sound and the hovercraft takes Glimmer’s body, the bow and arrows going along with it. So she risks being stung again to go back and get the weapon.

I reach Glimmer just as the cannon fires. The tracker jackers have vanished. The girl, so breathtakingly beautiful in her golden dress the night of the interviews, is unrecognizable. Her features eradicated, her limbs three times their normal size. The stinger lumps have begun to explode, spewing putrid green liquid around her. I have to break several of what used to be her fingers with a stone to free the bow. The sheath of arrows is pinned under her back. I try to roll over her body by pulling one arm, but the flesh disintegrates in my hands and I fall back on the ground.

WHAT THE FLYING FUCK IS GOING ON. How is this movie going to be PG-13??? Oh my god, this is like a billion times more disgusting and real than I could have ever imagined. Oh my god what the hell, guys.

Katniss is unsure whether this actually happened or if she’s hallucinating. The hovercraft comes to pick up the girl from District 4 and she knows she has little time to act. Unfortunately, by the time she secures the bow, she hears the Careers returning, either to kill her or get the dropped weapons.

And Peeta shows up.

“What are you still doing here?” he hisses at me. I stare uncomprehendingly as a trickle of water drips off a sting under his ear. His whole body starts sparkling as if he’s been dipped in dew. “Are you mad?” He’s prodding me with the shaft of the spear now. “Get up! Get up!” I rise, but he’s still pushing at me. What? What is going on? He shoves me away from him hard. “Run!” he screams. “Run!”

WHAT THE FUCK. Peeta didn’t try to kill her? Did Peeta just save her?

When Cato crashes into their area, a glimmering sword in his hand, Katniss breaks into a run, obeying Peeta, attempting to escape.

The world begins to bend in alarming ways. A butterfly balloons to the size of a house then shatters into a million stars. Trees transform to blood and splash down over my boots. Ants begin to crawl out of the blisters on my hands and I can’t shake them free. They’re climbing up my arms, my neck. Someone’s screaming, a long high-pitched scream that never breaks for breath. I have a vague idea it might be me. I trip and fall into a small pit lined with tiny orange bubbles that hum like the tracker jacker nest. Tucking my knees up to my chin, I wait for death.

Sick and disoriented, I’m able to form only one thought: Peeta Mellark just saved my life.

Then the ants bore into my eyes and I black out.

Shit cannot get any realer than this. I don’t see how.

About Mark Oshiro

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

309 Responses to Mark Reads ‘The Hunger Games’: Chapter 14

  1. Silverilly says:

    Yeah, Mark, remember when we were all SHIT'S GON GET REAL?
    We were serious.
    Sorry for the very real (but not really) nightmares.

  2. pennylane27 says:

    I got totally freaked out from reading about that dream. Your armpits? Seriously? How messed up is your subconscious?

    Ok, I'm gonna read the rest of the review now. 😉

    • Mimbletonia says:

      Total, total stab in the dark, but the tracker jacker stings are described as swelling to the size of plums. The bubonic plague causes the glands in your armpits to swell up, and I've heard the swelling size of the lumps compared to plums and even oranges. Maybe some sort of "lump-size" connection going on in his dream?

      Just a guess. Might be totally wrong, but I thought I'd offer it up. Sometimes coming up with any reason for something disturbing in a dream makes you feel better about it.

  3. Erin says:

    Hi, longtime lurker who has finally gotten an account to post comments!

    Holy shit, Mark. You are so not prepared. I'm not prepared.

    I got so sick of the damn cliffhangers that yesterday I decided I was going to read this chapter online to see what Rue was pointing at. And then I finished the whole damn book. And then, even though I promised myself I wasn't going to do it because I seriously need to be studying for finals, I started the second book. And finished it at 1 this morning. I seriously want to read the third now, but I can't.

    These are haunting books. I don't remember nightmares last night, but I didn't sleep well so it's possible they were there. Plus I couldn't get my brain to shut off so I could actually go to sleep because the events in the books just kept running through my mind, over and over.

    I didn't believe people when they said it because really, what else could Collins throw at us? SHIT GETS SO REAL.

  4. DameDallas says:

    Three thoughts to this chapter:

    I can't do it. I can't do it. I can't do it.
    The urgency in these words makes me heart Collins' writing style even more.

    *sigh of relief* Thank goodness, Peeta. I was going to dropkick you if you did ONE MORE untoward thing.

    Then the ants bore into my eyes and I black out.
    *mouth gapes open*

    Oh my. These hallucinations are not good. Not at good at all, Katniss.
    What kind of FUCKED UP wasps are these?!

  5. zulaihaha says:

    I. Do. Not. Like. Tracker. Jackers.

  6. Amy says:

    Shit is not real yet. Mark, you are NOT prepared.

    • iva222 says:

      I second that.

    • 8grade says:

      True that! I read the books when they first came out, and hearing what Mark thinks now just makes me wonder what he is gonna do when he gets to ah… later in the book.

    • FlameRaven says:

      Well, shit is pretty real now, but it WILL get worse.

      I was actually thinking to myself "hm, well, after the Tracker Jackers, it's not that bad…. oh wait. OH WAIT. …yes it is."

      Motto of the series: it can ALWAYS be worse.

  7. barnswallowkate says:

    Yeah this is about where the nightmare fuel started for me. I too have no idea how this movie can possibly be PG-13! Or how anyone will be able to watch it without running from the theater.

    • They managed to make DH part 1 PG-13 (still think that they did the film a disservice that way) so they'll figure it out…somehow. Violence ALWAYS can make it past the MPAA

      • theupsides says:

        Yeah, I agree. It's sexuality that people have a problem with. I mean, this stuff is awful, but I think they'll manage.

        • xpanasonicyouthx says:

          That's a very good point. Light sexuality can make a movie R in a second, but not violence.

          • theupsides says:

            This country is awesome, right???

            Sexuality is obviously more dangerous to society than violence.

            • Openattheclose says:

              Yeah, it's sad. I am convinced that DH was PG13 because of the Harry/Hermione Horcrux scene and not the violent things like the big snake coming out of an animated dead body. I know when I was 13, the snake thing would have bothered me a lot more.

              • Pepperama says:

                The extra ridiculous thing to me is that they really didn't need to make that scene as over the top sexual as they did by having Harry and Hermione naked, because it's more than enough that they're enthusiastically making out and goading Ron. They were exaggerating on the scene in the books there, but then the scenes like the snake and the torture scene were really, I thought, toned down and not nearly as disturbing and terrifying as they were in the books.

                It's like, okay, in order for you to understand how emotionally horrible the idea of a romance between Harry and Hermione is for Ron we need to make it as sexual as possible. No one will understand if it's not all about SEX SEX SEX. But at the same time, they're condemning it for being sexual…

                But then they tone down the WAR for being violent and disturbing, and a part of me is glad they did for the younger audience, but it also kind of looses the desperation and horror that is the motivation of the story at that point. So in that case, while I usually am wanting for less violence and gore in so many movies (mostly because it often seems unnecessary and like it's just there for shock value and it's gimmicky on top of being disturbing) part of me still wishes they had played it up a bit more in that case.

                That same part feels like they shouldn't try to tone the Hunger Games down too much either, because this horror is such a huge part of the games and the emotional impact they have on the characters.

                Oh god, sorry about the TL;DR.

              • 4and6forever says:



                • Openattheclose says:

                  Well thank you 🙂

                  Is 4 and 6 a Doctor Who reference or something else?

                  • 4and6forever says:

                    Er… No. In my head, my numbers (and letters and shapes and colors) all have personalities. So basically, 4 and 6 are twu wuvs. (To me, at any rate.)

          • bookling says:

            Exactly. I seriously don't think it will be a problem for them to keep just about all of the violence in and make in PG-13. You can get away with a LOT of violence, but god forbid someone says "fuck" or there's some heavy petting going on.

      • barnswallowkate says:

        Good point. As long as they don't curse while they're killing each other in horrific ways it is all OK!

    • lindseytinsey says:

      Seriously. Where I live it should get a 16V rating. No on under age 16 and a violence warning ??? Hmmm… then again DH1 got a pg13 rating in the US and here it got a 10V rating.

    • Steeple says:

      They're probably tone down the nightmare fuel in order to get that rating, is my guess. Like, Glimmer will just look like she has some stings instead of MASSIVELY DISTORTED WITH DISSOLVING FLESH ICK. I imagine the hallucinations will be toned down, too.

      • notemily says:

        One thing I have to wonder about the movie: is it going to be narrated? It would have to be, right? Otherwise how would we find out about the Tracker Jackers in the first place? Expositiony dialogue from the Careers? No, the only way I can see it working is if they have Katniss's thoughts in a voice-over.

    • Clare says:

      Ditto. I really just can't imagine how they can do this without toning it down. Although, I'm actually hoping they do it more as an adult movie than young adult, because I can't see hollywood displaying the horror of this for kids. I get annoyed when they try to morph really good books into movies and then dumb it down so that they can get kids to watch it.

  8. lindseytinsey says:

    You're right, Mark. This was disgusting. And Katniss's hallucinations! O___O
    I can't even…

  9. Oh my god this chapter DROVE ME CRAZY. Bee and Wasp stings freak me out even though I have only been stung ONCE by a bee. The idea of it terrifies me so reading about her messing with them caused me to get all anxious and scared.

    • pennylane27 says:

      Me too, I'm not normally scared of insects, but bees and wasps make me really nervous. I was traumatised by a film I saw when I was little, I don't remember anything about it except that a boy died of multiple bee stings because he was allergic in the end. So yeah, I really don't like tracker jackers, thanks Collins!

      • ldwy says:

        I'm sort of the opposite. Plenty of insects bug me (haha) but wasps and bees I'm pretty cool with. Bees I actually like, and wasps I just give a wide berth. I have been stung several times, (when I was a kid, every time on my foot for stepping on bees in the clover), and yes, they hurt, but not bad enough to make me nervous forever. Just enough to teach me to make a mean baking soda paste.

        • Steeple says:

          Heh, same here, actually. All the kids in elementary school were afraid of bees and wasps, but I was the only one who would fan them away like flies.

          The only time I got hurt was when I got pricked by a bee while working at a summer camp. How'd I manage that? We were standing at flag in the morning when I felt something caught in my hair. I thought it was some duff and tried to pluck it out. When I did, I saw it was a bee and threw it away while shrieking "JESUS CHRIST". My swear filter was on because it was girl scout camp, thank god, but this was during the solemn and quiet flag ceremony. I got linefaced at. ^^; Still, it was only a prick and stung like hell but didn't hurt all that much.

        • Steeple says:

          Oh, forgot to mention – I pricked my finger, not like my head or anything.

      • Was the movie "My Girl"? If so that scene with the boy dying gets to me because he was buried without his glasses and when I was 17 we had to bury my step brother without his glasses.

      • notemily says:

        My Girl 🙁 🙁 🙁 such a sad BUT AWESOME movie.

        I'm not scared of bees, because bees only sting in self-defense. I got stung by a bee once that was under my arm (ARMPITS MARK!) and that made sense because I was about to crush it by putting my arm down. But wasps are evil motherfuckers and will sting you MULTIPLE TIMES. Bees usually only sting once because the stinger can get torn away and then they die. So they're not going to sting you unless they have to.

        In short: bees are defensive. Wasps are aggressive. HATE WASPS.

        • pennylane27 says:

          Yeah, even though I know that bees only sting you in self-defence, and I've never been stung in my life, I still get really nervous around them. MY FEAR IS COMPLETELY IRRATIONAL, I KNOW.
          And I hate wasps.

  10. cait0716 says:

    I have a few comments and, unfortunately, some of them relate to Twilight. Sorry, that's just where my brain went when I read this chapter.

    a) Sparkly Peeta! I like that he's sparkling because Katniss is hallucinating and that it adds to her terror

    b) Being dipped in dew sounds far less painful and more glamorous that having your skin embedded with diamonds. Suzanne Collins is a better writer than Stephenie Meyer

    c) I read a review (before I read the book) that complained that using the silver parachutes to get medicine and food to the tributes made everything too easy and took some of the suspense out of the book. When I actually read the book I was pleasantly surprised to find out how hard Katniss had to work to get something she needed pretty desperately. She had to win over several sponsors and keep them on her side in the midst of everything else she's going through. I think the burn medicine is well deserved.

    • dakjak says:

      haha i totally thought of twilight too…and then i mentally cringed…but then I felt better because i realized that Stephenie Meyer probably went into hysterics when she read this chapter.

    • xpanasonicyouthx says:

      It really is.

    • pennylane27 says:

      I agree about the sponsor gifts. She's been in the arena for three days and been in a lot of terrible situations, but she still had to work to get something that she desperately needs. So I don't think it's too easy.
      And like Mark said, she shows gratefulness and humility which I really appreciate.

      • chris says:

        It seems to me that she only received the gift of medicine after she had all the viewers attention for planning her escape by using the tracker jackers. Did they give her medicine only because they wanted to her to be able to follow through on her plan with the wasps? They seem more blood thirsty then caring about her burns.

    • corporatecake says:

      I definitely agree about the sponsor gifts as well. If Katniss had magically gotten water when she asked for it, it would have been sort of anti-climactic (though if I were Haymitch I would have forked it over anyway, because I would not have the will power to watch her suffer, even if there was water nearby), but Collins takes such a long time to deliver the gift and makes Katniss suffer enough for it that it seems like a fair trade.

      • castlejune says:

        Ah yes, a fair trade indeed. Haymich has limited funds to work with, so he has to use them wisely; burn ointment instead of water because she can find water (hopefully). But he is also kind of a jerk in general, so I don't really think he has too trouble seeing her suffer. He has to have harden his heart a TON watching children get themselves killed for twenty four years.

        • corporatecake says:

          Haymitch is a jerk, but when you think about his life, it's one of the most depressing things ever. He was victor of the Hunger Games and he lived, and what does he get as a reward? To watch two kids die every year for the Capitol's entertainment. And that's what Katniss has to look forward to if she lives. It almost seems more merciful just to die. :\

    • BradSmith5 says:

      Adds to her terror? Ha,ha,ha,ha. And you're right: ONE parachute that cures a specific malady doesn't negate the other horrors she's facing.

      I still can't believe all this has happened in the span of––what? Four chapters? And here I thought we'd be knee-deep in bunny recipes by now. o.0

      • cait0716 says:

        The food porn has taken a backseat to constant impending doom.

        • LadyLately says:

          Don't worry! When Katniss has to cut off the burnt leg on Day 7 and salvage what flesh she can for sustenance, she gives a lovely description of the rosemary she seasons it with and the berry compote as a garnish!

      • lamuerta says:

        The funny thing is, I think if you only eat rabbit meat (and nothing else – no greens, no fruits, no carbs) you can starve to death.

        • notemily says:

          wouldn't it technically be dying of malnutrition?

          • lamuerta says:

            Ah! I googled it – yeah it sounds like malnutrition, but they call it "rabbit starvation". Essentially the body uses up more energy digesting the meat than what the meat provides, and this is also true for other wild game.

            • notemily says:

              Oh dude, that's fucked up. THE RABBIT DIET–STARVE YOURSELF THIN!

            • BradSmith5 says:

              Well what are you waiting for!? Strap on a silver parachute, hop in the hovercraft, and go tell Katniss all of this crap––quick!

            • MadarFoxfire says:

              That's more or less an urban legend! Lean meat lacks a bunch of vital nutrients and it will fuck you up if you don't eat anything else, but it certainly doesn't have negative calories. Katniss should be fine. For a loose definition of fine, given that she's in a firey wasp-infested death trap with a dozen other people who all want her dead with the possible exceptions of Rue and Peeta. But she won't need to worry about rabbit starvation unless the Games drag on for an obscene amount of time and there's nothing else edible about.

    • lamuerta says:

      Actually, if all these silver parachutes are floating down to tributes, won't it be really easy for the rest to spot and locate the receivers?

      • Lara says:

        I appreciated Haymitch's cunning in that respect, sending the ointment down when everyone else would have their eyes glued on Dead Tribute Roll Call. Although i suppose after as many Hunger Games as there are supposed to have been, things like that might be standard tactics by now?

      • cait0716 says:

        I hadn't thought of that. Although at the moment everyone already knows Katniss stuck in a tree

  11. theupsides says:

    The tracker jackers are terrifying. I totally cannot blame you for that nightmare. Though I give your subconscious points for creativity.


  12. pennylane27 says:

    So yeah, your reactions were exaclty the same as mine. 'THIS IS SO GROSS! OMG WTF IS GOING ON? *incoherent rambling*'

    There are so many things going on in this chapter that I don't know where to start! I loved this chapter, despite the really disturbing images created by the tracker jackers and the hallucinations and shit.

    Rue. I just adore her. She helps Kat, and apparently she is totally awesome? She can freaking swing through trees!

    I also really like the fact that Katniss is not leaving the games (one way or another) without taking some tributes out. I think it would be completely unrealistic to have her not kill anyone. So good for Collins!

    I'm not going to say anything about Glimmer because everything has been said, but I was sooo glad that Kat got the bow and arrows at last!

    And Peeta. The mystery continues.

    • jennreyn says:

      I know Katniss is the protagonist and probs not going to die and shit, but I sort of want Rue to win by virtue of chilling in trees and letting everyone else go apeshit on each other.

    • andreah1234 says:

      I'm glad I'm not the only one who both loved this chapter and went totally incoherent with it. Rue is awesome. Period. Peeta is the Snape of the Hunger Games, only Sev didn't had the cooking skillz (or did he…*has a visual of Snape on a cooking apron and grins until the end of time*.) and Peeta is kinda hot.

      And I actually feel really bad for being glad that Katniss killed some of the assholes, is she had to kill anyone in the games I'm glad it was some of them.

  13. PaulineParadise says:

    "A Tracker Jacker" by MrsCullen1987 (deviantart)
    <img src=";

    "Hunger Games – Nest" by brytning (deviantart)
    <img src=""&gt;

    You know, reading this chapter made me feel like spiders, ants and other disgusting creatures were crawling on my skin. Worst feeling ever.
    <img src=""&gt;

    Also, this is a Tracker Jacker pie.
    <img src=";

  14. Treasure Cat says:

    The tracker jackers gave me nightmares too. I have a phobia of wasps (which, according to everybody's favourite search engine, is called spheksophobia) that comes from when I was attacked by a swarm of them when I was about 5, and wasps and buzzing are a frequent feature of my nightmares. The tracker jackers made me scared to sleep 🙁

    Rue is super badass. In my head she's just like mini female tarzan, she's awesome. I think it's great that Katniss warned her what she was going to do, it shows how she will do what it takes to survive, but she still preserves her humanity because Rue reminds her of her sister.
    Peeta my little enigma, what are you doing now??? Are you saving her, or are you an illusion? I AM CONFUSE.
    Also, this just in! Katniss has a bow now, oh shit it is on motherfuckers! Playing field is level, you all watch out cause Katniss gonna pwn you with her mad skillz~

  15. Casey says:

    RUN, Katniss, RUN! Peeta Mellark is SPARKLING! Next he will stalk you, form a co-dependent relationship, take away your dignity, and completely take over what is left of your life!
    P.S. ad at the bottom of the page says "Got Bees? Bee removal service for all of Southern California." Now THAT'S a relief…

  16. Roxie says:

    Yeah…it's about to get realer.
    I wish we were more into mini-series adaptations in the U.S. That'd be the best way to do The Hunger Games. Either AMC or HBO.

    • castlejune says:

      Hell yes! That would be FANTASTIC! oh, I can picture it now. Sadness. I would love to watch a mini-series of the Hunger Games.

      • Fluffy_socks says:

        Careful how you say that. Because with the way reality TV is heading… we may watch the Hunger Games take place yet.

  17. Maddi says:

    I have just one thing to say:


  18. Shanella says:

    this might have been one of the most disgusting chapters so far.

    Also, I am sorta glad that Collins allowed her main character to kill someone, it is the Hunger Games and it is what is suppose to happen. This makes it feel a bit more realistic.

  19. dakjak says:

    This chapter scared the shit out of me!! Is it weird that I think of the trackerjackers as the wasp things from pokemon? because that's the first thing that came into my head when i saw them…
    <img src="; border="0" alt="Photobucket">

    oh, and i was starting to think that Katniss was like this…
    <img src="; border="0" alt="Photobucket">

    but really she's more like this
    <img src="; border="0" alt="Photobucket">
    in a non-insane kind of way

  20. Kaci says:

    Mark, never before have you been so PROFOUNDLY unprepared for shit to get real. And there is still the entire rest of this book plus two others to go.

  21. jennreyn says:

    Wait. Ants BORE INTO HER EYES? Holy shit.

    So yeah. Not having read this (honestly I think I would be if a) I wasn't broke and could buy the books or b) there weren't like 2397429875983 holds on it in the library) I have to say that at the very beginning, just from the quotes posted, the present-tense style drove me nuts. I don't like it and it was so short and choppy.

    But now, again just judging by these quotes and especially that last chunk of text right before ANTS BORE INTO HER EYES BECAUSE GROSS, it works, and I'm pretty sure that a past-tense style would make this seem SO much less intense. And the fact that it is present and now and HOLY SHIT THIS IS HAPPENING is also… like, I'm sure she won't, but maybe Katniss could die? She's not looking back and recalling this from a safe distance, it's happening NOW and that makes every ridiculous danger that much more threatening.

    I have to say these reviews are making me second-guess my avoidance of these books (and Battle Royale) on the basis that the premise seriously disturbs me. It's a weird and kind of wimpy reason to avoid something I really hear nothing but good things about, but I'm kind of a wimp. 🙁

    • librarysteph says:

      I avoided it because of my wimpiness for a long time but I'm a librarian and its so popular I felt like I should read it to keep up with the teens. I'm so glad I forced myself to read it, it's one of my favourite books now.

  22. Aimee says:

    lol, I love how the entire community of your readers are now laughing because OMG You never thought things would get so real!

    • BradSmith5 says:

      Ha,ha,ha. After hearing him beg for things to get started for ten chapters, It's was so hilarious to see "CAN THERE PLEASE BE A MOMENT WHERE WE CAN JUST REST" on yesterday's blog.

  23. Mauve_Avenger says:

    Mark, for some reason this review isn't appearing on the front page of the website. I imagine a lot of people get here by the direct link in your twitter feed, but anyone else is going to be very confused when they don't see it on the front page (unless of course they think to click the Chapter 13 review and then hit "next review" which I just checked and definitely works).

    As for the chapter, though: Is anyone else thinking of this in terms of a much more scary version of this episode of Futurama?

    <img src=""&gt;

  24. Openattheclose says:

    When I was a kid, my sister saw a bees nest up in a tree we were sitting underneath and decided to HIT IT WITH A STICK. We ran to our house, which was about 50 feet away, getting stung all the while. It was not fun.

    All of this talk of bee stings has reminded me that the BEES ARE DISAPPEARING y'all.

    I don't want them to disappear, I just want them to stop stinging me.

    • pennylane27 says:

      Bees are disappearing? What?

      • Openattheclose says:

        Honeybees are disappearing in the U.S. and other places and no one knows why (unless you watch Doctor Who, which had a story arc dealing with this). No honey bees to pollinate plants would probably cause our ecosystem to collapse, so it wouldn't be good.

        • pennylane27 says:

          Nope, not good at all.

        • Marie_Goos says:

          OH GOD the bee apocalypse. Just when I start to forget I am again reminded. I heard once that it was because cell phone signals confused their sense of direction (or something along those lines) and they couldn't get back to the hive. 🙁

        • Reonyea says:

          It's because the bees are actually aliens, and the planet is going to be stolen.

          *wonders how many people will get this*

          • Openattheclose says:

            I got it! I may have even brought it up just so someone would respond with this because I am a dork. Seriously though, when that happened, I was amazed. It explains everything!

      • ldwy says:

        Yeah, it's a huge ecological problem, getting a lot of study right now.

    • Emily says:

      I heard some people now think its a new species of mite…

      The cell phone thing is probably not true because it wouldn't explain why one hive collapses while the one right next to it (like, in the same yard kept by the same beekeeper next to it) is fine. Cell signals would probably affect all bees in certain areas.

    • Stephalopolis says:

      To be honest… and not trying to be mean (I have a dry sense of humor) but "I don't want them to disappear, I just want them to stop stinging me." They'll probably stop stinging you if you stop hitting them with sticks 😛

      • Openattheclose says:

        Haha! It was my sister that did it, I swear. I wasn't very happy with her after that, believe me! Of course, it's hard to be mad at someone that is experiencing the same pain you are.

    • theanagrace says:

      It is very sad, poor bees. I was never scared of bees, Ive never been stung, but my brother was terrified of them (because of a wasp-nest incident).
      My dad now has two honey-bee hives, and those bees are soooooo mellow, I could never imagine them stinging anyone. My dog runs acros their water mat (that they drink from) and they just fly up, and then back down as if nothing happened. I can get within millimeters of them and they've never been aggressive. So, that has just reinforced my belief that bees are cool.
      Wasps are dicks though.

  25. 1foxi says:

    "Shit cannot get any realer than this. I don’t see how."

    ha ha ha you have no idea

  26. Lizz says:

    Reading these books were the first time I actually had to put a book down and walk away from it because I was too much of a mess. I took a break for dinner and just there quietly eating cause I couldn't get the OMG HORRORS out of my head.

    There are so many ways in which you are not prepared. I'm excited to here your commentary on some later issues though.

  27. Stephalopolis says:

    This. This chapter is horrifying and disgusting and I can't imagine having to go through a situation like this. Question- which is worse- tracker jacker stings causing exploding pus and swelling and hallucinations, etc. or Renesmee breaking Bella's spine and eating her uterus (my psuedo answer- Hunger Games we expect the horror and don't want our heroes to be hurt. Twilight acts all high and mighty and "I won't watch rated R" and we hate the person getting hurt anyway.)I must say, I loved Rue jumping from tree to tree. I can just imagine her flying around that gym. And I keep imaging her in that fairy outfit. I know we don't know much about Rue at this point, but there's a part of me that connects with her and wants her to stay safe. Also… as bad as the tracker jackers were, what's even worse is her seeing ants crawling out of her blisters and all over her body. Awful. Horrible. Also: You're not alone. I have definitely had my share of Hunger Games nightmares.

    • Marie_Goos says:

      Answer: Twilight is one million times worse. ONE. MILLION. TIMES.

      I love Rue too, but part of me is really hoping that she turns out to be some sort of evil killing machine. Either way, she's still awesome.

    • arctic_hare says:

      Yeah, after reading the "ants out of her blisters" part, I might have a nightmare tonight. For real.

  28. roxywilde says:

    Whether or not the allusion was intentional, I love that the tracker jackers present another moment of the nature of reality being brought into question. It's reminiscent of the idea that the Capitol has a stronghold over how history is presented to the districts, thus creating a sort of false-history that makes the districts easier to control. The fact that we have an amplified version of this in the controlled environment of the arena serves so well to reinforce this subversive level of control, on the government's part. Again, the most terrifying part of the games becomes less the actual killing and more the psychology behind it–how the Capitol will turn these kids into killers no matter how much resistence with which they are met. To this effect, we see Katniss being severely effected by her own weapon, echoing the theme of the effect that killing has on the participants. Maybe a little heavy-handed, but I'm glad that young adults are finally getting some weighty material–rife with consequences–to sink their teeth into.

    I could elaborate even more, but I think I'll stop boring everyone to tears now. Again, I could be reading entirely too much into this, but I stand by my analysis 😛

    Also, How is this movie going to be PG-13??? I've been thinking the exact same thing! Is it wrong that I'm almost hoping they go ahead and make it R? I feel like the audiences would come, regardless.

  29. Turq says:

    Oh, yes. It's a very graphic book. Interestingly enough, I've never had a nightmare about it and I'm easily spooked. I admit, I do worry about how they are going to make it PG-13. I wish there was something between PG-13 and R.

  30. Marie_Goos says:

    Mark, I am sorry about your nightmare. 🙁 My reaction to the monstrous killer wasps was somewhat different:

    <img src="; border="0" alt="Photobucket">

    I took a couple of *ahem* creative liberties… But hey, Katniss was hallucinating.

  31. Marie_Goos says:

    Mark, I am sorry about your nightmare. 🙁 My reaction to the monstrous killer wasps was somewhat different:

    <img src="; border="0" alt="Photobucket">

    I took a couple of *ahem* creative liberties… But hey, Katniss was hallucinating.

  32. ColdDesert says:

    Shit just STARTED to get real. You are not prepared.
    This chapter is an absolute mindfuck.

  33. adev0tchka says:

    I was so not prepared for you to read this chapter! I'm terrified of bees/wasps/hornets as it is, so reading this myself last week gave me some serious PTSD of my own childhood bee stings. I had nightmares, too.


  34. Yusra says:

    Mark, you're not prepared. At ALL.

  35. corporatecake says:

    If it makes you feel any better, Mark, I have had nightmares about these books, too. Not about tracker jackers specifically, but about being in the arena having to kill people. Which is odd because, when I was a kid, I was attacked by an angry swarm of wasps when I was at the town swimming pool. They had built a NEST in a garbage can and when I threw away a half-full water bottle, it disturbed them and they managed to sting me about fifteen times before I ran into the pool to avoid them. This chapter? FREAKING TERRIFYING.

    However, I for one was glad that Katniss was responsible for someone's death. She's not the innocent and pure of heart type of character I feel like you could get away with not killing anyone in this setting. It would have seemed like a cop out to me if Collins had the balls to do all these horrible things to her character, but not to have her do some horrible things after putting her in an arena specially designed to make people kill each other.

  36. tethysdust says:

    The Tracker Jackers were pretty terrifying, I admit. I kind of wonder if a few more of the Careers will die the next day, since Kat said that some people die from one sting. Also, it was cool to get a tiny bit more character info on Rue. I'm kind of curious to see how Katniss is going to come out of this injury, because she's pretty helpless and may be dying right now.

    One weird thing about this book, so far, is that there are no major plot twists. I mean, from the beginning we knew the general plot "Katniss goes to the Hunger Games and tries her best to win." The plot, from that point on, is only exactly that. I mean, there's nothing special about this particular Hunger Games, so far. It seems like Collins may as well have picked the 53rd or the 27th to write a story about.

    I really expected there to be some twist before now: maybe Gale or someone breaks into the arena, maybe they find subversive messages and hidden help from some resistance movement, maybe the kids team up and decide to try to work together to get out of the arena. I mostly assumed there would be teaming up and rebellion. However, we're over halfway through the book and that seems to be the furthest thing from everyone's mind. All Katniss is worried about is staying alive and (to that end) being entertaining for people in the Capitol.

    The only mildly out of the ordinary things that have happened are Katniss warning Rue, and Peeta warning off Katniss. When it comes down to it, though, I feel like Katniss would kill both Rue and Peeta before teaming up with them. Maybe she'll prove me wrong :).

    • castlejune says:

      I would just like to say: I loved this reply. It reminded me of how brilliant Collins is in her development of the story. Since reading the trilogy, I have a tendency to think of the books as a whole, and when I re-read the first book, I do so in the context of the other two. I forget how different the feel of the first book is when you are reading it for the first time. The story WILL certainly surprise you (as well as surprising the characters, to whom this IS just another Hunger Game), but it takes longer to develop than usual since Collins plotted it out very carefully for the three books to almost seem as if they have one overall conflict. I originally thought, like you, that surely a resistance of some sort would quickly make itself apparent, but I'm actually really happy now that it has not done so by this point. I'll be curious to see what you think of the story as a whole when you get to the other two books.

      Also: I agree with you. At this point of the story, Katniss would definitely kill Peeta and probably kill Rue if either of them threatened her in any way. Would she kill them in cold blood while hiding behind a bush watching them walk innocently along? I don't think so, although I think she WOULD do that to a Career. Rue reminds her too much of Prim for her to just shank in the night, and shes too confused about Peeta to sneak up and kill him from behind. Of the two though, I think at this place in time, she is definitely more likely to team up with Rue than Peeta, mainly because he is being confusing and is a greater threat to her.

    • ldwy says:

      I know what you mean, I predicted that Gale would break in somehow, team up with Katniss for some kind of rebellion, and overcome the Gamemakers. And it seems pretty clear that is simply not going to happen.

  37. thefbm says:

    I can't help but wonder how they will get pass the PG-13 rating if they do make this series into films. They're so much killing and just down right crazy chiz already that I can't see how they'll do it. I would love how they will film this scene in particular–Hallucinations. I would love to see what they make of it.
    Tracker jackets, dang did that scary the living crap out of me. I remember reading this the first time last year and I had to reread it just to let it click that it was all a hallucination. But suiriusly, reading about Glimmer gave me horrid images for the whole day.

    Then the ants bore into my eyes and I black out.

    I had dreams about that last sentence.

  38. simply_shipping says:

    Now I'm going to feel like insects are crawling over me for the rest of the day…

  39. tchemgrrl says:

    Sparkly Peeta made me laugh in the midst of the horrifyingness.

    Also, I too read this before bed last night and finally broke down and read way, way ahead because I was actually worried that I'd flail around mid-bad dream and hurt the one-month old sleeping next to me. Mark, your bad dream has VINDICATED THE RIDICULOUS FEARS OF A FIRST TIME MOTHER.

    I'm going to need to wait a little while for everyone to catch up now, though.

  40. calimie says:

    To me, this is the worst chapter of the whole trilogy. The effects of the venom is awful, to think that a few wasps could kill you in a few minutes, that just three stings had that effect with the ants everywhere. Yuck!

    I've also wondered about how to film this scene. I hope it get filmed from Katniss' POV, I mean, that we see what she saw when looking at Glimmer. I imagined her sort of melting into a disgusting mess and to see Katniss breaking her fingers to get the bow, when she probably didn't need to, it might be too much.

    And at last I can say: RUUUEEEEEE!! She's amazing, jumping from tree to tree like a fairy squirrel. Katniss said Rue reminded her of Prim but frankly, Prim wouldn't have lasted 5 minutes there.

    • calimie says:

      LOL, I just reread this, I didn't mean "worst" as "terrible quality" but as "most likely to give me nightmares". I haven't had any yet but the image of Katniss fighting with Glimmer's melting corpse for the bow is not going away any time soon.

  41. Cyna says:

    Ha, I've never had nightmares inspired by books before, but I'll admit, I had a Hunger Games nightmare one night after falling asleep reading the second book. It's weird, 'cause the books didn't really scare me, but I'll admit, being trapped inside that insane world in my dreams was pretty intense. Luckily I wasn't in the actual Hunger Games.

    re: the sponsors gifts – I was actually glad to see the sponsors actually doing something, because until then I'd assumed they were just some phantom plot device that Collins was using to amp up the need for a Peeta/Katniss romance. But it's really a nice touch, and a pretty devious way for the Capitol to involve people in the games, almost like voting someone in/out.

    That being said, I was one of the ones who felt like the parachute was an easy fix for Katniss' problem. Okay, I appreciate that Katniss didn't get out of this injury-free, but clearly we couldn't have her limping around with infected, nasty burns or there's no way she wouldn't die, so we get the magical fix of Super-Advanced Burn-Healing Cream. Which is fine, but this isn't an isolated incident u.u

    Aaaanyway, keep goin'. Can't wait for the next review.

  42. elusivebreath says:

    I'm not happy that other people have had the horrible 'attacked by bees' childhood trauma, but I do feel less alone. Mark, your blog is ~bringing people together.~

  43. Tabbyclaw says:

    Okay, yes, the tracker jackers are pretty terrifying. THIS DOES NOT EXCUSE THE FACT THAT THEY HAVE THE STUPIDEST NAME EVER.

    • Mauve_Avenger says:

      I'm reading the book in .pdf form, so I thought it was a typo of "tracker jackets" (like yellow jackets) until I read the review. Pretty sure that if the name comes up again I'm still going to think it's a transcription mistake for exactly this reason.

    • lamuerta says:

      I know! At first I thought they were some sort of pancakes.

  44. somebody says:

    Katniss has nicknamed the girl from 5 Foxface. Just saying.

  45. andreah1234 says:

    Oh, and I forgot to point out something that I said a few chapters back, Haymitch was trying to aid Katniss at some point, he was just waiting for the right moment to do so. The fact he sent her something for her to heal herself made me think he knows that as long as Katniss is "healthy" she is strong enough and will be able to survive on her own.

    • tchemgrrl says:

      I also think he's got a good flair for timing things for maximum impact on the Games themselves and for the viewers (and ultimately the sponsors). I can picture him saying "Hey guys, wanna see what happens when a terrifying nest of deadly, hallucenogenic bugs gets released next to a bunch of tributes? Aw, too bad, her hands hurt too much to continue. Unless you cough up the money!"

      Water was way too boring, by comparison.

      • jessimuhka says:

        Hey, I know you.

        Yeah, I do like the fact that it's not just that she needs something that gets her sponsors, it's that she needs something and is still being a bad ass. I think her taunting of the Careers last chapter is what made people decide to sponsor her. Why are they going to waste their money on entertainment that might give up or curl up and die? By climbing the tree, making jokes about the fire, and taunting the other tributes, she showed that if she's healed she'll continue kicking ass and taking names.

        (Of course, the fact that the sponsors don't want to help people in general unless it's for their further entertainment is completely horrible)

      • corporatecake says:

        I'd never thought of it that way, but I can totally picture Haymitch saying that, and you're right. This gift came at a time for maximum dramatic impact.

  46. Quiqonky says:

    This chapter brought back unpleasant memories of the "boonie bees" (a nickname of a kind of wasp) on Guam. They are extremely aggressive with very painful stings. It was about a week after we moved there and I was babysitting a two year old and a four year old. We walked by a bench in a park (little did I know they like to build nests there) and suddenly we're all getting stung. I had them all over my head and was shrieking like a maniac and dancing around. Two ladies from across the street came over and helped get them out of my hair and retrieve the children (I had been holding the two year old and I had dropped him when I was first stung :'( ) I was still sobbing from the pain and shame of letting the poor kids get stung (though they fared better than I did) when their parents got home half an hour later.

    Their stings swell up like crazy. I had a gargantuan right ear for a while.

  47. Mauri says:

    I have no idea why, but the pat that somehow managed to stand out to me was that Peeta was sparkling in Katniss' hallucination. XD

  48. Mad_Mim says:

    The trackers jackers are terrifying but wait till you get to the…. Well, no spoilers, so all I can say is PREPARE YOURSELF FOR SOME SLEEPLESS NIGHTS DDDDDDDDDDDDDDDD:

    Not wasps but still appropriate for this chapter:

    <img src=>

  49. Penquin47 says:

    I have never had a problem with bees, not being allergic or ever having had a particularly traumatizing experience with them as a kid. Ants, on the other hand, freak me out. So while the trackerjackers themselves had the effect of "Oh, clever girls. Good work, Rue, for spotting that, and Katniss, for figuring out how to use it.", the ant hallucinations had me sitting and shaking for a bit.

    Seriously, if one ant crawls over my foot, I will be feeling ants crawling on me for the next three hours. And worse, biting me. It sucks so much.

    Rue is awesome. I'm with Katniss here – if she can't win, it better be Rue. Peeta would be okay, as long as this isn't a hallucination, but it seriously needs to be one of those three or I am going to be really angry.

    Question that occurred to me: if Katniss wins this one, what happens next Reaping? She'll be seventeen – will she be in the pool? Can she be voluntarily by signing up for tesserae? Can she volunteer again to take Primrose's place? If she does get immunity because of her win, can she pass that to Primrose and go in herself?

    • LadyLately says:

      Winners have lifetime immunity, but it doesn't really seem like it'd be the Capitol's 'style' to allow them to pass it on.

  50. xkcdhobbes says:

    This chapter was very freaky…I can't wait for more. And Katniss killing someone is pretty intense, though the topic is easily discarded so far because Katniss is too intoxicated, can't wait to read her reaction on her action.

  51. jessimuhka says:

    Ok, your nightmare sounds totally scary, but when I read about the part where you tripped into the fire, all I could think was Bella Swan.

    Trackerjackers are totally terrifying. I actually kind of like bees, even though I'm slightly allergic, because I think they're pretty. Wasps and yellowjackets though, are super scary. And the hallucination aspect is totally creepy. When I read it, I was like WTF the poison is making Glimmer fall apart?! But now I think maybe that was a hallucination?

  52. Linku says:

    This chapter freaked me out so much when I first read it… and I was eating pizza when Glimmer died. So. Meh. I have an irrational fear of wasps and bees. So much that I refuse to eat outside in the summer and literally freak out if a wasp/bee flies into the classroom in the summer. I've run from the classroom more than once before.
    So the idea of gigantic wasps that can kill with a stung is not very good at all for me. Do not want!

  53. AccioUsername says:

    This terrified me. I'm horrified by anything with more than four legs. The thought of Super Mega Death Wasps is VERY NOT COOL. Also, a couple years ago, I gave LSD a shot. I took two tabs with my friends in the middle of a cul de sac at midnight in the middle of the summer. He turned into a praying mantis and was making this awful screeching noise, I could see eyes everywhere looking at me, and I felt like I was being chased. What Katniss described brought all of the horror back for me.

  54. andreah1234 says:

    This= AWESOME.

  55. lossthief says:

    Unfortunately I wasn't able to take notes for this chapter, but I will say that I really really want a tracker jacker as a pet.
    Overall, the chapter was pretty good, and I liked that Kat was smart enough to use the nest to her advantage, and the death scene, as well as with the shit that went down with Glimmer's corpse is pretty intense. Peeta has once again reassured me that he is simply playing the game like I always suspected.
    Grade: "B+"

  56. rowanlee says:

    Having had a wasp sting me in the armpit before, I can honestly say that your nightmare freaks me the fuck out.


  57. Meru223 says:

    Oh god the tracker jackers. They have to be the most horrifying thing ever. It's not the actual pain from the stings that get me. It would be the hallucinations, having experienced some damn disturbing hallucinations before.

    So naturally THIS GAVE ME NIGHTMARES TOO. My nightmare was of the ants everywhere and then the ants turned into spiders that crawled all over me and down my throat so I suffocated. Yeah my subconscious is wonderful. >_>

  58. bookling says:

    Ha, I'm finding it a little bit funny how freaked out everyone was by this chapter, because I wasn't at all. I'm not sure why, but the stings and hallucinations didn't really gross me out. There is stuff later on in the series that scares me way more.

    So, when I think about Katniss as a hero, I tend to compare her to Harry a lot. They're both really headstrong and stubborn, and they always feel like they have the weight of the world on their shoulders. They tend to blame themselves when something goes wrong, and their instincts are to isolate themselves from others as much as possible to avoid hurting anyone. But the big difference between Katniss and Harry, to me, is Katniss' willingness to kill. Harry's trademark became the fact that he would Disarm or Stun his enemies, but never aim to kill. To have Harry kill a Death Eater or an enemy (other than Voldemort) would really destroy the integrity of his character, since HP is all about love and choices. But for Katniss, she HAS to kill in order to achieve anything. If she doesn't, she's dead, and there's just no escaping that. The Hunger Games is NOT about the same themes as HP. But it's interesting to me how they can each be considered heroes despite this difference. I think you're really going to love the way this series goes thematically, but I can't really get more specific yet.

    • Mauve_Avenger says:

      I haven't read ahead, so I don't have a reference point for how bad things got for Katniss in this chapter, but I'm not freaking out, either. Perhaps because I have more difficulty *getting into* this book than a lot of other people seem to. The fact that the tracker jackers immediately made me think of Futurama and His Dark Materials probably helps, as well.

      To me, it seems like Katniss hasn't really blamed herself for much that goes wrong yet, correct me if I'm wrong? So far, she's blamed herself for overreacting at the Gamemaker's interview (which was partially her fault, though it went well after all), and she blames herself (and also Peeta, which is weird to me) for not taking the bow at the Cornucopia, though she also acknowledges that Haymitch's advice wasn't wrong. I can't think of any more examples, but it doesn't seem to be too excessive to me, at least at this point.

      I do agree on everything else, though, at least as far as I can judge at this point in my reading.

      • thirty2flavors says:

        I agree with this first paragraph. It's one of those things where while I can see objectively that this is a horrific concept, while I was reading I wasn't actually horrified because I wasn't drawn into the story enough to feel any emotion beyond a curiosity about what would happen next.

      • tethysdust says:

        Why would she blame herself? With the possible exception of not helping the Avox girl, she's never done anything wrong in her life. Well, I guess you could count causing two people to be killed by bees now, but that can be considered self-defense.

    • Tabbyclaw says:

      I wasn't affected by this chapter because the tracker jackers — aside from having THE STUPIDEST NAME EVER AND NO I WILL NOT LET THAT GO — are just so unreal. Fire. Starvation. People killing each other. Violence and cruelty and systematic oppression. Those things are horrible because they ring true. Mutant hallucinogenic wasps from Hell…not so much. It's like my repeated complaints about the hovercrafts and invisible cameras and little silver parachutes. They're not necessarily bad elements in a vacuum, but combined with the sheer surivivalistic grit that the book is trying to push as its main thrust they're just kind of ridiculous.

  59. Sophie says:

    I don't know what's more terrifying, tracker jackers or Dementors. I don't blame you for having a nightmare over this chapter, Mark. When I was reading this series I had tons of dreams about it. Hell, I still have dreams about it!

    And I'm sorry to say that when Katniss saw Peeta sparkling the first thing that went through my head was "OH GOD PEETA IS A VAMPIRE FROM TWILIGHT WHYYYYYY". Then I realized Katniss was hallucinating…

  60. forthejokes says:

    My reaction to reading this book wasn't that I got nightmares (thankfully), but that I couldn't sleep for 3 hours the night that I finished it. I was completely terrified. That being said, I still love the series, and it makes it a bit easier to read along one chapter at a time.

  61. marylacey says:

    Yeah, shit is crazy. Fo real.
    We weren't lying, you know. These are legitimate warnings.
    Shit's about to get more real than it has ever been up to this point.
    Be prepared.

  62. Emily says:

    It's so fun to read these entries as someone who has read the books before and knows what's going to happen. These books are pretty awesome, though, I re-read The Hunger Games after finding out you were going to read them. I can't wait for the movie.

  63. Karen says:

    YES. After I finished the 3rd book, I was still just so… in Collin's world. I couldn't get it out of my head.

    • lindseytinsey says:

      Sign of a good series, I think. But now I need to be careful of what I say on here. I wasn't spoiled and I don't want Mark to be. I so badly wanted to follow this blog but not even Mark is following his blog hahaha, chapter what did he say he was on? 15? But still, I will shush and only talk about what he's posted so far. Oh, the torture.

  64. Katherine says:

    Creepiest chapter ever, no? This is definitely where Collins kicked things up a level.

  65. Moonie says:

    The hallucinations here are REALLY REALLY GOOD.

    And awww yiss, go Peeta. I appreciate that he actually shoves her and yells instead of wasting time being gentlemanly.

    AND LET US SAY GOODBYE TO GLIMMER, DEAD AND SOON TO BE FORGOTTEN. Our first named character death, and Katniss's first kill. Dun dun dun.

  66. Elfy says:

    Tracker jackers, great idea. Awful name.

  67. Karen says:

    Vaguely on topic?



  68. Hotaru-hime says:

    Yeah, this was a really, really creepy chapter.

  69. Sammi says:

    I haven't read this book in about a year so I forgot about how insane it gets. This chapter disturbed me as much as it probably did the first time. Hallucinations are creepy. (Not that I've ever had any, but I could imagine I'd be freaking out.)
    I want to go on and read the rest of the book but I want to read each chapter as each blog post comes out. I'll just have to wait, haha.

  70. bell_erin_a says:

    Haha and then, not only can I not get the characters out of my head, but I have to go back and reread because I missed so much the first time around in my hurry to figure out what's going to happen next, OMGOMG. DH was totally that way. All I remembered was the camping, but when I went back and reread it right before Mark started it, I was surprised to find out just how much had gone down that I didn't remember!

  71. ladylarla says:

    This chapter had me on the edge of my seat, I have a brother that is severely allergic to bees and wasps and the entire time I just kept picturing him being stung like that. And really "the ants bore into my eyes" stop ending chapters like that, just stop my heart cannot cope even though I know that shit only just got real.

    Oh and Mark, I had terrifying nightmares after this chapter, nothing to be ashamed of, this Chapter just does that.

  72. thirty2flavors says:

    They don't allow you to have bees in here.

    • thirty2flavors says:

      lol whoops, that was meant to be a reply upthread.

    • Karen says:

      TY for getting my reference. 😀

      Also, OMG, KALI. Did you see that Mark is going to be watching Doctor Who? This is not going to be good for my health. I have too much emotional investment in it. You're going to have to join me in my RTD and Rose stanning in those posts. (Heh. I already sort of got into this weird vague -due to avoiding spoilers- debate about RTD vs Moffat, especially as concerns female characters.)

      • thirty2flavors says:

        The comment wars are going to be ridic, it will be like the Great Ginny Debate all over again omg. I might have to flounce, ngl.

    • theanagrace says:

      Pls to explain? I don't get the reference, but you reminded me of Eddie Izzard;
      Unrelated, but still, you two made me giggle. 😀

      • thirty2flavors says:

        It's an Arrested Development joke! (Great show, if you haven't seen it.) For some reason it's impossible to find good clips on YouTube but there's a really low-quality version here:

        Which doesn't have the "they don't allow you to have bees in here" line, but you get the general idea.

  73. theanagrace says:

    Mark, don't feel any sort of bad feelings about your dream. To this day, my most terrifying dream/nightmare EVER involved me dressing up in a green teletubby costume and then being chained into a coffin and dropped off a cliff in a cavern.
    At which point the coffin shattered to pieces at the bottom, empty.
    Guh. That will alway be the most bizarre and terrifying dream I've ever had. Just goes to show you that inspiration for nightmares can come from anywhere.

  74. vaporeon13204 says:

    Oh shit. O_O Intense chapter. I hope the ants are only a part of her hallucination. >_<;

  75. Ken says:

    I tried catching up and stopping, but could not stop because (1) shit is just too real and (2) I was so drawn into the story that my mind edited out the chapter breaks and I repeatedly ended up reading three or four chapters in a row without realizing it. That doesn't happen too often. The cliffhangers had a lot to do with it.

    Strangely, the hallucinations didn't freak me out that much. Just ramped up the "oh shit what *doesn't* she see coming for her" intensity a bit.

    If these things were left around the fences, how'd she avoid them while hunting? You'd think she'd have mentioned them during her hunting flashbacks…

  76. hvaad says:

    I was stung in the armpit by a wasp when I was around ten. It was really not fun at all and I don't think there are too many places where it would be worse to get stung. While I am not really scared of many things, this experience has made me irrationally scared of wasps and bees.

  77. LadyLately says:

    I now recall my reactions upon first reading this chapter:
    ….okay this is disgusting
    OH GOD
    -runs to bathroom to vigorously rinse the book-ants out of eyes-

  78. pennylane27 says:

    I once bought a box of ravioles (pasta) and it was full of ants. GOD I HATE THEM.

    Where did you buy those donuts?!

  79. Warmouh says:

    When I read this I thought of the Japanese Giant Hornets. They are essentially the same thing (except without the hallucinations) but with actual face melting instead!

    (Warning, if you are uber scared of hornets you probably should avoid this).

    I love Rue, she's kinda like Prim, except not god's gift to the world like Prim is.

    • FlameRaven says:


      WTF. Japan has some crazy insects. No wonder they come up with such insane fictional monsters. And Pokemon are cute! Mostly.

      • Warmouh says:

        I also wanna say that I heard somewhere they can spray their venom? Seriously, whatever nighmare fuel you've made up, nature's already done it better.

  80. Revolution64 says:

    When I was real little I noticed a severe pain in my armpit when I was wearing a tank top. As I recall, I lifted my arm and I flipped out because a fucking wasp was in my goddamn armpit. My dad flicked it off while I almost pooped my damn pants. So your tracker jackers stinging you in your armpits is profound to me.

  81. xghostproof says:

    Oh damn, this chapter, I just….can't. I was pretty much dreading as I read on because bees/wasps and things of that nature are my very worst fear ever. Somehow, we've gotten weirdly HUGE wasps the past couple summers at my house and just fuck. This chapter really played into my fear of them, though thankfully I didn't have any nightmares. (Just watch me eat my damn words like the time I said I never had a zombie apocalypse dream and then had an awful one…)

    I found out you were doing THG around chapter 11, caught myself up and said I'd read a chapter a day along with you……idk how you're doing it, Mark. I really don't. I lack any willpower to stop once things start getting real, apparently.

  82. Elizabeth says:

    Wait till yo get to the end. WAIT TILL YOU GET TO THE END.

  83. spiffy says:

    thank you, collins, for making my skin crawl.

  84. Fluffy_socks says:

    Ew ew ew ew… thanks now I'll never eat donuts again.

  85. notemily says:

    Then the ants bore into my eyes and I black out.

    That might be my favorite line so far. It's just so horrific and to-the-point. This is where I think Collins's writing style really shines. THE ANTS BORE INTO HER EYES. INTO HER EYES JESUS WHAT THE FUCK. Like, even knowing it's a hallucination, it's still the most terrifying hallucination ever.

  86. librarysteph says:

    I love reading your reviews! I read the book in 2 sittings (the series in a week) and I hated that it was over so I convinced my boyfriend to read it so I'd have someone to talk to as he read the book. Now I get to experience Hunger Games again reading your chapter by chapter analysis 🙂
    I had nightmares too, although mine were from stuff in Catching Fire and Mockingjay. I hope you review them too. I really don't know how they will pull of PG 13 without missing important elements of the book.

    • MadarFoxfire says:

      Sterilize it some, maybe? They should be able to get away with just cutting away for some of the more horrifying deaths. Maybe ramping up the melting/hallucination thereof and making Glimmer a big pile of Flubber by the time Katniss reaches the body. Equally fucking disturbing but none of the gore.

      Although it's kinda astonishing what you can get away with in PG/PG-13 films as long as it's low on the actual blood and whatnot.

  87. Jen says:

    I'm surprised she doesn't mention somebody who turns the tracker poison into a legit drug, which I'm sure would have happened in real life. People licking a bit of tracker jacker poison to have hallucinations.

  88. lindseytinsey says:

    Really. Could you imagine breaking someone's dead fingers with a stone to get their weapons? <shivers>

  89. samantha says:

    I had a harry potter related nightmare last night. There were monsters of some sort chasing my friends and i and we were trying to fend them off. But I was having difficulties saying the incantations fast enough. That's when I realized that all those jinxes are really long?!

    For example, expelliarmus and Impedimenta are both 5 syllabuses long! Even stupefy is 3 syllabuses long. Why?! Or am I just slow? ): That means I most probably would suck in DADA.

    • Hieronymus Graubart says:

      Actually it could be worse. Imagine this color-your-rat-yellow-spell Ron had learned from the twins wasn't a joke and you had to sing a poem when you want to hex your enemy. Spells in the Potterverse are short!

  90. Rebecca says:

    I had nightmares about a tracker jacker going after me MONTHS after I read the book. I did manage to kill it, but it wasn't easy! LOL

    I'm going to read this along with you Mark, it'd be nice to see this from anotehr perspective. I did have a lot of similar thoughts about everything, but somethings were different (in how I thought things would go/thought about the characters).

    Looking forward to read what you think of chapter 15!

  91. oohlivia says:

    When reading those passages I imagined the part in 'The Mist' movie where the girl is bitten by a giant wasp and her entire face swells up. So I had actual real visuals in my head that weren't just my imagination. Nice.

  92. purplejilly says:

    This makes me wonder if Collins has a lot of built up anger about something inside her, who knows what, to come up with this torture, and this really awful, almost "Saw" like evil things. Come to think of it, this book is sort of like "Saw" for pre-teens..This is nothing I would ever want to expose my daughter to, in print or in a movie. You know, people will probably say 'you have to look at the overall message'. Someone told me that about the book "The Lovely Bones" too, but I read about a third of it and just couldn't take the evilness of what was there. There's just too much negativity, horror and death in RL for me already. I think it's just because I'm a sensitive person.

  93. Lilliana says:

    Actually, I had a weirder dream that my dad was doing the Horizontal Naked Dance with my baby sister.
    It was…pretty, um, fucked up.
    Even dream me was utterly disgusted.

  94. karadudz says:

    I agree on Glimmer's death / the tracker jacker attack scene being super disgusting.
    The images of how Glimmer's body just disintegrated and the green goo that comes out of a sting.


    I could NOT get it out of my head for days.

  95. angelllla24 says:

    I feel pretty certain that this chapter with a sparkly Peeta is the only one SMeyer read before she gave this book the thumbs up.

  96. dumbxblonde07 says:

    Why do I so desparately want Peeta to be good?! I just became super happy about him saving her. I feel like he is only with them to trick them about Kat and her whereabouts. Like, he knows they won't think of self-sacrifice and will think that him coming to them is actually his way to survive longer (which, in a sense, it is), when really, he is risking death to help Kat? Yes?

  97. jason says:

    Hornets are the worse they seem to be alot more cunning in their methods of attack.

  98. Yona says:

    Hey, no shame in a nightmare–I chewed through the Hunger Games trilogy + an anthology os essays about it in 2 days flat, and I've been having nightmares about them off and on for over a month. XD Props to Collins, right?

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