Mark Reads ‘The Hunger Games’: Chapter 27

In the twenty-seventh chapter of The Hunger Games, Katniss faces two public appearances where she is forced to live through the Games again and maintain her “relationship” with Peeta the entire time. Intrigued? Then it’s time for Mark to finish The Hunger Games.

I really don’t like any of this. I don’t mean that I don’t like the book, but I am very uneasy about this appearance. I don’t feel like it can end well, can it?

Katniss does make a point to state that Caesar, who helped her out during her initial interview, is probably just as aware as she is to how important it is for them to pull of this segment flawlessly, to provide a believable slice of entertainment for Capital, to show that they’re submissive to the powers-that-be. I’m sure Caesar is very much aware that his own job and happiness is also at stake here too.

Blinding lights. The deafening roar rattles the metal under my feet. Then there’s Peeta just a few yards away. He looks so clean and healthy and beautiful, I can hardly recognize him. But his smile is the same whether in mud or in the Capitol and when I see it, I take about three steps and fling myself into his arms.

Despite being watched by millions of people, knowing the Capitol is looking for the performance of a lifetime, I feel safe saying that not a second of this is an act. And sure, Katniss’s feelings are probably all mixed up and jumbled, but Peeta does mean something to her. After being separated from him for so long, this isn’t at all surprising. It’s touching, actually, because we know she means it.

He’s kissing me and all the time I’m thinking, Do you know? Do you know how much danger we’re in? After about ten minutes of this, Caesar Flickerman taps on his shoulder to continue the show, and Peta just pushes him aside without even glancing at him. The audience goes berserk.

I’ll accept that this might be just an overexaggeration on Katniss’s part because she can’t have a fair concept of time at this point, but TEN FUCKING MINUTES ARE YOU SERIOUS. That is simply ridiculous what are you guys doing.

Usually, this is a single, ornate chair from which the winning tribute watches a film of the highlights of the Games….

WHAT!!!! YOU ARE KIDDING ME. You are going to make him or her relive everything you just went through???? Well, at least there is a selfish reason for us to want to see this: we can finally find out what happened to everyone who died off…page. I was going to say off screen, but this isn’t a movie. Off page? Is that fine?

Caesar Flickerman makes a few more jokes, and then it’s time for the show. This will last exactly three hours and is required viewing for all of Panem.


How have the other victors faced this alone? During the highlights, they periodically show the winner’s reaction up on a box in the corner of the screen. I think back to earlier years…some are triumphant, pumping their fists in the air, beating their chests. Most just seem stunned. All I know is that the only thing keeping me on this love seat is Peeta—his arm around my shoulder, his other hand claimed by both of mine. Of course, the previous victors didn’t have the Capitol looking for a way to destroy them.

The real urgency of this situation is apparent now. They’ve got to pretend for THREE HOURS and give a performance the country can believe. I’m starting to really make sense of why Collins forced this romance between Katniss and Peeta. I think it is a tad illogical that in seventy-four years, they never picked people who were in love with each other or came to love each other, but whatever. It’s a chance for the Games to be different and for the intensity to be more serious. I wish this had made sense earlier because I still find a lot of the early introduction to their romance to be problematic, but I think I might get it now.

Whoever puts together the highlights has to choose what sort of story to tell. This year, for the first time, they tell a love story. I know Peeta and I won, but a disproportionate amount of time is spent on us, right from the beginning. I’m glad though, because it supports the whole crazy-in-love thing that’s my defense for defying the Capitol, plus it means we won’t have as much time to linger over the deaths.

Is that a slight run-on sentence? Whatever, can you imagine having the job of editing WEEKS OF FOOTAGE for this? Your brain would have to be so desensitized to violence in order to stand it. Though I suppose living in Panem, that’s just a reality for everyone, privileged and oppressed alike.

Once we’re in the arena, there’s detailed coverage of the bloodbath and then the filmmakers basically alternate between shots of tributes dying and shots of us. Mostly Peeta really, there’s no question he’s carrying this romance thing on his shoulders. Now I see what the audience saw, how he misled the Careers about me, stayed awake the entire night under the tracker jacker tree, fought Cato to let me escape and even while he lay in that mud bank, whispered my name in his sleep.

Wait….so Collins doesn’t reveal any new information on what happened to everyone who died? BOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO.

With that out of the way, I will say that Collins is definitely building more of the foundation for Katniss to come to her epiphany that Peeta actually loves her. I know, I know, HOW DID SHE MISS IT BY NOW. Still, being forced to see Peeta’s dedication to her has to be making an affect on how she sees him.

I seem heartless in comparison—dodging fireballs, dropping nests, and blowing up supplies—until I go hunting for Rue. They play her death in full, the spearing, my failed rescue attempt, my arrow through the boy from District 1’s throat, Rue drawing her last breath in my arms. And the song. I get to sing every note of the song. Something inside me shuts down and I’m too numb to feel anything. It’s like watching complete strangers in another Hunger Games. But I do notice they omit the part where I covered her in flowers.

Right. Because even that smacks of rebellion.

Good lord, this is disturbing. Just in case you forgot, Katniss, here’s all the awful shit we did to you and others perpetrated in the effort to stay alive. Don’t forget it! EVER.

Objectively, I can see the mutts and Cato’s death are as gruesome as ever, but again, I feel it happens to people I have never met.

Wow. The disconnection has already occurred. Perhaps this is part of the plan of the Gamemakers and the Capitol. They want to desensitize and dehumanize the contestants so much that they can’t even recognize their actions for what they are. It’s a really fucked up form of homogenization, isn’t it?

The President of the Panem (President Snow) arrives to hand them each one half of the crown that deems them the victors. This detail was pretty frightening:

He places the first around Peeta’s brow with a smile. He’s still smiling when he settles the second on my head, but his eyes, just inches from mine, are as unforgiving as a snake’s.

That’s when I know that even though both of us would have eaten the berries, I am to blame for having the idea. I’m the instigator. I’m the one to be punished.

Though Haymitch clearly didn’t need to tell Peeta to play up the romance, since he was sincere, I think that perhaps he only told Katniss what happened with the berry rebellion because he knew she’d be targeted. I like Haymitch because he does stuff like this even though he doesn’t have to.

The presentation is finally over and we learn that they have to make ANOTHER appearance the next day for their final interviews. AS IF MAKING THEM VISUALLY RELIVE THE GAMES WASN’T ENOUGH. Katpee are whisked off to the president’s mansion for a banquet of sorts and I love how reminiscent this is of Hollywood, and how meaningless parties full of empty gestures are thrown for people who are supposed to be important. I wish Collins had spent more time elaborating on how out-of-place Katpee were at that party because I think it would have been an interesting contrast.

Alas, it doesn’t happen. I was a bit chuffed that Collins rushed through so much of this: Katniss returns to her room, tries to talk to Peeta, finds out she is locked in, sleeps, and is awoken the next day for her final interview by Effie. This all happens in one paragraph. It’s only a couple more paragraphs before she’s suddenly thrust before Caesar Flickerman in the studio where the interview is being recorded.

Peeta is there and Caesar encourages them to snuggle as close as possible on the love seat. There’s something strangely endearing about Caesar, as if he is subtly trying to communicate to Katniss that he’s on her side; he certainly goes out of his way to make sure that her interviews go well. I suppose it could be self-interest, because if an interview goes sour, he could easily be blamed. Maybe he’s just a natural at all this.

He does seem to know when to shift the conversation. The interview opens with a long section of Peeta and Caesar discussing the Games and his love for Katniss. When it turns to Katniss and she stumbles to answer a question about when she fell for Peeta, we get another sign that Caesar really wants to do right by Katniss.

“Well, I know when it hit me. The night you should out his name from that tree,” says Caesar.

Thank you, Caesar! I think, and then go with his idea. “Yes, I guess that was it. I mean, until that point, I just tried not to think about what my feelings might be, honestly, because it was so confusing and it only made things worse if I actually cared about him. But then, in the tree, everything changed,” I say.

“Why do you think that was?” urges Caesar.

“Maybe…because for the first time…there was a chance I could keep him,” I say.

I bet there is truth to that, but this interchange just reminds me how fucked up all of this is. The Games manipulated these people to feel emotions (and emotions that very well were real to these people), but was ultimately doing so in order to entertain and oppress. No one in the Capitol ever really cared if Peeta and Katniss stayed alive. They were simply a means to an end.

We learn that Peeta got some sort of implant where he lost part of his leg, and Katniss loses control of herself. Understandably so, but then there’s this weird part.

I guess this is true, but I can’t help feeling upset about it to the extent that I’m afraid I might cry and then I remember everyone in the country is watching me so I just bury my face in Peeta’s shirt. It takes them a couple minutes to coax me back out because it’s better in the shirt, where no one can see me, and when I do come out, Caesar backs off questioning me so I can recover.

This is a live interview, right? Isn’t this super awkward and a REALLY BAD IDEA? Also HOW DO YOU HIDE IN A SHIRT FOR THAT LONG.

The moment of truth arrives: Caesar asks Katniss about the berries.

It seems to call for a big, dramatic speech, but all I get out is one almost inaudible sentence. “I don’t know, I just…couldn’t bear the thought of…being without him.”

“Peeta? Anything to add?” asks Caesar.

“No. I think that goes for both of us,” he says.

Well, it’s not amazing, but it does the trick. Haymitch confirms the interview went fine, which ends after that, is just what they needed. They are taken away quickly to gather their few belongings and are sent to the trains that are waiting to take them back to District 12.

We barely have time to say good-bye to Cinna and Portia, although we’ll see them in a few months, when we tour the districts for a round of victory ceremonies. It’s the Capitol’s way of reminding people that the Hunger Games never really go away. We’ll be given a lot of useless plaques, and everyone will have to pretend they love us.

WHAT. THE. FUCK. Ok, first of all, that’s clearly what the next book is going to address. But more importantly….WHYYYYYYYYYYYY. Like, is Katniss going to have to meet the parents of the boy she murdered after he killed Rue? Or visit Rue’s family? OR WHY IS ALL OF THIS oh my god AWFUL.

Not as awful as what happens next, though. Peeta and Katniss get a moment alone during a fuel stop. And all those confusing, conflicting emotions start to come to a head.

Gale. The idea of seeing Gale in a matter of hours makes my stomach churn. But why? I can’t quite frame it in my mind. I only know that I feel like I’ve been lying to someone who trusts me. Or more accurately, to two people. I’ve been getting away with it up to this point because of the Games. But there will be no Games to hid behind back home.

Oh man, are we going to have to deal with a love triangle? I hate love triangles more than I hate most things. I’ll give it a chance, but NO THANK YOU in advance. But it is interesting that Katniss finally says she has been lying to Peeta about her feelings for him. Before this, it was always expressed as ignorance. Is she now certain how she feels?

NOPE. Because now it all comes out as Peeta confronts Katniss after Haymitch makes a passing comment about keeping up their appearances until they’re back in District 12. Katniss reveals the truth about the berries and how they upset the Capitol and how Haymitch has been coaching her for days so she doesn’t mess things up.

“But you knew what he wanted you to do, didn’t you?” says Peeta. I bite my lip. “Katniss?” He drops my hand and I take a step, as if to catch my balance.

“It was all for the Games,” Peeta says. “How you acted.”

“Not all of it,” I say, tightly holding onto my flowers.

“Then how much? No, forget that. I guess the real question is what’s going to be left when we get home?” he says.

“I don’t know. The closer we get to District Twelve, the more confused I get,” I say.

WELL, THIS ISN’T AWKWARD. I have to turn my criticism to Peeta for a moment. Did he also not ever pick up on Katniss faking her reaction? I suppose he could have been distracted by his love for her, but….I don’t know. I don’t think it’s fair for me to be so hard on Katniss and give Peeta a break when it comes to this. Perhaps both of them have the emotional depth of a teaspoon, right?

“Well, let me know when you work it out,” he says, and the pain in his voice is palpable.

It sucks because the context of it is so horrifying: she pretended to love him so she wouldn’t be murdered or die of starvation. I don’t know about you, but I give her a complete moral pass on this one. I ain’t judging.

Still, it hurts. It hurts Peeta to see the girl he’s grown to love over many, many years tell him that she wasn’t genuine.

I want to tell him that he’s not being fair. That we were strangers. That I did what it took to stay alive, to keep us both alive in the arena. That I can’t explain how things are with Gale because I don’t know myself. That it’s no good loving me because I’m never going to get married anyway and he’d end up hating me later instead of sooner. That if I do have feelings for him, it doesn’t matter because I’ll never be able to afford the kind of love that leads to a family, to children. And how can he? How can he after what we’ve just been through?

Perhaps I’ve discounted Katniss too much. I think those are all solid, valid points. But she doesn’t get to address them at all because they pull up to the station in District Twelve.

Out of the corner of my eye, I see Peeta extend his hand. I look at him, unsure. “One more time? For the audience?” he says. His voice isn’t angry. It’s hollow, which is worse. Already the boy with the bread is slipping away from me.

I take his hand, holding on tightly, preparing for the cameras, and dread the moment when I will finally have to let go.

Shit is fucked up, you guys.

And because I have to do this:

The Hunger Games is a flawed book that still ultimately reminds me too much of Battle Royale, but the ending is pretty fantastic and MOAR HAYMITCH and such.

Up next: Predictions for Catching Fire tomorrow and then I start on Friday!

About Mark Oshiro

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

240 Responses to Mark Reads ‘The Hunger Games’: Chapter 27

  1. knut says:


    • monkeybutter says:

      Yup. I never cared who she ends up with, I just wanted to see what happened to Katniss and the rest of Panem.

      • Shanella says:

        yeah! I agree with this. I don't think the main spotlight of the book was the relationship with her and these boys. It skews the focus of the story.

    • thatonegirl says:

      Same! I would love it if Katniss were freaking out about Gale for nothing – like she did about so many other things at the beginning of the book that ended up not being a problem. Wouldn't it be great if she came home and Gale was all yay Katpee! Good for you.
      But I'm thinking inevitable love triangle is inevitable

    • sabra_n says:

      I can't speak to this love triangle specifically, but generally? HATE. HATE HATE HATE the things, both in fiction and IRL. Stupid drama.

    • Gil says:


    • QuoteMyFoot says:

      EXACTLY. Why have a love triangle if you can have an OT3? (…Look please stop it with the judging.)

    • Kadi says:

      Wait, there are people who *like* love triangles? Just about everyone I've ever talked to about them hate them too.

    • The problem with love triangles is that they are usually played out in silly, unnecessary, overly dramatic, and cliched ways. But I have seen them done realistically and in a way which didn't override the actual point of the book. I don't know how I feel about this one so far, If there ends up being too much drama with Gale and Peeta facing off and fighting over Katniss then NO THANKS but there are ways it could be done tolerably.

    • Cally_Black says:

      Won't say how I feel about this particular love triangle, but I do generally hate them.

      Only one that has ever worked for me is Betty/Archie/Veronica. Maybe because it is a comic and isn't really followed up in each strip, but it works for me. Although I do prefer Betty, but that's just because I can relate with the girl-next-door thing.

    • Margaret says:


  2. Elise says:

    So many hidden questions in this post that I, alas, cannot answer. I think Ceasar is a realllly interesting character. What a strange and awful job. How can he not be affected by all of those deaths?

    Looking forward to Catching Fire predictions. And I'm definitely looking forward to chuckling over them w/ the fake power I get from having finished the series already lol!

  3. AngryAsian says:

    when are you starting the 2nd book?

  4. Karen says:

    And sure, Katniss’s feelings are probably all mixed up and jumbled, but Peeta does mean something to her. After being separated from him for so long, this isn’t at all surprising. It’s touching, actually, because we know she means it.
    I can understand why Katniss is feeling so confused. I mean, Peeta was always in the back of her mind since he gave her those loaves of bread. So he has always kind of meant SOMETHING to her. But then she has this close partnership of sorts with Gale. And then she is forced into the Hunger Games which is an insane and horrific experience. And in order to survive them, she has to perpetuate a romance with Peeta who maybe she feels a bit something for, and then as they work together to survive, she grows to rely on him. But at the same time, it must be so hard for her to figure out what's real and what's pretend.

    Like, is Katniss going to have to meet the parents of the boy she murdered after he killed Rue? Or visit Rue’s family? OR WHY IS ALL OF THIS oh my god AWFUL.
    THE CAPITOL IS SO FUCKED UP. The whole victory tour thing is just another manifestation of how the Capitol uses psychological means to keep its population in the districts oppressed and within their control.

    I have to turn my criticism to Peeta for a moment. Did he also not ever pick up on Katniss faking her reaction? I suppose he could have been distracted by his love for her, but….I don’t know. I don’t think it’s fair for me to be so hard on Katniss and give Peeta a break when it comes to this. Perhaps both of them have the emotional depth of a teaspoon, right?
    Yeah… lol. I still feel sorry for Peeta. I just think that he's just so earnest and sincere that it's hard for him to really understand or comprehend being able to fake emotions like Katniss was able to. Plus, she was being so over the top when the got back to the Capitol and Peeta had no reason to suspect that it was because she might be in trouble so… yeah. But his is kind of being a dolt about the whole thing.

    Oh man, are we going to have to deal with a love triangle? I hate love triangles more than I hate most things. I’ll give it a chance, but NO THANK YOU in advance.
    ooooomg. I am not a fan of love triangles either, for the most part. THE JACK/KATE/SAWYER BULLSHIT IS A SOURCE OF MUCH RAGE FOR ME.

  5. elusivebreath says:

    I am EXCITE for Catching Fire!! I stayed up all night finishing it last night and all I can say is SHIT GOT REAL and I WAS NOT PREPARED.

    In all seriousness, I did not expect to like this book as much as I did. The first few chapters didn't wow me, and I found the first person, present tense thing distracting, but about the time they got to the Capitol, I could literally NOT PUT THE BOOK DOWN and read the rest in one night. So, I agree with you Mark, the book is by no means perfect, but I'm glad I read it. My only regret is that I just ordered Mockingjay online and have to wait for it :/

  6. Victoria_Allen says:

    Ugh, everything is just the worst! The games never really stop, do they? Even if you don’t factor in the faked romance. You win, you think you’re done, JK NEVERMIND you have to go on a victory tour. And once that’s over, you have to mentor more kids that are probably going to die.
    I can see why Haymitch turned to drink. THIS IS SO FUCKED UP.

  7. monkeybutter says:

    Oh man, the cuddling and making out is just too silly! Having massive crowds watch you suck face for ten minutes sounds horrendously awkward for everyone.

    I feel bad for Peeta, but I also give Katniss a pass. They're both really dense, but in different ways. Peeta is terribly optimistic (he's on crutches like Pollyanna, too!) and Katniss is a hardened cynic. They're ridiculous. No wonder Haymitch drinks.

  8. Cally_Black says:


    Chapter 27
    Do you even know? by burdge-bug
    <img src=>

    Alive by Peibee-an-Jay
    <img src=>

    slipping away from me by burdge-bug
    <img src=>

    And how about some of adorable Peeta?

    King of Anything -HG- by Peibee-an-jay
    <img src=>

    I Make the Cakes by Muchacha10
    <img src=>

    • Kate Monster says:

      That first one brings a little tear to my sentimental eye. SO damn cute and I think it captures the moment perfectly. <3 Also, look what a cheeky motherfucker Peeta is in that last picture. I love him.

      • Cally_Black says:

        The first one is one of my favorite HG fanarts out there peroid. I love how burdge-bug draws them.

        Peeta=love <3

    • accio doublestuff says:

      the last one of peeta totally looks like it should be in a disney movie.

      (laughs/shudders at the idea of this as a disney movie)

    • Paola says:


      That last drawing… it brought back so many memories!

      I grew up in Spain during the 70's, and there we had our own version of Sesame Street, with the same muppets (renamed into Spanish), and intersected with live-action sketches from what we called "Barrio Sésamo" ("Sesame Neighbourhood"). One of the favourite characters of our generation was… a bread baker called Chema.

      And now that I saw the last drawing, the resemblance is uncanny!
      Seriously, even if you can't understand the song (it's in Spanish) go take a look.
      It's Peeta, a few years older, if the Hunger Games never existed and the world was populated by Muppets instead of overprivileged sadists!

      Now i love it even more.


      PS: Happy Holidays, Mark and everyone else reading!


    • theanagrace says:

      I'm wondering how much of the next book will actually involve the love triangle though. Assuming Mark is right and the next book is about the Panem tour, they may only be home for a few chapters befo they leave again, and Gale won't be coming with them. We can hope, right?
      (I haven't read CF yet, just got it from the library so I can read along, yay!)

      • I've already finished the whole series and know what CF focuses on. I'm not going to say more than that, but it was frustrating finishing THG and having this just waiting for it to possibly/probably happening.

        • LadyLately says:

          You thought CF was about the love triangle? Huh. I didn't get that impression (although obviously it was more prevalent. I think we can all figure that out by now.) at all.

          • No…once I read it I knew what the story was about, but the day I had to wait between finishing The Hunger Games and buying Catching Fire, judging from the way The Hunger Games ended I thought it was going to be about a love triangle. I was trying not to spoil what Catching Fire is/was about since Mark has not started on that book yet.

  10. shortstack930 says:

    Mark, since you have been talking about Battle Royale so much, I finally caved in and ordered it from Barnes and Noble the other day!!

  11. pennylane27 says:

    Looking forward to your predictions. You are so not prepared for the shit that's about to go down. Good luck keeping your sanity.

    • bookling says:

      I haven't been commenting much on THG posts because it's so hard to say anything constructive without spoiling! With HP I think there was a lot more going on each chapter, so there was more to talk about or at least fanart to post, but with THG I find myself typing out comments and then hitting "cancel" because I have to zip it!

  12. theupsides says:

    Throughout the whole book, everyone is so annoyed with Katniss for lying, for not realizing Peeta isn't faking, but here you finally realize what position she's been put in. She saved his life! The guy is heartbroken, but he's alive because of her. And at this point it's obvious she does really have feelings for him, too, but it's been made so complicated by the games.


    • Kripa says:

      And also it's complicated by freaking Gale, even though in the first chapter she spells out that they're Platonic friends. Gratuitous romantic conflict is gratuitous. >.<

  13. Kylie says:

    Here's the thing though, Mark. Peeta is an idealist. He believes the best in people. And Katniss is his first and only love. So OF COURSE when she started showing signs of caring for him, genuine or not, he would buy it. It's basically his dream coming true. Love makes you blind, after all.

    Also, you are so not prepared for the next two books. SERIOUSLY, THIS ONE IS BASICALLY KITTENS BY COMPARISON.

  14. thatonegirl says:

    Yay for predictions! I'm terrible at them but it's so fun to see how wrong/unprepared I am at the end of the book. 🙂

    This chapter makes me feel bad for everyone. I think Katniss gets so upset about Peeta's leg because it's an obvious reminder that her actions are going to have some lasting consequences for him. Even though her heart was in the right place, and she basically had to do what she did (I totally give her a pass for everything she did with Peeta), it's still going to affect him. She kept him alive, but she also really hurt him.

    And I think Peeta had at least some doubts in the back of his mind that Katniss wasn't being completely genuine because he seemed to figure it out REALLY fast at the end of the book. I wonder if she would have told him if Haymitch hadn't done it for her.

  15. Love triangle Haters Unite!

    • Gembird says:

      Are you THE Miss Impertinence?

      If so, hey *waves* don't mind me just being a creeper. Hopefully you have some idea who I am from my name here being kiiinda like my actual name. Hopefully.

      *scuttles away feeling like a stalker*

      • The THE herself? As in the rude one who writes scathing reviews of Twilight and other Mary-Sue mashups? Then yes.
        Heehee, I think I know who you are, WHOVIAN who does not believe that Twilight is literature or quality entertainment! 😛

  16. Kaderie says:

    "I think it is a tad illogical that in seventy-four years, they never picked people who were in love with each other or came to love each other"

    I think it's plausible. I mean, who says that were no lovers before? Peeniss is just the first couple to survive. Remember that most years the Careers win – who are volunteers and trained for this all their life. Not exactly the romantic type. Not to mention that Capitol people in general have a sorta short attention span, so it's conceivable for them to perceive Katpee's love as ****special****, forgetting the others that came before.

    • Anjemon says:

      I also think it's possible that there were no lovers who lasted long enough to deem even considering a rule change. Maybe one of the two got killed in the first couple of days, so there was no reason. Also, I bet some of it had to do with the popularity of this particular pair.

    • booksinbulk says:

      I think it's plausible, too, especially since these are children. Sure, the tribute can be 17 or 18 and fully capable of love, but perhaps that year they picked a 12 or 13 year old girl and an older boy. I'm guessing that the random choosing leads to a less likely possibility that two older teens who also happen to be in love are chosen. And I'm sure some of the populations they are picking from are much, much higher than even Katniss's drawing, ya know? The numbers, the way the kids are chosen, and the range of ages definitely makes the whole "first time lovers were chosen" scenario much more plausible.

      ALSO i hate the word LOVERS but I did not know what else to call them. Crushers? Crush-having-people.

  17. Cally_Black says:

    Oh, and someone said a while ago that they wanted Hunger Games rock? Well here's a HG song, sung by two much loved Wizard wrockers!

    We're on Fire
    [youtube 5SNhdiwGS3M youtube]

  18. Cally_Black says:

    Lol, I wish I had refreshed the page one more time, because I just posted this down below 😡

  19. Fuchsia says:

    You can make all the predictions you want about Catching Fire, but you are NOT prepared. You have no idea.

  20. Amy says:

    I’m excited for Catching Fire, because it’s my personal favorite of the trilogy.

  21. mugglemomof2 says:

    I understand your point on not liking how quickly Collins plows through the post dinner and festivities- but I always felt that she blew through it since it was told from Katniss point of view. I always figured everything was a whirlwind for her- hence it was told like that. Not sure if that makes sense….

    Peeta= another reason for me to love bread!

    I can't wait for you to start Catching Fire. I had no idea how there could be another book (nevermind two) but wow! Keep reading!

  22. Kira says:

    I think they may have picked Districts that had a pair of lovers, but they didn't think of going for that angle. Personally I think Cato and Clove were, which was why he was begging her to stay with him.

    • monkeybutter says:

      Yeah, I couldn't help but think that Cato and Clove were more than just fellow District 1 Tributes. I don't think they were OMG SOULMATES or anything, but they could afford to be closer than the other Tributes due to their perceived safety as Careers. Only naive kids from a backwoods district could sell a pathetic doomed-lovers story, though. If anyone else tried it, the plot would have been sniffed out by the Gamemakers and the viewers.

  23. IsabelArcher2 says:

    Meh. I don't hate love triangle stories more than I dislike most romantic plots. As long as it's not the focus of the books, I'm okay with it. So far, the story has been centered on an interesting world with an awesome social commentary (oh, and it happens to have a love story). If this continues to be the case, I will continue to enjoy the book and mostly ignore the love story. I mean, screw it, bring on a fourth guy or girl. Don't care.

    • theanagrace says:

      Agreed, although I'm a sucker for a good romantic plot myself. My problem is poorly-written, or overly angsty love triangles. When two-thirds of a book ends up being "oh I love him/her, but I also love the other him/her, whatever shall I do!!!!!111", then I get frustrated. When I ended up in that situation in high school, I sucked it up and chose one of the two. And when that didn't work out, I broke up with him and, after two months, started going out with the other one.
      JSYK, that didn't work out either, but I don't care, bc third time was the charm, lol.

  24. Saber says:

    Catching fire was my favourite book out of the three.
    I agree, it's no Harry Potter, but compared to most of the Twilight rip-offs that pass for YA books…

    It's a very compelling read, and it makes you THINK about the world. Start CF soon!!

  25. Kira says:

    Mark, you might want to do several chapters at a time for Catching Fire, Because it starts off REALLY slow.

  26. Leesh says:

    OKAY, The Hunger Games had lots of flaws and some stuff just made me go -.-
    But then again the action is so intense I can't help but be like
    [IMG ][/IMG]

    OH AND SERIOUSLY.. The Capitol is fucked up and probably always will be fucked up.
    Poor Katniss, I do kinda feel for her because even now that she's out of the arena she still has to deal with this bs.

    And since the action was so fisdhsdgsf, I hope the movies will be good. Or I will cut someone.

    [youtube QMpt7722gmw&feature=player_embedded youtube]

    [youtube jn_QWiYQE-8&feature=player_embedded youtube]

    • Kate Monster says:

      I LOVE that they used Keira Knightley since I have the world's most ridiculous and passionate girlcrush on her. But I couldn't help but laugh that her hair kept changing colour and length.

      Still. Mmph. So gorgeous.

    • erin says:

      Wow, for what they had to work with, that was pretty good!

    • theanagrace says:

      I had a little freak-out, and then realized they weren't real. Now I has a sad 🙁
      Excellent work though!

    • tethysdust says:

      I think this book will work really well as a movie. Those are fun fan trailers, I can't wait to see the actual ones :).

  27. Hotaru-hime says:

    All I want is more Haymitch. He's so cool.
    Haymitch and Cinna. If we could just have them all the time, that would be awesome.

  28. Shanella says:

    I dislike love triangles as well. The love triangle is overdone!

    I can't wait for you to read Catching Fire! I'm ready to read it chapter by chapter with you =)

  29. Blabbla says:

    This is going to sound so pathetic, but I've been sick and staying home from school for a week now, and your reviews are seriously the highlight of my day.

  30. stumpoman says:

    When Katniss went through her list of feelings I couldn't help but be reminded of Hermione's description of Cho's feelings for Harry. My response, "One person couldn't feel all that, they'd explode."

  31. accio doublestuff says:

    "The Hunger Games is a flawed book that still ultimately reminds me too much of Battle Royale, but the ending is pretty fantastic and MOAR HAYMITCH and such."

    i think collins does a great job of making an addictive story to read, and that plus her ability to create interesting characters are the two best parts about this book (ie katniss and haymitch). as you said, i could definitely do without the love triangle thing. it just felt like a method that collins was employing and not an organic part of the story. that said, this waas definitely entertaining to read. i love the basic premise of the book – that the hunger games exist are broadcast. i think it's a really interesting commentary on the reality tv takeover, and an interesting exaggeration of how far it could go.

  32. TyBlack says:

    I was supposed to be doing research but I decided to read this instead. Then my research told me this:

    "Abuse of Functionality is an attack technique that uses a web site's own features and functionality to consume, defraud, or circumvents access controls mechanisms"

    This totally sounds like the capitol to me and now I have taken one more step towards obsession: Real-life references/connections.

    And about Catching Fire. I am not Prepared and I know what happens.

  33. Saber says:

    yay, I'm not the only one who liked CF the best! I love the new characters, and the old ones, and how we see things on a bigger scale. *tries to avoid spoilers*

  34. LoonyLu says:

    THE CAPTAIN *HAS* TO PLAY PRESIDENT SNOW! I seriously cannot think of anyone better!

    That is all.

  35. Kate Monster says:

    Not only do I hate love triangles more than pretty much every literary trope ever but I particularly hate the Peeta/Katniss/Gale triangle. It's SO contrived and clearly just a mechanism for Collins to insert another kind of conflict in her books. I was so excited about how this book was ending UNTIL I got to the shit about Gale. I'm sorry, it just annoys me, and it annoys me even more because I tricked myself into believing that it wouldn't happen.

    ANYWAY, on to the rest of the subject matter, I really did enjoy this book on the whole. There were issues, yes, but I think Collins did well with fixing a good deal of them (or at least clarifying matters) by the end.

    We learn that Peeta got some sort of implant where he lost part of his leg, and Katniss loses control of herself.
    Maybe its weird, but I actually think this part was really odd. Katniss KNEW that Peeta's leg was FUBAR. She also knew that they managed to repair her ear. Was she expecting that they'd just leave Peeta as damaged goods? Makes no logical sense.

    As far as your mentions of the weird depictions of time (making out for ten minutes, etc., etc.) I just read that as a quality of adolescents. Even today I have the bad habit of hyperbolizing measures of time when I'm telling a story or anecdote. I think she feels like it must have been ten minutes of kissing, and so that's what she says, you know?

    • monkeybutter says:

      For a while, I thought that Capitol medical magic would mean that they could fix Peeta's leg. Like, everything would be put back to normal because they have that ability, everyone would go home scarless, and I would roll my eyes at the happy ending. Granted, repairing a ruptured eardrum is a lot easier than repairing necrotized flesh, but maybe Katniss was as naive as I was in overestimating their ability or desire to heal injuries?

      • Kate Monster says:

        A totally valid point, and I'm sure that's true. I think she's definitely in shock so all bets are ff as far as she's concerned. I'm just not sure it's well-conveyed by Collins in that sense? Maybe?

    • shortstack930 says:

      I think she's also just really upset because the fact that he has a fake leg is so permanent, like she knows it will never be fixed and the implant will always be there as a reminder of the Games and what they had to go through.

  36. shortstack930 says:

    I agree about the movie, I actually heard Collins say in an interview that she wants to show scenes in the movie where Haymitch and the Everdeens are watching the games on screen and how they react. I think that will be an interesting thing to see because we weren't able to get any of that throughout the book.

  37. Penquin47 says:

    There are good love triangles out there. Questionable Content has done a really good job with the Dora-Marten-Faye love triangle.

    This is not a love triangle done well.

    In the beginning parts, didn't Katniss see Gale as part of her family? Like an older brother? That would have been a *good* angle to explore. You could even have some of the tension there: Gale could hate Peeta because he thinks Peeta tricked Katniss into the relationship, Katniss has more than enough conflict about whatever part of her feelings for Peeta are real WITHOUT "oh and there's also this other guy who I really like", if you have to have Gale irritated at Katniss for some big important plot reason, then he's irritated at her for falling for Peeta's trick.

    The end of this book has me really excited for Catching Fire. Victory Tour, woo! (Woo in terms of plot, not in terms of "This is a good idea and I'm glad Katniss gets to do it.) I will post my predictions as a comment in tomorrow's post.

    • theanagrace says:

      Questionable Content FTW!

      And that is an excellent point, I never saw that as an option, but it would be very believable. Gale already has multiple younger siblings, he wouldn't have difficulty 'adopting' Katniss. Now I'm trying to think of a book that has the relationship conflict play out in a similar manner: Guy loves Girl, Girl is understandably confused about her feelings towards Guy, Surrogate Older Brother does not trust Guy's motives towards Girl. Hmmmmm…

  38. azurefalls says:

    "TEN FUCKING MINUTES ARE YOU SERIOUS." very much reminded me of this, which I CANNOT WAIT for you to watch but it's going to take you a bloody long time to get there:
    <img src=""&gt;
    And break! And breathe!

  39. Cally_Black says:

    Also, I was listening to this song the other day and it reminded me a lot of Katpee's relationship (at least for this book)

    [youtube Z6vghSLxCyI youtube]

  40. arctic_hare says:

    LOL oh man, I thought I was the only one who used "off page" for deaths in books where "off screen" obviously doesn't work. XD

  41. andreah1234 says:

    PEETA!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! <3 🙁 I hate repeating myself but: Katniss Y R U SO DUM?!?!?!?!? Really. I hate love triangles too, mostly because (most of the times) they are just useless means to create even MORE DRAMA. Collins, really if you want more drama just make them kill someone or something, that will sure be more interesting, Horrible yes, but interesting. And please for the love of god, MAKE PEETA BE HAPPY, LET HIM (and Kat if you have too, meh) DESTROY ALL OF THE CAPITOL BULLSHIT AND BE HAPPY DAMMIT!

    This crazy rant was brought to you by me in a RAEG fit. I'm not prepared for Catching Fire, I know I'm not. Even the name sounds deadly. Heh, should be fun 😀

  42. zuzu says:

    i remember reading this for the first time. near the end i was wondering how the hell it was all going to wrap up, then "end of book one." what? that means there'll be more than one sequel. but i want to know now! then it was like a year til cf

  43. MikeMagpuyo says:

    So glad you finished it! A whole month reading the book felt like a year, didn't it?

    Catching Fire = Still so unprepared. Gosh.

  44. andreah1234 says:

    AND ALSO!! Peeta is very dumb too, you are right Mark, but for some reason I find it easier to let it pass with him that with Kat, maybe because we are inside her head and ACTUALLY SEE how much of an idiot she really is, or because I'm a sucker for heroes that are not heroes but are still way too inocent that make you love them (AKA HARRY), i DON'T EVEN KNOW, MY BRAIN JUST KEEPS RAMBLING AND I BLAME YOU SC, I BLAME YOU!

  45. theanagrace says:

    So here's my thoughts on the Peenis situation, I was going to post this as a response to someone, and then changed my mind because it got pretty long. Please forgive me if I'm repeating anything said above 🙂

    When you think about it, both of these characters are 16. They have grown up with hardships, not having enough to eat, having to work for food outside of school hours etc. I don't really think either of them had time to practice their 'romantic skillz' on the weekends. We know Katniss deliberately hasn't looked for love because she can't bear the thought of having children or having to depend on someone else for anything. Every person she's admitted to loving in her life, with the exception of Prim, has abandoned her. Her father died and left them with no way to eat, and her mother turned her face to the wall and allowed her children to starve. So she has no experience with romantic love, flirting, even strong like. She has no filters, and no way to react properly to the romantic situation she is thrust into.

    Alternatively, Peeta had admitted to having a crush (I refuse to believe love, I don't think he would be able to tell the difference at his point) on her for years, but he hasn't done anything about it. He's never talked to her, or gotten to know her personally. There's no way he can know anything about the reality of her reactions to him. Everyone in his life, from what we know, has been honest with him about their feelings towards him. His mother beats him, but I doubt she turns around and gives him kisses right after. So he has no reason to believe Katniss may be lying to him with her actions as well as her words. We all agree that Peeta is fairly credulous, while Katniss has spent much of her life sneaking about outside of the law to make ends meet.

    Their respective life experience has set them up for this, Katniss can't believe he's telling the truth, and Peeta can't believe she's lying. They don't have the proper frame of reference to cope with this situation. Also, they're trying to feel their way through the new idea of a relationship during a battle to the death which one or both of them may not survive. Not exactly the easiest way to discover all those mushy feelings for the first time.

    And you thought high school crushes were hard.

  46. Sarah says:

    Mark I started reading Battle Royale after your many mentions here and THANK YOU because it was amazing.
    Unfortunately because I think it's so much better (in almost every way) than THG I've not been able to get into this series and I have almost no patience for books where I dislike the main character and like yourself, I found every 'twist' really predictable HOWEVER I think it got a lot better towards the end so hopefully the second and third book will be better.

  47. potlid007 says:

    okay, here's the dealio:
    1. President Snow=Voldemort…but less bad ass and 10x more disgusting smelling….
    <img src="; border="0">
    yeah, fuck you Snow.

    2. Katpee
    <img src="; border="0">
    it's a complete and utter catastrophe…but i just can't look away…it's like a train wreck

    3. I will always love Haymitch more than anyone else
    <img src="; border="0">

    4. Battle Royale will always be my game of choice
    <img src="; border="0">

    <img src="; border="0">
    ehhh still not sold.

    • tzikeh says:

      Has it occurred to you that Mark has no idea who President Snow is other than for the fact that he showed up with the crowns, and Katniss read in his eyes that he was against her?

      So… thanks for giving Mark the kinds of spoilers he REPEATEDLY asks people not to give him.

      • Mauve_Avenger says:

        But we already know that President Snow is the president of Panem, and since Panem is represented as sort of evil, I don't think it's a stretch to say that President Snow is supposed to be a bad guy. Especially since in this chapter Katniss says that his eyes are "unforgiving as a snake's" when he looks at her, she's terrified when she sees him at the banquet, and she thinks he might arrange for her to have an "accident" because of her rebellion.

        I haven't read any further than than this chapter, and to me the Voldemort comparison didn't seem like anything more than a joke (though it did make me wonder what Voldemort actually does smell like). I didn't get the impression that the OP had read the rest of the series, either.

      • potlid007 says:

        um…since I haven't read any further than the end of this book, i would consider mark and I on a level field of understanding of these books. chill.

    • arctic_hare says:

      I'm not sure that gif is quite right for #2, because Eleven getting undressed is the exact opposite of a trainwreck (although I do find myself unable to look away)…

  48. erin says:

    The whole "hiding in his shirt" thing – awkward? A bit. But given everything Katniss has been through, I don't think it's too terribly strange for her to want to hide her feelings on camera when she's asked pointed questions about possibly the worst experience of her life.

    And I never really felt irritated at Katniss and Peeta's denseness regarding the other's feelings either. Teen crushes are hard to figure out in the most normal of circumstances, so I can only imagine it gets a lot harder when you mix in fighting for your life, playing to an audience, the fact that the object of your crush may or may not be trying to kill you, etc etc.

    And as for Peeta, seriously. Gosh, I can't even guess why he'd think Katniss really loves him. All she's done is save his life and then spend a week trying her hardest to act like she loves him. What a moron!

    C'mon guys. Give poor Katpee a break! 🙂

  49. thiamalonee says:

    I'm rewatching Buffy right now ('cause I need my Joss fix), and I keep imagining your commentary (which is kinda creepy, get out of my BRAIN!). Then I read about how you hate romance and love triangles, and it makes me scared that you would hate Buffy, b/c it was totes a WB show at its core. If you bashed the show that helped shape my identity it would be pure TRAGEDY!

    • notemily says:

      I don't think Buffy gets too love-triangley though. It's not the focus of the show. Occasionally love triangles pop up, but they seem to be resolved fairly quickly.

  50. Moonie says:

    See, you, Mark, are a less picky reader then I, because as soon as I got to that love triangle suggesting paragraph that you scoffed at, I threw the book at the wall and started yelling at it. No, really.
    I really hate love triangles THAT MUCH. And it's one thing if it's in a book that can afford a love triangle to like, fill space… but in a series like this? An epic, teenager-killing dystopia? NO.

    So yeah. I eventually read the second book (5-6 months later) but that was mostly due to boredom. I really hate love triangles. >:|

    • liliaeth says:

      But you're missing the point. The love triangle is just part of character building. To show us the human side of the chars. If all there was was kids killing one another, it'd be as boring as Battle Royale. (and yes I've never managed to get past the first half hour of that movie,)

      • Moonie says:

        What? Friendship does that job just as well. As well as family love. Katniss's love for Rue and Prim showed me more of her 'human' side that her pseudo-relationship with Peeta ever did.

        And i'd completely disagree.

  51. BradSmith5 says:

    Yes, Mark, that movie was 'BOOO.' How could Katniss omit Thresh's epic wrestling match!? And we all know that the random kid from District whatever must have done something amazing!

    But what was with leaving Prim out of the entire ending!? We don't even get to witness Katniss reunite with her sister and mom!? Why spend so much time with them at the start? What is it with these novels and putting families at the beginning that just disappear!? I know that the next book might show Katniss' homecoming, but that alone isn't enough to get me psyched about reading it. Please tell me I'm missing the epilogue where President Snow unleashes his army of cyborgs!

  52. Karen says:


    UPVOTE FOR HIMYM REFERENCE. (I'm so glad that this season has actually been funny compared to the train wreck of last season.)

  53. tanniiowl says:

    I don't comment often, because I'm too worried about spoilers, but I definately agree with you that it's a flawed book. I've been rereading along and on my second read I've noticed how often it drags on in places. I've never been overly fond of the way it's written either.

    As for it being too like Battle Royale, I haven't finished reading Battle Royale yet (I've only just started, but I have seen the film) I'm pretty sure it was someone hear that told me (so you've probably read it) that the time that Collins wrote The Hunger Games was around the time when they were trying to remake Battle Royale in America. I just thought that was worth mentioning.

    Oh well, Happy Holidays, Mark. (& Everyone) I'm looking forward to catching up on the predictions/Catching Fire reviews after Christmas.

  54. Silverilly says:

    Mark, that was a weird closing statement.
    I'm really irritated because I'm on Christmas holidays and my copy of Catching Fire is in my school locker, so I won't be able to read this blog for a REALLY LONG TIME.

  55. ilram says:

    I hate love triangles so much. It seems like all the new YA books have them Twilight, Mortal Instruments, The Demon's Lexicon, Matched etc.

    Is it to give the fans something to fight about or what?

  56. ilram says:

    YES. Oh my god perfect reference!

  57. demented says:

    The romantic elements of the novel, which at times I felt were too much of the story, made the books a bit flawed to me. I felt that even beside this , though, the characters were well-rounded and interested as well as had an enjoyable and action filled story. At times I felt Catching Fire was a bit better than The Hunger games because it goes more into to government , but not as much as I would like. Mocking Jay was the weakest of the three but still rounded out a really good series.

    I hate to say that I do believe that she did borrow a bit too much from novels such as Battle Royale and the like, but she was able to make it her own. If she had cut down on the love triangle, I would of been more motivated to raise my review for it even though I gave it near five starts. I just felt that the romantic elements were overused as the series went on and the other elements of the story became over shadowed by this.

    I felt Collins did have a way with words that drove me to quickly finish her tome in a few sittings, which makes for some of the flaws of the series. It is far better than any of the other young adult series out there since this has no undead creatures or the like , but instead focuses more on real life characters living in a future setting that is very plausible. If she had just lowered the influence of the love triangle the books would of far better , but to be honest, they are by far some of my favorite young adult novels.

  58. Phoebe says:

    Does anybody find it funny that Peeta is "the boy with bread"? peeta bread? anybody?

    • Fuchsia says:

      I've always laughed at that. But I caught onto it because my family's from Rhode Island and has some of the thickest RI accents I've ever heard (think the stereotyped Boston accent, but worse). My first boyfriend's name was Peter, which my mom ALWAYS pronounced "Pita" so it became a running joke.

    • Silverilly says:


    • RainaWeather says:

      yes. I call him "Pita"

  59. April says:

    so I was really confused that I couldn't find the next entry until I realized that I have finally cought up with you after reading all 7 Harry Potter book reviews and the Hunger Games! I'm so excited to go through Catching Fire in real time 🙂

  60. Erica says:

    Did anyone else imagine Caesar Flickerman as Bob Barker? Bueller?

  61. Clare says:

    I'm not a fan of Love Triangles either. Such a prevalent trope in young adult books.

  62. Dannie. says:

    I just want her to end up with Peeta tbh. Love triangle or no love triangle.

  63. tethysdust says:

    My final statement on this book is that I think it will make an excellent movie. The story seemed very visual and very focused on external conflict. In a book, this made it come across as fairly shallow to me. I don't mean that as a value judgment, I just mean there were many topics and situations that were touched upon, but the book didn't really go into very much detail about anything. I think that this story will work spectacularly in visual media, and I plan to see it in theaters when it comes out!

    I agree that it was kind of annoying that we didn't learn anything new from the re-showing of the Games. She could have revealed so much, but she chose to just rehash the scenes we'd already observed.

    Lastly, I felt bad for Peeta. On top of learning that the girl he loves doesn't really feel the same way, he's got to deal with the humiliation of having bought into her act. Even if they do end up together, I can see trust being a lasting problem after this. It's too bad that he's ended up in a love triangle with the idea of a boy she supposedly has no romantic interest in. I think the romance subplot would be a little more interesting if she finds out that Gale actually has no romantic inclinations toward her.

  64. Tabbyclaw says:

    I briefly turned into John Casey from Chuck after I finished this book, which is to say I growled a bit and muttered dire imprecations about the possibility of having to hear more about Katniss' "lady-feelings." I SIGNED UP FOR MURDERFEST 3000 AND MAYBE A BIT OF DYSTOPIAN POLITICAL INSANITY, COLLINS. STOP TRYING TO FEED ME SQUAWKY AWKWARD TEENAGE FAUXMANCE.

    • Moonie says:

      THIS ^^^^^

      I pretty much did the same thing, except less growly, more throw-book-against-wall-and-yell-at-it.

      UGHHH this series would be SO MUCH BETTER without romance.

  65. Alyssa says:

    We need some Caesar Flickerman love up in here:

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

  66. Ash says:

    I was miffed when I realised it was indeed going to be a love triangle.

    I know by the end of this I will just want it to get lost and for all two of the possible relationships to fail and for them all to find love elsewhere, if at all. That or I want a wild card and Peeta and Gale should totally crush on each other.

  67. Gembird says:

    I've been lurking like a lurky lurker on Mark Reads since somewhere in the middle of Goblet of Fire, and now I am finally commenting, yay!

    I've had my copies of Catching Fire and Mockingjay for about a month, and it's been so hard to leave them unopened until Mark had read The Hunger Games. I'm now ready to start reading along with everyone else, although knowing me I'll do that thing where you just ignore the chapters and accidentally read half the book in one go.

    But Mark. Oh God, Mark. You are not prepared, and nor am I.

  68. Lemone says:

    I think Peeta never catches on to Katniss faking it because he doesn’t want to. Before the games he knew that his chances of living were slim, but hey, at least he gets to hang out with that pretty girl who never gave him the time of day up till now. That’s something, right?

    During the games, he protects her because he thinks she has a better chance of surviving anyway, and because he loves her. Then he goes through all the horror of the games and by the end it’s like ‘I’ve been through hell. I’ve been starved, stung by pyscho mutated bees, bled out in the mud for days, and even lost my fucking leg, but at least I have Katniss. She likes me back and is so resourceful and cool and we are going to live happily ever after and put this alllll behind us oh god.’

    Basically: he’s clinging to his relationship with her as a coping mechanism.

    I agree that the book is flawed. Reading it, I couldn’t help but think that one more draft after having a good editor look at it would have done this thing wonders.

    Randomly: I wonder how many of the victors end up suffering PTSD or even committing suicide over some sort of terrible fucked up survivor’s guilt.

    • trash_addict says:

      'I've been starved, stung by pyscho mutated bees, bled out in the mud for days, and even lost my fucking leg, but at least I have Katniss. She likes me back and is so resourceful and cool and we are going to live happily ever after and put this alllll behind us oh god.'

      Basically: he's clinging to his relationship with her as a coping mechanism.

      This is a really interesting interpretation, high five. It really easy one of the few things he has left that he can clutch at.

    • Slim? Try zero. Don't forget that he planned all along to let Katniss live. Then when she shows up and starts doting on him, he's barely lucid because of the fever. When Katniss keeps up the act even when he gets better… Yeah, I'd be confused too.

    • notemily says:

      I feel like if I were picked for the HGs, I might commit suicide rather than go into the arena. Although I suppose you can just go into the arena and then not defend yourself. Also, they probably kill your family or something if you commit suicide, because that would be Bad For Their Image.

      • amandajane5 says:

        I imagine I'd probably just go straight for the beginning bloodbath – which is probably a good reason why there *is* a beginning bloodbath. Don't think you can handle the games? Just go get killed quickly at the beginning!

        Wow, thinking about this is creeping me out!

  69. trash_addict says:


    *Jumping on board the hating-love-triangles train* Toot toot!

  70. Doodle says:

    Perhaps both of them have the emotional depth of a teaspoon, right?

    I don't know if you realize, but guess who said that too?? HERMIONE! About Ron =] Go HP!

    P.S. I love your reviews they are so much fun to read! I know you get lots of series recommendations but a great one and probably my favorite of all time is Abarat by Clive Barker. I definitely think you should read them!

  71. cogsandcurls says:

    As someone who loves storylines where someone is desperately in love with a person who doesn't feel the same way, I have to say I loved the way the Kaitniss/Peeta storyline has panned out so far. Somehow the circumstances work so it's presented neither as "Peeta is a whiny Nice Guy" OR "Kaitniss is a horrible girl for leading him on!!!!1!", and I appreciate that a lot. It's a confusing, complicated situation for both of them and I LOVE IT.

    Bring on Catching Fire.

  72. Saber says:

    Oh yes, can Gale and Peeta dump Katniss for each other? PLEASE?
    No? Fine. But I'm still hoping.

    Catching Fire was the best of the three IMO. (I said that already) And now, because of your speculations of surgically altered victors, I'm going though the books with a fine-toothed comb looking for descriptions of victors. So awful to think that some of them might have been messed with while they were alseep. Screw you Snow, go die in a fire.

  73. Fuchsia says:

    The focus is never completely on the romantic subplot. Yeah it's there, and Katniss had to play it to her advantage in the Games so it was at the forefront for a bit but still just as a device for her. She has a lot to worry about now, too, so I can't see her becoming tangled up in a love triangle any time soon.

    I've never really thought much about who she'll end up with. I didn't care if it was Peeta or Gale or Madge or nobody (although being with Madge would've made things a bit more interesting, I think). That's not what's important with these books.

  74. icingflarewhite says:

    I still don't see where the Gale/Katniss/Peeta love triangle idea is coming from. Yes Katniss wonders about Gale a lot but I saw that as a friend worrying about another friend, never actually saw Gale as a rival. That's even knowing what happens in Catching Fire. Anyone mind explaining this?

    Also, you are so not prepared.

  75. stefb says:

    I love that you love Haymitch because I love Haymitch too 😀

    And I like Caesar Flickerman purely because of his name 😀 He was always going to win that one.

  76. Ozzie says:

    I get your reactions about Katniss' behavior, BUT. When she hides in Peeta's shirt, or she acts emotionally stunted, or is otherwise stupid and strange, consider that she's just received a heaping helping of PTSD. And when you are freaked out, fucked up, and terrified, nothing you do makes sense. If Katniss has indeed lead a life as the head of the dysfunctional household, and done that by being a poacher selling to the black market, that's a lot of internal shutdown about what is right and wrong, or what is reasonable or unreasonable. Up until the Hunger Games, her only real concern was if her family was fed, and things like making her family happy were a luxury. Katniss doesn't seem to have a lot of thoughts for or about herself, and most of those are where she sees herself as a hostile butcher with no friends beyond Gale, who got dealt a shitty hand. She doesn't think of herself outright as a person with broad generous feelings about others, and as someone who survives on a transactional basis, it makes no sense for someone else to really like her FIRST. She doesn't think she's the sort of person that should be loved. (At least my take on her) The evolution that a normal person would have in a normal environment, about thinking someone's cute or nice or funny and therefore appealing- never happened here. Gale appeals because she can kind of be honest with him and he may be her only friend. Peeta's appeal is based on confusing and foreign things- kindness, gentleness, and genuine affection. She straight up doesn't speak the language, and even if she did after the bloodbath I'd give her a pass for fucking everything up.

    And from here on out, she's the one who lived because a lot of other people died first. She lived because they were weaker, made mistakes (Foxface), dumb luck, and in Thresh's case she just got lucky. She lived because she's a killer, and she's only living so that she can be a pawn of the Capitol, if they don't decide to kill her first.

    • liliaeth says:

      yep, a lot of people also seem to ignore her response after Peeta tells her she doesn't see what she does to people. (paraphrasing here)

      She doesn't think: "oh wow, people must think I'm awesome"

      Instead she thinks: '"have they been pitying me?"

      she's not inclined to think highly of herself, she doesn't think she's this great person whom everyone would love and admire.

      At best she thinks of herself as someone who's OK at hunting and had a father whom everyone knew and admired and a sister that everyone loves.

  77. FlameRaven says:

    I'm just reminded of the slogan of the games – "May the odds be EVER in your favor!"

    Except the odds aren't in their favor, ever. The Capitol manipulates and destroys anything and everything a person is while they're in the games, and even those in the districts are damaged by having to watch it. Even when you win, you're still trapped by their rules.

    I REALLY want to know more about Panem before the rebellion and the Games, and I especially want to know more about District 13. If the Capitol then was even vaguely similar to the government they run now, District 13 must have had some serious balls of steel to go up against them at all. :O!

  78. Mitch says:

    Mark, I'm not sure that "chuffed" means what you think it does. Unless you meant you were pleased that Collins rushed through, but it doesn't seem that way from context?

  79. Mel says:

    So, the first time I read this book (maybe two months ago), for some reason I always felt that there was this rebellion going on. I thought "Oh, the mockingbird pin that Madge gives Katniss – it's a symbol of the rebellion, and they'll … do something…". Then I was like, "Cinna! He's a nice, normal guy, not like those Capitol weirdos. He's working for the rebellion. That's why he's so helpful…"

    Yeah, pretty much any "nice" thing I assumed was part of this imaginary rebellion, that there was no whisper of in the book itself. But I was *so* sure, because the only reason to have a dystopian future is to rebel against it!

    And then, the book ends, and no rebellion. 🙁 At least I can finally start Catching Fire – I'll be reading along with Mark for the first time!

  80. iolchos says:

    yes. And TBH, Catching Fire ended up being my favorite of the trilogy.

  81. xpanasonicyouthx says:

    Man, you guys are spoiler-happy in these comments.

    Here's a tip: If it's in the future, STOP TALKING ABOUT IT IN ANY WAY. Christ.

    • IsabelArcher2 says:

      True. And if you want to talk about future-related thoughts/feelings, please come visit with us over in the SPOILER page:

      Then you can talk all day about which book was your favorite or how this book compares to the other books. What fun we will have!

    • Stephalopolis says:

      You should re-post that big anti-spoiler post you had in the Harry Potter reviews. Not that I'm tellin ya what to do… but yeah, it seems as though there are people here who don't realize what a spoiler is.

  82. Phoebe says:

    WHOA!!! correct me if im wrong, but did mark actually read a whole book without doing any aim chats, plays, or letters?! :p
    must be a good book

  83. Nakeefeet says:

    I'm not a fan of the love triangle either, and am so glad there was never a "Team Peeta" or "Team Gale" thing for me to live through, just as the mom of 12 and 14 year old girls. Twilight provided quite enough of that bullshit, thanks.

    I'm glad you enjoyed The Hunger Games, and I can't wait to read your predictions for Catching Fire.

  84. RaeLynn says:

    my issue is that I can't stop comparing it to Twilight… the writing reminds me of it (though a TINY bit better… TINY bit) and the love triangle headaches that make me roll my eyes out of annoyance…

    • liliaeth says:

      I think that's wrong, because Twilight is so heavy in your mind, you're ignoring that the love triangle in the Hunger Games really is a minor part of the story, it's something that supports the plot, but it doesn't carry it and it most definitely isn't what the series is about.

  85. HRose99 says:

    Three words: The Long Walk by Stephen King. A dictator, poor kids dying pushed to there limits, one winner, confusing comraderies futuristic world. It’s a short story written under his pen name. Check it out. Seriously. Good read.

  86. amythis says:

    Re the "love triangle," I've read the first two books, but this comment is just based on my reaction to the first book. I didn't get how there could be any GaNiss because Gale is hardly in the book and he's not presented romantically. MadNiss (with Madge) would've been equally plausible. PeeNiss at least got tons of time and attention.

    • potlid007 says:

      yet he is in the book and presented in the love interest way because Katniss keeps thinking about what Gale is thinking when she and Peeta are kissing. She also avoids talking about him with Peeta. he is in the book quite a lot, and it is presented in a love triangle fashion where Katniss keeps debating over the two and comparing them

    • notemily says:


  87. aglaia531 says:

    Dear Mark, thank you for speaking my exact thoughts in your summation. I know we chatted briefly when you were at chapter 14 about the Battle Royale stuff, but it doesn't stop, right right??? And… Meh. I was seriously tentative about posting my review of HG because the book blogger world was all OMGHUNGERGAMESBESTBOOKEVAR, and I was all, "I couldn't put it down but don't know why I really didn't like it except that it's OMGBATTLEROYALEDUMBEDDOWN."

  88. embers says:

    So… are you going to read the second book? Soon?

    I actually loved all the media circus thing, and the year long commitment to make appearances around the country. It reminds me a lot of the finale shows of 'Survivor', and the way the top winners of American Idol have a legal obligation to travel for the show, and even Olympic winners end up doing national tours to help raise money for the Olympic committee…. Collins does a great job of showing how close our society is to this bizarro world.

    • xpanasonicyouthx says:

      Ha, a lot of people missed it, but read the last sentence again. I start Catching Fire on Friday!

  89. ReptarLives says:

    Too much to comment on
    Only one coherent thought:
    There should be a Muppet version of the Hunger Games.

  90. Newbia says:

    Screw the love triangle…Katiss/Haymitch. Aside from the 25 year age difference, they're perfect for one another.

  91. auroraaustralis says:

    My only thought I have to share is that I am becoming irrationally irritated by everyone making a fuss of the Peeta/pita thing…since in an Australian accent they sound nothing alike :/ To me, Peeta is just a "futurised" version of Peter.

  92. karadudz says:

    I agree on the love triangle comment. A lot of people like it and I just really hate it. I know hate is a strong word BUT SHEESH kids get over it, just make a decision and choose a person. THAT'S WHY PEOPLE MAKE MISTAKES. GOSH.

    OK. Sorry for the random rant.

    AREN'T THINGS MUCH MORE INTENSE NOW? I also did not expect the whole Capitol/Games twist. I thought once the games were over, the story about the games would be over. But now there's talk of revolution and plastic love. Seems pretty appealing to me =D

    I don't think Peeta has the emotional range of a teaspoon, I think he just has such a big heart for "emotionally ranged females" that he's oblivious to Katniss' real feelings.

  93. Becky says:

    I think I'm the only person that likes love triangles 🙁

  94. Stephalopolis says:

    The end…. But, there's not really any good end. We're not left with a feeling of hope or happiness. Sure, Peenis won the Games- but we're not really happy about that. Sure Katniss gets to see her family again- but she's in danger from the Capitol, she's stressed about how she has changed since the games, and we haven't actually seen her meet her family she's still stuck on the train. Peeta's now aware of how the relationship was a lie. So… yeah, we're left feeling a weird sense of despair and anticipation.Which really makes taking this series as a whole so important and quite a good marketing plan by Collins.

  95. BucketandMop says:

    Teehee, they both have the "emotional depth of a teaspoon".
    I love how you sneak a Harry Potter reference into the Hunger Games' review.

  96. coolpearls says:

    I thought her hiding in the shirt was hella weird, too! I'm glad I'm not the only one who was like, 'Uhhh. . .what?' Catching Fire is a good one.

  97. flootzavut says:

    "It sucks because the context of it is so horrifying: she pretended to love him so she wouldn’t be murdered or die of starvation. I don’t know about you, but I give her a complete moral pass on this one. I ain’t judging."

    Yeah it's a whole different ballgame. Plus she saved his life.

  98. RainaWeather says:

    Those last few chapters were so fucked up. I thought the whole two winners thing might be a trick, but it had gone on so long I started to believe it might be a legitimate rule change. But when that announcement came to retract it, well I don't want to spoil other books, but it felt like when a certain HP character killed another HP character. Just a knife through the heart. And the thought of Rue as one of those wolves trying to kill Katniss . . . I have no words.

    This line: Occasionally, I catch a glimpse of Haymitch, which is reassuring, or President Snow, which is terrifying : seriously has me scared of President Snow.

    I can't be hard on Katniss. I mean, just because some boy has been in love with her since he was five (which actually seems like a bit of bull) doesn't mean she has to like him back. Did he never consider that this girl who he has never spoken to until all this badness began is just trying to save their fucking lives? Some things are more important than your precious feelings.

    Oh, and that new leg, it's a tracking device. I swear. I called it.

  99. malarkiness says:

    "I don’t think it’s fair for me to be so hard on Katniss and give Peeta a break when it comes to this."

    This. I mean, gotdamn. Did it seriously not occur to him ONCE that she was playing along to stay alive?
    Peeta. BB. Stop thinking with your heart. Use your brain, it's what it's there for.

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