I was very late in reading The Hunger Games series – three books and a film late – but I’m glad I finally did. Although I didn’t love the books, I did enjoy them – they’re easy to read, generally fast-paced and they showcase a dystopia that has enough similarities to our own world to be disquieting. I stayed up into the early hours of the morning, turning page after page, wanting to read just another paragraph, a page, a chapter before I went to sleep.
The best thing about the books is Collins’ ability to keep the action rolling with shocks and twists aplenty. In both The Hunger Games and Catching Fire, the arena serves as a great tool to hike up the tension and to keep us constantly guessing as to how Katiss will survive. She faces a wide range of deadly threats including tracker jackers, muttations, giant waves and burning fog that keep the momentum of the books high and the nerves of the reader fraught. Without the arena, the pace of Mockingjay is much slower but I found this a welcome change. It meant that when Snow’s men raged war against the rebel resistance on the streets of the Capitol I wasn’t half-exhausted by previous fighting.