The Turndog Review: The Hunger Games





Hello there and welcome to The Turndog Review: the books I read, reviewed.

I aren’t a professional critic, instead all I offer is my honest opinion into everything I read. However, I do this with a difference, as I don’t only offer my personal views on the Writing, Plot, and Story, but also the Book Cover, Book Marketing, and Author Website.

We live in a modern world where being a writer is different to years gone by, and I feel the whole experience of the book matters. This covers everything from the initial find, the actual read, and everything that follows. Therefore I hope this review not only offers a great insight into the book and author, but also into my own mind and what makes me tick.

So without further ado let’s begin, and today I focus on The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins

Published: 2008

Read: April 2012

Discovered: Had $15 left in an American Airport so thought what the hell




I’m a little slow on the uptake, but I finally got around to reading the first instalment of the preceding Franchise king after ‘Harry Potter/Twilight’. It’s a book for young adults, but I certainly feel it follows the modern mantra of telling a story that most adults can relate to and enjoy. This isn’t really surprising as teenagers these days get old very fast.

The plot focuses on a futuristic world where the Capitol rule all, and the twelve districts are there to serve them. This is enhanced with The Hunger Games, a yearly event where one boy and one girl from each district have to battle it out to the death.

It’s barbaric, and homage to the old school ways of Rome, but it surprisingly never feels intense or gory, despite the premise based on such a horrendous thought.

The story follows Katniss, a 16-year-old girl who’s thrust into the battlefield. Will she survive? Will she have the nerve to kill others and do everything she can to get back to her mother and younger sister?

In true Young Adult fashion there’s a love interest (as if fighting to the death isn’t bad enough), and soon her world is complicated on so many levels.

Overall I really enjoyed the Hunger Games. Suzanne Collins has a great knack of extending the reading session. On more than a couple of occasions I stayed up late as my quick thirty-minute session turned into two hours.

Damn you Suzanne, damn you!


The Good:

I love the plot and premise! It’s so dark and unforgiving, yet at the same time it’s suitable for all ages. This is a fantastic trait if you ask me, and I can see myself reading this book to my future children and keeping them in suspense, whilst never forcing them into a gruesome world.

Suzanne also has a very simplistic writing style, which I’m sure will get slated by many, but in the end of the day we need books like this. Sometimes we want to watch an Oscar worthy epic, and other times a simple action movie where Bruce Willis wastes the bad guys. The Hunger Games is the latter, and is this really so bad?


The Bad:

The biggest flaw for me was the ending, and without giving too much away, it has me worried about where the future books go. The real draw for this book is the idea of teenagers battling to the death, and I’m not sure if future books will stay true to this.

I liked the book a lot, but as soon as I finished I began thinking about book number two, and how I can only imagine it turning into a Twilight like love triangle. For the love of God I hope I’m wrong.


Book Cover:

I find this cover very good indeed. The text stands out, and has a very unique feel to it, and the addition of the mockingbird symbol is great. It helps the whole cover stand out and I can imagine it was intriguing even before it hit the big time.

Very simple, very clear, and a very good example of a book cover in my opinion.

The Hunger Games Cover


Book Marketing:

I read the paperback version, and therefore only so much can be done. There are some nice adverts for the other two books, and overall it helps get the reader excited for the next installment.

I find the true brilliance in terms of marketing is the book itself though. I mean come on, this is a story based around teenagers battling to the death (men will like this), where the lead character is a kick ass girl (young girls will like this), and where love comes into play (older women will like this). Was there any doubt this wouldn’t be a success? Ahhh Hindsight.


Author Website & Engagement:

As you can imagine the current Hunger Games website is rather impressive. It’s very movie centric, but there is a nice area for the books, the author, and the story in general.

It’s everything you hope to see in a website, but when the movie has $45 million+ available for marketing alone, well, it’s easy to make things sparkle.

My more pressing concern was the personal site of Suzanne Collins, who unfortunately has a very outdated website. It baffles me how someone so big hasn’t had an update.

No Blog

No Engagement

No Social Media Integration

No List of Upcoming Events

I know someone this ‘Big’ doesn’t need to embrace her community as much, but considering her audience is for the most part young, surely it would be a good idea to embrace the media young people live on.


Overall I liked The Hunger Games. I heard good things, but I didn’t fully know what to expect. I’m really glad it lived up to the hype, and despite it having its flaws, the general premise, characters created, and plot were superb.

As for the marketing, well, like I say it’s hard to say bad things about a success story, because to an extent whatever they did worked. I do feel this book has seen the benefit of a loyal following that has spread through new media, and when you compare Suzanne Collins to someone like Veronica Roth (both targeting similar audiences with similar premises), the latter trumps the engagement card.

All in all it’s a good one, but I place a great deal of emphasis on engagement, so The Hunger Games gets…

         4 Turndogs out of 5 (use image for this)


Thanks for reading this version of The Turndog Review. I review every book I read, not only for the writing, but the marketing, website, and general communication from the author.

Turndog Millionaire – @turndog_million

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