The Hunger Games popularized the entire series.
The first book of the trilogy sets an unforgettable tone for the rest of the Hunger Games series. From the first reaping to the introduction of Katniss, the book is full of the most memorable moments in the entire series.
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The first book is the best one in The Hunger Games series. It is the novel that originally immerses the reader into a world, unlike anything they have read before. It lays the groundwork for every other important moment in the series. It introduces the reader to the strong female lead of the novel, Katniss Everdeen. The novel also lays out the barren conditions in which people are forced to live under the oppressive Capitol. This highlights the brutal conditions that spark the beginnings of a revolt. The Hunger Games is the most captivating novel of the three in the series. It has also lingered in the reading community's discourse longer than the others. Katniss’ sacrifice for Prim, the choosing of the tributes, the three fingers in salute, and Rue’s whistle are all iconic scenes in the book that are referenced by readers. It is these moments that define the series and the battles to come in the next two books. This novel also popularized the series, appearing on the New York Times bestseller list for over two hundred consecutive weeks.  Without its initial success, the other two books might not have fared so well.
The Hunger Games is not the best book in the series. Readers are introduced to even more characters in Catching Fire. Katniss' character is introduced in the first book, but she lacks character growth compared to Mockingjay as a figurehead. The introduction of main characters does not make it the best book in the entire series. In addition, the novel contains a lot of filler moments and doesn't explain much about the world of Panem until the later books. This leaves a lot of foundational questions about the dystopian world in which it is set and distracts the reader from the main plot of the novel. The action in this novel pales in comparison to the other two since there is a much more established world for characters to interact with. While The Hunger Games may help set up the reader's initial impression, it is not the best book of the series.
[P1] The Hunger Games is the first novel that popularized the series. [P2] It is the novel that sparked the revolution through Katniss’ actions. [P3] It is full of memorable moments that define the rest of the series. [P4] The Hunger Games is the best novel in the series.