We Shouldn’t Be Excited That There Is A New The Hunger Games Book — We Should Be Worried

Picture this: It's 2024, and Suzanne Collins, the brilliant mind behind your favourite childhood series, The Hunger Games, has just announced a brand new book in the saga, along with an upcoming film. No, this isn't a dream —it's reality.
The news broke on Thursday, when it was officially announced that there would be a new book joining The Hunger Games franchise. Titled Sunrise on the Reaping, this will be the fifth book in the series and is set to be released on March 18, 2025, over 17 years since the first book release. Lionsgate Films has since also announced the release of a new film, the sixth in the franchise, which will be arriving in cinemas on November 20, 2026.
The new book is set 24 years before the events of the first novel and 40 years after The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes, the prequel that explored the rise of the tyrannical President Snow. This latest instalment begins with the reaping of the 50th Hunger Games, known as the Second Quarter Quell, where future mentor Haymitch Abernathy (portrayed by Woody Harrelson in the films) is reaped and thrown into the deadly arena. This special edition of the Games saw Haymitch outlast 47 other tributes — double the number in previous years.
While the news has immediately sent Hunger Games fans into a frenzy, for Collins, the decision to write a new book was not made lightly. It's been widely reported that the author has said that she would never write another book in the series — unless she had something to say. The Hunger Games has always been steeped in social commentary, and it seems Collins has found a new, urgent message to share with this latest addition.
In a way, it's quite disconcerting that in 2024, Collins has found fresh inspiration in our current world, seeing it as fertile ground for the post-apocalyptic nation of Panem. In this dystopia, the rich and powerful rule while the poor are exploited and oppressed, forced into bloodshed, starvation and suffering in the name of entertainment.
Speaking on the new book and film, Collins said that the new story will explore the themes of propaganda and government control. “With Sunrise on the Reaping, I was inspired by David Hume’s idea of implicit submission and, in his words, ‘the easiness with which the many are governed by the few,’” Collins said in a statement. “The story also lent itself to a deeper dive into the use of propaganda and the power of those who control the narrative. The question ‘Real or not real?’ seems more pressing to me every day.”
Indeed, The Hunger Games has long posed a similar question. While many of us might immediately think of Peeta, who famously asked, “Real or not real?” this phrase also strikes a hauntingly self-aware chord, reflecting just how closely our world mirrors the fictional dystopia of Panem.
Collins has previously mentioned that her inspiration for Panem struck while she was watching television. "I was flipping through the channels one night between reality television programs and actual footage of the Iraq War, when the idea came to me," she told The New York Times.
Once again (and perhaps unsurprisingly), the world's turmoil has escalated to such a degree that Collins felt compelled to return to Panem — and if you ask me, this is cause for significant concern.
We’re facing a cost of living crisis that sees millions of people around the world struggling to put food on the table, with more and more people battling with hunger, food insecurity and starvation with each passing year. A growing international housing crisis has made housing instability the new normal. The climate crisis, accelerating at an alarming rate, is set to trigger humanitarian emergencies with increasing heatwaves, floods, fires, and food shortages. Gendered violence. Atrocities in Sudan. Congo. Gaza. Disinformation, deepfakes and AI technology making it harder to gauge what's real and what's fake. Governments that still refuse to do anything about it all.
Many have been quick to note the parallels between the real-world and the Capitol as of late, with entire TikTok trends dedicated to the dystopian nature of the recent Met Gala, which saw influencers say "Let them eat cake" and celebrities draped in designer labels and precious jewels, while dozens of pro-Palestine protesters stormed the streets just metres away. We're in The Hunger Games already, people have said — and this is the Capitol.
When we look at the world today, it's easy to see why Collins might find inspiration in these themes. Whether it's propaganda and the control of narratives — key themes that Collins is set to explore — or questioning whether those in power truly have our best interests at heart, her new book is asking us to turn our eyes towards those who wield power.
And we're looking.
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