How To Read the Hunger Games Books in Order

Stepping into the dystopian world constructed by Suzanne Collins can feel quite overwhelming at first. Striding through the journey of Katniss Everdeen, the series’ protagonist, requires taking the books in the proper sequence. With a trilogy and a prequel in the basket, it surely becomes a tricky task for first-time readers to decide the order. Below, in this article, we’ll thoroughly guide you through this process step by step.

Understanding the Format of the Hunger Games Series

The “Hunger Games” series, authored by Suzanne Collins, is comprised of four remarkable books, each unveiling a unique perspective of the dystopian society situated in Panem. The saga is initiated through a trilogy, launching the readers into an action-packed adventure filled with unexpected alliances, twisted games, and political anarchism.

The three books, “The Hunger Games,” “Catching Fire,” and “Mockingjay,” follow a linear narrative, detailing their protagonist’s vicious battle for survival. Moreover, a prequel titled “The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes” released in 2020 further enhances the spectrum of this riveting story.

This prequel explores the origins of the infamous “Hunger Games” and provides a disturbing glimpse into the mind of a young Coriolanus Snow, who later becomes the dictatorial President of Panem. It aims to help readers understand the complexities behind this tyrant’s mindset, making it an interesting addition to the series.

The Hunger Games books in order typically start with the original trilogy before proceeding to the prequel. This is because the prequel enhances the narratives established in the trilogy rather than introducing them.

Exploring the Sequence of the Major Trilogy: The Hunger Games

The “Hunger Games” trilogy kicks off with the self-titled book, catapulting readers into a society that thrives on televised bouts of survival. It presents Katniss Everdeen, a teenager struggling against the established norms of her society.

The second book, “Catching Fire,” heightens the intensity of the saga as it explores the consequences of defiance against the unjust rulings of Panem. As insurrections ripple across the districts, Katniss becomes a symbol of rebellion, unwillingly painted as the Mockingjay.

The third book, “Mockingjay,” wraps up the trilogy with a riveting ride through war, rebellion, and the harrowing toll of physical and emotional trauma. This climactic book pulls no punches as it delivers a gut-wrenching end.

Reading the first three books in chronological order provides a wholesome understanding of the story, enabling readers to fully appreciate the depth and intensity of the series.

Diving Into the Prequel: The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes

Following the completion of the trilogy, readers are recommended to delve into the prequel, “The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes.” While it does elaborate on elements present in the first three books, it doesn’t inherently introduce any new plot elements hence it is considered a complement and not a replacement of the original series.

The prequel delves into the life of Coriolanus Snow, who steps into the games not as a ruler but as a mentor for the tributes. The narrative unfolds a phase in his life that is dark, and thought-provoking, and presents his role in the original games.

This book reframes much of what is known about the games and the Capitol itself, making it the perfect companion to the trilogy. Therefore, whilst its timeline may precede the first three books, it’s best to read the prequel after the other books, serving as an exciting bonus to fans already acquainted with the world of Panem. The prequel also has a film adaptation released in 2023.

Incorporating Companion Books Into the Reading Order


Apart from the trilogy and its prequel, the “Hunger Games” universe includes several companion books like “The World of The Hunger Games” and “The Hunger Games Companion.” These books offer a deep dive into the series, featuring exclusive content, additional insight, and intriguing trivia.

These companion books can be read either before getting into the main series or after. As a beginner, these books give you a glimpse into the dystopian world you’re about to explore.

If you’re a returning reader, these books possess an added thrill, giving you a fresh perspective on preferred characters and thereby augmenting your overall reading experience.

Altogether, remember that your journey through the post-apocalyptic world of Panem is unique to you. As you trace the path of Katniss Everdeen through the “Hunger Games” series, stay open to the myriad emotions each book resonates with, and discover the profound resonance and beauty in this remarkable saga.