Comments: Electrumqueen captures the desperate, somber atmosphere of the Hunger Games perfectly. Her writing is very poetic, very poignant, and very beautiful.
Seconded by Analiza. All her work is very good (though some is a little too shipping-focused for my taste). I'd like to add a specific recommendation for "The Panem Victors Breakfast Club." One of the best stories detailing the relationship between the Victors (and there are plenty of good ones out there), this story moves between darkly funny and just dark, with a surprisingly poignant (and incredibly sweet in its way) ending.
Comments: A very good writer who manages to get inside the head of every single character she writes. "No One Left" and "Fearful to Fearsome", both focused on Johanna Mason, are two of the best fanfics this Troper has ever read.
Comments: The Pearl Awards is fanfiction and fanart competition where entries have to be nominated to get in, so most of the fics submitted are well-written and worthy of recs. In addition, there are different categories for fics e.g. Best One-Shot, Best Comedy, Best Author etc.
Comments: Gethsemane covers a wide range of characters and topics, bringing life and personality to some of the most minor tributes in the series. She has created a vast web of interlocking O Cs and plots referenced throughout her stories, maintaining the authenticity of her fanon universe. In my opinion, "Sponsors," "Game Over," and "The Person He Never Was," are her finest work.
Comments: This author specializes in dark, character-focused Door Stoppers, often AU. Most of her writing is focused on Haymitch, fleshing out his character in interesting and often surprising ways. "Nowhere to Stand and Now Nowhere to Hide" is my personal favorite.
Comments: lorata's particular brilliance shows in her exploration of District Two, setting up a background and a culture that seems highly plausible, especially relating to the Careers. "Fixed to a Star" (complete) is a brilliant exploration of a Career's character, while "Embrace the Fire: The Avenger Games" (ongoing) is a superb crossover between the Hunger Games and the Avengers that brilliantly combines aspects of both 'verses.
Stories focused on the family and the friendly relationships of the cast. Plot-focused stories or light day-in-the-life stories. Pretty much anything that isn't focused on romance.Much More Important Things by elithewho
Recommended by: Clandestine Clear
Characters/pairing(s): OC, mentions of Katniss and Peeta
Summary: Starlight should be doing her homework, but she really has much more important things to do with her time.
Comments: This fic is told from the POV of a teenage Capitol child watching the first games with Katniss and Peeta Games, and manages to be fantastically creepy and ridiculous at the same time, conveying the true Crapsack World nature of Panem very well under Starlight's superficial, saccharine monologue.
Summary: A story from Beetee's point of view, starting with the day his name is drawn for the Games, going through his years as a mentor, the Quarter Quell, and the rebellion.
Comments: This fic stays close to the style of the original trilogy with an interesting portrayal of its narrator, Beetee. It does an excellent job of making its characters and setting seem both true to canon and very original. The friendship between Beetee and Wiress and the portrayal of victors such as Seeder are particularly good.
Summary: Twenty-four short (ranging from a sentence to about a page) pieces of writing about each of the twenty-four victors in the 75th Hunger Games.
Comments: This is a perfect snapshot of the lives, thoughts and histories of the victors we see in Catching Fire. Each piece reads like a poem; the narration style is understated, yet dark, lyrical, and intensely personal for each character. Be warned: some parts, particularly the ones devoted to Cashmere, Quoila, Heliquo and Johanna are quite disturbing and/or contain adult themes.
Summary: So many tributes died in the Hunger Games, and although we never gave a second thought to most, they all have a story. One-shot about a certain tribute's last day in the arena that proves that things, and people, aren't always the way they seem.
Comments: This was a really interesting and well written fan fic; I've never read any fics written from this character's point of view before. It's only a one-shot, but it's still very sastifying. While I was reading this I got out the book and read the scene as it's written from Katniss' point of view, and the two parallel and intertwine very nicely. You won't regret taking the time to read this.
Summary: History will remember me as the first to be chosen for the Victor's Quarter Quell. It will forget that my story has a beginning as well as an end, but a beginning it has and this is it. This is the 66th Hunger Games. This is my story.
Comments: Caisha writes with masterful depth and maturity, transforming the minor villains Cashmere and Gloss into engaging, sympathetic protagonists. This Fan Fiction blurs the lines between typical views of 'good' and 'evil' in the Hunger Games world and has actually had me rooting for Careers over the other tributes at certain points! Packed with intense character development, a fascinating behind-the-scenes look at the world of Panem, and a stunning cast of OCs, the Freedom Trilogy is a must-read for all Hunger Games fans.
Summary: Before the berries, the rule change, even Rue's flowers, he did something that no one had ever imagined in 73 years of Hunger Games, and so became a contender, until Katniss Everdeen ruined everything. The untold story of Landmine Boy from District 3.
Comments: Truly one of the best FanFictions I have ever read, The Flaw in the Plan takes a character with several sentences of screen time - the district 3 boy in Katniss' games - and turns him into an engaging, likeable, and sympathetic protagonist. It turned a faceless extra into a personal favorite character, something which takes true talent. I just cannot describe how unbelievably awesome this story is. Read it for yourself. You will not be disappointed. However, as can be expected, it has a very sad ending.
Summary: If someone told me before the war I'd end up where I am now, I'd have said they were mad. I never expected to be more than just another District 8 factory worker. But then I became a rebel who became a president and everything changed **Paylor's story**
Comments: This story has just begun, but it already contains the maturity, darkness and detail that have become staples of a Caisha epic. As usual, the protagonist - Commander Paylor - is a minor character whom the author has already breathed life and spirit into. The focus on District 8 introduces the reader to an oft-ignored district, a wealth of interesting OCs, and a battle that went almost unnoticed in the face of Katniss' struggles. If anyone wants to read how the rebellion truly began, take a look at the life of an overlooked but crucial character, or just immerse themselves in the excitement, tragedy and hope of Panem's struggle for freedom, I'd definitely recommend checking this out.
Summary: This is the POV of a Career Tribute, from an unspecified district, in the Seventieth Hunger Games.
Comments: The Careers themselves have a very different perspective on the Hunger Games...and, at seventh and last, as little choice about what they do as Katniss did. This particular Career has a lot in common with Katniss...
Summary: "Everyone remembers the tale of Katniss Everdeen. But few recall the story of another sixteen-year-old from Twelve, thrust into the apathetic world of the Games. She wasn't bold or strong; she was hardly even remarkable. All that Vale Whitaker ever wanted was to give her inevitable death some kind of meaning, more than just another pointless brutality in the 44th Hunger Games." Vale is a rather timid girl who is chosen as the female tribute from District Twelve thirty years before Katniss Everdeen’s Games. The story follows Vale, as well as her district partner, a small twelve-year-old boy named Kit, as they are prepared for the Games and eventually go into the arena. There, she struggles, not only to survive, but also to protect young Kit and preserve her own humanity. As trial after trial arises to put her strength of body and heart to the test, Vale discovers that she is not as powerless as she believes—and learns that there is much meaning to be found in risking everything for the people she loves.
Comments: Vale’s story is quite compelling; she is a very relatable protagonist, and the way she grows as the story progresses—from an uncertain, frightened girl who is caught up in a situation beyond her control, into a heroine capable of bravery and strength when it comes to protecting her loved ones—is portrayed believably. The story is very emotional; it contains touches of drama, adventure, angst, humor, friendship, romance, tragedy, and more, with some surprising twists, and the author’s writing style is very descriptive. My favorite part would have to be the characters: other than Vale herself, we have Kit, her district partner, who is innocent, sardonic, and grim all at once; Lavinia Gilden, the pair’s escort and mentor, who comes to care a lot for the children and is much deeper than her bubbly persona might indicate; Fen, an initially cold but caring and courageous archer who is more reminiscent of Katniss than Vale is; Obsidian Citrine (“the boy with the ridiculous name”), a puckish, intuitive tribute from District One, who describes himself as “not the ideal Career” and proves himself to be a formidable contender in the Games—as well as much more human than Vale would like to believe he could be; and many more vividly portrayed characters. The conclusion is shaping up to be rather depressing, but even so, this story is definitely worth a look. (It also has a trope page here.)
Summary: "The fourth in my Hunger Games series. Even though it isn't a Quarter Quell, President Raven decides to throw in a little twist. Which one of our dear tributes will survive, and which will have their blood splattered across the arena' walls?"
Comments: An absolutely brilliant AU fanfic. The author is able to make all twenty four characters unique. Not an easy task for something this size. Some characters are sympathetic, some are deliciously insane, but none of them are safe. The author goes to great lengths to avoid plot shields. Though it isn't complete, its longer than most works and is still being updated.
Characters/pairing(s): Finnick Odair plus some other District 4 mentors
Summary: The story of Finnick Odair's life, starting at the 65th Hunger Games and working its way up to and through the Hunger Games trilogy. Now complete!
Comments: This fic is told from the POV of Finnick Odair, the victor of the 65th Hunger Games. This story takes us from his Reaping Day right through to his death in the Capitol. While the chapters are generally on the short side, grand admiral chelli's engaging writing style still brings you into Finnick's story and keeps holding you right to the end. Also has a trope page here.
Synopsis: Haymitch-POV of Mockingjay and the events of the rebellion. An interesting perspective, particularly on Peeta and Coin. We see a lot more of the dark side of District 13, things that Katniss obviously wouldn't see. Slightly AU towards the end, but closely follows the events of the books. Final part of Narrow Path series, although can be read alone.
Stories focused on the romantic relationships between the cast.Scylla and Charybdis by Mithrigil and Puella_Nerdii (rated R for sex, drug use, violence, and forced prostitution)
Recommended by: Clandestine Clear
Summary: Finnick decides that, come hell or high water, he is bringing his tribute home from the seventieth Hunger Games. That tribute is Annie Cresta. But Finnick never thought that he would have to choose between bringing her home and keeping her safe, and he wants both. How Annie Cresta crept up on Finnick Odair.
Comments: This fic is amazing—everyone's voices are so clear and so flawlessly characterized, from Finnick to Johanna to Snow and the writing is absolutely wonderful, whether if it's about the desperation and violence in Annie's Games or the relaxed, easygoing atmosphere of Finnick and Annie's families in District 4. The plot and atmosphere of this fic fits in perfectly with Collins' universe, especially on how the worst part about the Games isn't winning it, but living through the aftermath, and the ending just seems to expertly tie the entire story together. Incidentally, all the chapters can be found linked here.
Summary: She had never been a very talkative girl, but she found ways to share her thoughts with Peeta when it counted (and to Peeta, her thoughts always counted for quite a lot). She was a hard girl, on first blush, but she was always soft and gentle with Peeta – ever since the cave. She likes the way his fingertips always smell of vanilla and sugar and he knows that, although she'd never admit it. A girl like Katniss – always covered in forest dirt and calluses – was not supposed to want a man who smelled of vanilla and sugar. But Katniss had chosen him over the man who smelled of leather and pine. And Peeta never took that for granted.
Comments: Short, sweet, but deep when where it counts.
Summary: "He can see himself breaking her bones and stroking the rushes of her blood as they dissipate and it consumes him, the all-encompassing desire of having her on his hands. Finally, finally, this is our moment of glory."
Comments: A creepy, fascinating and gorgeously written piece set before and during the Games, focusing on the relationship between Cato and Clove - he was supposed to be the one to kill her, she was only his to kill...
Favourite line - "Cato watches the boy declare his love to the girl on fire and thinks, "Oh, let's play with fire, but you're just matches." "
Summary: "This time it's me who searches the sky for the stars. Because I want to make a wish. But there are no such things as stars in the Capitol, and there's no such thing as wishes coming true in Panem." She can't tell him; he's too distracted to even notice.
Comments: One of those few stories that manages to be both beautiful and heart-wrenching. Johanna's characterization and interactions are believable and well thought-out.
Summary: When Peeta is diagnosed with a terminal illness, Katniss must learn to let go.
Comments: Probably the best Hunger Games story I've read. Not necessarily a shipper fic per se, it deals with the bonds between spouses and the grief of seeing your loved one die rather than focusing on romance. It does it really well and paints a sad but believable picture of terminal cancer and how it affects the person who will have to stay behind when the sick one dies.
Summary: A story mostly about Katniss and Peeta's relationship from the point of view of many side characters, pre Hunger Games to post Mockingjay.
Comments: A story that shows Katniss and Peeta's relationship from many an outsider's pont of view, but while the pairing is the central theme of the fanfic, the characters' chapters don't always revolve around them. It does take a few liberties with some characters (Prim and Peeta's older brothers, to name some), but manages to stay in canon and be really sweet and heartfelt. Be ready for a few tearjerkers, though.
Capretty: Seconded! Also has the unique angle of a conspiracy to put kids who don't use the tessarae system in the games, putting a new perspective on how people as unlikely as Prim and Peeta got reaped which makes the fic doubly interesting.
Summary: "It's something out of an old tale: a golden young man in a white bearskin, striking strange bargains with desperate souls on the cruelest night of winter." AU fic, based on the fairy tale "East of the Sun & West of the Moon." Peeta Mellark, winner of the 74th Hunger Games, returns from his Victory Tour to make the starving Everdeens an offer they can't refuse.
Synopsis: In this story, Primrose Everdeen was not chosen as the District 12 female tribute, so, her sister did not volunteer to take her place. Peeta Mellark was, though, and he eventually became the Victor of the 74th Hunger Games. That winter, with the Everdeens struggling for lack of food, Peeta comes to them and makes an offer: if Katniss comes to live with him, none of them will want for anything ever. Katniss accepts, believing she will be just a servant, but as it becomes increasingly clear that Peeta only wants her to be happy, she has to confront not only the enigma Peeta Mellark has presented her with, but her own feelings for him.
Comments: This story is great. Fantastic. It works very well, and it shows how much the author has worked in it. Not only did she devise a completely different 74th Hunger Games to fit in with the fairy tale the story is based on, but she also manages to draw in other fairy tales into the story without it looking forced. You can also make a Drinking Game on how the many clues of Peeta's feelings for her fly over Katniss' head without her realizing the truth, but you will be dying by the end of chapter 10.
Summary: This Quarter Quell will be the most difficult. They're the tributes, the tributes who- never in a million years, thought they'd fight in the Hunger Games. Why? Because these are the CAPITOL'S children being reaped this time. And this'll be quite a show...
Comments: Wow. The Capitol Games is an epic, over 800 pages long and not yet past the pre-games. Vividly Visceral delights in challenging the assumptions of critics of the Submit a Tribute genre, as well as in the violent murder of her characters. Accompanying the typical submitted cast of 24 Capitol children are a rich tapestry of Vividly Visceral's own creations. Eccentric escorts, the affably evil Iilivsea Crane, and the mentors... oh, the mentors. The AU she creates is just as deep and interesting as Suzanne Collins' original work.
Summary: Katniss Everdeen didn't always live in District Four. /how she arrived there, and steps she took towards it. -— Finnick/Katniss; AU&OOC
Comments: I started reading this today, and I thought that it was gorgeous. While not a wholly new concept, the author has crafted an alternate universe where lines and motifs from the original series are used but incorporated in a whole new fashion, and manages to echo the original series while entrancing the reader with a completely new storyline. There are only four chapters up, but the chapter lengths are reasonably long, and while her descriptions can be kind of exhausting they're very nice to read if you have the time.
Summary: She's teamed up with the little girl instead of the boy who loves her. Katniss Everdeen and the girl from Eleven are ruining their best-laid plans. So, "Caesar," they say, "Announce the change." -This is an alternate chronology for The Hunger Games.-
Comments: I fell in love with this one-shot right from the start. It has great characterisation, development, and character-based twists throughout (despite the ending largely being a Foregone Conclusion). The story consists of snippets that occur within this shifting tale of the game, yet despite compressing the first book they manage to capture and characterise the players very well. It was heartbreaking, also, to see how this story emphasises Rue's youth, manifesting in her naivety, and it was touching to see something we'd all have loved to see: Katniss and Peeta being in alliance with Foxface and Thresh. The last few lines, in particular, are simply heart-rending. For anyone who wanted a fic where Rue survives the 74th Games, you're looking in the right place.
Warnings: (Possibly, depending on your location) underage sex, large age-difference, attempted suicide, and references to prostitution, pedophilia, and a tiny bit of slash.
Recommended by: Yessiika
Summary: No berries, no mockingjay, no rebellion. Katniss killed Peeta in the arena, and now she has to live with herself like every other victor.
Comments: A couple of things about this fic: 1.) the pairing of Haymith/Katniss is truly born of crack and encompasses an enormous age difference; 2.) there is explicit sex; and 3.) it is incredibly well-written. The only true complaint this troper has with the fic is its derailment of Katniss' character right at the very end. Regardless, it really is an amazing, heartbreaking piece of work that moves within the universe of the Hunger Games like it's an extension of canon. Highly recommended.
Warnings: Rated M. Character death, suicide, mentions of domestic abuse, hints at dub-con.
Status: This part is complete, though the series overall is still in progress.
Pairings: Katniss/Peeta and others
Summary: How Katniss and Peeta fell in love without the Reaping: in a Panem dictated by a violent Peace instead of twisted Games, Katniss and Peeta Mellark try to piece their lives together as they watch another girl catch fire.
Comments: An AU in which the Capitol controls its citizens by means of choosing what they do, where they live, and who they marry, and demands every couple produce exactly three children. This could also go under shippy fics, but the AU encompasses so much more than just the relationship between Katniss and Peeta. It's so brilliantly handled, I started to get confused between this series and book canon. Note that Dark Toast is the first of three completed parts in what should be a five-part series.
Summary: What if Katniss had managed to keep Rue alive...and they'd ended up as the last two players in the Hunger Games? Katniss faces a terrible choice...
Comments: Rue winning the Hunger Games is, at least, highly unexpected. This could have done with some other POVs, but the focus is tightly on Rue. It's worth noting that the quality of this fic is debatable, and to this troper it reads like the writer was inexperienced and likely quite young.
Pairings: Possibly Richard and Lucrezia, in an odd way. Margaret Anjou and Harry Lancaster.
Summary: Nobody talks about the Fifth Annual Hunger Games. There are good reasons for this.
Comments: No canon Hunger Games characters — this is a fusion of Hunger Games with 15th Century Real People Fic ("real people" used loosely — most of them are more like their Shakespearean counterparts or like their legends than strictly historical). Lucrezia Borgia, the daughter of the Mayor of District 1, is called into the games. Other Reapings are also obviously rigged, to punish specific families in specific Districts — such as when Richard York is chosen from District 2 and his older brother Edward is denied the opportunity to volunteer for him. But the personalities and talents of the children Reaped make for a rather... explosive Games.
Synopsis: 24 Westeros and Essos youth switch places with the 24 tributes to the 74th Hunger Games.
Comments: A rather short (so far) but interesting piece on how the tributes from The Hunger Games would interact with another world where honor is held in high regard, and where they are safe from being forced to kill each other, while the twenty-four teenagers that replace them (Robb Stark, Jon Snow, Sam Tarly, Daenerys Targaryen and Joffrey Baratheon among others) deal with the cultural shock of the very much different world they live now in.
Synopsis: President Snow discovers an old laboratory complex with deathtraps already in place, and deems it an ideal arena for the third Quarter Quell. Then Wheatley gets involved, Chell is awoken, GLaDOS stops playing by the rules, and a revolution begins.
Comments: A long, epic crossover that incorporates both fandoms equally (a rarity among crossover fic in general). The characters are spot-on, the story is well-devised, and the writing is top-notch. A sequel was planned but not written, and the final chapter is an in-depth summary of how it would have gone. The ideas are fresh; it isn't just a rewrite of the last two books with Portal characters written in. Suffice it to say this fic will keep you captivated the whole way through.