The author's tone in "The Hunger Games" is almost as chaotic as the story itself. The text itself is written from a first-person point-of-view and this particular narration allows readers to see exactly what the protagonist (Katniss) thinks, sees, and believes. Therefore, the tone of the text changes as Katniss changes. At times, the tone is strong, willful, and promising. At other times, the tone is fearful, angry, and scrutinizing. Both the tone and Katniss change as the story line changes. Readers can find themselves anxious, angered, enamored, and strengthened in the same ways that Katniss does- this all because of the tone set in the novel.
In my opinion, the author's tone in The Hunger Games is one of cynicism and strength. Katniss, the protagonist of this novel, is faced with undeniably difficult challenges throughout her life. Because of the harshness of her reality, Katniss tends to expect nothing to come easily; she does not anticipate being helped by anyone and questions the motives of all of those around her.
Despite the difficult situations comprising her life, Katniss exhibits an astounding amount of strength, both inner and outer. She does not crumble under the stresses of providing for her family or the terrors of competition in the Hunger Games' arena. Katniss fights her way through to the end, sometimes relying on her anger to provide the fuel for her actions.
Because the book is written in the first person perspective, the author's tone and Katniss's tone are blended together. As Katniss's emotions shift, so does the tone of the story.
Let's use the Reaping as an example. As the Reaping approaches, the tone is definitely wary. Katniss is worried about her chances of escaping the lottery system. She has put her name in many times in order to secure more food for her family. At the same time, though, the tone is slightly hopeful. Katniss is fairly certain that her sister's name will not be called. Primrose's name is only in there once, so the chances are very low that her name will be picked. The tone goes from that mixture of hopeful and worried to a downright panicked tone when Katniss realizes that Primrose's name has been chosen.
If I had to pick an overall tone to apply to the entire novel, I would pick tense. This novel just doesn't ever let up. There is always an oppressive feeling being placed upon Katniss and the reader because her life is always at stake. She's either starving in her district or she's being hunted by other teenagers.