The Hunger Games
BY: Suzanne Collins
PUBLISHED BY: Scholastic Press
PUBLISHED IN: 2008
I bought The Hunger Games trilogy last year. Then the books got stacked up and forgot about having them. Knowing that the movie starring Jennifer Lawrence was about to come out, I took a slight break from my review piles and opened the first book. It was late at night, I was tired, and I was not planning to read very much. Well, I ended up reading about half of the book, as I was caught up in the futuristic, weird world of Panem, which strangely resembles the real world. The story is told from the point of view of sixteen-year-old Katniss Everdeen (What a name!) who volunteers to take her sister’s (Prim) place in the annual Hunger Games that the Capital holds. There were once 13 Districts in Panem, and the 13th rebelled against the Capital. After the 13ths were vanquished, the Capital decided to punish the other districts with the Hunger Games. Each year one male and one female (between the ages of 12 to 16) from each district are randomly chosen to participate in the games which only has one main rule, fight to the death.
Katniss is well aware that she volunteered for a death sentence. She is great hunter, thanks to her late father, and is an expert with a bow and arrows. She has much better chance of surviving than her other District 12 constant, Peeta - the son of a baker. With the guidance by District 12’s only winner, Haymitch, who somewhat trains them before they are tossed into a forest like arena. Airing on Live TV, the 24 contestants must fight to the death.
The Hunger Games reminds me of the Running Man by Richard Bachman (A.K.A. Stephen King), but with teenagers. Suzanne Collin’s narration is wonderfully crafted with a slight razor edge to it. As a reader, I was instantly hooked into the story and felt for Katniss as she struggled to survive in the violent arena. Considering all the reality TV rage in our culture, we are not to far from this violent entertainment. That is a scary thought! The Hunger Games is targeted for the Young Adult market, but the book is written for a mature reader. The control that the Capital has over the Districts mirrors our current government as they try to control the public. The book is violent, not graphic, but I would not recommend it to younger readers. I absolutely loved the book and I recommend it for older readers.