Friday, June 5, 2009

The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins

Rating 5 out of 5

The Hunger Games is set in a future in a land called Panem which was North America, is divided into districts. Each district is responsible for one particular item. District 12 where our story begins, is responsible for mining coal and is the poorest.

Katniss Everdeen is sixteen and earns food for her mother and sister by hunting in the nearby woods. They live in an isolated world cut of from almost everyone except the Capitol who dictates how their lives are lived.

Every year the Hunger Games are held. A boy and a girl from each district is selected to compete, and if they win they get fame and fortune, as well as all the food their district needs for a year. There is one catch, only the winner survives.Literally. The Hunger Games is a fight for survival, and the winner is the last person standing. When Katniss’ sister is picked for the 74th Reaping, Katniss quickly takes her place and seals her fate in the Hunger Games.

Well wow. What to say really. This was an amazing book. I have not found a bad review of this book, certainly not in the blogging world and I can see why. This was a real page turner that had you desperate to know more. I literally could not put this book down. Everything about this book just jelled with me.
“A few hours later, the stampede of feet shakes me from slumber. I look around in bewilderment. It’s not yet dawn, but my stinging eyes can see it. It would be hard to miss the wall of fire descending on me.”
The pacing was just the right amount of slow and fast which kept the story flowing;and it did not impede story or character development. Collins was able to get enough information across to give the reader an adequate view of the world she had created with out bogging the story down. The book cleverly manages to be humorous, bleak, touching and sad (I was one step off from bawling at one point) as the children are forced to fight to the death in order to gain food for their district. It is stated that the Hunger Games were a punishment that the Capitol implemented after a failed rebellion.

The basis of the plot is a modern twist on the ancient Gladiator competition and a communist state (though the actual Government structure is never clearly stated). The two are intertwined together to form the main storyline. The Capitol has complete control over its districts, with each district being completely isolated and governed by extreme violence.

I read a comment about the reality TV aspect of this book would quickly date once reality TV was dead and buried. I for one do not agree. In fact I did not see it as a reality TV type show but as a way for the Capitol to manipulate and control its people. Similar to the radio and PA broadcasts that China and the USSR used to get before TV (maybe they still get it, I wouldnt know). Bringing these two elements together creates a truly frightening world that Katniss inhabits.

Where to start with the characters. Katniss is brave and strong, Peeta clever and kind. Both are heroes. These are kids who had to age fast in order to survive and that was before they went to the Hunger Games. Their interaction is believable and the relationship between them fascinating. I don’t want to give anything away but basically there is no nice bow making everything pretty and ok. I don’t know if anyone else noticed but all the characters from the Capitol seemed to have Roman names. I would like to know if this was deliberate or a coincidence.

A fantastic novel that I would highly recommend. I cant wait for the sequel Catching Fire that is due out later this year.

Other Reviews
Books and Musings from Downunder
An Adventure in Reading
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  1. I agree with you that the interaction between Katniss and Peeta was believable.
    I am so glad that I read this book. It was very, very good.

    I did not notice that the character names from the Capitol were Roman. Hmmm...need to take another look.

    Thanks for mentioning my post.

  2. really powerful book. Great review too!

    My 11 year old son read it and really liked it.

  3. The more I hear about this book the more I want to read it! Great review.

  4. The more I hear about this one, the more I want to read it. You make it sound irresistible, Caspette!

  5. Awesome review, I've just ordered this one from The Book Depository