This is a review of the first book in the series, and not a review of the whole series.
The first in a trilogy, The Hunger Games is a dystopian YA novel, set in an unknown future, where Panem exists in the ruins of North America. Panem consists of 12 (once 13) subdued districts, who are all controlled by the rich and powerful Capitol, as a result of a rebellion some hundred years ago.
In a continued attempt to keep the 12 districts docile and quiet, the Capitol plans the Hunger Games every year, in which a boy and a girl tribute are chosen from each district and thrown into a ferocious and violent fight of survival, in which only one person can win. 16-year old Katniss Everdeen’s life is changed one day when her younger sister’s name is called out in the reaping ceremony, so that she volunteers to take her place, and sets forth a series of events that will change her life forever.
After recommending and lending The Hunger Games to numerous friends and CBPP (Creative Book Publishing Program) classmates over the summer, I’ve been itching to reread the series again myself. My friend Liz (check her blog out! its funny!) just finished reading the series, and I figured this was a good time to do it. Since I just finished reading it yesterday, I figured I might as well post a review of it, even though the last book has been out for awhile, and I’ve read the series multiple times already. But this will be a review of the first book only, so I will try not to spoil anything (hopefully).
I heard about this book from Stephenie Meyer. Yup, you read that right. THE Stephenie Meyer, author of the Twilight series. And no, it wasn’t a personal recommendation. Waaaay back in the day, I was an avid reader of her website/blog entries and read her review of it with interest. I looked it up online and thought it sounded interesting and different. So then I put it on hold, got into line with 39 people ahead of me, and then promptly forgot about it.
That is until it finally arrived and I picked it up and read the first page. I was hooked.
This kind of magic and love with a book, with a character, doesn’t happen very often. Its something I have rarely experienced since Harry Potter, although its nowhere on the same level of love. But its pretty up there.
Suzanne Collins voice is fresh and engaging. Her strength is definitely in her characters and in depicting human relationship. And this is definitely seen through in Katniss’ character, as well as Peeta.
I love Katniss. I love her fierceness, her unabashed confessions, her honesty, and her strength. After listening to people complain about how there are no strong female heroines in YA literature, I think Katniss proves everyone wrong. She’s not perfect nor is she a barrel of sugar. She can be prickly and difficult. But once you hear her story and how she got here, you can’t help but fall in love with her.
Her relationship with her mother, with Prim, her sister, with her friend Gale, and finally with Peeta, are so beautifully described that you can’t help but feel that you know these people, really know them. And that’s what makes the story so engaging.
Like so many other YA novels right now, namely Harry Potter, The Hunger Games is no children’s bedtime story. There is violence, and its brutal. This is a book about the act of surviving; surviving hunger, surviving loneliness, surviving manipulation and corruption. This is a book about children being forced to kill children, all in the name of fun, and being forced to make choices, difficult choices that rip apart their innocence and youth, and pit them against one another. This is a book about people making the choice to kill or be killed.
This is why adults are so drawn into this genre, I think. The Hunger Games isn’t just for children, adults are also ensnared by the riveting story, the quick pace, and the jarring similarity to our own world.
So if you haven’t picked up the The Hunger Games yet or have been living under a rock, pick it up! Now!
You won’t be sorry you did.
‘Till next time,
P.S- Look out for my review of Catching Fire soon! I’m well into it, so as soon as I’m done, it’ll be up. 🙂