Friday, April 27, 2012

The Hunger Games - Suzanne Collins

The Hunger Games
Suzanne Collins
Scholastic Press
Copyright: 2008
978-0439023481

The amazon.com product description:
In the ruins of a place once known as North America lies the nation of Panem, a shining Capitol surrounded by twelve outlying districts. The Capitol is harsh and cruel and keeps the districts in line by forcing them all to send one boy and one girl between the ages of twelve and eighteen to participate in the annual Hunger Games, a fight to the death on live TV.

Sixteen-year-old Katniss Everdeen, who lives alone with her mother and younger sister, regards it as a death sentence when she is forced to represent her district in the Games. But Katniss has been close to dead and survival, for her, is second nature. Without really meaning to, she becomes a contender. But if she is to win, she will have to start making choices that weigh survival against humanity and life against love.
As I said in my last review, The Hunger Games got a lot of press when it first came out, and even more on the release of the movie, which is currently in theatres. Actually, it was the release of the movie that made me re-read the book this time.

I have to say that I found it as good this time as I did last time, and in some ways, found it even more intriguing. Mostly due to noticing the various hints of things to come in the later two books, Catching Fire and Mockingjay. Not to mention having skimmed through books like The Girl Who Was On Fire, a book of essays on the world of The Hunger Games, including aspects of the different characters. All these factors combined to make me both more aware of the details of the characters and world that Suzanne Collins has created and more thoughtful about the read.

 Yes, this world is a violent and brutal place - It's perfectly normal for people to starve to death, and any world where children being forced to kill each other on TV is seen as normal and entertaining can't be called anything but violent and cold, but at the same time, The Hunger Games isn't only about that. It's also about doing the right thing, even when that's nearly impossible. This isn't just a book glorifying violence, it's more.

Katniss is quite the character too. From the start, she's a rule-breaker, breaking the rules about hunting - of course, that's simply the only way she and her family: mother and sister, can survive. But, the skills she picks up in hunting will serve her well in the arena, as will the attitude. Katniss is a survivor, and it shows. But, there's more to the games than simply being able to find food and avoid the other tributes. And those games (or not games) are where she's going to have a bit more trouble.

The Hunger Games is a teen book, and it shows with the inevitable love triangle aspect, but that just adds to the struggle for Katniss. Who will she choose? By the end of the Games, the question might be more "who can she choose?" Peeta or Gale? That question will last through the whole trilogy.

Teen book or not, Suzanne Collins' The Hunger Games is an immensely popular book that will grab the attention of more than just the teen readers out there. If you haven't read it yet, it's well worth the time.
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