The Compulsive Reader: The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins

Friday, August 15, 2008

The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins

From the ashes of the civilization that was once North America came the Capitol, nestled high in the Rocky Mountains. Surrounding the Capitol are the thirteen Districts. As time passed, the Districts rebelled against the Capitol's harsh rule. Their punishment was the creation of The Hunger Games. Each year each District is required to send one boy and one girl to the Capitol, and there they will be thrown together in an arena and forced to fight to the death. Their fight is broadcasted on live television, and each citizen from all Districts is forced to watch.

In isolated District 12, Katniss Everdeen passes her days in school and illegally hunting in the woods beyond the fence that encompasses their community, scavenging and bringing down game to sustain her family. But when her younger sister is chosen to represent their district in the games, Katniss wastes no time in taking her place, even though she knows it mean near certain death. But when circumstances beyond her control twist the Games around, she'll have to fight against both the Games and what she knows is right in her heart to keep her life. One thing is for certain—people will remember this year’s Games for a very long time.

Suzanne Collins has created an absorbing and utterly fascinating look at a futuristic world where a government has employed a brutal and heartless system in order to maintain complete respect. She paints a picture of a plausible future, adding to it interesting tidbits of information that you would come to expect of your average science fiction novel--mutant species, hoverboards--while at the same time showing readers a simpler view of life--homes without hot waters and towns barely able to feed themselves.

Collins’ heroine Katniss Everdeen is a fierce and determined, angry at the ways of the Capitol, but conscious of the fact that there is nothing that she can do to protest. Her fear is tangible as she approaches the Games, and her wonder at a lush life in the city infectious. However, she really shines as she is immersed in the Games, where her wit and intelligence make themselves known, without understating the fact that she is a scared girl, struggling for survival. Hers is a coming of age story as she is forced to decide what she believes in and act accordingly amidst brutal circumstances.

Though the book doesn't introduce topics with quite as much depth as expected, it doesn't avoid them all together. Katniss's insecurities about death and love, for instance are still very present, and it is evident that throughout the story the author is laying the groundwork for the next two books in the Trilogy.

With an unexpected ending, dashes of tongue in cheek humor, and lots of quick thinking and riveting, suspenseful moments, The Hunger Games succeeds in capturing attention, and provoking thoughts. In its own way, it ranks high up along with Scott Westerfeld's Uglies series and Neil Shusterman's Unwind; a completely scintillating book and wholly promising start to what's sure to be a spectacular trilogy.

The Hunger Games will be released in October 2008.

(A bit of a side note...my mom read this book, and absolutely loved it as well. We both read it in one day. Not the same day, I mean. She read it one day, and I read it the next. Okay, the point I am trying to make here is that it's REALLY REALLY REALLY good, so can you just go and pre-order it already? Please and thank you.)


Liv said...

I have this one in my stack of books to read. I'm really looking forward to it!

Anonymous said...

I loved this book too!