The Hunger Games
This post is going to be all about the latest book series on everyone’s mind–The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins. The first one was published in 2008. With the premiere only a week away all anyone is talking about is this exciting trilogy. If you haven’t seen the trailer or read the books, the Youtube video gives a good sense of the basic premise of the first book, called The Hunger Games.
If after watching the trailer you are now thinking that you might want to see the movie, this article is a great review. It talks about the casting, the writing, how accurately it reflects the books and it does all of this thoughtfully. There are also comment on the review which I found helpful in giving a rounded description of the movie adaption.
The books are set sometime in the future in the United States. There was a war and out of the ashes of war rose a new country called Panem. After a rebellion in one the districts of the country, the Capitol began holding the annual Hunger Games. Each district, there are 12, must randomly select a boy and girl between the ages of 12 and 18, called tributes, to compete in fight to the death where only one comes out alive and is crowned the victor. The Games were created to keep citizens complacent and remind them of what the Capitol is capable of and discourage another rebellion. The most sickening twist that that the games are televised and people are required to watch. The fact that the games are televised reflects our societies obsessive interest in pop culture and reality television
The main characters are a 17-year-old girl named Katniss Everdeen and 17-year-old Peeta Mellark. Katniss is cold, calculating and generally shows little emotion. Katniss became a tribute by volunteering to take the place of her younger sister; the girl originally chosen to compete. Collins gives the reader just enough of a balance between Katniss’ stoic strength and emotion that she remains someone you root for. In contrast the male tribute from the same district as Katniss, Peeta Mellark, is inherently kind and desperately clings to his humanity while most of the tributes lose theirs quickly. The contrast and interaction between the two characters, particularly interesting because so often the male is portrayed as the harder and less emotional one, adds another level of interest.
I like to read a lot of reviews about books I really enjoy and this is probably my new favorite book. This article by Susan Pfeffer for the New York Times, is a contrast to a lot of the reviews since it is more negative than many. While I find the play on our society interesting, Pfeffer seems more skeptical about it. This was another review I found helpful which is more in depth. It talks more about the plot of the books and the writing, but for someone trying to decide if it is their kind of book it is a helpful article.
Overall, while the original description deterred me since I do not tend to like science-fiction books, the books hold your interest and keep you guessing while also incorporating a romance story between Katniss and Peeta that derives from the typical boy meets girl and they fall in love pattern. Even if after reading this you don’t think the Hunger Games sounds like your kind of book, I recommend giving it a try. I felt the same way too but now I’ve fallen in love with the books and the way they interlace various themes intro one interesting read.