Saturday, May 5, 2012

The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins

The Hunger Games (The Hunger Games, #1)The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

The Hunger Games is the type of novel that pulls a reader in and keeps the pages turning. It also has some depth and thought behind it concerning the fairness of economic systems that funnel all the wealth to select groups at the expense of the majority. At times the writing can be melodramatic and somewhat predictable, but there was enough justification behind those scenes to get through them without losing the emotion. I was always eager to find out what was going to happen to Katniss and pulling for her along the way.

The story is about Panem, a country that exists in the future where the US was once located. Panem consists of 12 districts that surround a wealthy capitol. There was once a rebellion that pitted the capitol against the districts. After the rebellion was put down, the leaders devised the Hunger Games as a means of intimidation designed to maintain the status quo. Each of the districts must select 2 children to go into the arena and fight until there is only a single survivor. This is designed to show the people of the districts that they cannot defend their own children. The economic system protects the children in the capitol and in the districts the poorest families have the greatest chance of having their children selected. I wonder if the plot was inspired by the chocolate industry.

Katniss develops a relationship with Peeta, the boy from her district who was also chosen as a “tribute” and with Rue, a young girl from district 11 who reminds Katniss of her sister, Prim. The story is written from Katniss's point of view, so it is her emotions that we experience. They are as complicated and confused as the feelings of most seventeen year old girls. This is compounded by the fact that Katniss must play to the audience of the Hunger Games. Any sponsors she wins can help her along the way.

This book is unique, exciting, and relevant. Now that I've read it I intend to see the film. I also intend to read the rest of the trilogy.

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