Picking up The Hunger Games, I expected a flimsy YA flop. Considering what is usually popular in YA (Twilight and The Vampire Diaries), teenagers never seem to have good taste in literature. But The Hunger Games was probably one of the most engaging books I’ve read in a while.
“Twenty-four are forced to enter. Only the winner survives. In the ruins of a place once known as North America lies the nation of Panem, a shining Capitol surrounded by twelve outlying districts. Each year, the districts are forced by the Capitol to send one boy and one girl between the ages of twelve and eighteen to participate in the Hunger Games, a brutal and terrifying ﬁght to the death – televised for all of Panem to see.
Survival is second nature for sixteen-year-old Katniss Everdeen, who struggles to feed her mother and younger sister by secretly hunting and gathering beyond the fences of District 12. When Katniss steps in to take the place of her sister in the Hunger Games, she knows it may be her death sentence. If she is to survive, she must weigh survival against humanity and life against love.”
-Summary stolen from http://www.thehungergames.co.uk/about_the_book
The premise is that there are kids fighting. And who wouldn’t want to see teenagers fight each other to the death? Answer: no one. The idea is awesome. And Collins doesn’t disappoint. While I expected the book to consist largely of sword fighting or the like, the Hunger Games are in fact far more complicated than that. Which is what made it especially interesting. The children who compete must draw sponsors who in turn supply gifts for their contestants during the competition. This aspect made the story a satire of both reality television and corporate sponsorship.
It might actually take too long to list everything great about this book. The characters are engaging, the plot is lean and quick, the action is creative, and the implications of the tale are horrific. Collins isn’t afraid to kill characters– twenty four children enter the games, and only one may remain. So it does not stretch imagination to come to the conclusion that many deaths occur. Which in a children’s book is awesome. When I read Collin’s last series, I was surprised how easily she kills off main characters. Vicious.
Because I love a good shock, I felt like the violence could be exploited a bit more. But then again, this is a children’s book.
I’ve never devoured a book so quickly since the seventh installment of Harry Potter. I picked up the book at the library on Friday. By Saturday afternoon, I had finished it. I’ll be on the lookout for the sequel. I was surprised that the games did not last longer than the book, actually. Because I knew going into the book that this was a trilogy. So I figured out over the course of the book that the games would indeed come to an end. Though the ending of The Hunger Games hints at what is to come, it is not explicit. So I’m very interested in seeing what Collins will do next.
For the time being, I’m reading Swamplandia! by Karen Russel, which I will also write a review for. Having anticipated this book since November, I better not be disappointed.
So, keep reading/writing. I’ll keep you posted on all things writing here.