Saturday, April 18, 2009

The Hunger Games - Suzanne Collins

Title: The Hunger Games
Author: Suzanne Collins
Series: The Hunger Games Trilogy, Book 1
Genre: Science Fiction
Edition: Hardback
Pages: 384
Price: $12.23
Published: September14, 2008

The Hunger Games reminded me of why I like adolescent fiction. Good adolescent fiction. It has been awhile since I have read something truly good. I have gotten bored with selections from the young adult realm. I debated about getting this one. Something about the cover (because unfortunately I do judge a book by its cover) turned me off. But the book was mentioned by Stephanie Meyer on her website... so I was curious.

September 17, 2008

People often ask me for reading suggestions, and I'm always happy to share because books are exciting things to me. My latest excitement is this: The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins. I was so obsessed with this book I had to take it with me out to dinner and hide it under the edge of the table so I wouldn't have to stop reading. The story kept me up for several nights in a row, because even after I was finished, I just lay in bed wide awake thinking about it. I've been recommending it to total strangers in Target. And now to everyone who reads my website. The Hunger Games is amazing.


What she said. I started it yesterday and finished it this evening. I was tempted to start this post this morning, but I figured I should at least finish the book first.

Katniss is a 16 year old girl living in Panema, what used to be called North America, sometime in the indeterminate future. There had been a civil war of sorts. The rebels lost and are relegated to living within there regions and not allowed to leave the fenced confines with out permission of the "government."

As part of the settlement between the Regions and the Capital, there is a yearly "tribute," where each region sends two of its young adults to compete in the Hunger Games. The Hunger Games are a fight to the death in a mix between Survivor and Lord of the Flies televised for the entertainment of Panema. It also is a reminder to the Regions of who is in charge and what the consequences might be for defiance.

The Regions are responsible for a variety of agri-economic (is that a real word, or did I just make it up?) ventures. The region that Katniss lives in mines coal. This population is of a poorer socio-economic class and does not have enough provisions to live as comfortably as the populations from the more "loyal" regions.

The Tributes (the name given to the kids involved) are chosen from a pool of young adults that have registered for consideration in exchange for food and supply rations. After a coal mine explosion that kills her father, Katniss takes over as the provider for her mother and younger sister. She leaves the confines of her region to hunt in the woods and supplement the meager supplies of food her family has. When Katniss' younger sister is chosen, Katniss volunteers to go in her place.

The "Tributes" are groomed and coached to gain popularity and gain sponsorship according to their entertainment value. Does any of this sound familiar? The Tributes are let loose in an arena, which is more of a artificially natural environment than a stadium, and the games are not over until only one person is left. The are given some meager provisions: food weaponry and supplies, in the beginning, but they are forced to fight for them. The rest is left to their resourcefulness and the generosity of their sponsors, who may parachute in something the Tribute needs.

Hmmmm... now that I think about it, the book cover looks kind of nazi-ish, don't you think?

In any other young adult book, at least that I have been reading lately, you know the protagonist will prevail and survive. This one I did not have the confidence to predict the outcome. I saw it going several different ways.

Katniss is a well-written character. She is easy to identify with and her talents that may seem convenient are explained in realistic ways. The key to any book for me are the characters. If I do not care about the character(s), then I am not going to care about the story.

Extremely entertaining, well-written, and containing messages (though not overt) even I could understand. One word of warning - it is book one of a trilogy. This one was just published last month and I have not been able to find a time frame for the next one. I hope it doesn't take too long.

Technically it is science fiction, but it doesn't read that way, even less so than The Host.

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