The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins Rating: ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥
ISBN – 13: 978-0-439-02348-1
In the ruins of a place once known as North America lies the nation of Panem, a shining Capitol surrounded by twelve outlying districts. The Capitol is harsh and cruel and keeps the other districts in line by forcing them to participate in the annual Hunger Games, a fight-to-the-death on live TV. One boy and one girl between the ages of twelve and sixteen are selected by lottery to play. The winner brings riches and favor to his or her district. But that is nothing compared to what the Capitol wins: one more year of fearful compliance with its rule.
Sixteen-year-old Katniss Everdeen, who lives alone with her mother and younger sister, regards it as a death sentence when she is forced to represent her impoverished district in the Games. But Katniss has been close to dead before, and survival, for her, is second nature. Without really meaning to, she becomes a contender. But if she is to win, she will have to start making choices that weigh survival against humanity and life against love.
I’ve had The Hunger Games sitting in my TBR pile for months now, since around my birthday in March. I even started it once, and got about eight pages in. Why did I stop reading it? I have no idea, especially since I started it again Friday night and finished it today. I adore this book. I’m going to try very hard not to give any spoilers in this review because I fully believe that to spoil this book is to ruin it – I didn’t even read the last chapter before I started the book (which I always do), and I’m so glad I didn’t.
I have to admit, Suzanne Collins had me in tears by chapter two, page twenty-two. The scene where Katniss realizes she’s going to be in the Hunger Games made my breath catch and had me hooked – I had to finish the rest of this book, and soon. I needed to know what happens. I almost thought Gale was going to be going with her, so was a little disappointed by the introduction of Peeta. I grew to like him, though, as much as I could with the small glimpses into his character we got. Since the novel is told from Katniss’s point of view, we obviously don’t get the in depth character viewing of the others that we get with her. But that’s ok; it made me feel more like I was fully invested in Katniss and everything she goes through, than having to be invested in numerous characters at one time.
Like I adore this book, I adore Katniss Everdeen. She’s tough, loves her sister beyond measure, doesn’t want to kill and feels genuine pain for her fellow contestants, but she won’t just sit back and die either. She wants to win to get home and continue taking care of her family, and to see Gale (who she just might or might not have feelings for). She knows when she needs to use manipulation to survive and when to use descretion. But Katniss is 3-dimensional. She has human flaws (see: manipulation and will to survive no matter what) and troubles – she’s great with a bow, but she can barely handle having to heal someone; the sight of the sick or hurt makes her want to flee, though she struggles through as best she can. I don’t know if I’m explaining her character correctly, but she just seems such a well-rounded character and amazingly real.
I had read reviews of this book before I picked it up, and many of them kept talking about the love story. If they meant the love story between Katniss and Peeta, I see that more as survival than romance. Katniss does what she needs to do to win, and if that means playing up a love story? She’ll do it. Yes, she soon realizes she doesn’t know quite what to feel, but I still don’t see that as a “love story”. It’s survival, mutual aid and the beginnings of a plot line that I hope we see more of in the coming sequels (the first of which I’m going to end up buying tomorrow to read).
I found The Hunger Games to be raw, real, intriguing, well-written and well-developed. Suzanne Collins, you have drawn me into your world, and I can’t wait to read more about it. Hopefully others will pick up this book (if they haven’t already) and love it just as much! I highly recommend it =)