Wednesday, March 10, 2010
Review: The Hunger Games
The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins
Reasons for reading: Have heard amazing things about it; Have been trying to get hold of it for a almost a year but it's too popular at the library; Young Adult Challenge
Description: "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 tohis 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."
First line: "When I wake up, the other side of the bed is cold."
My thoughts: This book was crazy-good! It kept me up til 1am! I've enjoyed Collins' first two Gregor the Overlander books and I'm glad to see that she's extended her talent to young adult fiction.
The premise of the book is just staggering - a country that forces its people to send their children to be killed for the entertainment of others. It's actually Survivor! I was completely drawn into the world of Panem and this insane "game". Katniss is a complex character. She's smart and tough and fiercely loves her sister, but she has a lot of anger inside about her father's death, her mother's failure to look after her daughters, and the circumstances of her impoverished district. She's thrown into the national spotlight and doesn't know how to act - she's a gifted archer and hunter, but she doesn't really have the charm required to win over viewers. The fact that the contestants get a team of stylists before they're sent to their deaths says a lot to me about our society that's so obsessed with image and by what's in the media. Her handlers try to create an image for Katniss, but she's thrown for a loop when the boy from her district, Peeta, declares his love for her on TV. Is it strategy or is it true? Katniss has to deal with that along with two dozen people trying to kill her, all while the nation is forced to watch her (viewing is mandatory in Panem). She makes some very smart moves, but her wilful streak does not please the powers-that-be, which is where the book leaves off.
The verdict: Highly recommended. My hold for the sequel just came in and I can't wait to read it!