The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins
Age Group: Young Adult
Pages (Hardcover): 374
Series: The Hunger Games (Book 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 districts in line by forcing them all to send one boy and one girl between the ages of twelve and eighteen to participate in the annual Hunger Games, a fight to the death on live TV.
Sixteen-year-old Katniss Everdeen, who lives alone with her mother and younger sister, regards it as a death sentence when she steps forward to take her sister's place 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 will weigh survival against humanity and life against love.
There is a lot of hype surrounding this book and the movie that is in development; a lot of times, that can deter someone from reading or simply put a lot of unfair expectations on a book. This book lived up to all of its expectations and far surpassed them. From the moment the book begins, we are thrown into the world that Collins has created and I didn't want to leave.
The book picks up on an event called The Reaping where the children/teens are selected to attend the Hunger Games. From the moment it begins, to the moment that it ends this book is action packed and an emotionally packed thrill ride for heroine, Katniss. The plot of the story didn't seem like it would be as riveting as it was but the story is gripping and full of action that is used to develop Katniss as a character.
From other blood-thirsty teenagers to deadly mutations, Katniss faces it all in The Hunger Games; but away from the games, she fights the system. We are introduced to the world of 12 districts, hers being the Slums and scum, and a ruling government body that repeatedly reminds the citizens of its domination. The Games cannot be turned down, watching and attending the Reaping is obligatory, death is required; these are all ways the government beat the people down. It is depressing and maddening to consider life in that world, and yet it is so wonderfully addictive thanks to the work of Collins.
Through all of the negativity, doubt, and hardships we still manage to see Katniss survive. There are times we are afraid for her, there are times we shout her name, there are times we wish to sponsor her, and sometimes, we just give up hope; then, she prevails. She is a strong willed and powerful standing sixteen year old, carefully and expertly created with incredible depth.
The love interest(s) and male protagonist(s) Peeta and Gale form a carefully constructed, yet unique, love triangle. Peeta, the baker, the chosen...the enemy... Gale, the brother, the hunter and the one who got left behind. Katniss struggles in her search for emotion, never trusting the feelings Peeta displays and in turn, never seeing Gale a romantic light. She falls into emotional traps of loving both without realizing she feels for either. This triangle is so carefully connected that the slightest breeze could send it shattering to the gound and that makes it so uniquely intense.
Overall, this book was spectacular. From the characters, to the story, the history, and the emotions it elicited in me were all wonderful to experience; so wonderful in fact, I bought the entire box set days after reading the first book. I cannot wait to continue this series and would recommend it to anyone who enjoys dystopian settings or simply phenomenal books.
Rating out of 5: