Reading Level: Young Adult
Publisher: Scholastic Press; First Edition edition (September 14, 2008)
Tags: Post-apocalyptic, survival, Romance
Series?: Yes, The Hunger Games Trilogy Book 1
COULD YOU SURVIVE ONN YOUR OWN, IN THE WILD, WITH EVERY ONE OUT TO MAKE SURE YOU DON’T LIVE TO SEE THE MORNING?
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 is forced to represent her 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. Acclaimed writer Suzanne Collins, author of the New York Times bestselling The Underland Chronicles, delivers equal parts suspense and philosophy, adventure and romance, in this searing novel set in a future with unsettling parallels to our present.
I committed two big mistakes with this book which I’m going to tell you so you don’t end up hitting yourself as I did.
The first one was to wait this much to read it. I decided to open it after having it decorating my bookshelf for almost a whole year although I had heard amazing things about it. I just never seemed to feel like reading it.
The second one, and in my opinion the worst one, was to start reading it without having the sequel “Catching Fire” waiting in the shelf; right after I finished “The Hunger Games” I headed to the computer to buy Catching Fire.
This book has that “something” that transforms a simple story in a piece of art. The world that Suzanne Collins creates isn’t that different from ours; yeah, maybe it seems crueler with things like the Hunger Games, but really, many little boys die every day as soldiers in Africa. Also, the society is pretty similar, being the rich, unharmed people, the ones living at the Capitol, and the poor exploited workers, at total disposition of the abuse of its governors, the ones living at the districts. That’s one of the things I liked the most about this book, that although both our worlds seem so different, they aren’t.
The whole Hunger games thing has you wondering all the time what would you do if you were Katniss, and I loved learning things about survival from her. I don’t think I would be able to survive much out there. What I still can’t understand is how the people at the capitol not only enjoy this kind of brutal and sadistic reality show, they also prepare big parties and parades the days before the games begin, and even vote for their favorites! How can they bet money on which child will die next!? It made me feel like screaming “HEY! You’re talking about children lives here!”
The characters are well developed, and although there are some that don’t appear much, the little time they do, you get to figure them out quite well. Katniss is the main character, although you could say that Peeta is too, since he’s almost all the time there, living the same things. She is a realistic character, a person I really think I could be friends with because of her strong character and her determination. As for the others, I found myself loving the sweet Cinna and laughing a lot with Haymitch (or should I say laughing at him? ^^).
The other thing I loved the most about this book was the romance. Not by it itself, if not because nowadays most of the books I read are centered in the romance and then following it comes a problem the lovers have to overcome to be together. This book felt different. This book isn’t “Romance then Problem”, it is “Problem then Romance”. The romance is, although a very important part of the book, an excuse to further develop the story and show us the worst face of that world.
Now, if you ask me which team I’m of, it is kind of complicated. While Gale doesn’t appear much, when he did at the beginning of the book and when Katniss remembered things about him during the Games, I felt like I wanted to know more about him because he quite fit her more than Peeta in some aspects. Peeta isn’t your average bad/mysterious boy we’re accustomed to, his sweetness and directness made me love him. Here we had Gale the boy who has known Katniss since years ago and who is similar to her, and Peeta completely different to her, that has been secretly in love with her since they were 5. In the end, as the story kept developing and even though I like Gale quite a lot, I realized I’d go for Peeta. Opposites attract.
The impeccable writing makes it easy to read and understand what happens, and the present tense only adds more emotion to the whole lot. Also presenting it from Katniss point of view was a magnificent guess since that wraps the reader in the same uncertainty as the heroin of who to trust.
If you haven’t read The Hunger Games yet, turn off the computer, get up, and run (RUN) to your nearest bookstore and buy it. And since you’ll be already there, save yourself the trouble of having to run there again tomorrow, and buy Catching Fire, because you will devour this book in hours. The third and last one in the series is Mockingjay, coming out on August 24th this year. Also, that day is the release of The Hunger Games Box set.
About the author: Suzanne has not only wrote Sci-Fi, as in The Hunger Games trilogy, she is also the author of The Underland Chronicles, a fantasy series. Find out more here http://www.suzannecollinsbooks.com/.