Hunger Games (2008)
I thought about not writing a review of The Hunger Games since this book has swept the blogging community since its publication. I have read so many great reviews and thought one more wasn’t really needed. What changed my mind was laying in bed two o’clock this morning and feeling my heart beat faster as I thought of Katniss and Peeta, Rue and Thresh, and wondered what will book 2, Catching Fire, have in store for the main characters and District 12.
Summary from the jacket flap:
In the ruins of a place once known as North America lies the nation of Panem, a shining Capitol surrounded by twelve outlying districts. Tha 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 patricipate 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 teh Hames. But Jatness 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.
No matter how much you read about Hunger Games you are never prepared when you finally read it. One of the first things that stood out for me was how much information Collins gives on what’s life is like after the rebellion within the first few chapters. As the reader you take how granted how gifted Collins is as making us feel what it’s like to live in District 12. It’s the poorest of all the districts, except District 13 which has been obliterated in the rebellion and used as a reminder of the Capitol’s power.
The Hunger Games is sci-fi, a romance, and social commentary rolled up in a young adult novel. Many have talked about how honestly reality television and violence have been portrayed but what echoes for me was the social commentary on the lifestyle differences between the poor who live in the farther districts and the rich who live at Capitol which was shown through Katniss’s perspective of the residents of the Capitol and her physical hunger.
What must it be like, I wonder, to live in a world where food appears at the press of a button? How would I spend the hours I now commit to combing the woods for sustenance if it were so easy to come by? What do they do all day, these people in the Capitol, besides decorating their bodies and waiting around for a new shipment of tributes to roll in and die for their entertainment?
Compare that with this:
Starvation’s not an uncommon fate in Distict 12. Who hasn’t seen the victims? Older people who can’t work. Children from a family with too many to feed. Those injuried in the mines. Straggling through the streets. And one day, you come upon them sitting motionless against a wall or lying in the Meadow, you hear the wails from a house, and the Peacekeeprs are called in to retrieve the body. Starvation is never the cause of death officially. It’s always the flu, or exposure, or pneumonia. But that fools no one.
I enjoyed reading this book so much that I stayed up until the early morning to finish reading it. The ending, though short, was what I expected. I have so many questions I want answers to including what is going to happen to the “bodies” of the contestants who lost at the Hunger Games. I cannot wait until September 1st to buy the next book in this trilogy. Until then, I think I will start reading Collins’ Underland Chronicles series.
Challenges Read for: Young Adult; 100+ books; April’s pick for The Year of Reading Dangerously; A Novel’s Group; and Once Upon a Time