I always refused to read a book when there was so much hype around about it, particularly when it has just been turned into a movie. However, I did read The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins under these very circumstances. I did not see the movie first.
The Hunger Games is based in a post almost-apocalyptic America – where society has changed. The capital city which is unimaginatively called “Capitol” is right at the centre of Panem. There are then Twelve Districts spanning outwards from Capitol, each has their own industry and each is poorer than the one before.
16 year old Katniss lives in District Twelve, the furthest from the Capitol and arguably the poorest in Panem. But this year feeding her mother and younger sister isn’t all Katniss has to worry about because Katniss is about the represent her District in The Hunger Games – in which she will either win or die.
The Hunger Games are brutal; a televised, big brother style survival game which the residents of Capitol lap us as entertainment. But this is also a political move by the Capitol, it is punishment for an early rebellion. The Games serving as a reminder. A boy and girl from each district is picked to take part every year -There can only be one winner – everyone else will be killed but the winner gets food for their district and their family will be rich – a moral dilemma for anyone.
Unfortunately for Katniss, her male counterpart is the very same boy that once saved her life – she couldn’t kill him in the games to win could she?
Despite my reservations of The Hunger Games not living up to the hype, I really enjoyed reading this book.
We are transported from Poverty stricken District Twelve where feeding your family is the primary aim of every single day to Capitol where there are rich foods piled high, cosmetic surgery is an everyday occurrence and fashion the order of the day. And then into The Games where trust is scarcer then food.
Panem is heaving with political madness and a dictatorship which has been painted over with showmanship and the thick almost theatrical make up that is on trend that day but the contrast to the down trodden, poor of the outer distracts is so astounding that even as a reader on the outside looking in – you just accept that this is the way thing are. The Hunger Games happen and one person must survive it – you just pray it will be our Heroine Katniss.
All the main characters are very well rounded and very likeable in their own ways. You are always interested in how they are dealing with the stress of The Games, what they are thinking and how they are feeling.
I loved reading The Hunger Games and although the ending wasn’t a huge cliffhanger it did make me want to read the second book in the Trilogy – Catching Fire.
All in all it’s a great read – personally, I love books with some politics to it and I’d definitely recommend this book.