Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins
With the whole Twilight frenzy it’s no surprise that Stephanie Meyer’s book recommendations (check the Sept. 17, 2008 excerpt) have reached Oprah-like status. Making The Hunger Games a new sensation. The book already has an unofficial fan forum where fans are creating fan fiction, and even an RPG. (And to think this book was just published a couple of months ago!)
After several natural disasters and war North America is renamed Panem a country divided into twelve districts with one Capitol. Each district is responsible for providing a resource for the Capitol. Katniss belongs to district twelve which is the poorest and provides coal. After her father dies in a mining accident Katniss must provide for her distant mother and frail sister. However, she is not alone in her struggles and befriends Gale a handsome rebel who talks about escaping district twelve to live in the wilderness. In an instant, Katniss’s world is turned upside down when she takes her sister’s place in the Hunger Games. Every year the Capitol chooses a boy and girl (called tributes), between the ages of twelve to eighteen, from each district to compete in a televised battle of death called the Hunger Games. The winner of the game is rewarded with a brand new life and their district will be well-fed for a year. The loser’s bounty is death, which is often brutal and painful. There are no rules to the game except no cannibalism and there can only be one winner. Katniss feels that she will be able to survive, however she is not so sure about the baker’s son Peeta (the other tribute) who maybe too soft for the games. Also, Katniss feels rather guilty that she has to kill Peeta who once saved her life. To further complicate the situation when they reach the Capitol Peeta confesses his love for Katniss. Now Katniss must battle with her growing emotions for Peeta while trying to stay alive in a Hunger Games.
In Stephen King’s review (mentioned by Trisha in an earlier post) he compared the storyline to Battle Royale and The Running Man, which is a fair assessment of the novel. However, I found Collin’s writing and formulation of Panem as hypnotic and a plausible depiction of a post- apocalyptic North America. (Sort of reminded me of Westerfield’s The Uglies series, yet more violent.) The book will appeal to both teen girls and boys. There’s a romantic love triangle between the main characters with bloody barbaric brutality in the main arena. For me, it was a definite page turner and I finished it in a day! I’m just hoping the action will be maintained or even better in the next book.