The Hunger Games

[openbook booknumber=”0439023483″][rating:5/5]

In a dystopian future North America as we know it has been destroyed and from its ashes rose the Capital and it’s 13 Districts. The Capital was powerful and greedy and ruled the districts with an iron fist. When the districts rose up against them the Capital completely destroyed District 13 and subjugated the remaining 12. To keep the Districts in check they force each one to give up one girl and one boy between the ages of 12 and 17. The children must participate in The Hunger Games, a live televised fight to the death aired for the enjoyment of the residents of the Capital, the Districts are forced to watch in horror as their children are murdered right in front of them.

Katniss Everdeen is a 16-year-old who lives in District 12. She has been forced to provide for her family all her life as her father passed away in a mining accident when she was young. Her mother went into a catatonic state of depression afterward leaving Katniss to care for herself and her younger sister alone. Feeling abandoned and alone Katniss ends up drawing on the skills her father taught her: using bow and arrow, foraging and hunting in the forest, and surviving and supporting a family. When her younger sister Prim turns twelve and gets entered into the reaping for The Hunger Games the worst happens. Her little sister is chosen. Katniss sacrifices herself and volunteers in her sister’s place. Now she needs to see if her survival skills can transfer from providing for her family to staying alive in the arena as she faces the cruel carnage and inhumanity of The Hunger Games.

All the general fear I’ve been feeling condenses into an immediate fear of this girl, this predator who might kill me in seconds. Adrenaline shoots through me and I sling the pack over one shoulder and run full-speed for the woods. I can hear the blade whistling toward me and reflexively hike the pack up to protect my head. The blade lodges in the pack. Both straps on my shoulders now, I make for the trees. Somehow I knew the girl will not pursue me. That she’ll be drawn back into the Cornucopia before all the good stuff is gone. A grin crosses my face. Thanks for the knife, I think.

This book was absolutely riveting. I could not put it down. Every chapter ends on a cliff hanger and in between the plot is kept hopping and everything from the action, to the dialogue, the character development to the back story are written in very neat and tight leaving just enough left over so that you are asking for more. It is the very definition of a page turner.

The over arching themes about modern day reality television and violence as entertainment, combined with the dystopian ones of control, power and helplessness in a controlled state added a lot of depth and meaning to the book. At first glance the premise seems impossible but within two chapters you are utterly convinced of the viability and reality of such a world existing. I thought the world building and back story that built up this book were very well done and realistically portrayed.

The very premise of the book is one of violence for pleasure, and for a book like that to be done in such a way that still shows respect for the characters lives and the readers who are reading the book, I think, shows true talent. The deaths were handled very tastefully and with true feeling. Everyone’s death, from the most helpless child to the most dangerous bloodthirsty opponent on the field, is portrayed in a very compassionate and in some cases touching way.

I have been recommending this book to everyone to read. The writing is vivid, fast paced and packs quite a punch. This is one you will read in no time flat but be left thinking about for a long time. If you haven’t read it yet, you really need to. This is not one to miss out on!

2 Responses to The Hunger Games

  1. Helen Murdoch
    8:19 pm on March 13th, 2010

    I REALLY liked this book and the second one in the series, Catching Fire. It is just as good! Now I must wait for the third installment….

  2. Tif
    6:51 am on April 4th, 2010

    I loved this book as well and even liked Catching Fire better! I cannot wait for the final book in August! I’m thinking I will even do a re-read of the first two before it comes out.

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