Book Review | The Hunger Games
Title: The Hunger Games
Author: Suzanne Collins
It is funny how much I enjoy things that I know so little about. I remember, years ago, going to see the movie Ghost (with Patrick Swayze and Demi Moore- remember that movie?). All I knew about the movie was that it was really popular. When the movie ended, my girlfriends complained that it hadn’t lived up to their expectations because they’d heard so much about the movie. I, on the other hand, had only heard it was an amazing movie and it far exceeded the expectations I had!
The same thing has happened again – this time with a novel. I’ve heard for months that Suzanne Collins’ book, The Hunger Games, has been hugely popular and is “the” book to read. But that was all that I had heard. I had no idea what the novel was about. So, as I began reading The Hunger Games, my only expectation was that was it a good novel. Little did I know how much I would enjoy it!
In a futuristic world, Katniss Everdeen is living a very hard life. At sixteen years of age, she has to deal with the fact that her father is dead, her mother has difficulty managing the family and her little sister Prim needs someone to care for her. Katniss is the sole person coping with all of these issues. Added to that, Katniss’ family lives in Area 12, a very poor part of this post-apocalyptic world where many people struggle simply to stay alive. Katniss has found ways to help her family – she hunts for food (though it is illegal) and she has formed a bond with a young man named Gale because they are working towards a common goal for both of their families.
This world is quite complicated. Ruled by the Capitol, many rules have been established as a means of trying to keep the people of this world from rebelling against the government. One of the rituals that have been established are “The Hunger Games”. Every year, two youths are chosen randomly (one male and one female) to participate in The Hunger Games. The events are televised for everyone on their world to see. Once these twenty-four youths (2 from each of the 12 areas) have been chosen, they are brought together in a rough terrain with one very simple goal: they are to kill one another. The last person left alive is the winner of The Hunger Games and their communities are given extra food and other perks and the winner also receives many luxuries.
On the day of the selection, Katniss attends the mandatory ritual and is shocked to find her sister is that year’s female selection from Area 12. Katniss, fearing for her sister’s safety, offers to take her place instead. Along with the male selection from Area 12, Peeta, Katniss embarks on a terrifying journey into the world of The Hunger Games.
This novel is so amazing that it almost defies explanation! I was drawn in immediately to Katniss – she is a brilliant and strong lead character and Collins has written her in such a way that you can’t help but adore her (even for all of her faults – and she has many!) and want her to succeed. Peeta is also a completely likable character – he reminds me of some of my male friends from my high school years and I found, as a reader, that I was torn because I wanted both of them to win The Hunger Games, even though it is made quite clear that it isn’t possible! The cast of supporting characters are well-written and well-rounded, something that you don’t always see in novels. I was engaged in the novel and found myself reading it in one night because I couldn’t put it down!
I also found the premise really engaging because it actually ties into a lot of things we see in today’s society – the inequities between members of society, the ways of controlling some countries by their governments, the huge impact of reality television in our society and the power of love.
I loved this book so much, after staying up really late to read it in one sitting, that I’m already halfway through its sequel, Chasing Fire and I’m really excited about the release of Mocking Jay (the third book in the series) which is being released on August 24th!
I’d recommend this book to anyone who enjoys an interesting plot with engaging characters! Though technically this book is listed as both a science fiction novel and a young adult novel, I think it is a great book for anyone who enjoys a good story!
*I received a copy of this book to review but I was not financially compensated in any way. The opinions expressed are my own and are based on my observations while reading this novel.*