Now getting to the review. I'm terrible with peer pressure, I know. Everyone else seems to be reading this series and then I found it in the library. From there it was settled. (I'm still impressed I've resisted the Twilight fad for this long)
In a future North America, where the rulers of Panem maintain control through an annual televised survival competition pitting young people from each of the twelve districts against one another, sixteen-year-old Katniss's skills are put to the test when she voluntarily takes her younger sister's place.I came really close to giving up on The Hunger Games (Book 1 of 3) [US] [UK] after the first few CDs. It was really frustrating how subservient these people are who live in each of the districts. They're on the brink of starvation, the rulers make it illegal to go hunting (although that's one place they actually break the rules), they can't say anything remotely seditious against the ruling class and to top it off they send two kids from each of their districts to compete in a "game" where they have to kill each other off - the winner is the one who out-survives the rest.
The book explains that no one fights back because the elusive District 13 was utterly decimated. But seriously? People who are starving anyway have nothing to lose, a quick death by decimation is much better than slowly wasting away. Not only that, you have the parents. Who would continue to let their children go off to fight to the death and not do something about it, or at least just not be so submissive to everything?
The kids arrive at the compound where they train and get ready for the games and yet again, they are completely afraid to break any rules. And yet again, what do they have to lose? They're about to go try to kill each other, why don't they do something? This is somewhat explained away because "sponsors" can help you throughout the game by sending you things you need and they'll only do that if they like you and you're in compliance with the rules.
Yet, I couldn't help but think that people would still be fighting back. But anyway, once I got over these couple niggles, The Hunger Games was a fairly enjoyable read.
Collins has created an interesting futuristic world where the ruling class keeps the people under their firm grasp by subjecting them to the horrible atrocities that are the Hunger Games. I thought she did a great job showing the intrigue of the games - that they were about more than just who's the biggest, strongest, fastest.
Once the Hunger Games themselves began, I was sucked in. The game designers plan a number of surprises and tricks to not only weaken the players but to bring them together. Whatever gives the most entertainment for the legions of crowds watching the grisly show. These were all really interesting and helped to move the plot forward very quickly, because I, like the insensitive crowd, like my entertainment too. :)
Almost immediately, the players created alliances (Survivor style) and it was interesting to see the dynamic especially since they all knew only one person would live. This was done quite well and even created some interesting twists.
It's interesting to note that The Hunger Games have been optioned by Lions Gate films and I'll be interested to see the movie. You always have to see if they got it right. :)
When Should You Read The Hunger Games?
When you're in the mood for something light and definitely young adult, The Hunger Games may be the way to go. I'm probably the only one who had the issues I had with the book, so don't let that hold you back.
3 out of 5 Stars (liked it)
The Hunger Games is followed by:
Catching Fire (Hunger Games #2) [US] [UK]
Mockingjay (Hunger Games #3) [US for pre-order] (Release date: August 24, 2010)