Wednesday, September 21, 2011

The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins

Title: The Hunger Games
Author: Suzanne Collins (her website)

Katniss is a 16-year-old girl living with her mother and younger sister in the poorest district of Panem, the remains of what used be the United States. Long ago the districts waged war on the Capitol and were defeated. As part of the surrender terms, each district agreed to send one boy and one girl to appear in an annual televised event called, "The Hunger Games." The terrain, rules, and level of audience participation may change but one thing is constant: kill or be killed. When her sister is chosen by lottery, Katniss steps up to go in her place.

**Yes, there are spoilers in this review because there was no other way to say how I felt without them.


I am not joking when I say this has become one of my new favorites. 
In a way, the plot reminds me of Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire. Okay, maybe not exactly like it, the similarities start and end with the actual Hunger Games, where only one will survive. Where as in HP Cedric dies (sorry for that spoiler to anyone who hasn't read the book). The games also reminded my of what the Romans did in the Colloseum. Fight's to the death as public entertainment. (gotta love history class :P ) 
Anyway, the way the author more or less created a new world for her story was really awesome. The government set up with the districts and capitol is really clear to the reader, so it's pretty easy to follow along. I like how the reader gets sort of a background story to what happened to the earth and what lead to the Games. The whole dystopain future the author created have a very futuristic feel where the Capitol, weapons and technology are concerned, but they also have an older feel with how the districts live. It's an interesting mix that reminds me of something we've been learning in history. Feudalism. The nobles are the capitol and the peasants are the people of the districts.
Okay, I think I'm done with the history refernces now; moving onto characters...
Katniss is always looking after her family, she's strong and capable and she likes to be seen as invincible and more or less unemotional. But she's far from unemotional. Katniss literally turns over her own life to save her sister, who she loves and has been protecting for her whole life. Katniss is also very headstrong and daring and more or less a rule breaker. And those aren't always the best qualities to posses in an almost literal dictatorship (the Capital athorities being the "dictator").
Gale, I fell in love with him right from the start. He's very much like Katniss characterwise, all the way down to him being the one that watches over his family. I just wish there was a little bit more of him in the book...
Peeta, a baker, an artist.... a tribute. His situation is pretty heartbreaking... especially since Katniss thinks he doesn't mean it for most of the book. It's obvious for us to tell that he loves her, but she's in denial. In a way it's a good and bad thing they both are tributes.
Now for my favorite character...
Rue is the so sweet and small, but still pretty fierce. Katniss immediately feels protective toward her. And is Rue's last scene, i cried. The emotion the author portrayed in that particular scene was a big part of it, but the events that led up to it and Katniss and Rue's relationship did more. I could just imagine their bond so clearly, it was just sorrowful to see it get broken apart like that. I swear, when Rue started calling for Katniss, my heart stopped and I got chills.
So all in all, I love the way the author writes, I feel like I actually know the characters and i felt like i could actually relate to Katniss. Well, probably only as far as the fierce protectiveness goes since i have so many younger siblings, but my point still stands. 
The Hunger Games is an addicting book full of suspense that has your stomach clenching and your heart pounding the entire time. Recommended for anyone who lives dystopain type, star-crossed love, action-packed, rule-breaking, and/or futuristic type books.

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