Wednesday, September 15, 2010

The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins

Hello everyone! Miss me? Ugh, It's been torture for me since I last reviewed! (I haven't been able to read a whole book since my last post!) So, now I present to you, a shiny, fresh, new review from a book I finally had the time to read. Please Enjoy!

The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins is certainly in a class of Young Adult all its own. Infused with a heady mix of life or death situations, intense calculation and emerging romance, the book is sure to hold your attention. I do have a confession to make, this is the 2nd time I've read the book. The first time I read it in 3 days, this time I read it in barely 2! It is just so compelling!

Alright, so here is some essential world-building break-down. In some radical, futuristic twist of fate, the land known as North America has completely fallen apart from war and been replaced with the nation of Panem. Panem is divided into numbered districts (1-12) which specialize in producing certain items for the spoiled and silly Capitol which runs Panem. (e.g. District 1 makes diamonds, District 11 handles Agriculture) Now, to remind all of the districts about how fortunate they are (even though half of them are starving) every year there are the Hunger Games. Where 1 boy and 1 girl between the ages of 12 and 18 (tributes) are picked from each district to compete in a bloody battle for their lives where there can only be one victor.

Now for this years 74th Hunger Games our main players are Katniss, a 16 year old girl who holds the world on her shoulders, forced to hunt illegally to feed her sweet sister and unreliable mother. The only constant she has in her life is her male friend Gale, 18, who hunts with her in the woods. The other contestant is Peeta, 16 year old baker/bread boy who has been in love with Katniss since he was 5. And to make things worse, once did Katniss an unbelievable kindness which she never feels she will be able to repay. There couldn't be 2 worse people to compete against each other right? Probably not.

These Hunger Games begin with the usual fan-fare/craziness until Katniss and Peeta's stylist (Cinna) and mentor (Mitch) decide to present them as a couple madly in love! What can Katniss and Peeta do? As their feelings become stronger and the act becomes a little too real, how can they face the rule that there can only be one Hunger Games winner?

This book really is a phenomenal read. For once we get a book for teens which is unafraid to expose problems in corrupt governments, teach a little about rebellion and survival, as well as the impact of taking another person's life. We also get a book which focuses more on strategy than romance. True, there are some heart-felt, mushy-gushy moments, but the story doesn't completely focus on the love triangle. I wouldn't throw this book at anyone under 15, but I would encourage as many teens as possible to read it.

The only problem I have with this book is the names. (Yes I harp on that quite a bit over at book looker too.) But really, Katniss? A.K.A. Catnip? A bread boy called Peeta? People named Cinna, Primrose, Flavius, Octavia, Venia, Ceaser and Thresh? Even Effie for crying out loud! You do get used to the names after a while, I'll grant that. But sometimes you see a new one and have to go "What the hell Collins?" (I had such a moment with a tribute named, of all things, Glimmer from the diamond district.) Overall the names take nothing from the series. It is simply that fantastic.

In short, the world building is strong, interesting and the characters compelling if a little overwhelming in number. The story is wonderfully set-up, intelligent and is a thought provoking piece. I absolutely loved it.

Go. Read it. Now!
(Before they turn it in to a movie.)

Teaser Line: "I take his hand, holding on tightly, preparing for the cameras, and dreading the moment when I finally have to let go."

Sequels to The Hunger Games: Catching Fire (#2) and Mockingjay (final book)

Hunger Games: internet movie database listing (not much info. at all, it was announced a little while ago.)

Hunger Games: Official Website , (numerous fansites are out there, you can find more info on them, HOWEVER they will not be spoiler-free)

Find Hunger Games Merchandise at: Hottopic

photo taken from Barnes and Noble

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