Sunday, March 21, 2010

The Hunger Games

I started and finished reading the first 2 books of The Hunger Games Trilogy by Suzanne Collins this week. The books were recommended by the lovely ladies at ADF a few months back. After I obsessively chewed through all 5 Percy Jackson & the Olympians books in one weekend, I was hesitant to start The Hunger Games on the premise that I would not get much of my work done... and I would lose too much sleep.
Well after an annoyingly frustrating and busy week in which I swear I have lost weight from my lack of sustenance and given up the will to live from my lack of resources, I gave in and started the first book, amply titled, The Hunger Games.
My mind? Totally blown away. The United States of America suffered through drought, fire, famine and war, and was replaced by Panem, a country consisting of a Capitol and 13 districts. The Capitol controls everything in the districts, from the security, to the amount of food each person in each District receives. There was a rebellion years ago, and the Capitol obliterated District 13 and started The Hunger Games to remind the other districts that they were calling the shots.
The Hunger Games is essentially a cruel reality show designed for the entertainment for the people of the Capitol. Each district sends 2 tributes, one boy and one girl, between the ages of 12 and 18, to take part in the tournament. There can only be one winner - the last person alive. In District 12, the coal mining district, 16-year-old Katniss Everdeen from the Seam volunteers to take her sister's place as the district's female tribute. She can hunt and she can defend herself. This character is strong-willed and jaded by the life and conditions in her district. She is a fighter and she keeps to her promises. She is naieve about boys, because she is too distracted trying to survive. Her best friend, Gale, is also her hunting partner and he is a character that is easy to like. He is kind, and realistic. He loves his family as fierecly as Katniss cares for hers and they both do their best to protect their younger siblings and shield them from ever having to face the Games. In the games, Katniss fights to keep the audience interested - that is the way to get sponorship for things you need - and get out alive.
The male tribute is Peeta Mellmark, the baker's son. He is a kind soul and great with words. His fighting skills are next to naught but he is strong and determined. His character is difficult to hate and when you read, you will agree that he is too sweet to die.
Suzanne's characters are realistic. They are exactly what I would expect from teenagers who lived the way and seen the things they were forced to. They form alliances and friendships, even though only one of them can win. The story is filled with action, drama, suspense with a touch of romance, and is wholly engrossing.

I finished the 2nd book, Catching Fire. This story is just as interesting, filled with the same elements of suspense, drama and action. I don't want to say more on this book - I may give too much away from the first one.

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