The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins
Author: Suzanne Collins
Series: The Hunger Games #1
Release Date: July 1, 2010
Dates Read: November 27-December 20, 2011
Winning means fame and fortune. Losing means certain death. The Hunger Games have begun…
In the ruins of a place once known as North America lies the nation of Panem, the shining Capitol surrounded by twelve outlying districts. The Capitol is harsh and keeps the districts in line by forcing them all to send one boy and one girl between the ages of twelve and eighteen to participate in the annual Hunger Games, a fight to the death on live TV.
Sixteen-year-old Katniss Everdeen regards it as a death sentence when she steps forward to take her sister’s place in the Games. But Katniss has been close to dead before-and survival, for her, is second nature. Without really meaning to, she becomes a contender. But if she is to win, she will have to start making choices that weigh survival against humanity and life against love.
WARNING: CONTAINS SPOILERS
Oh boy. I finally see why this book is so popular. I have been told to read this book by several people, sites, forums, recommendation engines… I finally got around to doing so. There was a lot I liked about this book. The most obvious thing that drew me to it was that it was a well-recommended dystopian book with a thrilling survival element. Once I started reading it, the excitement and emotional involvement kept me coming back. The survival part of the Games was well-written and entertaining. I liked the twist of the beasts at the end, as it helps demonstrate how truly sadistic the Capitol is as a whole. I really enjoyed the character of Katniss. She is refreshingly self-sufficient and defiant. I enjoy a good heroine who can hold her own against the best of them, especially when she uses her wits as a weapon. While Katniss herself feels that she is often uncaring, I think she was just the right level of caring. She cares for her sister enough to volunteer as tribute in her place, essentially sacrificing her life for Prim’s. She has love for her father in her memories. She appears to hate her mother on the surface for shutting down and failing to care for the family, but we see glimpses in which Katniss does indeed still love her too. She cares for Gale. She cares for Rue deeply, associating her with Prim and trying her best to protect her and avenge her when she fails to do so. And she does care for Peeta.
I found myself able to relate to Katniss surprisingly well with her dealings with Peeta. Her thoughts about Peeta’s actions really tugged on my heartstrings. When he would do something kind for her, she would repeatedly think that he was just playing into the “starcrossed lover act” that she thought Haymitch concocted. Any time she started to feel something, she kept reminding herself that it was just part of the Games, that it wasn’t real. This relates to me on a personal level, because I have some major issues with trust. This is particularly true with men, and particularly so where relationships are concerned. Every time she doubted Peeta’s motives, I could feel myself in her shoes. Every time half of me was like “can’t you see, Katniss?”, the other half of me was thinking that I have probably very similarly, maybe just as foolishly, disbelieved someone whose motivations were genuine.
Although the end left a lot of conflict unresolved (obviously opening for a sequel), I enjoyed what did occur. I appreciated how Katniss started distancing herself from Peeta on the way home, because she was entirely under the belief that everything that occurred between them was just part of the Games. I liked Peeta’s cold, biting reaction to her hurting him, and I very much look forward to seeing what occurs between them, and between the other characters when the District 12 victors return home.
Note: It didn’t take me so long to read this book because I disliked it in any way. Block exams and assignments and cumulative final exams in pharmacy school got in the way.