Title: The Hunger Games
Series: The Hunger Games Series
Author: Suzanne Collins
Publication Date: September 14, 2008
Publisher: Scholastic Press
Rating: * * * * *
The dilapidated land once known as North America is now Panem, home to twelve separate districts. In the center of them all lies the Capitol. The Capitol contains the most prominent and elite citizens of Panem and rules all twelve districts with their aristocratic customs. In order to keep all citizens of the districts in-line, the Capitol hosts an annual competition called The Hunger Games. This yearly event involves a random drawing of one male and female from each district, called tributes, to participate in a barbaric fight to the death. The televised games commence in a controlled arena with 24 tributes, but only one can emerge alive.
The tribute selection process is called the reaping. In lowly, coal mining District 12 the reaping brings about a rare occurrence. When the name of twelve year-old Primm Everdeen is drawn, her sixteen year-old sister, Katiness Everdeen, volunteers to replace Primm as tribute. Katniss is fierce and strong. Having been forced into the role of protector for her family after her father’s death, Katniss has strong instincts for survival. She has developed hunting abilities from her secret ventures with her friend Gale to the forbidden woods, which has the potential to make her a serious competitor in the games.
When the other tribute for District 12 is revealed to be Peeta, a boy who once saved Katniss through a simple act of kindness, she is forced to weigh survival against humanity and life against love, while the whole nation of Panem looks on.
I was a little hesitant to start reading this young adult series, but I enjoyed this book and would recommend it to my friends. It initially reminded me of a combination of the short story The Lottery by Shirley Jackson and George Orwell’s 1984. I was aware of the basic concept of the book from seeing the trailers for the motion picture that is being released tomorrow, but was surprised by some of the plot twists used by Collins.
It is easy to get caught up in the world of Panem with the detailed and crisp writing of Collins. Panem is described with realistic characteristics from the current state of North America as we know it, with the addition of some futuristic and unique elements, including hybrid animals, hovercrafts, and magical showers.
There is a good balance of suspense and adventure that is compelling. I enjoyed reading a story of this nature that has a strong, female lead. The independent spirit of Katniss is inspiring and it was nice to see her explore her emotional side throughout her journey in The Hunger Games. The romance was minimal in the first book of this series. I am anxious to what the next book, Catching Fire, holds and am hoping this aspect will be explored further.
Get your copy of The Hunger Games (The Hunger Game Series) by Suzanne Collins, buy it on Amazon.com.