In the near future, in a place once known as North America, children between the ages of twelve and eighteen battle each other for public entertainment in an annual fight to the death. Two tributes from each of the twelve districts of Panem are sent, one boy and one girl. They have no choice in the matter, because they must do what the Capitol says.
This is the world of The Hunger Games, a sci-fi young adult novel by Suzanne Collins, the first installment in a breathtaking trilogy. In a brutal, dystopian era, 16-year-old Katniss Everdeen struggles to support her mother and sister in District 12 while the citizens of the Capitol roll around in their riches. The day her sister, Prim, gets her name called in the reaping- the ceremony that decides who will be a tribute in the Hunger Games, a yearly televised fight to the death- is the day her world begins to fall apart. In a split second decision, Katniss offers to go to the Games in place of Prim, an act that most consider a death sentence.
But, as Katniss soon finds out, her entry into the Games is only the beginning. She is forced to make decisions between survival and life, killing and dying, and the love life she never thought shed have. Slowly, she begins to unearth the dark secrets of the Capitol and its corrupt government, headed by none other than President Snow, the vile, snake-like dictator of Panem. And as it turns out, the Games arent just about winning&
At first glance, the book cover seems unassuming. A golden bird on a black cover with the title in bold white across the top. It is simple, but it symbolizes the book so much better than a complicated cover would have. Fans of the series know exactly what I mean, but for those that have not read the book, I can say no more, for fear of spoilers. But the cover isnt what draws you into The Hunger Games. It also isnt the synopsis on the inside flap, though that does play a very big part. Instead, what really reels the reader in is the short excerpt on the back showing off Suzanne Collins fast-paced, first-person present-tense style: Once Im on my feet, I realize escape might not be so simple. Panic begins to set in. I cant stay here. Flight is essential. But I cant let my fear show.
Although there are some controversial themes in the book- I have to admit, children fighting to the death isnt exactly my favorite, either- they only add to this brilliantly crafted novel. There is always something happening to Katniss and the other contenders, and there is always something left for the reader to think about. It is exactly these questions that propel the story along, making it virtually impossible to tear yourself away from its pages. What is going to happen next? How is this going to play out? Even past the thought-provoking issues, The Hunger Games is one of those books you end up getting really emotional over. Since it is such an intimate viewpoint- first-person has that effect- you really get inside Katniss head and experience everything that she experiences, which means that the impact is that much stronger.
Overall, The Hunger Games was a great read, despite a few sub-plots that got annoying after a while. Suzanne Collins writing style is intense and in your face, and the topic of the book adds to the whole insane mood of it. I would definitely recommend this to anyone who wants a good read, but beware: One you start, theres no going back&