Friday, May 6, 2011
CBRIII: Book#24: The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins
All of the hype surrounding the upcoming movies based on The Hunger Games combined with the adoration for the series led me to request the novel from my library. I thought it would be months before my place in line netted me the book. Instead, I had it within a week or two. And here I've finished it in around than three days and I'm twenty-third in line for the second book in the series. If you can't tell, I really enjoyed this book.
Katniss Everdeen lives in District 12, also known as the Seam. The prime purpose of the Seam is coal mining for the Capitol. The Capitol is the rich center of Katniss's nation and is full of the wealthy and surgically enhanced. The Capitol is in place to keep the Districts in line, their people mostly poor and frightened. The Capitol also orchestrates The Hunger Games, which is a fight to the death between tributes from each of the Districts. The tributes are randomly chosen girls and boys, one of each, between the ages of 12 and 18. This death match is televised.
I don't really want to go into The Hunger Games too much, as learning about Katniss's way of life and the sheer evil intent of the Games is far too interesting to spoil. I will say that we get a nice introduction to Gale Hawthorne, Katniss's best friend and hunting partner. I can only assume that he will be a love interest at some point, creating a triangle when we add Peeta Mellark. Peeta is the male tribute from District 12. I suppose you can guess at what role he plays at first, but I really hate to spoil anything for those still untainted.
Collins has done a great job. Her characters are well-written and you find yourself deeply invested in them quite early on. The tension throughout the book is palpable and not forced on the reader. Your investment in the characters make the tension natural and maddening at the same time. Not once during the novel did I ever think about this being a YA novel. It doesn't feel like one. The characters have been thrown into an adult world, with adult responsibilities and worries. If you haven't read this series, do it now. Before the movies can taint or ruin the surprise and the eloquence of the novel.