Saturday, February 21, 2009

The Hunger Games

A friend recommended The Hunger Games to me by Suzanne Collins. It's a YA sci-fi book that is a series (I found out at the end of the book). This book would definitely appeal to males, especially young males.

This is the premise of the book: This book takes place in the future in a post-apocolyptic world where a dictatorship has risen. The government, called the Capitol, divides the country into 12 divisions. In order to maintain order and to stop a rebellion in the future, the Capitol issues the Hunger Games every year. Adolescents ages 12-18 are all put into a drawing for their division. One male and one female are drawn. These two individuals represent their division and will HAVE to go play the Hunger Games.

In the Hunger Games, contestants are put into an arena where they are forced to kill one another. Only one winner will remain and will be able to live. The Hunger Games are televised for all to watch. Contestants can get sponsors, but the Capitol really makes it into a television show. When it gets too dull, they can alter weather in the arena or can add animals or other elements to make them interesting. In the arena, the Capitol leaves weapons and some food. Otherwise, contestants must live off the land and fight to the death.

It's good to note that most of the country is in extreme poverty, especially from the point of view of Katniss, the protagonist female who is drawn to play in the Hunger Games. They can hardly eat day to day. They live in district 12 where they specialize in coal mining. (Each district has its own specialty from crops to fishing). Katniss lives with her mother and sister and must find food for them. Her father has already died. Katniss hunts in the woods with her older friend Gale, a young male who requests to live in the woods with her to survive, but they can't because they must help their families survive.

Katniss becomes involved in this love triangle with Peeta, the male drawn from district 12 to join her in the Hunger Games. He is in love with her, and during the Hunger Games, the Capitol plays on it. Anyway, Katniss doesn't know who to care for. She is torn between Peeta and their struggle through the Games and Gale, her friend from home. It's a weird triangle.

The Hunger Games is really action-packed. There is always something going on, and for those who love action, this is full of it. It's adventurous, but you need to have an open mind to read this book. If you like survival and science fiction plots, you'll enjoy this. It's a little out there, the whole concept, but if you buy into it, it can sweep you up. It only took me a couple days to read it.

I was a bit angry with the ending. It was building up to some closure, and then it ended right when you wanted to find out about the ending. Then it kindly announced END OF BOOK ONE, signaling to the next book soon to come.

Of course. I was livid. I didn't know it was a series. She wants to connect you to the next book to buy it and get hooked. I can see how people WOULD get hooked, but I'm not THAT drawn into this series. It's no Twilight, let's put it that way.

The next book, Catching Fire, is due out in September 2009 and the third and final book in the trilogy is supposed to be out in 2010. How much farther can this go? Where will she take it?

It seems evil that the Capitol would go back on its promises to keep them together (SPOILER SO DON'T READ BEYOND IF YOU HAVEN'T READ IT YET). I know they were setting that up at the end of the book, but what else could they possibly do to them? The Games are over. How can they go back on their word now that they're home?

I can see that Collins is trying to show the corrupt government situation. It would make sense for them to be tyrannical and evil, going back on their word and being unjust, but it seems a little out there, a little too much. But I guess that's fiction and the imagination. You can do whatever you want. I'm just surprised this is a trilogy. I could see it being one single book (which I thought it was). Maybe a trilogy will be too much? I guess we'll see in September.

Check out Stephen King's review of the book here. I agree with him on two things: I'm not sure if readers will stick around for the series, and Katniss is definitely a lame name.

So what did you think of The Hunger Games?

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