The Hunger Games
- Suzanne Collins
In the ruins of a place once known as North America lies the nation of Panem, a shining Capitol surrounded by twelve outlying districts. The Capitol is harsh and cruel 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, who lives alone with her mother and younger sister Primrose, 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 will weigh survival against humanity and life against love
I feel like I’ve been excluded from the clubhouse having been one of the last book bloggers to read The Hunger Games. Although so many people have raved about this book and told me I would love it (including one very persistent friend who mentioned it every time we met up!), I was a little reluctant to actually read it myself in case it was over hyped. It was a bit like being told the secret knock for the clubhouse but worrying that I wouldn’t like wallpaper inside. With the film being released at the end of the month, I decided to finally give in and start reading. And didn’t stop until I reached the end!
This book is eminently readable – the writing just draws you in and won’t let you go until you reach the final sentence (and even then you want more). Katniss is a hugely likeable character – independent and capable, just wanting her family survive by any means necessary – whether that is illegally hunting outside District 12 or talking her sisters place as tribute in The Hunger Games. She has her defences though as she hasn’t been able to trust many people in her life – just her father and her friend Gale. But despite this she isn’t a rebel, just a survivor.
The build up to the games, the drawing and the training gives a great background to the world and how the Capitol and districts work. I enjoy this introduction and the characters – plus the descriptions of food! However, once the games begin all bets are off as Katniss struggles against the other competitors, starvation and other tests the Gamemakers place before the tributes. I truly loved how it felt like anything could happen – and often did! I also loved Peetra and Rue, Katniss’s fellow tributes – they made you realise that anyone could end up in the games. The action was non-stop and yet tender moments weren’t forgotten as Katniss struggled not just to survive but to remain human.
I can easily see why this book has such a strong following – and why it was made into a film. There are some fantastic set pieces which looked spectacular in my head so I hope the big screen does them justice. I’m also keen to read the rest of series myself, because I have a feeling Katniss’s trials are only beginning.
Recommended for fans of Veronica Roth and Patrick Ness. 9 out of 10.