Fighting to the death: The Hunger Games

I read somewhere that The Hunger Games trilogy is believed to take over the Twilight and HP franchise. This is good news for the fans looking for something else to be wide-eyed and addicted to. The best-selling novels have a movie coming out in March 2012 and I watched the trailer and found myself very eager to read the book – you know so I can be all snobby and say “Oh yeah the movie’s are alright I suppose.. But *sigh* nowhere near as good as the books.”

So I read the first book, The Hunger Games, and oh my goodness; It’s like crack. I have to wait for my dealer – the library – to let me borrow the next one . There’s a queue you see. It’s a nervous, shaky wait. Like Meyer and Rowling author Suzanne Collins has created a world of pure escapism, of human struggle and triumph, a story which can appeal to younger and older readers.

The story is set in the future in a country called Panem which is divided into twelve districts. The dictatorship government is enforced by those who live in the Capitol – they live in luxury while the other districts live in poverty and in a dark age living conditions. To remind the people of Panem of their control they hold an annual Hunger Games, a sick and twisted version of the Olympics, where two contestants, a male and a female, from each district aged between 12 and 18 are drawn out and must fight one another to the death in an arena.

The whole Hunger Games is being broadcasted around the country as a form of reality show series, the contestants are interviewed and beautified for the cameras. It is entertainment for the Capitol folk who place bets on who will win, who will die first etc.

But for people of the districts it is a reminder of their power who are forced to watch their children being slaughtered in the arena. Only one of 24 contestants will survive the games. Primrose is only twelve and her name is drawn out to fight in the Hunger Games. Her sister Katniss will not allow this and volunteers as tribute and fights in her place.

Katniss is a feisty and strong-minded character but she’s likeable as well. She’s a great hunter and has looked after her family from starvation in the district, her skills with a bow and arrow come in great use in the arena. The story is told from the first person narrative of Katniss, it is fast-moving but incredibly suspenseful which may cause that crack-feel about it.

Author Collins says that the book was originally just a stand-alone book but after finishing the first one she realised there was too much more left to say especially regarding the political situation of the people in Panem. I am recommending this book to anyone looking for escapism, it is written quite plainly making it accessible and doesn’t spend too long getting bogged down in the meaning of things. But it is shocking, interesting and fantastic. I am looking forward to seeing the movie, but we -the snobby book-reading elite- all know it will never be as good as the book.

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