This is the first of the best young adult series that I've read all year. In "the Hunger Games" we see a government gone wrong. By wresting control of all life from it's constituents, the government has consigned them to a life of horror. The heroine and narrator is Katniss Evergreen, a practical, level-headed teen and the sole support of her mother and younger sister. Her father having died in a mine explosion (the family lives in a coal-mining district with an Appalachian feel, called the Seam), without Katniss's ability to sneak into the forbidden forest to poach, her family would starve. We join her the day of the drawing. The odds are definitely not in her favor -- because of age and poverty, her name is entered many more times than average, and the same is true of her hunting companion, Gale. Katniss barely registers that her 12-year-old sister's name had been called when she dashes to the stage and volunteers to replace her. The second tribute from her district is Peeta, the baker's son.
The 24 teens are then sequestered in the Capitol, where a team of stylists -- and here is one aspect of how the author uses our familiarity with television shows like Survivor to recast a venerable science-fiction scenario -- is assigned to primp and prepare them for the Hunger Games. The more attractive and personable participants have better the odds of obtaining a sponsor. A wealthy sponsor can provide expensive gifts of food and medicine during the games that could mean the difference between life and death. District Twelve's prep team creates an illusion of romance between Katnis and Peeta to garner sympathy and perhaps support for these players.
Not that Katniss and Peeta think they have a chance. It has been more than 30 years since a winner came from District Twelve. Many of the other combatants are from the richer districts. These Career Tributes have been training their whole lives for this moment. They are healthy, well fed, and aggressive: one of them always wins.
Part of the drama involves watching Katniss and Peeta's responses as they are torn from a simple life of surviving in a harsh, oppressive existence and dropped into a technologically sophisticated environment. We luxuriate along with them as they experience an abundance of food and sumptuous clothing, as well as having all of their physical needs met. But there are constant reminders of the dark underside of these moments of pleasure. Not the least is a servant whose tongue was removed as a punishment for running away. Katniss recalls for us of the power of the Government to genetically engineer predators for their own amusement. Readers aren't allowed to forget that the end of this journey is a violent and spectacular death, broadcast to the nation.
We're all familiar with the old storytelling trope about the evil empire oppressing the good guys who are helpless to do anything about it. Those actual stories, though, have one particular thing in common: They're all told from the point of view of one of the scrappy revolutionary good guys. Has anyone ever wondered about the everyday people who weren't some secret spies for the rebels? This is the dynamic that author Suzanne Collins first introduces us to in The Hunger Games. The Hunger Games … more
Have you ever read a book and after you finish it you want to kind of shove it into anyone and everyone else’s hands so they can read it too? This is the state I’ve been in ever since completing The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins. I can’t even remember where I first heard about this book. It’s easily one of the best books I’ve read all year. I’m only sorry I didn’t discover it sooner.   … more
Dystopia, Big Brother and post-apocalypse are themes that have been included in novels so often that it could well be a life's work for a librarian to prepare an exhaustive catalogue of titles. But, in terms of quality, the devil is in the details and Suzanne Collins has justifiably taken the world by storm. Her novel, THE HUNGER GAMES, inspired by the legend of Theseus and the Minotaur, is an innovative, dare I say unique, young adult twist on the recurring themes of violence, cruely, despair, … more
Told from the perspective of the main character, Katniss, THE HUNGER GAMES takes place in a future where the United States as we know it no longer exists. The book never explains exactly what happened, but years earlier there was some sort of economic collapse and global catastrophe. In the aftermath, what was once the continent of North America is now a country called Panem. In what is explained in THE HUNGER GAMES, Panem was controlled by a massive Capitol City that ruled over thirteen separate … more
Novels with dystopian themes have been popular for generations, and one of the newest, The Hunger Games, is worthy enough to merit a place among the classics. Written for teens, with adolescent main characters, the story will snag and rivet the attention of an older readership as well. The plot is straightforward: the American democratic experiment has failed, leaving the surviving population distributed among a dozen rigidly separated settlements, each region assigned to produce a specific commodity … more
When I first read the summary for Hunger, I had a clear picture in my head of what was going to take place within these pages: a no-holds barred, youth-oriented battle royale. If that's what you want to read, then you will get that in this book. But the beauty of what Collins has done here is that you also get so much more. Hunger opens when the protagonist, Katniss, is chosen to participate in the annual Games, an event created by the Capitol to keep down the rebellious … more
In the ruins of a place once known as North America lies the nation of Panem, a shining Capitol surrounded by twelve outlying districts. Ruthless and calculating, the Capitol rules the districts with an iron hand. Especially after what happened to District 13. But people don’t talk about that. Inside the Capitol life is a constant celebration filled with beauty and abundance, especially during the Games. Outside the Capitol, in the other districts, people live in poverty struggling to find … more
So my friend Sarah has been trying to get me to read this book since it first appeared in the hands of her middle school students. She says she thinks it’s “better than Harry Potter”. While I’m not ready to go that far, I do think Suzanne Collins has successfully created a series that is head and shoulders above the enormous pool of fantasy/dystopian young adult books that have exploded on the market since J.K. Rowling opened the floodgates. … more
"There's some confusion on the stage. District 12 hasn't had a volunteer in decades and the protocol has become rusty. The rule is that onece a tribute's name has been pulled from the ball, another eligible boy, if a boy's name has been read, or a girl, if a girl's name has been read, can step forward to take his or her place. In some districts, in which winning the reaping is such a great honor, people are eager to risk their lives, the volunteering is complicated. But in District 12, where the … more
Hunger Games and it's second part ( Catching Fire) were Christmas gifts from my boyfriend but I must admit that I haven't really heard much about them prior to last year's holiday. Once I had them all sorts of wonderful reviews started to come to my attention and I wondered: what is this book, why is it so special? All I had to do was read it to find out for myself but I read it without knowing too much of the plot and I have to say it was a wonderful way to go about it. The book was … more
The Hunger Games is a young adult science fiction novel written by bestselling author of The Underland Chronicles, Suzanne Collins. It was originally published in hardcover on September 14, 2008 by Scholastic Press. It is the first book of the Hunger Games trilogy, with two more books to come. It introduces sixteen-year-old Katniss Everdeen, who lives in a post-apocalyptic world where a dictatorship called the Capitol has risen up after several devastating disasters. In the book, the Hunger Games are an annual televised event where a ruthless Capitol randomly selects one boy and one girl from each of the twelve districts, who are then pitted against each other in a game of survival and forced to kill until only one remains.