The Hunger Games by 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, regards it as a death sentence when she is forced to represent her district in the Games. But Katniss has been close to dead before-and survival (goodreads).
Katniss Everdeen has a lot on her shoulders. She has to provide for her family, avoid harsh punishment by her totalitarian government and now she has to fight 23 other kids to the death. The Hunger Games weaves an emotional novel full of heartbreaks, small smiles and hope.
When I was ignorant as to what this series was about, I asked a trusted friend of mine to give me the quick run down. Her response? "It's like Battle Royale, but in America." Now I"m sure we have all heard this tired argument of "Hunger Games is just a Battle Royale rip off and blah blah blah" and I'm not about to get into it. I just wanted to acknowledge that that comparison was my first introduction to the series and now that I have completed all three books, the arguments need to end. While both have the general idea of "kids killing kids for a brighter future," each novel reaches it's end point through very different means.
The Hunger Games moves at a very steady pace in order to create long lasting bonds, create world development, and enough hints at future plot points that will make you go "OOOOHH" when it all comes together. When the premise of a book is a bunch of kids fight to the death in an arena, you come in somewhat prepared for the horror and gore but...I really don't think anything can prepare ANYONE for the horror that is the 74th Hunger Games. There is one death in the book that ruined my day with how graphic and disturbing it was.
I think The Hunger Games' strongest point is the characters. Katniss is so ridiculously complex. It was hard for me to agree with her thought process, or hell even LIKE her, but I respected her. I loved her relationship with her sister, questioned her harsh judgment of mother and adored her love for one little tribute. All of the interactions pulled at my heart strings and made me FEEL something. To be quite honest, I didn't like Peeta, but I liked his interactions with the other characters. I understood why Collins created him, even if I didn't like him myself; that could be said for Katniss as well.
The Hunger Games is told from the first person point of view and I must say, I LOVED being in Katniss' head. She is so original and just so different. Her thoughts, her descriptions, and her feelings are addicting and I think this novel would have been a bit flat if Collins chose to tell the book from the third person.
Overall The Hunger Games is a must-read novel for anyone who can stomach the idea of innocent kids being forced to kill each other for the entertainment of a dominating government. Then only reason why I did not give this book a full five stars is because I could not get into the love story.
Recommended to everyone who likes an edgy and violent book!