Author: Suzanne Collins
Publication Date: October 1, 2008
Publisher: Scholastic Inc.
Genre: Young Adult, Science Fiction, Dystopian
Source: Borrowed then bought
Book Description from Publisher: 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 first received this book from my book addict twin Nicole with rants and raves about it, after she picked it up in an airport on her way home from Peru (I’m jealous that she goes on so many adventures) and finished it on her flight home. I let it sit on my shelf for awhile, until one day I went on a family fishing trip and since I never catch anything anyways, I figured I’d bring a book. After setting up my chair, baiting and casting the line I started reading.
I stumbled through the mundane first few chapters, and was about to give up because honestly not much was happening. When I look back on it now, I realize it was to set up the skills and back story that would be vital to Katniss later on. By the time we came to the ceremony where the tributes are chosen, I was hooked. There was no stopping me now that the ball was rolling, there was political intrigue, action, suspense and a cast of colourful and diverse characters.
I spent the next few hours completely enveloped in the book ( I lost track of time, didn’t reapply sunscreen and got some pretty bad sunburn), and it was completely worth it to keep reading! It wasn't just a physical battle that went on here, there was so much political intrigue and survival strategies too.
The cover is pretty nondescript, plain and with me being a sucker for pretty things, I likely walked past it several times in a book store and didn’t stop to look at it. The symbolism on it doesn’t even become iconic until you get into the later parts of the story, but now with the impending release of the movie, the mockingjay pin and what it signifies has exploded into the mainstream as a very identifiable figure.
Collins did a great job building each set that the story takes place in, I didn’t have a difficult time envisioning the soot covered village of district 12, or the dangerous expanses of forest to the metallic glamour of the Capitol.
The character of Katniss is loyal, fierce and willing to do whatever it takes - even killing, if it means her loved ones survive. She’s a great strong character, and since she’s from one of the worst off districts, it’s great to see her rise up and be the underdog that no one expects.
I have to say out of the two main boys, Gale and Peeta, I definitely root for Gale, to me he was the more likable character. Gale is the confident, skillful childhood friend of Katniss who understands how much work it takes just to make sure their families have some food on the table at night. Whereas Peeta - although from the same district as Katniss and Gale, he tended to live a much more sheltered life and I honestly didn’t think he’d hold it together for very long, but he definitely had some surprising tricks up his sleeve, and what he lacks in brute strength he makes up for in cunning.
The other characters such as Haymitch, Effie and Cinna each had a unique and easily distinguishable persona’s. They were looser characters that were a great dynamic to Katniss’ more serious focused persona. I especially love Cinna, he’s a fashion designing genius!
Once the reader is pulled into the preparations for the Hunger Games the action and drama are so well balanced that it can definitely keep the attention of boys and girls alike. There are romantic elements, but they’re kept to a minimum and don’t really detract from the intensity of the storyline. There is quite a bit of graphic violence - but with the whole premise of the story being last one standing wins, it’s pretty compulsory to have some kind of death and mayhem. Really it’s no worse than your average action packed movie these days. After finishing this one, I immediately ran out and bought the box set because I HAD to know what happened next.
Rating: 5/5 Steaming HOT cups of Tea!
I can't wait to see the movie!