Hope you are all enjoying the holiday season. I normally do not review YA Fiction, but I just finished this book and had to write about it and the upcoming theatrical release. I am sure many of you have heard of this engaging and thrilling story and a good number of you have probably already read the trilogy. Here is the official blurb:
“In the ruins of a place once known as North America lies the nation of Panem, a shining Capitol surrounded by twelve outlying districts. Long ago the districts waged war on the Capitol and were defeated. As part of the surrender terms, each district agreed to send one boy and one girl to appear in an annual televised event called, “The 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. The terrain, rules, and level of audience participation may change but one thing is constant: kill or be killed.”
I actually heard about the book two years ago. However at the time, I had just finished reading The Road by Cormac McCarthy and was in no mood for another messed up world, with gruesome scenes, and very little hope. Well I was wrong on 2 of 3 accounts. Yes, Panem is definitely screwed up. But, the scenes weren’t as gruesome (no cannibalism thank god) and most importantly Katniss Everdeen and Peeta Melark the tributes from District 12 give you HOPE. They give you hope that even in a messed up world like Panem with its sadistic Hunger Games, it is possible to still stay true to yourself. Katniss and Peeta play the game but they do not lose their compassion or humanity in the face of life or death.
The setting and concept are powerful, its like Lord of the Flies meets Gladiator in a Survivor style setting. Equally strong is Suzanne Collins writing. I fell in love with Katniss’s character and the story of Panem from the very first chapter. I found myself re-reading sentences just to figure out Collins’s writing style. Rarely do I get hooked into a story from the first chapter, but there was no turning back in this case. This book will appeal to boys and girls. Even though the protagonist is female the book is very much an action book and a story about survival.
For those of you that have read the book, I do have some questions for you below. But first here is a link to the Hunger Games movie trailer. It was seeing this trailer that lit a fire under me to read the book.
So here are some of the questions I have.
1) Is the arena out in the real wilderness or is it in some man-made bubble like in the Truman show? Originally I though it was out in the real-world with fencing, but as the Hunger Games continued I got the sense it was more of a bubble of some sort. How else could the Gamemakers control the temperature, weather, and water supply.
2) What was your opinion of the wolf-like mutts at the end? This was a bit much for me. I accepted the various silver parachutes in the game and the fires, droughts to move the story along, but the wolf-like mutts creeped me out a bit. I didn’t think the author prepared the reader enough for this. Yes the Capitol does like to “mutate/enhance” animals such as the mocking-jays and tracker-jackers. I just wasn’t prepared to see animals that were based off of the dead tributes.
3) What did you make of Peeta’s reaction at the end about Katniss’s affections towards the end of the game? This is the scene where they are walking along the train tracks in Chapter 27. Peeta seems hurt that Katniss may have just been “playing along”. However, wasn’t it Peeta who came up with romance ruse in the first place to garner sponsors.
I very much liked this book since it was a story about survival while still staying true to yourself. I am hooked enough to read the second book, Catching Fire, but am a little skeptical mainly because I get the sense it might have a love triangle. I must admit I have absolutely no idea what the next two books are about, but I look forward to it.