Saturday, March 12, 2011

Review: The Hunger Games

The Hunger Games
(The Hunger Games, #1)
by Suzanne Collins
Genre: Young Adult
Author’s Website || Series list

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"What must it be like, I wonder, to live in a world where food appears at the press of a button? How would I spend the hours I now commit to combing the woods for sustenance if it were so easy to come by? What do they do all day, these people in the Capitol, besides decorating their bodies and waiting around for a new shipment of tributes to rill in and die for their entertainment?"
Wow. This book had such a profound affect on me that I'm speechless. Well, previously at least. Not many books can do that to me. In fact, when I run across books like this, it makes me question how generous I am with five star reviews. Because books like this outshine many of those other 5 star reviews. Either that, or this one exceeds a typical 5 star rating.

The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins, is the story of a girl, Katniss, living in a post-apoctolyptic United States now called Panem and ruled by a totalitarian ruling state known as the Capital. Panem is a dystopian society broken into 12 districts. Each district sends two children, a boy and a girl between the ages of 12 and 18, every year to compete in a deadly game called the Hunger Games. It is the Capitals form of punishment to the rest of the districts for a revolution attempt in the past, and a reminder that the Capital can control them. All participants will be thrown into a large wilderness arena where they must survive the elements and fight each other to the death. In the end, only one contestant will be the victor.

At 16 years of age, Katniss has already lived a very hard life. She was forced to grow up early by being thrown into the role of parent to a catatonic mother and her little sister Prim. With the loss of her father in a coal-mining explosion her mother fell into a deep depression that made her incapable of being a fit parent. Katniss' only choices are to let the state take them and separate her from her family or take on the role of both mother and father. She commits to taking care of them by securing food and selling goods to ensure her families survival. All at the tender age of 11, in a world where life is harsh and many are poor and starving.

This is an unbelievably good book. But it is by no means a happy story. That’s not to say it doesn't have a few humorous moments and a happy ending... of sorts. It’s a disturbing and painful story filled with apprehension, fear, and cruelty as the two main characters are forced into situations they're not fully able to comprehend. It’s also an emotionally confusing story. More so for Katniss than her main counterpart Peeta Mellark, who is the boy that joins her from district 12 to participate in the Hunger Games.
[Peeta] “Only I keep wishing I could think of a way to…to show the Capitol they don’t own me. That I’m more than just a piece in their Games”
For a YA novel I’m a little surprised by the grown up situations in this book. I’m not speaking of sexual content because there isn’t any. The love story itself is completely innocent. What I’m speaking of is the amount of sheer brutality, violence, and bloodshed that each of characters is forced to participate in to ensure their own survival. This story is full of difficult situations involving death, murder, and extreme self sacrifice. I was extra emotional, as a mother, because the characters forced to fight to the death are all children. And these aren’t pretty, poetic deaths. The violence is gory and barbaric.
[Katniss] "I feel like I owe him something, and I hate owing people. Maybe if I had thanked him at some point, I'd be feeling less conflicted now. I thought about it a couple of times, but the opportunity never seemed to present itself. And now it never will. Because we're going to be thrown into an arena to fight to the death. Exactly how am I supposed to work in a thank-you in there? Somehow it just won't seem sincere if I'm trying to slit his throat."
The ending is not necessarily a huge cliffhanger. But it does leave the main characters in emotional turmoil. Which makes you want to run for book #2 to see what comes next. You will truly be on the edge of your seat with this entire series. It is a page-turner from beginning to end and simply impossible to put down. Full of gut wrenching drama, fast paced action and suspense. It's a very emotional book that had me sobbing many times.

The characterization and world building in The Hunger Games series is rich with detail and completely immerses you in the world of Panem. To say that the journey was intense is an understatement. It's no surprise this book won many literary awards and is now going to film. I just hope they do it the justice it deserves, because it really puts YA books like Twilight to shame.

Now I see why many of my friends pestered me relentlessly to read this series. I owe them a debt of gratitude and only wish I had read it sooner. The Hunger Games really should be added to the top of your TBR pile. Seriously! It’s that good! I wish I could give it more than 5 stars because it really deserves a 10.

ratingFiction Fool

Other Reviews:
Book Soul Mates: 5
Kindle vixen: 5
Katie(babs)'s: 4
Kat's Reviews: 5
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