The Hunger Games - Suzanne Collins

Oh no! It’s another review of The Hunger Games – head for the hills! Oh wait, we’re in an arena where we have to kill everything and it’s coming from the hills!

Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you’ve probably heard of The Hunger Games – a book set in a post-apocalyptic world where most of North America has been destroyed, except the Capitol and its surrounding thirteen districts. Well, make that twelve districts. District 13 was destroyed as an example to the rest when they tried to rebel against the Capitol. To compound the lesson and entertain its populace, the Capitol created the Hunger Games – twenty four children known as ‘tributes’ (a boy and girl from each district) enter the arena and only one comes out alive.  

I’m going to try and avoid spoilers in this review. You’ll get plenty of them in the movie vs book section of The Hunger Games on ReviewInk.

Katniss, the female tribute from the coal-mining District 12 is our guide for this adventure. Her first-person perspective gives an insight into life in the districts as well as the completely different world of the Capitol and of course the Games. Not only is Katniss up against the highly trained children from other districts but she has to deal with Peeta, the male tribute from District 12. You’d think that this wouldn’t be a problem because everyone in the arena except Katniss has to die for her to win, but Peeta had previously saved Katniss’s life in District 12.

What makes The Hunger Games interesting is that it focuses on the issue of trust. Is Peeta betraying Katniss when he joins up with some other tributes or is he trying to save her life? Is his friendliness towards her genuine or is it part of his strategy? When is he going to try and kill her? Because Katniss doesn’t know, neither do we – and that’s what adds the excitement.

The Hunger Games is a very fast-paced book – you can read it in one afternoon if you want to. The thing is, it’s not all fighting and romance (in fact there’s very little romance). This book has depths that you can spend your time investigating. For example, the Capitol’s relationship with the districts is more complicated than it seems. They say that the districts are there to supply resources to the citizens of the Capitol, but if you look at the actual coal production of District 12 there’s no way that the entire main city can run on such a measly amount. I also find interesting that the Capitol’s entertainment is called the Hunger Games, since almost everyone in the districts is generally dying of starvation. As a matter of fact, if you’re clever enough you can get more food in the Games than you can in the districts.

Despite the fact that I don’t like jumping on bandwagons, The Hunger Games is definitely worth a look. For completion, you might want to look at the rest of the series but be warned. The second and third books (Catching Fire and Mockingjay respectively) aren’t as good as the first one. Catching Fire is a typical bridging novel that ends on a bit of a cliffhanger, and the epilogue of Mockingjay made me want to throw the book at the wall.

If you would like more spoilers and discussion of the book, have a look at The Hunger Games book vs movie write-up here at ReviewInk

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