The Hunger Games
The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins was a fairly gripping read. It is the first book in a trilogy. It is a YA novel about a future North American continent that has been through a destructive war and is divided between a tyrannical Capital state and twelve subsidiary districts. Every year each district selects a boy and a girl between 12 and 18 by lottery to take place in a gladiatorial event known as The Hunger Games. The Games are to the death–only 1 person can emerge from them, everyone else dies. Those selected are known as tributes.
The Games are put on to remind the districts just who is in charge and how powerless they are. The people are repressed as it is, the Games are one more way to emphasize this.
The point of view character is a 16 year old girl named Katniss. Katniss has had a tough time growing up in District 12. Her father was killed in a coal mining accident and she had to provide for her mother and younger sister by poaching for game outside the perimeter of District 12. This is both dangerous because of wild animals and because it is illegal–if she is caught she could be executed.
Katniss is chosen for the Games and we follow her closely. This makes for a fast paced read. It is well written and I did enjoy it, however I had some trouble really liking any of the characters. Katniss feels real, but is not a terribly easy to know person. Her difficult upbringing has rendered her remote and without much empathy for people outside her family or the needs of survival. This is understandable as these are traits she needed to survive growing up and will need for the Games. It just makes it a bit harder to really get behind her. Luckily, most of the other 23 tributes aren’t real likable themselves.
I enjoyed this and plan to read the next books as it does seem like an interesting world with quite a lot of room for the story to grow in potentially very intriguing ways..