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Friday, 30 July 2010

The Hunger Games [Review]

Written by: Suzanne Collins.
Published by: Scholastic.
Format: Paperback.
Released: 5th January 2009.
Rating: 5/5.

Official synopsis: "Sixteen-year-old Katniss Everdeen regards it as a death sentence when she is forced to represent her district in the annual Hunger Games, a fight to the death on live TV. But Katniss has been clse to death before—and survival, for her, is second nature. The Hunger Games is a searing novel set in a future with unsettling parallels to our present. Welcome to the deadliest reality TV show ever..."

I think I may just have found a brand new obsession. The Hunger Games is one roller coaster of a book. Perhaps one the of the most amazing opennings to a trilogy I have ever read. Right from the very first page, you are drawn in the the futuristic but somewhat backwards, world of Panem - what was once known as North America.

The Capitol rule all. After a war, a rebellion, one district of the thirteen was destroyed leaving just twelve. And to remind them every year just who is in charge, and what they can do, they host the Hunger Games. A reality TV programme with a sickening difference. Two tributes are chosen from each district - one boy and one girl, between the ages of 12 and 18. 24 young adults who are thrust into the arena where the worlds camera's focus on them. Who will be the victor? Whoever survives the bloodbath, the death and destruction that follows.

Yes. To show they rule, the Capitol use murder as a form of entertainment. 

The concept was mindblowing and when I first heard of these books some time ago I was a bit reluctant. It's such a repulsive idea, that innocent young people who haven't yet really lived be thrown together and forced to fight to the death, for the sake of entertainment, for a reality TV show just like Big Brother. But I was sent these books (both The Hunger Games and the sequel, Catching Fire) by the brilliant Steven at Scholastic, and as soon as I began reading, I regretted the time that I have wasted by not reading them. The concept, yes it's repulsive. But the book certainly isn't. It's compelling. I know I seem to throw this word around a bit, but addictive - it truly is. I just could not bare to put this book down, even for just a second. I was totally overwhelmed.

I was captured from the word go. Always wanting to read on to see what would happen to Katniss Everdeen next. How would she fare in the arena? What will she have to face? Who will she have to kill?

The characters in this book all complement one another really well. I loved Katniss. I could really sympathise with her. I'd do almost anything for my younger sisters (although whether I'd go as far to volunteer for the Hunger Games, I don't know...). I thought that Peeta was an interesting character. And just like Katniss, along the way I just couldn't get a good idea as to what he was up to. Just like Katniss, I went through periods of liking him, thinking he was someone to keep on side, to hating him, thinking that he was sly and cunning. Haymitch made me laugh. Effie Trinket is the sort of character that no matter what they do, you just can't help dislike them - some of the things she says are anger-inducing. The other tributes however, I feel a bit mixed about. I loved little Rue. Cato I disliked quite strongly, along with all the other Career Tributes - their attitudes, just as they've been bred to have, are sometimes a bit too much to handle. But generally I thought the Tributes were a good mixed group. It's just a shame that you don't get to see too much of some of them. Overall though, they are a great bunch of characters and credit to Collins for creating such an interesting bunch!

Panem is also rather interesting. Once known as North America, natural disasters and wars have changed the landscape dramatically. The book is set in the future, although how far into the future, I don't know. But it's not how you'd expect. It's almost as if humanity has gone backwards. It has the feel of a medieval setting. The villages. The woods. Even the clothes they describe feel somewhat old, until you get to the Capitol. It's an interesting look into the future and shows that not everything moves forward as you might expect. 

Suzanne Collins, overnight, has become something of an idol to me. She has taken such a horrific idea, but given it such a twist. Her writing is smooth, her descriptions so vivid and encapsulating. I cannot praise her, or this book enough! I am dying to find out what happens next, and thank goodness I have Catching Fire sitting right next to me, so I shall be diving right back into the world of Katniss, Peeta, and the Hunger Games. I just know that the wait between Catching Fire and the third and final book out next month, Mockingjay, is going to be something of torture! Please do not miss out and regret the time lost that you could of been loving these books. Get them now!

My thanks to Steven Salisbury of Scholastic for my copy. I cannot thank you enough!

5 comments:

  1. I can definitely tell you loved this book!
    I'm really excited to read this series...
    Great review!

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  2. Wow, what a great review! I haven't read the book yet as I'm also a tad reluctant, but everyone's been raving about it so I feel I really must give it a try! :)

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  3. i completely agree with your review and am in agony waiting for mockinjay next month! i wish that when you pre-order books you could also get them pre-release, this waiting around is killing me!

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  4. i love this book - I am literally counting down the days to Mockingjay

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