Reviews

The Hunger Games - Suzanne Collins

Scolastic

Mark Haddon

...enthralling, imaginative and creepy...”

Los Angeles Times, http://www.suzannecollinsbooks.com/

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Despite having been around since 2009, the first I heard of 'The Hunger Games' was in Total Film magazine, as it's big screen adaptation it's imminently going to released.  The film sounded brilliant, so I immediately got hold of the book, preferring to read the original story before seeing the film.  Reviews I had read proved to be right - once I started, I could not put the book down.  I was unaware to begin with but the book is part of a trilogy aimed at Young Adults so they are very easy to read.  However, having also read the recently popular 'Twilight' series, I found this book to be much better written.  Author Suzanne Collins manages to balance easy reading with a very descriptive text and quite a mature story.

The first thing that I enjoyed about the book was the fact it was set in a dystopia, because it always forces you to view the world in a slightly different way; somewhere between '1984' and 'Brave New World', Panem is the scene for the story - America after a near-apocalyptic disaster.  Quite quickly, the theme of the book comes to light and it is quite gritty: to punish the 'twelve districts of Panem' for the rebellion of the thirteenth district 74 years before, the illustrious Capitol run 'The Hunger Games'.  These games involve a boy and girl from each district being selected through a lottery to fight one another to the death - the last child standing is the winner.  Not a topic you would expect in a book under the 'Children's Books' category on Amazon!

The cast of the novel are a mixed and endearing bunch.  The main character, Katniss, is a wonderfully driven and loyal character, but she is in no way flawless and this makes her very easy to relate to.  She is supported by a diverse group, including best friend Gale and fellow district member, Peeta.  It is obvious from the title that The Hunger Games will be main feature of the plot, so it will not come as a surprise that Katniss has to participate as the female 'Tribute' from District 12, with Peeta being selected alongside her.  What follows is a gripping tale of their travel to the Capitol and the turmoil of the games.

The book is fast paced, starting on the day the tributes are selected, and quickly we are with Katniss and Peeta and the preparation for the games.  Despite being aimed at a younger audience, there is quite a violent theme to much of the story.  When they enter the arena, you cannot help but feel like you are there with them.  I did find myself questioning how it would feel if this were real;  24 children being sent in to arena to kill one another for entertainment is a despicable thought.  There are moments where the 'younger audience' angle shines through, especially in some of the story surrounding the relationship developing between Katniss and Peter.  But the rest of the plot is really quite mature.  It is one of the most enjoyable books I read in a long-time and I quickly moved on to the second and third books in the trilogy!

 

 

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Reviewed on 28/02/2012 by Angela

 

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