The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins
Series: The Hunger Games #1
Publisher: Scholastic Press | 2008 | 374 pages
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In the nation of Panem, its biggest city is called The Capitol, which is surrounded by 12 outlying districts. To show its power and domination over the 12 poorer districts, it forces them (the districts) to send one boy and one girl between the ages of 12 and 18 to participate in the annual Hunger Games, a fight to the death on live TV. The children that are selected are called tributes.
During the reaping ceremony in District 12 for the 74th Hunger Games, Katniss Everdeen, 16, volunteers to replace her 12-year-old sister, Prim, to be a tribute representing her district in the games. The boy chosen was Peeta Mellark, the baker’s son who once threw a bread to Katniss when she and her family were starving.
The two tributes of District 12 would be under the mentorship of former Games victor, Haymitch Abernathy. Haymitch however appears drunk at first but later tries to sober up to impart survival tips to Katniss and Peeta. Both tributes make a good first impression among the show’s audience, which will later help them to get sponsors. Sponsors will able to send gifts to the tributes if the latter needed something desperately during the Games.
Katniss and Peeta soon become among the attractions of the current Games as they appear as star-crossed lovers, thanks to Peeta’s ‘confession’ during his interview on TV about his forever crush on Katniss.
Soon after the Games begins, Katniss finds out that Peeta has ganged up with the Career Tributes, tributes who have trained their whole lives to enter the Games. Does this mean that Peeta was just putting on a show all the time, in the hopes of getting Katniss killed in the Games?
I only read the The Hunger Games book after I watched the movie twice! It was not on purpose that I watched it twice but I went to the cinema with two different people. Anyway, the movie was so good that I thought that I had better read the book fast. It was then that I knew why the book is such a hit with both the young adult and adult groups.
Although the movie version kept me on the edge of my seat, the book was only OK for me. The story in the book is, however, told from Katniss’ point of view, so I understood some parts of the story better. If only we knew what Peeta was thinking all the while! I also liked the conversations between Peeta and Katniss.
As for the said love triangle, was there one? Gale, Katniss’ hunting partner, only appears in the beginning of the book and after Katniss goes for training and the actual Games, she mostly mentions Gale in her thoughts.
Of course I found the idea of children killing children a disturbing one. Thank goodness it is only set in a dystopian society. Parents might want to think first before allowing their children to read the book and the sequels after that.
Sure, there are other themes in the story such as family, love, friendship, survival and the lack of compassion (???). I mean, how cruel is that for Panem to allow these teenagers to die on live TV, right in front of their eyes while they cheer on the surviving tributes and bet on the potential victor? It is quite sick, actually.
And so, it is up to several characters in the story to not be inhuman, thus rebelling against the cruel Capitol.
I’m looking forward to reading the next book in the trilogy, Catching Fire.