In Their Words:
In the ruins of a place known as North America lies the nation of Panem, a shining Capital surrounded by twelve outlying districts. The Capital is hard and cruel and keeps the districts in line by forcing them all to send one boy and one girl between the ages of twelve and eighteen to participate in the annual Hunger Games, a fight to the death on live TV.
Sixteeen-year-old Katniss Everdeen, who lives alone with her mother and younger sister, regards it as a death sentence when she steps forward to take her sister’s place in the Games. But Katniss has been close to dead before–and survival, for her, is second nature. Without really meaning to, she becomes a contender. But if she is to win, she will have to start making choices that weigh survival against humanity and life against love.
Before I jump into full review-mode, one quick question for the jacket copy above: how is she “living alone” if she lives with her mother and younger sister? Seriously, what?
Actually it’s always interesting to see what details they put on the cover of a book. Notice there is absolutely no mention of a love triangle, even though I know fans jumped all over it, even in just the first book. But my guess is they wanted this book to be as boy-friendly as possible, which it definitely is. An overly gushy romance, this book it’s not.
I first fell in love with this book because, for about the first twenty pages, I didn’t realize Katniss was a girl. Sure, there were subtle hints (her mild flirtation with guy-pal Gale), but it’s in first person, and it took awhile for it to actually be expressly stated. Also, I was working under a sexist assumption. A teenager out in the woods hunting to feed a hungry family? Naturally, a boy. I was so happy to be wrong.
Katniss is really a great character. She’s strong, but she has her limitations, and while she’s smart, there are a lot of things about herself and her world which she simply can’t see. The supporting characters are also awesome.
Of course, the real power of these books is how possible they feel. The Hunger Games make for a believable reality tv show. Just let our world get a tad more corrupt here and there, and I could see it happening. It hearkens back to the days of the gladiators. Humans are definitely capable of such lows in the name of entertainment and power.
And man is this a fast read. Even the second time through, knowing what was coming, I still finished it in almost a day. It’s very compelling, and has great pacing. It did take a bit to get into though. I was intrigued, but not really invested for a good few chapters. But once she’s headed to the Games, it’s like a marathon from there.
I will say this though: on my second read through, I caught a lot of copy-editing mistakes. Missed commas, convoluted sentences, and the like. More than just stylistic choices. This surprised me, because the book seems so high-production.
I’m not overly impressed with the cover, but they branded the series well. The interior is nice though, especially the Part breaks, which have a nice graphic element to them.
5/5, very compelling, highly recommended. But not for the faint of heart.
Good, goodies! For good measure, here’s a video-audition for the announced movied adaptation of The Hunger Games. It’s some unknown, but clearly talented, actors taking a stab at the roles.