Tuesday, October 20, 2009
The Hunger Games - Suzanne Collins
Title: The Hunger Games
Author: Suzanne Collins
Publisher: Scholastic, 2008 (Hardcover)
Length: 374 pages
Genre: Young Adult; Science Fiction/Adventure
Started: September 4, 2009
Finished: September 5, 2009
From the inside cover:
In the ruins of a place once known as North America lies the nation of Panem, a shining Capitol surrounded by twelve outlying districts. The Capitol is harsh 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.
Sixteen-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.
Since this is my first post, I thought I'd open up with a book that really made an impression on me when I read it this past summer. I wasn't sure about this book at first when I picked it up. I knew I'd like the plot from reading the inside cover (who can resist a good dystopian novel?), but I didn't know how well the idea would be conveyed.
I was blown away, to say the least.
Suzanne Collins manages to tackle a plot rife with difficult subject matter without coming across as being too gruesome. I could see a lot of people being turned off because of the whole "kids killing kids" thing, but it's written in such a way that the deaths aren't glorified; there were parts where I actually cried because the scenes were so touching. It also helps that Katniss and Peeta don't really want to harm anyone and the deaths that do result are in self defense or as a result of the harrowing conditions of the Games themselves.
Katniss and Peeta are amazing characters. I think the reason why I devoured the book so quickly was because I was so entranced by them. Katniss is a very strong female lead, something I've been looking for in YA books so overcome with spineless female characters (*cough* Twilight *cough*). She's fleshed out very well in her relationships with her family, Peeta, Gale, and the rest of the villagers in District 12. Peeta is almost the complete opposite of Katniss, but he completely surprises you by the end of the story, proving that it really is the quiet ones you need to watch out for. You could say there is an element of romance in the book, but the love felt between the characters is at its purest, sweetest form; something completely ironic considering the situation they're all in.
The plot is a constant surprise, it really messes with your head. It also doesn't sugar coat anything: you'll find everything from a contestant being stung to death by mutant wasps to complete emotional manipulation on so many levels. The writing is superb, a real page-turner; and Collin's descriptions are informative without being boring.
In short: the plot is very engaging, the characters are likable and then some, and it's beautifully written. Plus almost every person I've encountered who has read this book shares a positive opinion of it.
Read it now!
Thoughts on the cover:
I thought the image of the mockingjay was the perfect piece for the cover, I almost squealed when I came to the part of the book the describes the brooch and realized that's what was on the cover. The mokingjay image also contributes to the allegory and symbolism of the story.