Thursday, February 12, 2009

The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins

The first book in a post-apocalyptic trilogy by author Suzanne Collins, The Hunger Games is fast moving and well crafted. It reminded me of Orwell or Huxley only written for younger audiences. It is aimed at people who have grown up watching reality TV shows, quick pacing and struggles between certain characters will keep their attention. Other reviewers have compared it to Battle Royale by Koushun Takami but I have not read that book so I can't compare them.

The story follows Katniss, a sixteen year old girl living in District 12, one of the poorest of twelve districts controlled by the Capitol, a dystopian North America. The districts are forced to pay tribute once a year in the form of two twelve-to-eighteen year old children, a boy and a girl. These tributes are taken to the Capitol and trained for the arena. In the arena they take part in the Hunger Games, a fight to the death with only one survivor.

When Katniss's sister is chosen at the "Reaping" Katniss volunteers to take her place and we follow her and her fellow contestant into the arena where their every step is shown on nation-wide TV. At first they a prepped and pampered and coached for their interviews. There is a constant struggle to win favor with sponsors , who will help a contestant with gifts during the games. There is friendship, deception, violence, murder and the beginnings of rebellion amongst the contestants. The book has a swift, almost cliff-hanger ending. I would suggest this book to middle school students and am looking forward to the next book in the series.

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