*Disclaimer: My book reviews are my own impressions from my daily readings and are by no means “sponsored” or “influenced” by any company, organization or individuals. I don’t even get money through any referral program, so rest assured that my review is not biased. If you do, however, want me to review a book for your company or organization, feel free to contact me via the comments section and we can work something out. :)*
Ever since I started reading the “The Maze Runner" trilogy (I’m still waiting for the third and final book to come out), people have often mentioned about another sci-fi dystopia-like book that I’d enjoy reading and how I should make a point of reading “The Hunger Games" by Suzanne Collins. So shortly after getting my Kindle DX I went out and got all three books that make up this trilogy: The Hunger Games, Catching Fire, and Mockingjay! Sounds a bit rushed, but I was convinced that I would not regret it.
“The Hunger Games" is the story of a postapocalyptic United States. The entire country has pretty much crumbled to pieces and the remaining population gets together and form the new country of Panem, divided into 13 districts and governed by the Capitol (sounds like the original 13 colonies, doesn’t it?). Some time during the early years of this newly formed nation, those living in District 13 revolt against the Capitol’s politics and in the ensuing civil war that follows the entire district and its inhabitants are blasted to smithereens! To top it off, as a way to prevent the other districts from attempting any type of revolution, the Capitol comes up with their own version of a reality show where 2 inhabitants from each of the remaining districts are selected to compete in the Hunger Games, a sadistic event where competitors are pitted against one another in a free for all combat and televised 24-hours/day with live commentary, interviews and gambling. That is where we find Katniss Everdeen, one of the main characters from the mining district 12.
Turns out that Prim, her younger sister, is the female representative selected from district 12 but due to the rules of the game, she gets replaced by her older sister Katniss. Katniss is not your standard heroin and you will either love her right away or turn your nose against the way she deals with real life. Together with Peeta, the male representative from 12, they get shipped to the Capitol escorted by a mentor, a coach and stylists supposed to turn them into mean, lean, ready-for-tv gladiators. It is pretty obvious to Katniss and Peeta that people from the Capitol view the Hunger Games as some sort of game though the reality is far from it and the only way to “win” is to be the last person standing.
Eventually all of the competitors are dumped into a secluded, top of the art, booby trapped arena where alliances and enemies are created and destroyed every minute. As the game progresses and the number of living competitors decrease, we find Katniss and Peeta not only working together but also pretending to be madly in love with each other in order to attract sponsors who can send them special packages of much needed food or medicine to be used during the game. The love scenes are mixed here and there and there is a subtle but nevertheless ever presence of a sexual context whenever Katniss and Peeta “play their role” to the cameras.
In the end, against all the rules, Katniss and Peeta both make it alive only to see the promise that they could both win the competition taken away by the game organizers. That is when Katniss tosses a wrench into things and decides that it is better to die together with Peeta than to go on knowing that one of them had to die in order for a champion to be crowned. Seeing this double-suicide attempt, the game organizers quickly intervene and declare both participants winners of the 74th edition of the Hunger Games.
This would be the end of the book and this story, but as this is a trilogy, something must happen to allow for a second book, right? Well, you’ll have to wait for my next review to find out what happened. :)
Now that I have given you a very quick rundown of the plot, here is what I thought about the book. First off, the story is definitely for a much younger audience and I often debated whether I should stop reading the book or just plow through it. Don’t get me wrong, I can see how someone much younger and looking for a quick and easy futuristic adventure book sprinkled with a bit of romance would enjoy this book. But compared to “The Maze Runner" or, to kick things up a notch, "For The Win”, this book was very bland and failed to really capture me completely. I felt that the main characters often acted/behaved much older than their background allowed for and the final product was something that left much up in the air. Katniss was supposed to be a good hunter from her days of hunting rabbits and squirrels on district 12 to feed her family. But going from that to someone considered to be a valiant and brave fighter is a bit of a stretch.
Even with all of these things going against it, I chose to read the second book, Catching Fire, because I wanted to give Suzanne Collins another chance and see if she could win me over. Until my next review…