I do realize I'm about the last book blogger on the planet to review Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins. :-) I have had my eye on it since it first made its debut in the blogosphere a year ago. I entered every contest I could find and tried to get it from early reviewer sites. But I did not get my hands on a copy. So I finally broke down and bought my own. Here's the thing, I know it's dystopian fiction. And I'm not sure how I feel about that subject. Sometimes I think that turns me off. But there was something very compelling to me about the storyline and reviews I read about this book. I've read MANY MANY EXCELLENT reviews that are hard to ignore.
I tend to be also be a bit leery about books that have too much hype (ie: The Book Thief and Twilight) because I tend to have high expectations and they fall short for me. I decided to finally jump into the Hunger Games last weekend and boy, I wasn't the least bit sorry!!!
For those who have completely ignored the hype of this book, Katniss and her sister and mother live in District 12 of a country called Panem (it is explained that Panem used to be America and District 12 is located where coal country or Appalachia used to exist). Every year the Capitol pulls two names (one boy, one girl) from each district to participate in The Hunger Games. They release these 24 individuals into an arena filled with whatever environment the officials choose for that year and they must fight each other to the death until one is standing at the end, the victor. The catch is that the Games are televised reality show style all across Panem. And the officials can introduce anything they want into the Arena to move the Games along. Katniss ends up representing District 12 in the Games and since we know the series continues, the ending is fairly predictable.
But however predictable the ending is, getting there is quite interesting. One thing I really liked about Hunger Games is that the main character is a very empowered young woman. She has had to work hard her whole life to survive and even though she does not have much, she makes the most of it. She's very intelligent and cunning, as well as athletic and logical. And really Collins wrote many of the female characters to be smart, athletic, interesting characters (Foxface and Rue). Some of the male characters in contrast seemed of somewhat inferior intelligence and some of them were just big oafs!
I believe Collins could have ended the Hunger Games with the winner returning home wrapping this up into one nice novel. I'll be curious to see how the next two books play out in the aftermath of what happens at the Games. And I'm wondering if they'll be able to keep up the excitement or if the story will drag along. We'll see! Early reviews of Book 2, Catching Fire are all very good and promising.