“In a futuristic society, North America has been broken down into thirteen districts following some kind of war. All the districts are ruled by a group known as the Capitol. At one point, the districts rebelled and paid the price, district 13 was wiped off the map and poverty encompasses the others. To remind the remaining 12 districts that Capitol has power, every year they hold the Hunger Games. Think, worst.lottery.ever. The name of every boy and girl from the ages of 12-18 are put in two bowls, and a name of each gender is chosen. These two will be known as the “tributes” of their district. They will be whisked off to the Capitol for indulgence and training, and then after a week they will begin the Hunger Games.
The Hunger Games is a brutal fight to the death, in unknown terrain with unknown weapons and supplies. The Hunger Games have only two rules. When each of the 24 tributes arrives at the arena, they must wait 60 seconds before moving. Rule number two, only one tribute will win.
Our main hero Katniss (a she), is sixteen and has been to the Reaping (the event when they choose the tributes) several times before. In this society, you have the ability to put your name in more than once in exchange for provisions. Katniss has a staggering number of entries, as does her best friend Gale (a he). Gale and Katniss hunt together, (which is technically illegal) however they work hard to keep both of their families safe and fed. Gale has several younger brothers, and Katniss has a younger sister named Primrose who just turned 12 and a mother who stopped interacting after the death of her father.
All children attend the Reaping, which is held like a festival, furthermore making light of the fact that these are children playing wargames. (I see what you did there Ms. Collins *wink*) Katniss isn’t worried about Prim, her name is only in the bowl once. She is mostly focusing on Gale, and her own fate. That is until Prim’s name is chosen (that would be my luck) Katniss, knowing her sister doesn’t stand a chance in the games volunteers to take her place. The male tribute is chosen, a boy named Peeta that Katniss knows from childhood, and they are taken so the games may begin.”
I have to say I was excited to read the book, I knew going in that it was a trilogy, and I was hoping it would fill up my Christmas Season. After reading, all I can really say is…it was ok.
For starters, the names busted my ass for most of the book. I guess in the future, regular names are passé. The book is well written, and it’s not a struggle to get through it. It isn’t too long, and keeps up at a very good pace. It’s a good book, and I easily could have read and forgotten about it in the same day. That is what I have been mulling, what makes this book so bleh to me?
When I first Googled the book, there were a million fansites, and everyone is very excited about the upcoming movie. More than once the book was compared to the Twilight Saga, not for content, but in popularity and novelty. That could be where my disappointment started. Hunger Games IS a well written book, Twilight, from a literary standpoint is not. However that is the thing I’ve always tried to tell people about Twilight, from the grammar to the dialogue, Twilight is pretty poor. Yet there was something that hooked millions of people, and that something was character development. If Stephanie Meyers has one gift, that is it. She turns her characters into multifaceted individuals, each with complicated pasts, and differing futures. I couldn’t wait to get my hands on the second Twilight book, and it wasn’t really because I gave a damn what happened to Bella. I wanted to know what Rosalie had up her sleeve, and if I could have made any of the characters pop into life, who wouldn’t have wanted Alice as their best friend? Screw this Team Jacob/Team Edward crap, I was team Jane!
Getting back to the Hunger Games, this pivotal piece is missing. Yes, it is touching that Katniss will risk her life for her sister. Sure, I can absolutely relate to that. Yes, this whole idea of Hunger Games is madness. I hope she wins (and since it is a trilogy I assume she will, but I won’t be heartbroken if she does not.) There is one point near the end of the book where the author loses my patience all together with “mutant dogs.” Yet mostly, it is hard to avoid the fact that the book pushes the one agenda that war does nothing but kill children. It feels as though the author chose that she wanted to get that message out, and decided to build characters around it. Never a way to write a good book in my opinion.
I won’t lie, I will probably end up seeing the movie. If for no other reason than it appears to have been brilliantly cast. Jennifer Lawrence, who stole the screen as Mystique in X-Men: First Class, plays Katniss. I was hoping to see her again, and I really think that she can pull this part off. I’m a little more uneasy about the casting of Peeta, played by Josh Hucherson. You may remember him as Laser in “The Kids Are Alright” (my condolences if you sat through that movie too) or as “Steve” in Cirque du Freak: The Vampire's Assistant. He does however exude the vulnerability Peeta has in the book, so it may go over better than I think. In addition, I’m very excited that Woody Harrelson will be taking the part of the duo’s mentor Haymitch Abernathy. More than anything I hope his past is broached in the movie or the last two books.
Yeah, yeah, I will be reading the last two books. I can’t not know how it all ends (even though I have the suspicion it will end badly for everyone) my Grandma would haunt me for walking away from a story unfinished!
In conclusion it’s not a bad read, but I wouldn’t Christmas gift-it unless you know the person loves the series. I think in this case the story may actually make a better movie than it did a book. However, I will be shocked if it reaches Twilight level success. In fact I will be shocked if the other two movies are even made, but stranger things have happened.
They are making a sequel to Insidious…talk about bad decisions.
Trailer for The Hunger Games below: