The Hunger Games – Suzanne Collins

Posted on: August 19, 2010

In the not so far off future, the United States has been decimated by disaster and war. The country is now called Panem and is broken into twelve districts. There were at one time thirteen districts but one of them tried to rise up against the government, referred to as the Capitol, and was annihilated. Katniss, our main character, is from District 12, the poorest one. The reader may infer this district is in what we currently know as the Appalachia part of our country. Where Capitol citizens enjoy fine food and drink, those who live in District 12 subsist on dog, wild game, and grains.

Each year, two delegates (one boy, one girl, aged 8-18) are chosen by lottery from each district to compete in The Hunger Games. The Games are held in a different environment each year and are televised to the masses across the country. It is a battle to the death among the delegates. Think Lord of the Flies meets The Running Game.

During the current lottery, Katniss’ young sister, Prim, is chosen. As allowed by the rules, Katniss immediately volunteers to take her place. Katniss knows sending Prim to The Hunger Games is nothing but a death sentence. Her intention in volunteering has nothing to do with wanting to compete. Rather, she is trying to save her sister.

Katniss is a hunter who has spent years learning the ways of the woods–tracking, fishing, trapping, woodcraft. Her mother is an herbalist who has taught her what plants heal and how to use them. To feed her family, Katniss has taken down all manner of wild game. But, can she kill another human being?

The characterization is phenomenal. You feel the emotional conflict within Katniss every step of the way. The other characters have distinct personalities that are realistically portrayed. Some are sympathetic, others not so much. Readers find themselves rooting for certain characters and hoping others are taken down quickly.

The action sequences are well planned and executed. They are both exciting and brutal. These might be kids, but they are kids who want to win at any cost.

I have to say this is one of my favorite reads this year. It is written for the young adult crowd (grade 7 and up or so). The book is the first in a trilogy, with the third book set to hit bookstores in a few weeks.

Highly, highly recommended.

2 thoughts on “The Hunger Games – Suzanne Collins

  1. It was written for a middle school level audience, so yes, about the same level as Life As We Knew It. Hunger Games is the first in the trilogy. Catching Fire (which I’m in the middle of now) is the second. Mockingjay is the third, which just came out a few weeks ago.

  2. this sounds like a very good read. A more youthful audience>? like The Dead and the Gone and Life as We Knew it? Those were excellant, even for adults.

    Was this the first or second in the series?

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