Posted by: dystopiandaze | February 10, 2011

May the odds be ever in your favor!

The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins

The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins is the first book in one of my favorite trilogies ever. The trilogy (aptly titled The Hunger Games trilogy… how creative) includes the books The Hunger Games, Catching Fire and Mockingjay. This final installment, Mockingjay, was only recently released this past August; I actually got a copy at Barnes and Noble the day before it was officially released… yay! Not only has the series become popular for being generally AMAZING and recent in publication, but it is in a promising pre-production state for a film adaptation.

The book starts with our main character, Katniss, who lives with her mother and younger sister in a country called Panem, in the twelfth district. Each district is ruled (with an iron fist) by the Capitol and produces a specific resource for the Capitol. District 12 is known for its mining, which is how Katniss lost her father when she was just eleven. Over the past five years she has been the main provider for her mother and sister, hunting illegally with her long-time friend (maybe more?), Gale.

Not exactly an uplifting story. I’m afraid to tell you that things don’t exactly get better from here on out, but they certainly do get more interesting. The book begins during a special time of year in Panem, just before the start of the 74th annual Hunger Games. What exactly does that mean? Well according to the Capitol, Panem used to be a little place called North America. That is, until a number of apocalyptic-like natural disasters occurred, leaving the survivors in a war over the remaining resources. Like a knight in shining armor the Capitol rescued the people from themselves, divided the country into Districts and ruled in peace until the Dark Days. During the Dark Days the districts rebelled against the Capitol; upon the conclusion of this brutal war, exactly 74 years prior to the start of our book, the Capitol arose victorious.

Katniss then explains how this history lesson relates to the Hunger Games,

In punishment for the uprising, each of the twelve districts must provide one girl and one boy, called tributes, to participate. The twenty-four tributes will be imprisoned in a vast outdoor arena… Over a period of several weeks, the competitors must fight to the death. The last tribute standing wins. To make it humiliating as well as torturous, the Capitol requires us to treat the Hunger Games as a festivity, a sporting event pitting every district against the others.

-Pg. 18-19, The Hunger Games

Fan-made movie poster by skellingt0n at DeviantArt.com

I was terrified and disturbed at first, too. Whenever I try to describe this book, it’s at this point in my explanation that I immediately get questioning looks, almost as if asking me “Seriously? Do you have a penchant for depressing storylines and needless violence?”. But stay with me. For as graphic and as hopeless as the story may seem (and is, for the most part), The Hunger Games explored some very relevant topics and contained characters I’ll never forget.

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Responses

  1. You do an incredible job of filling in someone who has never read this series. You provide a good amount of background without giving too much away- and your commentary helps too! I like how, at the end, you justify your interest in these types of stories and encourage the reader not to give up.

    • Thanks! I try hard to not give too much away, since I’m guessing a lot of my readers haven’t read the book yet. I generally try to spend less time on the book’s plot itself, but this series in particular needed quite a bit of an explanation! 🙂

  2. wow, sounds very interesting and honest… i’ll be honest, i probably wouldn’t give this book a chance just by looking at it, but you have intrigued me and allowed me to think outside of the box. look forward to reading more!

    • I’m glad that you’re honest and that I have intrigued you even the littlest bit! There’s definitely been some books that I originally took a look at and cringed, but some way or another ended up reading years later and liked.


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