The Story: Long ago there was a war. The inhabitable part of the US, now Panem, is divided into 12 Districts overseen by the Captiol. Each year, as a reminder of the Districts’ subservience to the Capitol there are the Hunger Games: an extreme reality TV series in which two teenage tributes from each District face off in a booby-trapped arena. The last tribute left alive is the victor.
When Katniss Everdeen’s kid sister, Prim, is selected as a tribute for District 12, Katniss, offers to take her place. As preparations for the Games get underway, the District 12 publicity team concoct a romance between Katniss and fellow tribute, Peeta Mellark to give them the viewers’ sympathy in the arena.
In the arena things get bloody. Katniss realises that there’s far more at stake than just her life. If she and Peeta can form a real alliance, they have the power to stand up against more than just the other tributes.
Let the Games begin.
And Why is it Brilliant? On a basic level, this is a pacey, action-packed story. I sat down with it one afternoon and literally did not look up until I’d finished. The world Collins creates is fascinating and all-consuming. It’s also incredibly violent. The Games are survival of the fittest, and Collins doesn’t sugar coat that.
Katniss is a gutsy, well-rounded character. She’s got plenty of flaws; she’s stubborn, brash and not afraid to defend herself, but that’s what makes her engaging. What’s more, she’s far more interesting than certain other YA heroines (who shall remain nameless) who mope around waiting for a knight in shining armour to turn up and fight all their battles for them.
On a deeper level, The Hunger Games offers an intelligent critique of ‘reality’ TV, media censorship and totalitarian governments without hitting readers over the head with political diatribe.
More Like This?
The Hunger Games is the first in a trilogy and the proceeding volumes,Catching
Fire and Mockingjay are equally awesome.
The series reminded me of George Orwell’s Nineteen Eighty-four. On speed. And if you haven’t read this classic, I’d highly recommend it, it’s one of those books that will change your life.
Stylistically, it was similar to John Marsden’s Tomorrow serries, and Katniss reminded me a lot of Marsden’s protagonist, Ellie. I love, love luuurved these books the first time I read them, and when I get a moment, I’ll definitely be rereading them and chucking some reviews up!