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Suzanne Collins - The Hunger Games
The Hunger Games Classic - Suzanne Collins
Member Name: Ainat
The Hunger Games Classic - Suzanne Collins
Date: 03/06/12, updated on 13/01/14 (67 review reads)
Advantages: Pace, not predictable, a real page turner
To give you a little bit of background, I was told I 'had' to read this book by a few friends. To be honest, I knew the basic plot before I set out to read this book, and it's not the normal thing I would go for, so I was a little dubious when setting out to read this. Normally I tend to read 'chick lit' style books, or books that are easy to read but make you think (one of my favourite authors is Jodi Picoult to give you an idea).
The Hunger Games has become really well known as of late, but a quick summary of the book for you:
The story is set in the fictitious world where there are 12 districts controlled by the Capitol. Each of the districts has a trade, a central theme running throughout the district. Katniss Everdeen - our 16 year old heroine - lives in District 12, which is known for its coal mines. Katniss has had a lot to deal with in her life so far, her father died in a mining accident when she was 11, and after her mother broke down Katniss took on the responsibility of looking after her and her little sister, Prim. Life in District 12 is hard for all those that live there - and that's before the 'reaping' each year.
To keep control and to remind the districts that the Capitol is in charge there is the annual event of the televised Hunger Games. If you imagine a 'Big Brother' style event, only in this version the twist is only one contestant gets out alive. Each of the 12 districts MUST have one girl and one boy that take part. Katniss is horrified when her little sister's name gets selected, and volunteers to take her place. Katniss and Peeta (the male candidate from district 12) are then whisked off to the Capitol ready for preparation for the Games and have to leave their families and friends behind in District 12, potentially forever.
The rest of the novel covers preparation for the Games once the candidates have all been picked and the Games themselves. It's a fight to the death for each of the 24 candidates. Who will be the one surviving victor of the 74th annual Hunger Games?
When given the basic plot of the book my first impression was that it sounded pretty twisted. A novel about forcing young people (all those between 12 and 18 are eligible to be a candidate) to fight to the death for entertainment of the Capitol. Definitely a few steps away from the books I normally tend to read. I really wasn't sure if this was a book I would enjoy reading. After some gentle persuasion though I did agree to give it a go, and I'm glad I did!
From the very first few pages I wanted to keep reading on. The way the book is written is in such a way that the pace keeps the story and the action moving forward but there is enough description for you to appreciate settings, the life in District 12 and the relationships between the characters. When reading the book I couldn't help but emotionally invest in the story. The book is written in the first person, with Katniss as the narrator, and this works very well throughout.
As you can imagine there is a lot of action in this book, but this doesn't become predictable. I managed to read this book in about 24 hours with lifes little things (such as shifts at work and uni lectures!) got in the way. Had I had the opportunity though I would have read the whole book in one sitting, it's that addictive. There are twists and turns throughout and this kept me wanting to read more.
I would recommend this book, even if it's not your type of story. It certainly isn't my normal genre of book to read. It is well written, and in language that is easy to read so you don't lose any focus. Think almost Harry Potter style - easy to read for a large number of people. The language is at that kind of level. As for the actual descriptions of killings, etc. I thought this was at a good level for the style and level of writing. A bit of gore, but on the whole, not too gruesome if you think about alternative ways it could have been written. I think it does suit the age range the book is intended for - it is marketed as a Young Adult novel.
I read the book on my Kindle - it is currently available on the Kindle for £2.70. If you would prefer a paper version it is on Amazon for £3.86 (normal retail price £7.99). There is also the option to buy from other sellers from £1.50, but delivery charges will apply. I have also seen this in the 2 for £7 offer in Tesco. (Correct June 2012).
Summary: The Hunger Games leaves you hungry for more!