Newest Review: ... kindle version than actual paper. ===Another world=== The Hunger Games is set in a distant future. The earth has been ravaged by war and... more
This will have you hungering for more.
The Hunger Games - Suzanne Collins
Member Name: Renza_e
The Hunger Games - Suzanne Collins
Advantages: Great characters, a inspiring female protagonist and gripping storytelling.
Disadvantages: Any comparisons with Twilight. Lets stop comparing any new romance with that blasted novel
'The Hunger Games' presents a post-apocalyptic vision of a North America, tainted by humanity's past mistakes, it is little like North America as we know it. Divided into 12 districts, it forms the land of Panem and is ruled by an oppressive government called the Capitol.
The ultra-futuristic Capitol is a despotic seat of power and indulgence. Whilst the Capitol residents fuss over their lives of luxury and up and coming fashions, citizens within the districts work hard and struggle to get by, some dying of starvation in the streets. To add to their suffering, each year the Capitol holds its annual 'Hunger Games', a reminder of the prevailing power of the Capitol after the districts rebelled against them many generations ago.
Each district must put forward two 'tributes', a boy and a girl aged between 12 and 18 to fight to the death within the Hunger Games arena. In true 'Big Brother' fashion, the games are broadcast live to every part of the state for everyone to see. There can only be one winner, who shall be renowned throughout Panem for their victory. The losers, however, can only face one eventuality - death.
'The Hunger Games' caught my attention last year when I heard that this bestselling book was to be adapted into a film to be released this coming March. I heard great things about it and there seemed to be a lot of hype generated by the media and other authors. Stephanie Meyer claimed to be 'obsessed' with this book and declared it 'amazing'. Now I'm not sure she is in a place to judge what makes quality literature (sorry Twi-fans). It's like when the Daily Star raves about the latest action blockbuster. I just don't trust it. Nevertheless, I decided to treat myself to the trilogy box set just before Christmas and whatever my opinions may be about the Twilight author, she was right about this book. It IS amazing...
*~'HAPPY HUNGER GAMES! MAY THE ODDS BE EVER IN YOUR FAVOUR~*
The story is told from the first person perspective of Katniss Everdeen, a sixteen year old girl from District 12 who has not had an easy life. Her father died during a mine accident when she was young and with her mother numb with grief, she was forced to help feed her family and keep her mother and her little sister Prim alive.
Every year, each district has to face the annual 'reaping' for the Hunger Games, a lottery where every eligible district child has their name entered at least once to be considered for participation. It's all in the luck of the draw. However, some children have their names entered in more than once in exchange for extra grain and oil for their families. Katniss is one of them but, fiercely protective of her sister, will only let Prim's name be entered once in the run up to the annual reaping. It is therefore a great shock when, against all odds, it is Prim's name that is drawn for the games. Katniss, desperate and fearful, runs forward to take her sister's place as tribute. Fully aware that this could be a death sentence upon her, she makes a promise to her little sister that she'll come out of the games alive and victorious. A borne survivor who has battled to keep herself and her family alive all those years, Katniss must now face the ultimate test of survival in the Hunger games.
*~A NOVEL I COULDN'T PUT DOWN~*
From the very beginning 'The Hunger Games' is a compelling read, which I really struggled to put down. There really is nothing more satisfying than finding yourself a book which you become hooked on. I ended up reading into the wee hours of the morning just to find out what is going to happen next and had to force myself to put it down when I realized I was probably going to struggle to get up for work the next day. Those types of books don't come around very often.
The novel is certainly an easy read with a style that is easy to digest. It's true it's no literary masterpiece but it doesn't need to be and just because it isn't doesn't mean it's not well-written. Its simple style, devoid of literary tropes, makes for a very effective adventure novel. Fantastically fast-paced at points, it draws you into the action. I couldn't get enough of it. Just when I said I would read one chapter more, I ended up reading another five.
When Katniss is chosen to be a tribute, Peeta Mellark, the son of a baker in district 12, is chosen to be the male tribute. Both Katniss and Peeta are taken to the Capitol to prepare for the games. When they get there, it is clear that it is all a show. She is designated a prep team to 'beautify' her and dress her up. Like the other tributes they must train, give interviews and parade about in extravagant costumes. For a period of time they are pampered, eat good food and live a life of luxury in the Capitol. However, before long they must meet the harsh reality of the games where they must kill each other to come out alive...
*~KATNISS, THE GIRL WHO WAS ON FIRE~*
One thing I love about this novel are the great dynamics within the story, particularly those between particular characters. I was surprised by the depth of the characters within Suzanne Collin's novel. In a story where individuals must fight to the death, I expected a high degree of two-dimensionality. And whilst we cannot get to know every tribute in the games, you gain quite an insight into the personalities of many of the characters. Characterization is one of the strong points of the novel. Collins creates characters you can truly care about and the odd character which you can love to hate.
Katniss herself is quite the heroine. All throughout her life she has suffered true hardship and has really fought to keep herself and her family alive. She demonstrates strength in everything she does which she carries with her to the Hunger Games. It is great to find a female character who is so admirable and inspiring to young girls in terms of strength and resilience.
There are a lot of people out there who seem eager to compare this novel and its characters to the Twilight series. However, I would argue that the only thing these novels share is success within the young adult genre. Katniss, in opinion is a much better role model for young girls than Bella from Twilight will ever be. I found Bella to be quite a weak and pathetic character, allowing her 'love' for Edward to take her to the point of self-destruction.
Of course, 'The Hunger Games', like the Twilight series, has its own love triangle as Katniss battles with her feelings for Gale, her friend back home and Peeta, her fellow district 12 contestant. However, this is a romance that is quite often sidelined throughout the whole series to take into consideration other more important issues. This is quite a refreshing change to novels like Twilight. Katniss doesn't constantly launch into internal monologues describing her love and adoration for the men in her life. She has more important matters to deal with. There is, after all, more to her life than her feelings towards certain young men...
This is probably why I found Peeta to be one of the weakest characters in the first book of the series. Katniss met Gale when she was a girl and they quickly became hunting partners helping one another to feed their families. Spending all this time together hunting, it would make sense that they could grow to love one another. Katniss's fondness for Peeta, however, stems back to an act of kindness when she and her family were starving and he gave her some bread. In the Hunger Games arena, their relationship grows but I just didn't find Peeta an all too convincing love interest. This may very well be intentional because towards the beginning of the book their apparent 'love' for one another seems to be nothing but a show for the cameras to help them win the games. Nevertheless, it just further proves my point that this book is not all about love interests and romantic relations. Peeta and Katniss's relationship is drawn out and explored further in later books. In the first book, there are a lot more important matters to care about.
There are a whole host of other great characters which you come across when reading this novel. As she is preparing for the games she meets some characters from the Capitol. Larger than life, they live a sheltered life in the capitol with their bizarre fashions and cosmetic enhancements. One such Capitol character she meets is Effie Trinket. When Katniss first meets Effie she is the announcer of the tributes for district 12 and escort to the chosen tributes. With her pinkish hair and outrageous dress sense, she is a true Capitol citizen. Training as a tribute in the capitol, Katniss grows sickened by Capitol indulgences but at the same time grows sympathetic. This is all Effie and other Capitol citizens know. They don't understand what it means to struggle every day to get by. All they have to worry about is what Lady Gaga-esque couture is in fashion that year...
When Katniss begins the Hunger Games, this is when you really get to know some of the other tributes from the districts. One such tribute is the little 12 year old Rue. She ends up joining forces with Katniss and they take care of each other for a while. By getting to know some of the characters like Rue, this not only makes the story more interesting but makes the deaths of some of the characters all the more weightier.
For the Capitol the Hunger Game is just a sport and anyone could die. It is a blood sport of the cruellest kind...
*~'BATTLE ROYALE FOR THE TWILIGHT GENERATION'?~*
Whilst some people may be eager to compare the novel to Twilight, a more obvious comparison can be made with Battle Royale, a Japanese novel and film set in a totalitarian state where a group of schoolchildren are forced to battle to the death. Some have claimed that the Hunger Games is a mere rip off of Battle Royale. The similarities are clear and at times The Hunger Games can be quite violent although certainly not as gratuitously violent as Battle Royale.
Suzanne Collins claims that the idea for 'The Hunger Games' was borne without knowledge of this Japanese story. She claims the idea came to her when she was channel surfing, coming across footage of people competing in a reality show and footage of the Iraq war. She took the idea of a battle and a reality show and put them both together to come up with the idea of the Hunger Games.
Whether, the novel was inspired by Battle Royale or not I don't think it really matters as I think it's quite different from Battle Royale in a lot of respects and a thoroughly entertaining read.
All throughout the novel you develop the feeling that Katniss is not just up against the other tributes but is up against the might of the Capitol. She may come across ruthless and violent tributes like the killing machines Cato and Clove but you get the strong impression that it is the Capitol that is the real villain in the whole piece. This is an idea that sets up the premise for the rest of the trilogy.
The Hunger Games may share similarities with Battle Royale but it has its own characters, its own story and its own version of a harsh totalitarian state.
*~'THE PERFECT ADVENTURE NOVEL'~*
The Hunger Games stands out as one of the best young adult novels that I have read. One critic referred to it as a perfect adventure novel and I couldn't agree more. The book itself is an exhilarating page turner that constantly captures your interest. The characters are rich and interesting, the story is dynamic and the writing style means that it is perfectly paced.
It is an adventure and science fiction novel with a little bit of romance interspersed between. However, Suzanne Collins doesn't let the romance take over. In fact, as I've said before, the love story that runs through the plot seems to pale in significance when you compare it to the rest of the action.
Collins has produced an exciting novel which had me reaching for its sequel as soon as I'd finished it. Battle Royale for the Twilight generation it certainly is not! In fact, this is a novel which is a lot worthier than Twilight with a strong female protagonist whom I hope will be a lot more inspiring to any young women out there.
*~AVAILABILITY~*: You'll have no problem finding this book anywhere. I got my box set for £11.98 on Amazon although it looks like it's gone up in price since then (£14.98. Must be all the hype generated by the film...)
*~FILM RELEASE~*: 23rd March 2012 in the UK. I can't wait and Jennifer Lawrence seems like the perfect choice to play Katniss!
*~LOOK OUT FOR...~* The marketing team for the Hunger Games film have made a Tumblr page entitled 'Capital Couture'. It's a fun little piece of publicity for the film (and the password for it is #lookyourbest)
*~Thank you for reading my review :-) Also published on Ciao under username Renza - Feb 2012~*
Summary: Someone claimed it was Battle Royale for the Twilight generation. Don't make me laugh! Give me Katni