ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Suzanne Collins kick-started her professional writing career in 1991. She worked for several Nickelodeon shows, including the Emmy-nominated hit Clarissa Explains it All and The Mystery Files of Shelby Woo. The Underland Chronicles: Gregor the Overlander, the first book in her five-part fantasy/war series, became a New York Times bestseller. It has been sold in 21 foreign territories. Her next series, The Hunger Games Trilogy, went on to become an international bestseller. The Hunger Games has spent over six years on The New York Times bestseller list since its publication in September 2008. It has also consistently featured on the bestseller lists of USA Today and Publishers Weekly. The trilogy has been sold across 56 territories in 51 languages. In 2010, Collins was named to the TIME 100 list as well as to the Entertainment Weekly Entertainers of the Year list. Her books have sold over 100 million copies worldwide.
You don’t forget the face of the person who was your last hope.
The Hunger Games is a gripping story set in a post-apocalyptic world. It is a world where a replacement for the United States demands a tribute from each of its territories: two children to be used as gladiators in a televised fight to the death.
Katniss, from what was once Appalachia, offers to take the place of her sister in the Hunger Games. However, after this ultimate sacrifice, she is entirely focused on survival at any cost. It is her teammate, Peeta, who recognizes the importance of upholding humanity in such inhuman circumstances.
Readers are compelled to applaud Collin’s skill at characterization, which makes even the cold and calculating Katniss likeable. Katniss struggles to win not only the Games, but also the contest for audience approval. She has all the attributes to be a winner, whereas Peeta has the grace to be a good loser. Katniss has been portrayed as a tough girl, who loves her sister Prim more than anyone or anything else. She lost her father to death and her mother to depression. Such testing situations gave her the determination to ensure Prim’s well-being. In stark contrast to Katniss, Peeta is the nice guy who does not care much about winning the game. He has the power of speech and spontaneity with which he sweeps people off their feet.
It is no accident that these games have been presented as pop culture. Every generation is a projection of its fear: runaway science, communism, overpopulation, nuclear wars and, now, reality TV. Reading the Hunger Games can lead to interesting discussions about our own world and how reality shows, war threats, authoritarian governments and obsession with the ever-changing fashion trends influence us in our day-to-day lives. Due to the darkness of the story, it is best suited for teens and adults rather than tweens.
The writing is excellent and the plot propels the reader through the book at a rapid pace. The book is a treatise on governments, personal freedom, and sacrifice. It also masterfully drives home the importance of being yourself and not giving in to society’s expectations.
I am not pretty. I am not beautiful. I am as radiant as the sun.
The plot is narrated in first person by Katniss. This allows her to be at the forefront and present the events from her perspective. A more mature book would probably have offered greater intensity of action, but this novel is aimed at a much younger audience. Even so, the book is not short on suspense. Unexpected alliances between the players and the way Katniss manipulates the audience and the sponsors to keep fighting are described in greater detail. It almost feels like you are watching a movie or reading an illustrated book.
As one would expect from the first book in a series, there are quite a lot of unanswered questions. The greatest of such mysteries is the one central to the plot, thus earning the Hunger Games 3.8 stars out of 5. One is forced to wonder whether Katniss has sacrificed too much. The readers know and appreciate what she has given up to survive, but they cannot help but think if the price was too high. These questions are motivation enough for any reader to pick up the second installment of the series as soon as they are done with the first.
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