“Taking the kids from our districts, forcing them to kill one another while we watch – this is the Capitol’s way of reminding us how totally we are at their mercy.”
One of the best ways to kill some time is to walk into a book store. This is undoubtedly one of my favorite past times. The book I pick up to read while I’m killing this ‘time’ is dependent on several variables: How much time do I have? How many books am I reading right now? (Are there so many that I’m starting to mix the plots in my mind… like wondering why that unicorn was in was in George Bush’s biography… etc.) What kind of mood am I in?… you get the idea.
Most of the time, I find myself in the position of needing to kill a ‘short’ amount of time, so as a result I’ll pick up a book that I can read a fair chunk of… which usually results in me browsing the ‘children’s/young adult literature’ (something that I proudly declare as NOT a guilty pleasure, but a great pleasure that I often indulge in). I picked up a copy of Suzanne Collins’ “The Hunger Games.” I almost never wind up purchasing a book in situations like this, but I didn’t have a choice. It was a must buy.
“The Hunger Games” is another “children’s” book that drives its plot with dystopian themes and young people ‘sticking it to the man’ by rebelling against the corrupted government. The heroine, Katniss Everdeen, lives in district 12, one of the 12 fenced-in colonies in the post-apocalyptic North American Society. The duty of the 12 colonies is to serve the purposes of the elite caste that lives in ‘the capitol’ of this intriguing nation called Panem. The capitol is a brutal place that demands obedience from the untouchables in the colonies and reinforces the idea of the colonies’ inferiority by holding a lottery each year in each colony. The lottery determines the 2 children, one male, one female, who will be coerced to fight to the death in the annual hunger games.
The game itself is held in an enormous arena with unbelievable booby trap and mind-bending elements to lure the contestants into a compelling competition in front of the omnipresent cameras that broadcast every moment of the games to the world.
Through a jaw dropping series of events, Katniss finds herself competing in the games and can only become the winner by killing all of the other contestants. She is a hard but kind hearted 16-year-old who is equipped with remarkable skills, but her confrontations with paralyzing ethical dilemmas and the torturous environment of the games will put her character to the test.
This book really is as awesome as everyone says it is. If you start you will be done within a few days (max). Collins has wonderfully developed characters with layers of motives and feelings that all play effortlessly into her brilliant plot. Despite the book being for young adults, there is a great deal of violence, and yes, death. It is a fine line that Collins walks by masterfully condemning the acts of the capitol and the hunger games, and still inviting the reader to enjoy the intensity of the violence.
The Hunger Games stands out from other works of young adult literature because it is written powerfully, and written well. This book is truly one for all ages, and should only be read if you are willing to invest the $25 dollars in purchasing the 2nd and 3rd book in the trilogy (Collins is no stranger to the cliffhanger).
When you’re done reading it and loaning it to friends who are demanding to give it a go because of your bubbling enthusiasm, put this book on the 4th shelf (out of 5).