Friday, March 30, 2012

The Hunger Games trilogy

Series:  The Hunger Games
Author:  Suzanne Collins
Titles:  The Hunger Games (1), Catching Fire (2), Mockingjay (3)
Format:  Hardcover
Genre:  Dystopian/Science fiction

Rating:  A+++++

Background information (from Wikipedia):  The Hunger Games trilogy takes place in an unidentified future time period after the destruction of the current nations of North America, in a nation known as "Panem". Panem consists of a rich Capitol, located in what used to be Rocky Mountains, and twelve (formerly thirteen) surrounding, poorer districts which are under the hegemony of the Capitol. As punishment for a previous rebellion against the Capitol wherein twelve of the districts were defeated and the thirteenth destroyed, every year one boy and one girl from each of the remaining twelve districts, between the ages of twelve and eighteen, are selected by lottery and forced to participate in the "Hunger Games". The Games are a televised event where the participants, called "tributes", must fight to the death in a dangerous outdoor arena until only one remains. The winning tribute and his/her corresponding district is then rewarded handsomely with food and plenty, seeing as the lower districts are starving.

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 It is going to be so hard to write this review without giving anything away, but I will try.

First, let me start off by saying I LOVED THESE BOOKS!  Passionate, well-written, and thrilling, this trilogy had me hooked from the beginning.  As soon as I started reading it, I couldn't put it down.  I read The Hunger Games over a weekend.  Originally I had avoided the series simply because of the hype, but with the movie gaining even more attention, and my commitment to Read It 1st, I thought I'd give the books a try.  And now I'm so glad I did. 

The books tell the story of Katniss Everdeen, a 16-year-old girl from District Twelve who's chosen to be the female tribute during the 74th Hunger Games.  She's determined, somewhat hard, but also frightened and confused, emotional and loving.  Her inner monologues further develop her character and the reader's connection with her.  Her pain and turmoil are believable and real.  Collins did an amazing job with her character development throughout the series.

The descriptions of the Games themselves are harrowing and lifelike.  The suspense and tension kept me reading.  Warning- there's a lot of violence, and if reading about kids killing each other, sometimes brutally, upsets you... do NOT read these books.  Besides the violence, character development, and suspense, the books also contain romance.  In this case it's a love triangle.  Katniss is torn between her best friend Gale, a hardened coal miner who wishes to defy the Capitol but must support his widowed mother and his younger siblings, and the baker's son Peeta, a strong and artistic baker with a heart of gold who is chosen to be the male tribute for District 12.  Personally, I'm Team Peeta all the way, and in the end, Katniss picks... Well, you'll just have to read to find out.

It's so hard to really do justice to these books without including spoilers, so even though this review is kind of lame, please know that the books are definitely not.  If you love action, adventure, romance, suspense, science-fiction, dystopian literature, or David-versus-Goliath stories, you should absolutely read these books.  A+

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