In the week before the new semester started, I took my time to devour as many books as possible, knowing I wouldn’t have that much time with school duties looming on the horizon. After putting off seeing the movie until I read the book, it was finally time for me to jump on the Hunger Games hype train and see what it’s all about. I read all three books over the weekend and I wasn’t disappointed at all. It is a fantastic, breathtaking trilogy.
In the first book, North America has been turned into a state with an all-controlling and tyrannical Capitol with twelve districts surrounding it. In a bloody civil war, the thirteenth district was obliterated and the twelve districts forced to cater to the wishes of the capital city. As a punishment, every district is forced to send a boy and a girl to participate in “Hunger Games”, a winner-takes-it-all killing competition for the entertainment of the ruling class. In the poor mining District 12, 16-year old Katniss Everdeen, the narrator of the story, volunteers in place of her younger sister. The teenager is a rebellious, troubled, headstrong and intelligent girl with a terrific will to live. She leaves the closed-off district to hunt with her best friend, Gale. Chosen as a tribute with her is the baker’s son Peeta, who has harbored a lifelong crush on Katniss. The first part of the book does very well in establishing the world and the character and relationships of the teenage girl. It then takes off when the two arrive in the Capitol and the games actually begin. You’ll have to read the books or watch the movie to find out what exactly happens next. The first movie was released a year ago and Academy Award winner Jennifer Lawrence will reprise her iconic role as Katniss this November in “Catching Fire”.
I don’t want to spoil any of the events in books two or three, so I’ll instead talk about some of the points I really enjoyed about the trilogy. The supporting characters were very diverse and interesting. At first it is very hard to gauge (for Katniss and the reader) if the characters are trustworthy or not. But each of them has their own interesting ways and is fascinating to read about. Personally, in the first book I loved Cinna, the stylist during the Games and Haymitch, Katniss’ and Peeta’s mentor. In the second and third book, Finnick and Boggs were personalities who enriched the story in many ways.
Ms Collins attempts to show many issues in her book and it carries a strong anti-war message. She shows how the oppressed can turn into oppressors as soon as the table turns. The books also are a very extreme version of how reality TV could look in the future. Regular viewers will notice scenes resembling the scripted scenes of today.
Of course, a central in the books is the love triangle between Katniss, Peeta and Gale, which has led to much discussion among the young (female) fans of the series. I must say I very much enjoyed the portrayal of her conundrum, even though I felt it got a touch repetitive in the second book. I personally liked the resolution of the triangle in the third book, but it did feel a bit rushed.
All in all, the Hunger Games Trilogy is a fantastic series and should be read by any fan of Young Adult Fiction, dystopian and fantasy novels, as it is imaginative, fast-paced and suspenseful. After Chaos Walking, it’s the second-best trilogy I read this year.
What do you think about the Hunger Games? Have you read and enjoyed the books or movies? Let me know in the comments or on Twitter!