book thoughts: The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins (2008)

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Suzanne Collins

Imagine a future where the world is ruled by a dictatorship and they have the power to take you away at any moment.  But they don’t…instead, they leave it up to chance.  Once a year, your life is on the line and if chosen, your death will be considered entertainment for the masses.

This is the society that Katniss grew up in.  Her family lives in District 12, one of the many districts ruled by The Capitol.  Years ago, the 13 districts tried to rebel against the government of Panem, but the Capitol squashed their rebellion.  District 13 was completely wiped off the map, and the rest were turned into slaves to the Capitol, each providing a different resource for those citizens and leaving their own to starve.  The Hunger Games, a twisted take on reality entertainment, were designed to remind the people of Panem the power the Capitol has over them; that at a moments notice they can take away a child and force them to fight a battle to the death.  And everyone in Panem will be forced to watch as these children try to survive because only one can be declared the winner. 

This book is action-packed and hard to put down.  Reading the story, you can easily (and eerily) imagine an event like the Hunger Games airing on television today.  Contestants are paraded around, try to win sponsors, and then have their trials and tribulations broadcast to the world.  But Katniss has her wits about her, even if her people skills are not that great.  She is a strong heroine and makes this book hard to put down as you follow her through the different facets of the games. 

There’s so much I want to say about this book but I don’t want to spoil it for anyone.  It is a fantastic read, with writing so vivid, you feel like you’re watching a movie (though in a couple years, you will be as Lionsgate just optioned the film rights).  It can get gruesome at time, since the kids are fighting to the death, but the violence isn’t enough to turn anyone off if you’ve watched an action/adventure movie in the passed 10 years. 

This is the first book in a planned trilogy, but The Hunger Games has a satisfying ending to itself, so don’t worry about being left with a big cliffhanger.  Collins leaves the story open just enough to continue, but not enough to leave you feeling like you should have waited for book 2 to be out (which it will be in September). 

Do yourself a favor and read The Hunger Games now…because I have a feeling in a few months, everyone else will be talking about it.

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