Monday, August 1, 2011

To Be Read: The Hunger Games

I wrote earlier I was hesitant about reading The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins. It has the same idea of Battle Royale and The Running Man: futuristic society, games used to entertain/exert government control, yada yada yada…

The Hunger Games takes place in what was once known as North America, in the nation of Panem. Panem is separated into districts, each one specializing in a certain industry that basically supports the Capitol, where the government of Panem is located. Every year each district must send a tribute, one boy and girl, between the ages of twelve and eighteen, to the Hunger Games, where they will be thrown into an arena to battle to the death until one emerges as the victor. Our heroine, Katniss Everdeen, is only sixteen and has been struggling to survive in District 12, being the sole provider of her family. When it’s time for District 12 to send their Tributes, it’s Katniss’ little sister who has been chosen but Katniss volunteers to go in her place.

I’ve only see the movie versions of Battle Royale and The Running Man, and it’s been years since I’ve seen them. I don’t know if I can watch Battle Royale again. The scene with the girls who turn on each other still haunts me. While The Hunger Games describes how some of the children – who have been forced to participate in the games – were killed, it is quite graphic but it didn’t really hit me. It is a YA novel, written in a certain style that didn’t make me cringe compared to the type of cringing I did while reading the first three books of A Song of Ice and Fire series, by George R.R. Martin. Although, it was written from the point of view of Katniss, and it could be that she herself had shut herself off in order to survive the Hunger Games.

The book is definitely a page turner though. I got through it in a week and I recommend it. Oh, just a warning, the names are horrible and don’t work well when read aloud. As a book it did its job; I was entertained. Though being entertained by the death of children may not be something I should be admitting…

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