Sunday, June 26, 2011

Book Review: The Hunger Games

Pages: 384
Publisher: Scholastic Press
Genre: Young Adult/Fiction
Series: First in Hunger Games trilogy
Bought At/Borrowed From: Rosalie

Finished: June 26, 2011
Reading Competition: Book 16, 5034

Review: Wow. The Hunger Games was the first book in a long while that I have not wanted to put down. Normally, I'm not that big on stories set in a dystopian future, but this one had me hooked almost immediately.

The story is set in a futuristic North America in a country called Panem. It has one capitol and twelve districts. Earlier in it's history the districts revolted against the tyrannical Capitol and were beaten brutally and forevermore subjected to the Hunger Games. The Hunger Games is a Survivor-like competition that takes survival a bit too seriously--two randomly chosen teens, a boy and girl, are sent from each district to compete in a 24/7 televised arena until only one remains alive. They have to survive not only the elements of the arena, the tricks and traps the Capitol creates to keep the "game" entertaining for the viewers, but also each other.
The story focuses on one girl, Katniss Everdeen, a poor girl from the poor coal-mining District 12. Though District 12 is known throughout Panem as not even being close to a contender in the games, Katniss and her District partner/competitor, Peeta Mellark, turn the game upside-down as they prepare and then take on the daunting challenge of staying alive.

Throughout this book, I was totally enraptured. I started it on a trip to Yosemite with Rosalie, her boyfriend, and her family and once I had, I tried to find every possible second to read it. As we drove home, I was completely silent in the back seat, trying to read as fast as possible so I could be done by the end of the car trip because I knew once I got home I'd have to go back to normal distracting life.
The Hunger Games was... enchanting. I don't know if that's quite the right word for it, but it sounds right. I was so excited to find another book/series that I was dying to read. I finally found Twilight in 2008, but all the hype has made me take a break from the series. I've almost read Harry Potter too much and with the movie series coming to a close (19 days!) I'm all emotional with that. I know, I know, I'm comparing this first book to some pretty big names, but this is exactly how I felt about it.
I love being inside Katniss' head. I like the way her mind works. I like that she knows things I will probably never know, like how to shoot a bow and arrow in the dark and not miss her target, what berries are the proper ones to eat (and not eat! ;] ), how to survive in the arena and in the politics that surrounds the games. Not only was I devouring the story, I was also learning new things, seeing an entirely different perspective. I have to applaud Suzanne Collins because Katniss is a character unlike any in our society and to go so far into a world and an experience that is so completely different, I think, is an amazing feat on any writer's part.

This book reminds me of this monster truck rally commercial that comes on once year where I live and uses this great line that my brother and I quote constantly -- "You'll pay for the whole seat, but only need the edge." (Although with the way the commercial says it, it should be in caps lock with a crazy amount of exclamation points and, if there was a way to convey a growl within the text, it should be in there too.) That's how I feel about Hunger Games, like I only needed the edge of my seat, but in a literary sense. I'm pretty sure you follow that.
This book has romance and survival, opulence and depravity, fierceness and gentility -- it is a book of contradictions, much like Katniss herself. It's a fantastic read and I highly recommend.

*UPDATE*: Soooo, the movie's coming out right? Well at Comic-Con this year, they gave out a bunch of Hunger Games posters and Mockingjay pins! And I'm the proud owner of both. No, these will never be a giveaway. I am simply boasting.

Rated: 10-- Honestly, do I need to say anymore about how much I loved it?
Up Next: This Lullaby by Sarah Dessen