by Suzanne Collins
Series: The Hunger Games #1
Winning will make you famous. Losing means certain death. In a dark vision of the near future, a terrifying reality TV show is taking place. Twelve boys and twelve girls are forced to appear in a live event called the Hunger Games. There is only one rule: kill or be killed. When sixteen-year-old Katniss Everdeen steps forward to take her sister's place in the games, she sees it as a death sentence. But Katniss has been close to death before. For her, survival is second nature.
I am a Mocking Jay.
The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins is a captivating dystopian novel that literally blew me away. It takes place in the nation of Panem, a shining Capitol surrounded by twelve outlying districts. Here Collins introduces us to wonderful characters and a governing body that does unspeakable things to its districts children. Each year two children (one boy and one girl) between the ages of twelve and eighteen are chosen from each district to be participants in the Hunger Games; a nationally televised fight to the death. Collins tale offers; action, loyalty, romance and a brilliant tale of humanity, death, hope and human’s ability to endure.
The protagonist is sixteen year old Katniss Everdeen. She lives with her mother and younger sister Primrose in District Twelve. After the death of her father, she assumes the role of head of household. For them to survive, she hunts illegally for squirrel, rabbit and herbs. She sells them on the black market to feed her family. Although poor, she and her family are well liked by the people of District Twelve. Since she was twelve she has had her name entered for the Hunger Games. In order to provide for Primrose and her heart-broken mother, she has submitted her name multiple times to receive yearly stables for her family. This is her sister’s first year, and when Primrose’s name is called, Katniss steps up and volunteers as a tribute. She does this without hesitation; even though this is nothing short of a death sentence. I fell completely in love with Katniss within the first few pages of this novel. She acts unselfishly and provides for her family. Katniss sees what is wrong in her world and does whatever it takes to protect the ones she loves. She is fearless, bright and loyal. She is also graceful, vulnerable, and compassionate. Without a doubt she has earned a place on my favorite heroines list.
The tale that unfolds completely captures you. Collins’ world-building and her depiction of the Capital, the events and the actual game were incredible. The event is dark, gritty, and barbaric. All of this is hidden behind a government event full of Hollywood glamour. Citizens place bets, sponsor players and root for their district. The government manipulates the game to increase ratings based on viewer feedback. The whole concept is frightful and yet Collins’ makes you believe. Her writing style enables you to visualize the scenes and events as they occur. You become swept up in the characters and their emotions. You feel their fears, compassion, and hopelessness. Once the game begins you become completely immersed. As characters make decisions, form alliances and their skills emerge you become a part of the game. When Katniss makes her first kill, her emotions rip through you. When she experiences a loss, you weep with her. As she begins to learn and use skills necessary to manipulate the game you cry for what it cost her. You feel both sorrow and relief when a player is eliminated. Despite the fact that the whole concept of the game appalls you, you want Katniss to survive. The romantic triangle in the story is believable and pulls at you.
Collins’s tale is unique, flawless and brilliant. The tempo of the plot is perfect and the emotions she drew from me as the reader, left me spent and wanting more. The characters are unforgettable and have a depth to them that ever writer and reader dreams of. This is a book I would read again and again. If you haven’t done so, I urge you to read The Hunger Games. If you have waited like me, there is a plus side….all three books are available. I will review book two, entitled Catching Fire sometime in the next thirty days. The third novel, Mockingjay will quickly follow. The Hunger Games is currently available in paper, audio and eBook format. The trilogy is available in a boxed set. Collins’ has been added to my list of must read authors and I look forward to reading more of her work.
Five cups of coffee out of five
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