The Hunger Games. Imagine a future where a reality show forces children to fight to the death on national television. That is the basic premise of The Hunger Games. We follow a young girl named Katniss from a poor part of the country who is pulled into these games with the hope being that, if she wins, she can bring food and wealth back to her family.
The book reminds me partly of Lord of the Flies (and the brutality of children) and then partly of Stone Cold Steve Austin’s recent movie “Condemned,” about prison inmates being forced to fight to the death on television. This book brings both ideas together and handles them in a superb way.
It’s written for young adults, so it’s an extremely easy read. My total amount of time reading was maybe five hours. It’s also an enthralling read. It’s pretty much nonstop action and the world that has been created is deep and complicated. Even though much of the book is focused on this small dome where the action is taking place, the author cleverly reminds you of the larger world outside and the consequences of what might happen.
Katniss is a strong female lead, definitely holding her own against other more naturally predatory combatants. She’s not the strongest physically, but she is strong in terms of logic and compassion and strategy and creativity. Watching her navigate these savage games is truly interesting, as she doesn’t want to hurt anyone. Her desire to live often is at conflict with her desire not to kill.
She is paired up with romantic and likeable Peeta. He ends up being the more sentimental of the two and the one that has a harder time with the idea of death and losing those that he’s learned to care about. There is a lot of complicated emotions, pleasing audiences of all ages. The superficial love story which might attract younger readers is layered with a deeper set of emotions about life and death and losing yourself to the situations that you’re forced into, which definitely resonated with me.
It’s a no-brainer that I’m recommending this book. It’s an easy read and you’ll be unable to put the book down once you’ve started. This is the first in a trilogy and is soon to arrive on the big-screen (find the teaser trailer here).