The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
I finally read The Hunger Games, after seeing the movie and hearing all the hype.
First off, no one should read the series thinking that it is a serious or philosophical read. Honestly, it is written in a style to target teenagers, so the writing isn't anything similar to Tolstoy or Chesterton. As soon as the reader understands this, the series can be enjoyed; the novel is a quick and easy read. People who complain that it is overly simplistic should keep that in mind.
Secondly, in some of my circles of friends, especially certain parents, I have heard the cries of "this novel is entirely violent", "this isn't conducive to healthy reading" and "the story glorifies violence". If someone is of that opinion, I would put forth that they have entirely missed the point of the series, the social commentary that Collins is writing about.
The first book in the series introduces us to the protagonist, Katniss Everdeen. She lives in a squalid village/area known as "Seam" and struggles to make ends meet for her little sister and mother. Her father was killed a mining accident several years earlier and her family are attempting to rebuild their lives by themselves. We quickly become aware of the poverty that these people deal with on a day to day basis.
I'm pretty sure everyone knows the general story of The Hunger Games: children are selected each year to fight each other to the death in an arena as a spectre to remind the viewers of the destruction which occurred during the last rebellion. It serves more of a warning than a reminder, as if to say to each person: the Capitol has control over every aspect of your lives.
This is a solid start to the series and lays the foundation for what will be a huge revolution and war. It's easy to see where Collins will take the series, but that doesn't make it any less enjoyable. The only burr in the saddle so to speak, is the development of the love triangle between Katniss, Gale and Peeta. However, unlike the Twilight triangle with the bland and boring Bella Swan, it is easy to see why two men would fall in love with a strong and passionate character like Katniss Everdeen.
Four out of five stars because the book was enjoyable and even moving at times.
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