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The Hunger Games A Feast for Readers

  • Ryan Duncan Editor
  • 2012 20 Mar
<i>The Hunger Games</i> A Feast for Readers

Author: Suzanne Collins

Title: The Hunger Games

Publisher: Scholastic Press

It's likely by now that the majority of people have already read Suzanne Collins The Hunger Games trilogy and are eagerly awaiting the release of the upcoming movie.

The dystopian, gladiatorial, teen-thriller has become such a runaway hit that these days you can't enter a Barns & Noble without seeing a display in its honor. But perhaps you're like me. Perhaps you continually put off reading the book until suddenly the movie was only a week away, and you realized you were the only person in your hemisphere who hasn't read it yet. If that's the case don't be worried, you are in good company, and before you rush off to your local library here is a quick breakdown of what to expect from book one of The Hunger Games.

The Hunger Games takes place in the distant future, where war and natural disaster have changed the face of the world as we know it. Out of the wreckage of North America rose the nation of Panem, a large and technologically advanced capitol city surrounded by twelve districts.

Not long after its founding, the districts staged an uprising against the corrupt capitol but were eventually put down. As punishment for their actions, each district is forced once a year to send one boy and one girl to fight to the death in a national televised event called "The Hunger Games". It's under these circumstances that we are introduced to the novels protagonist, Katniss Everdeen.

Katniss is a teenaged girl who has grown up in the impoverished slums of district twelve. Katniss days are divided into bow hunting in the woods with her friend Gale and supporting her widowed mother and younger sister at home. Despite her circumstances, Katniss life is fairly normal until the day her sister is chosen to compete in the Games.

In order to protect her family Katniss volunteers to take her sisters place, a desperate action that gets complicated when she discovers a boy named Peeta Mellark will also be competing. An act of kindness from Peeta saved Katniss and her family in the past, and the two develop a complex relationship as the brutal Games get underway.

The book, as well as Collins' style of writing, is simple but dynamic. The characters have little depth, but they fit in the story well enough and readers will find themselves drawn to them regardless of their quirks in personality. Collins also doesn't waste readers' time trying to appear deep or elaborate as some authors do. Instead, she keeps her chapters direct and to the point. The end result is a book that's easy to read but provides more than enough action, nail-biting suspense, and touching moments to keep readers hooked until the last page.

Parents of young readers should still be warned though. This is a book about children fighting to the death, and while the violence never becomes too graphic it might be wise for concerned parents to read the books themselves before handing it off to their children. Despite this however, The Hunger Games lives up to its public reputation and demonstrates that a novel doesn't need to be complicated to be well written. Whether you like action, romance, or reading in general, this is one book you should take the time to read. The odds are clearly in its favor.           

*This Review First Published 3/20/2012