At last, I, Tracy, am tapping into the blog that I’ve had on reserve for eons in order to bring to light the reviews I always write in my head but never on paper.
In light of the movie coming out and the buzz circulating about it (both good and bad, but you can view my full feelings on the controversy surrounding the fans of the series on my personal blog), I’ve decided that the first book I review is going to be…
The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins
For those of you who don’t know—and I have to admit, if there are any of you out there who don’t know about this series I’d like to meet you to find out how you stay away from the media/under a rock—The Hunger Games is a book that takes place in the futuristic setting of Panem, which is the civilization that rose out of the destruction of what we know as North America. Due to depletion of resources, natural disasters, and pretty much every awful thing that you would see in a Will Smith disaster movie, the futuristic Panem is a poor country, save for the rich and lavish Capitol. At one point the districts (there are twelve of them, one for each good the Capitol needs, and at one point there were thirteen but more on that later) rebelled against the oppressive Capitol because they were starving, poor, and unfairly treated, but the Capitol moved in like a bunch of BAMFS and squashed the rebellion—and the aforementioned District Thirteen as a punishment for the rebellion. Now, as a constant reminder of their deeds, Panem hosts the annual Hunger Games. Sound like a fun ol’ board game involving hippos and balls? Yeah. No.
See that? It is not. Unless you change balls for children, and hippos for… Know what? It’s not even close. What it actually is is a gladiator-style battle royale. Each district must offer in tribute one boy and one girl between the ages of 12 and 18 to fight in an arena that’s tricked out and mechanically controlled by gamemakers so that it’s different every year. If you win you bring food to your district for an entire year, get to live in a mansion, and never go hungry again. If you lose? You’re dead. Because in order to win you have to be the only one still alive after everybody else is killed. Sounds like fun, doesn’t it?
The book is heartwrenching, deep, and conveys a message about unjust societies and the exploitation/oppression of the lower classes. There are issues of race hinted at in here (the poorer outlying districts of 11 and 12, for instance, both have characters that are specifically described as being non-white), and it is definitely a political satire masked in a young adult novel. While there are plot aspects that people can point out share common plots with other works, part of the charm of The Hunger Games is the characters in it. Each character is diverse with flaws and endearments. Even those who are expected to be the antagonists (such as “brutal, bloody Cato”) have aspects and moments in the book that redeem them as human and remind us, the readers, that the children in the games are not the real enemy.
I could give you more, such as an in-depth discussion as to why I don’t believe Peeta Mellark is a Gary Stu or even remotely perfect, my feelings on Gale Hawthorne, and even why I absolutely believe that had Prim entered those games she would have died no matter if Peeta helped her or not, but for now I’ll just leave you with my rating. Because, my friends, I want you to read and find out for yourselves. And read you should.
WRITING STYLE: 5/5
Have a book you want me to review? Leave it in the ask box. I’m always looking for new reads. Until next time!