Tuesday, October 19, 2010

The Hunger Games

For a while now I’ve been hearing buzz about this Hunger Games series of novels. It’s a trilogy that begins, oddly enough, with The Hunger Games. This book is followed closely by Catching Fire and Mockingjay. Once again, I didn’t catch wind of these books until the third one had already been released. You know, just once in my life I’d like to find the first book of an awesome series before the sequels have been released. I’d like to be one of those people who create buzz about the awesomeness of a book before everybody and their brother has already read it and I’m the only fool that’s never even heard of it. Anyway, I finally got around to picking up The Hunger Games. And the people on the Facebook were right. It’s pretty awesome.

There might be some spoilers coming up. So if you haven’t read it yet, you may want to not read this post. I’m talking to you Most Awesome Person I Know.

The story takes place in a post-apocalyptic future where North America doesn’t exist in the same way that it exists today. All the people know about their world is that they live in the country of Panem which is ruled from a shining city called The Capitol. Surrounding the Capitol are 12 districts. At some point in the past, there were 13 districts. However, when these districts attempted a rebellion, the Capitol struck back and destroyed District 13 as punishment. The remaining 12 districts were then kept on a very tight leash.

As a way of exerting its power over the people of the districts, the government began the annual Hunger Games. Each year, a representative would appear in each district and choose one boy and one girl between the ages of 12 and 18 to participate in the games. They were chosen by having their names drawn out of a fishbowl. But these games aren’t as fun as the name would imply. The games basically consist of a gladiator style deathmatch. The last kid standing wins.

Seems kind of cruel to make kids fight for their lives on national TV, right? Well, that’s the kind of sadistic future government that we’re dealing with in The Hunger Games. Our heroine, Katniss Everdeen, wasn’t initially supposed to participate in the games. I mean, her name was in the fishbowl. In fact, it was in there several times. From what I understand, one’s name is entered once at the age of 12, then each year they add it again. So by the age of 18, one would have their name in the bowl at least seven times. But one could also add more chances in exchange for extra rations for one’s family. That’s Katniss’ case. However, her 12-year-old sister, Prim, had her name in there too. Of the two of them, the odds were more likely that Katniss would be drawn out, as opposed to Prim’s one little slip of paper. But the little sister’s name is drawn. In a moment of self-sacrifice, Katniss volunteers herself to take the place of her little sister.

This is only the beginning of an anxiety riddled story that ultimately leads to Katniss becoming an unintentional rebel and leads her to have some pretty confusing and unexpected feelings. Katniss Everdeen performs admirably while in the arena of the games. She not only plays against her opponents, but also plays upon the desires of the television audience, whom she knows can reward her with helpful gifts throughout the bloodbath.

As main characters go, she’s the kind of person that young people can look up to. She’s strong, she’s independent, and she’s selfless in her actions. This is a stark contrast to another recently popular female lead, a character that I believe to be, just about, the worst character in literary history. I won’t mention any names, but if you can’t guess who I’m talking about, feel free to ask. I don’t want to publish it here because that girl and the books in which she can be found have a cult following. I could be hanged by those cultish followers.

Anyway, The Hunger Games is kind of awesome. And I very much look forward to reading Catching Fire. Which I will do as soon as it arrives in the mail. I love buying used books for cheap.

1 comment:

  1. No! Be GLAD that you didn't hear about them until they were all out. The waiting was brutal. Those cliffhanger endings and interminable months spent waiting for the sequels. It was torture.
    I'm excited FOR you to be reading the next one. But nothing can prepare you for Mocking Jay. I want to scream just thinking about it.