The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins

When the name “Primrose Everdeen” is called out at the lottery, Katniss volunteers to take her younger sister’s place as District 12’s female participant of the annual Hunger Games, a cruel punishment and system of oppression created by the government that rules the fictional country Panem. As heroic as Katniss’ act may sound, she is not portrayed as an idealized heroine. She is aggressive, selfish and always keeps her guard up, no matter what.

Collins creates a dystopia where Panem is what is left of North America after wars and natural disasters. Panem consists of twelve districts (the thirteenth district was allegedly destroyed years ago, in the old days of rebellion) and the Capitol, from which the entire nation is controlled. While most inhabitants of the districts live in poverty and starvation, the inhabitants of the Capitol enjoy life in luxury and exuberance. Every year the Hunger Games are arranged. A boy and girl of each district are sent to the arena, where they are forced to fight for their survival until only one of them is left alive.

I admit I was a bit sceptical towards The Hunger Games at first, due to the terrifying concept of the Hunger Games themselves. Twenty four children, some of them young adults, are thrown into an arena filled with weapons and deadly traps, where they are forced to kill each other, for the amusement of the shallow citizens of the Capitol. All of these young characters will have to perish and our main character will probably have to kill some of them. We get to know some of them closely, we come to care about them, and all of them will have to die in order for Katniss to live. I did not know how I could possibly like this story, but I was proven wrong. Even if the concept of the Hunger Games is filled with horror, the story was really worth reading. It is worth reading because of the horror of the Hunger Games.

The story is very dark and it’s subject matter is dealt with seriously. Perhaps some of the deaths in the arena are only brushed upon and dealt with quickly, but that is a result of the first-person perspective. Since Katniss is our narrator we only get her view of the battlefield. Due to this, we never know what threat awaits her around the corner, which adds to the thrill of the story. The story was a real page turner and made me want to read the sequels, Catching Fire and Mockingjay.

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4 thoughts on “The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins

  1. I wish you the best of luck with the sequels. I was sorely disappointed in them. I grew to dislike Katniss and was more interested in the minor characters who never really got much play.

    • Thanks, I have already plowed my way through them.:) I did not have time to build up too much expectations, but felt that “Catching Fire” was a slow read for many, many pages. Then the story took off, but did feel a bit like a repitition once they get to the arena. And the third and final part was a brutal journey of pain, but I could not put it down either.

      I agree, I also came to dislike Katniss more and more as the story progressed, also lost respect for some of the other characters, and came to like back ground players more. Still, I feel that one of the strenghts of the story is the fact that Katniss is no idealized heroine, she’s human and very flawed and the things she goes through shatters her.

      I’ll have to gather my thoughts before I post about the sequels.

      • It wasn’t that she was no idealized heroine. It was more how the author wrote her with behavior that I felt was completely unrealistic based on the situation. It was as if there was little growth for Katniss. She started off selfish and ended selfish. With all that happened, it would have been logical to see some sort of growth.

      • That’s true. She does not change much from who she started out as. At the end she is still the same girl that left District 12 with the sole purpose of protecting her family (her only redeeming quality?). Perhaps she is a bit more aware of herself at the end, but that is probably all.

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