At first I was apprehensive in reading this book considering all the hype that went along with it and the hype that went along with the Twilight series. I expected it to be another sappy stupid romance about a girl who hates herself and the world. You know how the teens are right now these days, no disrespect to those teens that do have a sense of self and self respect. Suzanne Collins is a genius in the way that she weave the take that she has to tell and does it in such a way that you can not help but be drawn into it and can not get out of the raging torrent until you have finished the book entirely. It is one of those books that will stick with you and have you looking forward to actually reading the next one. Many series writers are more dry in their approach, seem more cautious in their writing but not Collins. She pours herself into the story and you know that she feels each and every one of her characters.
The Hunger Games takes place both after the sea level have risen what seems to be at least 60 to 70 feet or more as well as a rather nasty war for both resources and independence. The rebels lost and now have to pay with their lives in a continual way by sending young people to die every year in an annual game that the Capitol holds. The game is a fight to the death and it is to remind the outlaying districts of the folly of their rebellion. There are twelve districts but at one time there were thirteen. It was totally obliterated and a smoking ruin. It is the thought of what the Capitol can do and the children that the districts have to sacrifice each year that keep everyone obedient, at least on the surface.
District 12 is mostly along the Appalachian mountain range and the coal mining district. They are the butt of many jokes in other districts and even in the Capitol. They hardly ever win any games but do have one winner named Haymitch Abernathy who is constantly drunk. Most residents of District 12 fear starvation or mine explosions then they do any threat that the government can throw at them. They have a rough life but out in the town or area called The Seam people are always breaking the law, even the Peacekeepers that are there. They look the other way as the residents do just about anything to survive. Now real crimes of theft and murder are dealt with swiftly but the things like the black market and people skipping the fence they tend to overlook, especially if you don’t get caught. The is the real keep, never be seen by the authorities doing what you do but once you have done it you can happily sell you wares to them for food to feed your family.
Katniss Everdeen is a girl in her late teens that will do anything for her family, even brave the woods to be able to see that they don’t starve. Because of what she has learned from her father, now dead in a mine accident, and what she has learned on her own, she is a lethal hunter who can shoot the eyes out of a squirrel that is hiding in a tree. She knows most plants by sight and can figure out if others are edible or useful by what she has learned from her apothecary mother. At first she was alone in the woods but winds up roaming them with her friend Gale Hawthorne, her best friend and survival partner.
At home Katniss has a sister and mother to car for and will do anything to make sure that they will survive. Katniss even registers her name multiple times every year for The Hunger Games so that she can make sure that her sister and mother will not have to starve to death like she has seen others do. With the game that she shoots and the plants that she finds and the grain and oil from her registrations they, her family, are able to usually not go hungry. She is a survivor and is not going to let anything happen to her family. It is that sense of protectiveness that has her volunteer to take her sisters place in the games.
Haymitch, the town drunk and a past winner of The Games is the only hope that Katniss Everdeen and Peeta Mellark have at staying alive during the games. Peeta is the bakers son that is secretly in love with Katniss, so secret that she has no clue whatsoever that he has feelings for her. She is too busy surviving to really notice any emotions, not since her father has died. Haymitch can see some of it in the way that Peeta and Katniss interact with each other and he know he can use that to his advantage. He just has to make sure they stay alive long enough for the rest of the Districts and the Capitol to see it. This years games are going to be something to be remembered and maybe even feared.
Once you start reading this book you are not going to want to stop but I caution all of you to make sure that you have a tissue or two near by. Some parts of the story are literally going to wrench at your heart and pull at your emotions again and again as you read about the two teens struggles to stay alive. BTW, I have not seen the movie yet so non of this review is based on that, it is totally just the book that the writer Suzanne Collins have given us. If you haven’t read The Hunger Games than you really should go and read it, you wont want to stop once you do.