Each year in Panem, children between the ages of twelve and eighteen are selected to fight in The Hunger Games, a televised fight to the death where there can only be one victor. Each of the twelve districts must draw the names of Tributes - a boy and girl - to fight in the games. When Katniss' younger sister is chosen, she steps forth to take her place.
Katniss knows how to hunt and survive but the Games will test her strength and stamina in ways far beyond what she knows. Can Katniss survive The Hunger Games, even if it means killing Rue, a girl the same age as her sister or Peeta, the boy Tribute from Katniss' district?
I've had a copy of this book since June '10. I read the first five chapters before it was packed up for NYC and after that it just remained on my book shelf. With the film release only a few days away, I decided to get stuck in from the beginning.
I was pessimistic about 'The Hunger Games' because of all the hype and the fact that the beginning was slow in pace and included plenty of back story. Regardless, it was undeniable from the start that Collins is a skilled wordsmith.
The novel progresses from compelling to riveting. I was engrossed in the concept of the Games and Katniss' endeavour to survive. The way in which the Games are presented is fascinating, with the Tributes flounced about like celebrities and sponsored and bet on like race horses...or more accurately, a dog fight.
The nail which Collins hit on the head was the development of Katniss' character and the dynamics between her and the fellow Tributes, particularly Peeta and Rue. These three characters are the strongest in the novel. Rue captured my heart, Peeta made me smile...but Katniss' strength was something I admired above all.
Katniss is not a perfect character. She is not without flaws or misgivings. She is strong in the way she faces the world and strives to survive, both before and during the Games. It is not easy to find a female protagonist who is sympathetic without being pathetic. It's a harsh fact but I find that it's true. Katniss deserves the title of "heroine" without being an archetypal hero.
Once I was finished reading 'The Hunger Games,' I set out to my local book store to pick up the sequel, 'Catching Fire.' It won't be long until I'm devoured by it, I'm sure.
I look forward to seeing the film adaptation of 'The Hunger Games,' curious as to what it will be like. I'm uncertain as to whether I should read the remainder of the trilogy before I do so.
My advice is not to be smothered by the hype of 'The Hunger Games' but to let curiosity get the best of you and read the book for yourself. You might find yourself just as enticed as I was.