I’m very late to this party. I’ll be honest, I hadn’t even heard of these books until about a year ago when my little sister practically burst with excitement at the announcement of a film remake. The film starring Jennifer Lawrence came out a few weeks ago, and with nothing else to read I figure I might as well give them a go.
I am, quite frankly, gutted that I didn’t start sooner.
The books are based in a future version of America called Panem, a dictator state ruled by an evil President, and the country split into 12 districts. The protagonist, Katniss Everdeen, lives in District 12, and like every child between the ages of 12 – 18 in Panem, has her name included in the yearly draw to take part in the country’s Hunger Games. The Games take one boy and one girl from each district, place them in an arena, and make them fight to the death – only one can win.
I know what you’re thinking, and I thought it too: Oh good, the bastard teen-fiction child of Battle Royale and Lord of the Flies. Admittedly, having a load of kids rip each other to shreds isn’t the most original idea, but this The Hunger Games is never gory or violent just for the sake of it. The entertainment in the book isn’t to imagine children destroying each other in the worst ways imaginable, it’s about the fight to survive regardless of whether it’s in the arena, or out. And not just to survive physically, but to remain the person you are without letting the state destroy your entire being. It’s hardcore heart wrenching that’s for sure.
The entire trilogy is based on cliffhangers. That’s why I read all 3 books in a week – I just HAD to know what happened. It’s been a while since I’ve read a genuine page-turner; I’d tell myself I’d read just one more chapter but then I’d grab a sneak peek of the next sentence and couldn’t sleep if I didn’t continue. From the torments of the Hunger Games arena to the confused love stories, the sub-plots were so seamlessly linked that I somehow managed to feel like I knew everything about Katniss while also never knowing what she was thinking. This basically all added up to make a story that made me do all of the following at least once: cry (alone and in public), physically throw the book across the room, hit the book against my face, place the book in another room and refuse to look at it for at least an hour while I recovered emotionally.
I’m not going to provide any spoilers, and not because I don’t want to tell you EVERYTHING, purely as a push to get you to go and buy the books. Whether it’s on Kindle or paperback, get them, love them and talk with me about them!
Photos from www.amazon.co.uk