The Hunger Games

“You don’t forget the face of the person who was your last hope.”

Suzanne Collins

The Hunger Games has been on my radar for a while, mainly because people keep saying things like “You haven’t read The Hunger Games? You must read The Hunger Games, it will CHANGE YOUR LIFE!”

I’m not even exaggerating.

Well, anyway, I have finally managed to get around to reading it. I have to admit, the blurb was not encouraging, containing as it does this little gem:

For [Katniss], survival is second nature.

Er…I’m sorry, no, it isn’t. Survival is first nature, for everybody. That’s what being alive means. Surviving.

Happily, Suzanne Collins is clearly a lot cleverer than the blurb-writer. The Hunger Games is set in a dystopian future in which America has shrunk, through nuclear war and rebellion and global warming, to twelve Districts surrounding a tyrannical Capitol that holds them all in thrall. As punishment for an old uprising, every year each district must send two teenagers, a boy and a girl, to take part in the Hunger Games, a live television show in which there are only two rules: kill or be killed.

The novel is told through the eyes of one of them, Katniss Everdeen from District 12, a coal-mining district that never wins. On the whole, it’s a good novel. I liked that Collins avoided the straightforward romance plot, instead opting for a more complicated, realistic one that leaves a few questions unanswered. And I was impressed by the fact that Katniss remained a sympathetic character despite the moral ambiguity of many of her actions. And I found myself thinking about the dystopian world of Panem long after I’d closed the book (which was itself often quite difficult to do).

However, I regret to report that The Hunger Games has not exactly changed my life. I enjoyed it, sure, and I’ll probably get around to reading the sequels eventually. But I’m not about to rush out and buy them, I’m afraid.


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