At this point, who hasn’t heard of Katniss Everdeen? With the explosion in popularity of the books when the movies were announced, everyone started learning about her. I always try to read a book before I watch the movie if I know there is one, and same with this series. I actually started reading the Hunger Games on the suggestion of a friend, before the movies were announced. And I was immediately captured by the world that Suzanne Collins has created. I had a few problems with the books, but overall, I feel they are written well enough that they keep you enthralled in the story. The world and the setting are very detailed, and the descriptions make you feel like you are actually with Katniss in Panem.
The story is a post-apocalyptic world based around a glorified reality show about 24 kids put into a controlled environment and forced to fight to the death until one winner remains. Gruesome? Definitely. Full of violence? Of course. But the stories are written in a way that it doesn’t seem over violent. It’s necessary to the story, but not magnified. The idea of the story is not a unique concept, but it is still different from others in many ways.
Hunger Games focuses on a 16 year old girl named Katniss Everdeen. After outsmarting the sadistic game-makers and winning the Games with Peeta, Katniss starts to become a symbol of the rebellion. She is from one of the poorest districts in Panem, yet defeats the odds. On the surface, Katniss seems to be a strong female lead, someone that is independent, tough, resourceful. But if you delve into it, she evolves into someone who is dependent on so many others and really seems weak. Although it does make her seem more real because we see her strengths and her weaknesses.
The series has a lot of strong political and social issues that are addressed. There is the obvious politics of the big government, the big brother is watching concept, and a corrupt government. It also has a lot of poverty, classism, and devaluation of human life.
For most of the main characters, their motivations are pure. Of course, there are the corrupt politicians who are less pure, but those we are supposed to love are the ones who have good motivations. Most of them are motivated by love. Katniss is motivated by her love for her little sister. Peeta and Gale are motivated by their love for Katniss.
I have read through these books a couple times. Of course, after the initial read through, the shocking endings are not as shocking, but you can catch a lot of the foreshadowing to these endings. My first read-through, I was completely shocked by the endings. Each of the book has their own crazy ending, and enough to keep you wanting more.
What did you think about Hunger Games? Does it live up to the hype?