Friday, February 10, 2012
The Hunger Games
by Suzanne Collins
I'm beginning to feel that the best books are being written for young adults. Perhaps I just don't know where to look for the best books, but I seem to find very good ones in the Young Adult section.
The Hunger Games falls into this category - one of the best books and written for Young Adults.
Far into the future our country is broken into 13 Districts and the Capitol which are all very distinct and separate from each other. District 13 has been obliterated and only 12 remain. Our heroine and hero are from District 12 which is the coal mining district and perhaps one of the poorest. Katniss is a hunter/gatherer roaming illegally outside the confines of the district, risking her freedom daily to bring food to her family and to trade for other goods. Peeta is the son of the baker.
The Hunger Game is an annual event created by the Capitol in which two children from each district, a boy and a girl between the ages of 12 and 18, are all placed in an arena to fight to the death. Katniss and Peeta are the selected from District 12. The winner will be set for life with a new home and wealth when returned to his or her district.
We follow Katniss and Peeta from their selection through the pomp and circumstance of their preparation and presentation for the Games. The story is well written and imaginative. The "arena" is set around a lake, forested on one side with the terrain of the other side dropping out of view and is not described until much later in the story. The Capitol is capable of recording the combatants in all areas and controlling the environment at will. If the Games are to become boring they can crank it up to keep it moving by changing the weather or creating hardship.
The characters are well developed and we care about them, crying when we should, becoming anxious in tense situations and cheering when appropriate. But we don't forget that this is an incredibly awful "game" and to win is only to survive, because in a game requiring the death of all opponents, how can one really "win?"
Definitely five of five shots!