“The Hunger Games” is the best-selling YA book series by Suzanne Collins. The titles the make up the trilogy are “The Hunger Games”, “Catching Fire”, and “Mockingjay”. As a whole the series is quite gripping and it is definitely one of those series that draws you in, so much that you need to know how it ends.
To describe “The Hunger Games” trilogy think “Lord of the Flies” meets “Gladiator” with an essence of “Harry Potter” and “Percy Jackson”. The Heroine of the novel is Katniss Everdeen, a 16-year old girl, who basically is the “chosen one”. In a time where poverty is high, the Capitol, which is the governing body hosts annual games where children/teens compete from different Districts for food for their Districts and riches for their families. There only can be one winner, as they would be the sole survivor…literally. Also the competition is a reality show and each competitor, called tributes in the novel, gets their own team of stylists and coaches, whom all strategize to promote their tributes and try to keep them alive. While the competition is underway, the tributes who become popular may receive gifts from sponsors and these gifts received during the games can be the key(s) to their survival.
During the course of the trilogy, Katniss becomes a symbol rather a spark of a rebellion against the Capitol. Along with Katniss there are others that come together in order to overthrow the government and by the third installment you begin to question if the Capitol is really the enemy. Aside from the games aspect of the story, Katniss is also involved in a love triangle consisting of her childhood friend, Gale who is quite the catch of the town, and Peeta whose one of act of kindness that occurred during their childhood has always stuck in her mind. Unfortunately Peeta is a fellow tribute in the Hunger Games so her only ally is also her competition.
The first book in the series, “The Hunger Games”, is absolutely gripping. I could not put it down. Katniss is a cross between Sydney Bristow from Alias and Mulan. She’s smart, resourceful, and able to think quickly on her feet but lacks a little finesse when it comes to playing a “role”. The story is face paced and holds your attention right up to the end. I am certainly looking forward to the book to movie adaptation of “The Hunger Games” which is due out in March 2012. For more information about the movie and the cast, visit IMDB.com. For the most part the casting is pretty good we’ll see how it comes together when the film is released in theaters.
The second book in the series has sort of a similar formula to the first book but it sets up the story for the third book which really changes gears in terms of plot and story-telling. This shift in the third novel is not exactly bad, but it’s different. In my opinion all together the series is a bit mature for the target audience of ages 12 and up. Kind of like the way that books 4-7 of the “Harry Potter” series were not exactly “for kids”. I kind of believe the appropriate age for the series is more like 15 and up.
I don’t want to give too much away in terms of the story progression as there are plenty of reviews and spoilers that exist. My take and perspective on the series is how clever the plot is especially in terms of how it relates to society now. For example, how reality television presents us with either unknowns or rather the the trend of making shows on celebrities and their road of becoming famous (perhaps more famous in the case of celebrities) and how they are showered with gifts and endorsements while poverty still exists in the world. Sorry if that sounded too political…just making an observation as I think of “The Hunger Games” in retrospective.
All in all the series is a great read. Although it probably wouldn’t be the type of series that you read for bed time. So if you’re looking for a book series to get into, I would recommend “The Hunger Games” as it would appeal to teens and adults.
Having you read any of the novels in the trilogy? Share your thoughts in the comments section below!