All I see lately, whether it's the news, facebook, twitter, and even the weather, is The Hunger Games. Yup. I was one of those who arrived at the theater an hour and a half early, first in line to get a good seat, twitching with anticipation to see the film adaptation of one of my favorite books. It's been about a year since I read the first in the trilogy, and as I went through my old reviews, I couldn't help but smile as the memories of how I felt after I read the book came flooding back. (The movie was fabulous, but as every avid reader knows, movies don't have the same effect as a book.) It was like reading it all over again, so in honor of the books that inspired this phenomenon sweeping the world, I wanted to repost my review.
Survival of the fittest - it’s the way the world has always turned. In our present lives, at least for those of us currently residing in what is called ‘North America,’ there are not many hardships to survive – life is easy, food is always available, and shelter is easily attainable. Will this always be the case? Maybe…maybe not.
In The Hunger Games, Panem, formerly known as North America, has been divided into 12 districts, all under the control of the ‘leadership’ of the Capitol. The majority of the people in the districts live meager lives, supporting the Capitol with their goods and stuggling not to face an emaciated death. Katniss Everdeen’s world revolves around putting food on the table and keeping her sister, Prim, and mother alive and healthy. She breaks the strict laws of the Capitol daily, venturing beyond the perimeters of District 12 in order to hunt and gather what her family would not be able to afford otherwise…
That is until the day of ‘the reaping.’ Prim, who is now twelve years old, is required to throw her name into the hat of ‘contestants’ for the Hunger Games, a fight to the death among 24 chosen children between the ages of 12 and 18, one boy and one girl from each district. Lucky for Prim, her name is only in there once. At least that’s what Katniss thought until she hears the overly-peppy, pink-haired Effie announce ‘Prim Everdeen’ into the microphone, causing her world to crash in around her. Jumping to Prim’s rescue, Katniss volunteers to take the place of her kid sister and faces death in the form of what everyone else calls ‘entertainment.’
Survival. Death. Grit. Rebellion. War. Love. Loyalty. Faith. I know that doesn't even cover it.
When I finished this book, I didn’t even know what to say about it except how much I loved it. My favorite element was Katniss, the heroine. She is a kick-ass female lead that can, without a doubt, take care of herself, but doesn’t allow the games to harden her heart or change who she is. She’s a survivor and protector, and will do whatever it takes to fulfill both roles. Katniss develops a close understanding of the world outside the electric walls of her district, and I think she will use it to her absolute advantage.
So what is this book really about, aside from a group of teenagers being thrown into a pit to kill each other off? From what I got from it, I think it’s about compassion and, obviously, survival in the face of oppression. Faith in each other, in freedom, and a belief in love, even if initially artificial, is what carries the main characters through their trials.
The end of the games brings about unexpected events, at least in the eyes of the Capitol, and it become clear that the threat of death is still looming over Katniss and her male counterpart, Peeta. The arena seems as though it was really child’s-play compared to what the Capitol is capable of bringing down on them.
Find out what happens next in Catching Fire, the second book in this amazingseries.