Title: The Hunger Games
Author: Suzanne Collins
In the ruins of a place once known as North America lies the nation of Panem, a shining Capitol surrounded by twelve outlying districts. The Capitol is harsh and cruel and keeps the districts in line by forcing them all to send one boy and one girl between the ages of twelve and eighteen to participate in the annual Hunger Games, a fight to the death on live TV.
Sixteen-year-old Katniss Everdeen, who lives alone with her mother and younger sister, regards it as a death sentence when she steps forward to take her sister's place in the Games. But Katniss has been close to dead before—and survival, for her, is second nature. Without really meaning to, she becomes a contender. But if she is to win, she will have to start making choices that will weigh survival against humanity and life against love.
I can only think of one word to describe this book: Brilliant. As I've said, its a first in the dystopian fiction genre I've read and I'm glad that this is the book I've read.
One of the reasons why I was taking my time reading this is that it has taken me a while to imagine how Panem, the setting, looks like. Or the capitol, since they have trains, elevators and modern technology. While everything was modern and new in The Capitol, the rest of the Districts are in the state of hunger and chaos, living a somewhat primitive life (Katniss was trading/bartering, hunting). The different was so great! Once I got past that though, I was plunged into an amazing world!
Suzanne Collins was able to create a book with a complicated premise, yet you can imagine everything coming to life. Her descriptions are so vivid it felt painfully real and familiar. The stark contrast between the lives of those in the Capitol and in the district was so obvious, the rich and the poor, like the state of the society in my country.
It's scary to think of what might happen to the world if we have the same type of government as what is in the book. Every year they organize The Hunger Games to remind the people that they control their lives, that they own them, and that they can destroy them in a snap if they disobey.
When I first read the summary, I thought of Battle Royale. I'm sure some of you did too if you are familiar with the movie/novel. Yes, they are similar in the sense that kids are pitted against each other, killing themselves and win. But other than that, its amazing how Suzanne Collins was able to set apart her book and make it feel completely different from Battle Royale (I still think that book was too violent for me). This has more heart, and the deaths made more sense to me (which, in turn, made it a bit difficult for me to accept. I get emotional every time someone dies in the book). There's a reason why they're there, why they're competing, why they want to win.
Katniss may not be the perfect protagonist, but I love her. I love that she's flawed, that the author didn't attempt to make her look perfect because she's not. She mostly keeps to herself and her family, but she's very kind. Her determination and strength to go on and participate in the game was very admirable and even at the face of certain death, she pushed through, even when she was doubting herself at times. I wonder how she was able to do it? To take in all of that horror and violence, Katniss sure is one tough girl.
And yes, I've come to the point where I'm choosing teams.
I am proud to say I'm Team Peeta! One part of the reason might be because Gale has less exposure in this book, but I just love his character. I love how he was written. His selflessness is one point that I admire. Like I told my friend, Jana, Peeta is my golden boy, so the thought of him killing shocked me, but it was something he had to do. I love it how he doesn't come across as a knight in shining armor, though he saves Katniss at times. He knows his weaknesses and doesn't attempt to hide them, and instead tries to make the most out of what he has. So yes, I am rooting for him!
This book has joined my list of the best novels I've read this year! If you haven't read it yet, please do! You'll be pleasantly surprised, trust me. ;)
Rating: ★★★★★ : AWESOMENESS! MORE! MORE! - I can't believe such a book exists!