My rating: 4 of 5 stars
I’ve heard so much about the Hunger Games, but I just never got around to reading them. Fortunately, a friend had a copy of the first book, and I devoured it. Like…read it in two hours one morning, wandering aimlessly around my house trying to do laundry and keep a book in my hand.
The premise isn’t new to me- I’ve read Battle Royale many a time, and thoroughly enjoyed that one. It’s also why I couldn’t quite give the book five stars. I’ve already read a book about teenagers sent to kill each other in a remote location, with the main characters being a jaded former contestant (Haymitch/Shogo), a protagonist with severe emotional constipation (Katniss/Shuya), and a noble love interest (Peeta/Noriko). But while the heroes of Battle Royale are plagued by a terrifying sociopath classmate (seriously, if you haven’t read it, read it now), the heroes of the Hunger Games are in an entirely different contest.
The most unsettling thing about the Hunger Games is how real it is. The world is a destroyed United States, now divided in 12 districts that are defined by their exports and ruled by a cruel government. The 24 tributes are taken from their homes, the only places they’ve ever known, and dragged to the Capitol- a vapid, fashionable city of fools. Because the Hunger Games are not merely fought, but broadcast. It sounds almost like any kind of reality show we could tune in and watch right now.
Honestly, while I’m supposed to love Katniss, I don’t. I admire her, I like her, but her inability to deal with emotions makes me grit my teeth. My favorite character, surprisingly enough, is Cinna, her soft-spoken but tremendously wise and fascinating stylist- although I have to say that Rue and Peeta round out my favorite characters.
I’ve been needing a new series to get excited about it, and while the trilogy is complete, I’m excited about the movies coming. Hopefully it’ll be just as good as the book!