Pretty much anyone not living under a rock, and probably some who are, have heard the phrase “The Hunger Games” lately. With the movie about to release, and the merchandise going crazy (check out the display at Chapters if you doubt me), it can be a little tough to tell whether the trilogy is really worth reading, or whether it’s just Hollywood sparkle. As someone who has actually read The Hunger Games, and, in fact, read it when it originally came out, I think I can give you a review minus the hype.
The Hunger Games was published as a teen book, but I think that it’s a good enough story that adults can enjoy it too. This is a classic adventure novel, full of action. There are moral quandaries, questions of ethics, but they are fuel for the drama. The setting is a classic dystopia, a post-apocalyptic world where all wealth is centred in The Capitol, and everyone else lives in one of twelve districts, where all food and resources for The Capitol come from. The people in the districts are little more than slaves, and their lives are short and bleak. The one event that can change that: The Hunger Games. Teams of two, one male and one female, chosen from each district, compete to the death in an arena full of genetically altered animals and horrific booby traps. At the end of the games, only one person will stand. The whole thing is televised, and winning partly depends on capturing the attention of the audience, since audience participation is encouraged, and audience members can send food and medical supplies to favored competitors.
The story follows one of the competitors from district twelve, a girl named Katniss Everdeen, and how her life is changed dramatically when she volunteers to take her younger sister’s place in the games. The victor’s district will receive additional food supplies. Imagine suddenly being the symbol of everyone’s hopes – especially as a teenager.
I’m not going to get into the description of the other two novels, since that will essentially act as a spoiler for the first one.
I do recommend these books. The storyline is interesting, and offers some great visuals. Once the story hooks you, it becomes one of those books that you drag everywhere with you, and don’t go to bed, because you need to know what’s going to happen! The other two books are excellent as well. There are many debates about how the trilogy is ended, not everyone likes it, but that’s not unusual. No one ever really wants a series they enjoyed to end, and in a story like this one, there are probably a lot of different ways people would have liked to see the story end.
Trust me, buy the trilogy, because odds are you’re not going to stop at one. And from the number of adults snapping up mockingjay pins, I’m definitely not alone in enjoying the series. It’s a fun read, is really what it comes down to. Don’t read it for great literature, or thought provoking philosophy. Read it for the book equivalent of an Indiana Jones movie, or Star Wars. It’s a great adventure story, and well worth the purchase. It is available on e-book, too, which is nice.