The following post is part of an on-going yet randomly occurring series of book reviews from Fernando, my webmaster/test taster/getter of things on high shelves. He doesn't read a lot of novels, thus the title of the series.
The Hunger Games
Scholastic Inc (2008)
YA / Dystopia / Fantasy
With the movie just around the corner, The Hunger Games seemed like a good book for me to read. I was pleasantly surprised by the action in the book and how engaged it kept me. The book is an excellent launch in the trilogy, which I have not read, but it also is fantastic as a standalone read too.
The Hunger Games takes place in a post-apocalyptic United States now called Panem. Panem is made up of the capital and a class-segregated 12 districts. Each district in the book is responsible for producing and contributing to Panem. District 1 is the wealthiest and the scale descends to 12, which is the poorest. The number is also related to work type as well as what that district is responsible for contributing. District 12, where protagonist Katniss Everdeen is from, is a coal rich region so they require contributing coal for Panem's power consumption.
Panem holds Hunger Games as both entertainment and a form of oppression. The terms are fairly simple. Two tributes are chosen at random from each district. Each tribute is between the ages of 12 and 18. All 24 tributes are left to battle and survive in an outdoor arena until only one survivor is left. The winner is then showered with wealth and polarity as the winner of the Panem Hunger Games.
The entire book is told in the first person, from Katniss' point of view. She is a 16 years old girl who poaches small game to put food on her family's table. The plot starts very quickly in the 2nd chapter, when Katniss volunteers to be District Twelve's tribute. She volunteers in place of her younger sister, Prim age 12, who was originally chosen.
The book was a pleasure to read. It did take me a bit to get used to the first person narration. After about the third chapter, I no longer noticed and could enjoy the plot from Katniss' perspective. With the movie due out in mid March, I would put this book on a short list of must reads for this summer. There are enough details and subplot that I can already anticipate where the movie will be forced to fall short. I don’t what to give away too much. The Hunger Games kept me very entertained, the twists and turns it took were both shocking and a pleasure to read. I do plan on reading the follow up, so that says a lot about my reaction. Go. Read it and enjoy.