book review: The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins

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Hunger Games Suzanne Collins

The Hunger Games is about a 16-year old girl, Katniss Everdeen, who, upon the death of her father, becomes the “man of house”, in a world where North America no longer exists, only outlying lands called Districts are left. Times are hard and the author makes you think of the great depression when describing what her family has to go through. On top of their daily hardship, the Capitol keeps the Districts in line by having annual Hunger Games. Each District has a raffle to choose one boy and one girl, 24 total children, to fight for their life in a remote piece of land…on live TV. The one remaining child brings victor to their District with gifts, food and pride.

I have to admit, when I first read the plot for this book about 2 years ago, I was not impressed. Who wants to read about 12-18 year olds killing each other? Fast forward to last month, my good friend Laticia said that she read the books and liked them. Hmm…

I just finished reading the first book in this series last night. Yup, that means I’m full steam ahead to read the next two, also. This book is extremely easy to read. Although it’s not “literature” by any means, it captured me and I felt for Katniss. By the end of the second chapter, I nearly cried. Nearly. I didn’t actually but for a second I thought I could if I wanted to. Katniss is a simple girl with a single goal: to keep her family fed, and alive. And she does this heroically well without even trying, it just come naturally.

As she heads into the Hunger Games, obstacles and fatal decisions fall on her and she struggles with what to do. The decision on how to handle it follows her throughout the game and makes her job even harder to stay alive.

All in all, I enjoyed this book except for one major flaw, the ending. I feel that the first book in any series should be able to hold it’s own. Stieg Larson does this with The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo. Patrick Rothfuss does this with The Name of the Wind. Even though both of these books keep you wanting more, if you never read the sequels, you still have a complete story. The Hunger Games does not. One idea keeps popping up throughout the book and that is, if Katniss wins, however unlikely she thinks it is, what will her life be like afterwards? It is brought up at least a dozen times and when it’s over, you want to know how her family (and District) handles the news, what the boy at home thought of her during the game, and what the affect of her decisions during the game will have outside the arena. But none of those questions are answered. As soon as the game is over, the book is over. And I think that is a terrible way to make people buy/read the second book.