Monday, December 23, 2013

The Hunger Games (The Hunger Games #1) by Suzanne Collins

Release Date: September 14, 2008
Publisher: Scholastic Press
Series: The Hunger Games

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars.

Out of the ruins of North America, a country known as Panem arises. The ruling party and influencial people live in the Capitol with the remaining population divided among districts. Each year two children, between the ages of 12 and 17, are chosen to compete for their district's glory in the Hunger Games. One boy, one girl from each of the 12 districts. 24 tributes chosen must fight until one's left standing.

Katniss Everdeen finds herself in this exact position. She must fight to survive - not only for herself but her family back in District 12. With all the glitz and trappings of the Capitol, can she remain true to herself and use the skills she knows? Or will she become a forgotten footnote in Hunger games history?

Let me first say that I was completely skeptical when my fellow word addict, Sam, let me borrow this book. After the onslaught of YA books being released, I wasn't sure if they'd be my cup of tea or not. But I trust Sam's judgement (sometimes) so I added the Hunger Games series to my TBR pile, working them between the others that I'm obligated to read.

In all honesty, I was captivated from the first chapter. There's so much history about how the world became as it was, why the districts are shaped the way they are, and why the Capital makes life so miserable. It cannot be explored within one book. Though this book is the first, it brings a whole lot more to the table than merely setting the scene for the series. The author does a great job of balancing the needs of the series with the needs of the characters within the first book.

I enjoyed how diverse the characters were. Since each of the districts were responsible for various areas of production in order to keep the country running, the people within the districts reflect that in their mannerisms and beliefs. Each had his or her own strengths and weakness based upon their district. What they failed to realize until the very end was the fact that they were all so very similar as well. With this story being told from Katniss' point-of-view, the reader is privy to her thoughts and feelings about what's happening around her. Unfortunately that doesn't always bode well for her as she's unable to relay those thoughts or feelings as accurately to others.

Though there is some details about the landscapes of Panem, the country carved into districts, the focus is primarily on District 12, from which Peeta and Katniss are whisked away, the arena where all the fighting is taking place and the Capitol, where all the powerful people are located. The reader is given glimpses of the other areas but not to the extent as those mentioned previously. It will be exciting to see if they changes once I begin the second book.

I have to admit that I did enjoy this book a lot more than I thought I would. A pleasant surprise, I couldn't put it down. There's plenty of action, all different degrees of fighting and romance, and the uncertainty of what the outcome could mean for the Capitol and the Districts. Really glad that I was able to borrow these. Thanks, Sam! If you're looking for a good first step into the world of YA books, this is one I'd highly recommend.

The Hunger Games (The Hunger Games #1) by Suzanne Collins is available wherever books are sold. It can be purchased online in either paperback, hardback and Kindle forms. You can click the link provided below to see Amazon's offerings.
The Hunger Games (The Hunger Games #1) by Suzanne Collins

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