The Hunger Games takes a fascinating look in to the dystopian society of Panem where the ruling government known as ‘The Capitol’ have created a tight lock on the twelve districts it maintains control over. Katniss Everdeen, a teenager who spends her daily life illegally hunting so she can support her widowed mother and her younger sister Primrose, is plunged in to the deadly Hunger Games, where two children from each district fight to the death, after offering herself as a tribute to save Prim.
Suzanne Collins does an exceptional job in creating a world which is deeply imaginative and a shocking insight to how similar our world could be if it were hit by a wave of totalitarianism. A story about children hides a surprisingly strong message about the deindividuation of society, with the brutish attitude of the Capitol higher-ups willingness to bet on people’s lives. Suzanne still finds a way to fit in a lot of affection in to a depressing story though, showing an incredible bond between Katniss and Primrose, which is later apparent through her many solemn thoughts in the games and the striking resemblance of Prim and Rue, another tribute.
Love takes a strong back-story within The Hunger Games as a bond forms between Katniss and Peeta, the other district twelve tribute, while a massive survival ruse plays out showing them to be star-crossed lovers leading to a phenomenal ending which rivals that of Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet. Yes, I said it. There is such a strong emphasis placed on Peeta in the story that despite the book is viewed through Katniss’ eyes, it is difficult to not relate to Peeta’s feelings throughout.
It cannot be ignored that The Hunger Games has a very adult view about death, and even in a story which is about mass homicide for the enjoyment of others, each death in the book is played out tastefully. Shocking twists arise making each death more imaginative than the last and instead of unconvincingly portraying Katniss as a murderer; Suzanne makes every death appear fitting for her persona. The tension I felt as Katniss was cutting away at the Tracker Jacker nest was next to unbearable.
As a complete package Suzanne does a fantastic job at introducing the reader to the range of interesting characters from diverse backgrounds and developing them throughout the story. There are enough plot twists to keep the 3 week long manhunt from never wearing thin and by the end as a reader I developed a massive hatred for The Capitol. Which leads me to the ending; I could not have predicted such a sting in the tail which not only had me extremely impressed by Suzanne’s storytelling but left me eager to pick up the sequel Catching Fire.
The Hunger Games is a book for anybody who wants a thrilling ride of action, romance and suspense.
The Hunger Games is currently being made in to a film due to release March 23rd 2012.