Saturday, October 16, 2010

Review: The Hunger Games

The Hunger Games is a science fiction novel for young adults and adults alike.  It tells the story of a post-apocalyptic country known as Panem, which has a central, ruling Capitol and twelve outlying districts.  The districts exist mainly to provide their goods to the wealthy Capitol.  Each year, as penance for an unsuccessful rebellion by a district against the Capitol and as a reminder to attempt nothing of the sort again, the powers that be hold the annual Hunger Games.  A boy and a girl from each district (known as "tributes") are selected at random to fight to the death, until they are the last one standing.  The only rule for the annual games is, simply, to stay alive.  Katniss Everdeen is this year's district 12 girl tribute and in many ways the odds are against her.  She is from the poorest district in the country, and isn't as big or well-fed as the other tributes.  But having grown up as the provider for her family after her father died in a mining accident, she has honed her survival skills.  The tributes must battle against each other, but the deeper battle is to not allow the Capitol to take away one's humanity and kindness.  

I found this to be a disturbing and gruesome tale.  It was interesting to read about how the tributes handled this unfathomable situation, and of course, to learn the outcome.  I also appreciated a strong and resourceful female protagonist, as these are not often found in young adult novels.  While The Hunger Games was page-turning and inventive, as well as an unabashed social commentary, I found it too bleak to want to read the subsequent books in the trilogy.  

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