In the ruins of a place once known as North America lies the nation of Panem, a shining Capitol surrounded by twelve outlying districts. Each year, the districts are forced by the Capitol to send one boy and one girl between the ages of twelve and eighteen to participate in the Hunger Games, a brutal and terrifying fight to the death – televised for all of Panem to see.
Survival is second nature for sixteen-year-old Katniss Everdeen, who struggles to feed her mother and younger sister by secretly hunting and gathering beyond the fences of District 12. When Katniss steps in to take the place of her sister in the Hunger Games, she knows it may be her death sentence. If she is to survive, she must weigh survival against humanity and life against love.
I love books like this! So real, so textured, so rich! So freakin' scary! I'd call this a dystopian/cautionary tale and then I'd ask myself if that's really the same thing and then I'd say, nah, its totally different, just in a very similar way.
I could see some of the things in the story actually happening, like the complete loss of respect for humanity through the shallowness and self-centeredness of all the people in the Capitol. They're so focussed on "improving" their looks and living luxurious lives that they don't even have the ability to feel empathy anymore. Scary. And yet familiar...
From the very first page, which was very well written1, I was hooked! The twist and turns started almost immediately leaving me with a look of shock that had people staring openly at me and muttering behind their hands. The plot unfurled in perfect order; I never felt a step behind or too far ahead, it kept my attention on a leash of the perfect length. And the format, first person present tense2, was brilliant! I felt like I was Katniss, which was thoroughly terrifying at times. Nothing stood between me and the story. It was as real as standing on a precipice and feeling the the height of the fall in the pit of your stomach.
And the characters, oh, the characters! They were all so real! They were flawed and believable and wonderful. Nothing was overstated or over done in this book, everything just was. The world that Collins created was totally, frighteningly believable.
I can't even think of anything else to say about this book. I loved it. It is now in my top 3. A piece of advice: whatever you're doing right now, reading a book, having a snack, cradling a baby, drop it! And pick up this book!
On to the ratings! Hunger Games gets...
I'd reread this book in a heart beat! The action was great and I was on the edge of my seat the whole time. It grabbed my attention from Jump Street and never let go until the very end. It didn't even let go then! It was such a great cliff hanger! I can't wait to read Catching Fire in September. So far away! In the mean time, I'll just have to occupy my thoughts by having the greatest summer ever and reading some awesomely distracting books.
1 Thanks go out to Steph Bowe who made me stop and think about how well written the first actually was. I read it twice with her critique in mine, and came up with nothing that could be improved upon.
2 I have many crazy theories, one of which is my belief that there is no such thing as present tense. Every thought or action is in responce to something that happened a split second before, and thus, is past tense. I still hold that present tense has no place in reality, but in the fabulous world of books, it is an excellent tool for drawing the reader into the story.