‘The Hunger Games’ Book Review

Author: Suzanne Collins

Plot: Long after North American society has crumbled and been rebuild into twelve districts surrounding the upper class home known as the Capitol. In retaliation for an attempted rebellion each of the districts much make an annual tribute of two youths – a boy and a girl – to partake in The Hunger Games, a televised fight to the death. The book follows Katniss Everdeen, a 16 year old girl from District 12 who volunteers for the Hunger Games in order to spare her sister the fate.

Review: This morning I sat down with the chunky 454 page book featuring a generic looking cover for a book aimed at a teen audience and this afternoon I put it back down having finished it. The last time I’d read a book in one day it was the much more slender Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban many years ago. Between a full time job, a family, an addiction to Playstation and a website to run I simple don’t dedicate as much time to reading as I used to, so take that as a recommendation.

Much like the Harry Potter series the futuristic world of The Hunger Games feels extremely well realized. As details of the world are filtered in through the narrative you are exposed to a rich history and well thought out social structure. The parallels to real world, no doubt intended to act as a low-level commentary on fashion and media, are obvious but ring true. By pacing out the story with descriptions of clothing, structures and food it’s very easy for the reader to be drawn into the same world as Katniss. Katniss is also a very well developed character who in spite of her outwardly hostile demeanor is quite sympathetic and it isn’t long before you want her to succeed even though you know what sacrifices she will have to make to get there.

It’s wonderful to see a strong young female protagonist in a book that has shockingly been compared to Twilight (putting a quote from Stephanie Meyer on the cover was a bit off-putting) , but aside from the target demographic there is very little common ground between the two franchises. Whilst the aforementioned series hero Bella is the most counterproductive to feminism character ever to grace our books and screens, Katniss is strong, capable and her motivation is caring for her family following her father’s death. Haunted by the lose of her father Katniss spends her days illegally hunting, gathering and trading to support her grieving mother and vulnerable sister, developing a tough exterior to see her through.

If you’ve skipped to the last paragraph to get the summary, The Hunger Games is a fantastic read. Shaking off the stigma of being shelved in the youth fiction section and being endorsed by Stephanie Meyer it is one of the best franchises doing to rounds at the moment. Grab a copy and get on the bandwagon before the movie lands next month.