Friday, February 15, 2019

The Hunger Games

The Hunger Games, Suzanne Collins

This fast paced book charts the death by elimination reality show that is the Hunger Games in the country of Panem. Each year two entrants (aged 12-18) are chosen by chance from each of the 12 districts and required to fight to the death in a specially made, climate managed arena. This is the way that the Capitol shows they remain in control of the regions.

Katniss, aged 16, lives in mining district 12, surrounded by poverty and has learnt from an early age how to provide for her mother and sister by hunting in the woods. Once she and Peeta are chosen for the games, they travel in luxury to the Capitol and are fed, pampered, beautified and interviewed to make them appealing to the masses who watch the Games.

Once they are released into the arena, every contestant must rely on their own skills to survive. But what happens when people decide to work together or choose to care for one another? Katniss knows that only one can survive but it gets harder and harder to play the game, knowing that every move made and every word spoken is on camera for the world to see. Is what anyone says says real? How does she make decisions? Does she play the game to win or does she follow her own moral code?

I don’t watch reality TV, but this is clearly meant to be like Survivor on steroids. This is truly a fight to the death, yet what does it say about a society that pits children against each other for entertainment?

Book 2 Catching Fire picks up 6 months after the last book. I won’t go into much detail all but it is certainly fast paced, action packed and full of various intrigues. Needless to say it also kept me glued to it for about a day.

Book 3 Mockingjay covers the civil war that erupts around the country as the Capitol tries to keep power and rebels try to take over. But are the forces who oppose each other actually that different from one another?

In my opinion, the best was probably The Hunger Games, containing the sharpest ideas and most challenging concepts. Two is also very good, with similar themes running through it. Three became even more violent, and really seemed as though she was almost just coming up with more nasty creative ways for people to inflict pain and death on each other.

All is all this is another good addition to the young adult dystopian fiction genre, and would be suitable for about ages 14 and up. It will make you think about your values, what you would do if faced with impossible choices, and how society values people.

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