The Hunger Games ~ A Review

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Book Review:     Hunger Games

Author:                 Suzanne Collins

Published:          October 2008

# of Pages:         374

Subject:               Survival; Action & Adventure; Fantasy & Magic

Age Level:           Young Adult

SYNOPSIS:

Hunger Games is set in the future. The United States is gone. Panem is the new country. The country had 13 districts. The 13th district was destroyed during a revolution and now the remaining 12 nameless districts are required to participate in a gladiator type of authoritarian government event.

Each year the Capitol host the Hunger Games gladiatorial event.  Each district selects 2 tributes to praticipate in the games. The ultimate prize for the winning tribute is an everlasting position of prosperity and power. A district lottery chooses the tributes from every child between the ages of 12 and 18. Once chosen there is absolutely no choice but participation. The gladiatorial event is highly publicized and highly televised event to the death with every citizen in Panem required to watch. Their reasoning is for a constant reminder of what happened to the 13th district.

The story begins with ‘The Reaping,’ the day of the tribute lottery.  Depending upon your age and the amount of tickets your name(s) are placed into the lottery. Primrose Everdeen, 12 years old, has one entry into the lottery.  Primrose Everdeen is chosen. Katniss Everdeen, her sister, immediately steps forward and volunteers to take her place. This step is essentially a death sentence for Katniss. The boy chosen is the bakers son.

Tributes are immediately transported to the Capitol to undertake the transformation. The transformation prepares the tributes to secure sponsors and sharpen their abilities. The first step forward is a grand parade to introduce the tributes. Katniss and the baker’s son are dressed in flaming attire, no one will forget them. Training begins. The gamemakers use the tribute’s strengths and weaknesses to create an exciting game for Panem. Not only will the tributes be fighting each other, they are fighting the surprises planted in the arean by the gamemakers.

The games begin. Instantly nine of the 24 tributes are killed. The plot continues to take shape, twisting with scenes of survival, partnerships, hunting and natural disasters designed by the gamemakers. As the end draws near you find five tributes left and rules changing. Can Katniss trust the gamemakers?

REVIEW:

Hunger Games. penned as a Young Adult novel, is a compelling story. The storyline is extreme. I found myself fearful of the hard choices that Katniss, the heroin, would have to make and questioned how the writer would be able to navigate the Hunger Games she had setup. I was pleasantly surprised how effectively the author navigated this extreme storyline with little detailed violence and bloodshed. The author drew me into the overall story, as if I were Katniss. The scenes are clearly written and I found myself wanting to support Katniss in the life and death decisions she faced. Yet, at the same time, I realized each decision made meant someone else would have to die.

Immediately I began to wrestle with basic ethical questions this book brought. Murder verses killing, government ideology, power verses the powerless, abuse verses entertainment, the culture’s addiction to television and reality shows were subjects in the back of my mind. Seeing the all-powerful government of Panem, I quickly saw how a government can trap and hold its citizens captive for their benefit. When I realized this was the United States in the future, I began to critically consider what is currently happening in our government today.

The general rules for the Hunger Games are fairly simple ~ you must kill or be killed, learn to survive and fight. How can children handle this game? 23 of the 24 tributes will be dead by the end of the book so I was immediately cautious about getting close to any of the characters. I found it challenging to judge the actions of the tributes.

By the end of the novel I found compassion and right moral choices made. It gave me hope, like dandelions gave Katniss. It reminded me that even today, each of us has the choice of life and death. God wants us to choose life. Katniss chose life and in choosing life she found herself.

I recommend this book. It is a sobering thought-provoking book. The content is extremely difficult but the journey rewarding. I experienced the worst man can be but found a glimmer of hope for life.

PRODUCT INFORMATION:

Book Review: Hunger Games

Author:            Suzanne Collins

Published:     October 2008

# of Pages:    374

Hardcover:     $17.99

Publisher: Scholastic Press (October 1, 2008)

ISBN-10: 0439023483 ISBN-13: 978-0439023481

Audio CD:      $84.95

Publisher: Scholastic Audio Books (October 1, 2008)

ISBN-10: 0545091063 ISBN-13: 978-0545091060

Audio CD:     $39.95

Publisher: Scholastic Audio Books (October 1, 2008)

ISBN-10: 0545091020 ISBN-13: 978-0545091022

Subject:         Survival; Action & Adventure; Fantasy & Magic Age Level: Young Adult

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