Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Book Review: The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins

Ok, yes, I have officially jumped on The Hunger Games' band wagon. Normally I'm not a huge young adult fiction fan and generally shun any YA series that are popular on mere principal; but I have seen the films and enjoyed them, thus leading me to say, "Eh, why not?" when I needed a new audiobook to listen to while knitting.
In case you've lived under some kind of large rock for the last 5 years,The Hunger Games is a dystopian novel about a country called Panem. Before Panem was officially established, their land was constantly at war. A controlling body came in and basically beat all the others into submission, setting up their own government and separating the country into 12 districts. Each district is sectioned off by what that area produces for their country (lumber, coal, agriculture, etc), and district members are all controlled by The Capital. In order to keep their whip in hand, The Capital enforces The Hunger Games each year, treated as a kind of twisted Olympics where a boy and girl from each district are thrown into a contained arena with each district's "tributes" where they all fight to the death. 

While I enjoy the story of this series, I do have a few misgivings (of course, because I'm me and this is a YA novel, lol). I mean, what kind of society allows their teenagers to be sacrificed for 75 YEARS without trying to stop it? I don't think any crazy governing body in the history of man has had that kind of control since the medieval era, and even then you can trace it back to their people being uneducated which is not the case in Panem. This, to me, is completely unrealistic, lol. Once I let go of my little hang ups, the story itself is good and presents a good message: You shouldn't go along with something when you know it is wrong, no matter what public opinion seems to be. In spite of having to fight for their lives, Katniss and Peeta stand up for the unfair position they are placed in and essentially stick it to the man in the end. I've already seen the second film, so I generally know where the series is going and that theme withstands. The story helps illustrate that even if you are "a kid", you can still stand up and cause change, a valuable lesson at any age. 

I give The Hunger Games 4 out of 5 stars. I can't say that I feel I gained much mentally by reading this book, but the story was enjoyable and it presents some good ideas. I will read the rest of the series which is more than I can say for most other YA books I've taken a chance on. At least this series gives our youth a valuable lesson about life.

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