Sunday, January 16, 2011

The Hunger Games Trilogy by Suzanne Collins

In the distant future, the former United States has become the nation of Panem-- a collection of 12 districts ruled by an omnipotent Capitol. Every year the Capitol requires the each district to provide one boy and one girl tribute for the Hunger Games as punishment for a rebellion led 75 years ago by a mysterious 13th district. In the Games, the 24 tributes fight until only one victor remains alive, and the entire event is televised for the Capitol’s viewing pleasure.

This tyrannical political environment is the backdrop for Suzanne Collin’s The Hunger Games trilogy. The series follows the adventures of Katniss Everdeen, who gets pulled in to the violence and political intrigue of the Games when she volunteers as a tribute to save her little sister, Prim. It is rather difficult to review a trilogy without giving spoilers, so I am going to focus primarily on what I love about the characters in The Hunger Games without delving so much into plot lines or endings.

What truly impressed me about this book is that Katniss is such an incredibly written female character. She is the primary provider for her household, and she does this by hunting wild game outside of the fence surrounding her home in District 8. Not only is she a well-trained and talented archer, she has a keen survivalist instinct that actually makes her a contender in the Hunger Games-- something very uncommon with tributes from her district.

Katniss’ only flaw-- if you can call it that-- is that she is emotionally unaware. Most of the conflict in the book (aside from the obvious) has to do with her misunderstanding other people’s intentions, her difficulty in forgiving others, and not being sure how she really feels. This makes her a non-stereotypical heroine in my opinion. Women are usually squishy and dramatic, but Katniss is neither. She is bold, brash, and spunky. She is also unfailingly loyal to her friends and family. Katniss’ character manages to be noble without being annoying, which makes it easy for the reader to cheer her on through the ordeal.

The male characters are generally less complex, but they are far more emotionally aware than Katniss, which makes for an interesting dynamic. Gale Hawthorne is Katniss’ friend and hunting partner from District 8. He too supports his family since his father and Katniss’ father were killed in a mine accident several years ago. Frustrated with conditions in District 8, Gale uses their time outside of the fence to vent and say things that would be considered very treacherous. Opposite Gale is Peeta Mellark, the son of a baker, who becomes Katniss’ fellow tribute in the Games. He is a quiet fellow who inadvertently gave Katniss the will to survive when her father died. Although Katniss doesn’t know Peeta well, he has a lot more going on beneath his quiet exterior than she knows.

The characters spark, and the narrative catches fire. Everything in this book is dynamic and thrilling. Even the most reserved characters have a strength and a will that make them incredibly compelling. Readers will find themselves swept up by the story in no time-- The Hunger Games trilogy is truly a high-interest read.

Scholastic: The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins
Image Source: Wikipedia
Review Copy: Self Purchased
ISBN-13: 978-0439023528

Scholastic: Catching Fire by Suzanne Collins
Image Source: Wikipedia
Review Copy: Self Purchased
ISBN-13: 978-0439023498

Scholastic: Mockingjay by Suzanne Collins
Image Source: Wikipedia
Review Copy: Self Purchased
ISBN-13: 978-0439023511

This review originally published at Kawaii Writing and republished with permission.

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