I have added another series of books to my all time favorite reads. The Hunger Games. While this may be jumping on the popular bandwagon, I don't care. Sometimes (just sometimes) things are popular for a reason (except for skinny jeans. Those will always be a bad idea.)
I've already expressed my love for dystopian novels. Combine that with a ease of reading that come with young adult writing, the complete page-turner adventure, and beautiful character development of Suzanne Collin's novels, and these novels are just about perfect.
I've already confessed that I have a hard time putting down a book once I've started it. But with these two books, it was almost a physical effort for me to close the book, put it down, and walk away. I was nearly late for work twice while reading these, because I became completely engrossed in the story while eating my cereal, only to look up at the clock in a panic.
The Hunger Games and Catching Fire, the first two books in Suzanne Collins' Hunger Games Trilogy, take place in the not-too-far future, in the remains of what used to be North America. Now, The Capitol, a large prosperous city, rules the surrounding 12 Districts with a combination of a heavy hand and emotional suppression. Each year, The Capitol reminds the Districts of their complete domination by requiring each District to send two children, a boy and a girl, to The Capitol to compete in the Hunger Games, televised gladiator-esque survivor games, where the only way to win and get the chance to go home is to be the last one standing. The games are quite literally, a battle to the death.
Katniss Everdeen is a 16 year old girl who finds herself headed to the Hunger Games through an sacrificial act of love.
Beyond that, I don't want to reveal any more of the storyline. Because you absolutely must read these books yourself. And then let me know what you think, because I'm dying to talk to people about these books!
It is rare to get a novel with a strong female as a main character and have the novel still be appealing to male and female readers. But given the fact that Hubster read these books even faster as I did (lucky guy, staying home all day), I would say Collins succeeded in that regard.
Every page is suspenseful, each chapter ending left me hanging in such a way that I had to keep reading. Although, be warned, while young adult, the story lives up to it's theme and is violent and often jarring. It's probably not appropriate for readers under the age of 13.
But more than the suspense and captivating story, are the characters. Collins makes her characters so multi-layered, so full of subtleties, they are completely believable.
Katniss has been in survival mode nearly her whole life, being the primary means of support for her family since the death of her father. While this mind-set prepares her for the emotional and physical onslaught of the Games, it has not made her aware of people. While completely devoted to her little sister, she has an inability to read other people, to empathize, and to relate. This, combined with her nearly subconscious sense of superiority makes her a flawed, thus likable heroine.
The Hunger Games delve into the destructive decadency of modern society, the inequalities created by complete power, the hopeless acceptance of the oppressed, and the effects of exposure to violence. Ultimately, it asks what will you give, and what will you take, to maintain one's humanity?
The third and final book of the trilogy, Mockingbird, comes out in August. I plan on having it in my hands the day it is released and not letting go for the rest of the ride.