With the popularity of the book and the movie it’s no doubt the majority of you know the plot, but in case you don’t. The Hunger Games is part one of a three part book trilogy, based in an undetermined future with a post-apocalyptic vibe. After a massive attempt to over-throw the current government by the public, a new law was placed where every year the 12 districts in the country of Panem must offer a boy and girl between the ages of twelve and eighteen to participate in a reality television show in a fight to the death. The winner receiving fame and fortune for life. The book is told through a first person narrative by the main protagonist Katniss Everdeen.
There are a fair amount of characters in this book with roles ranging from ‘small but crucial’ to ‘there must be more to come from them’. Arguably the other main character in the book would be Peeta Mellark. Both Peeta (through random selection) and Katniss (voluntary to take the place of her sister) participate in the games. The main antagonist in this book is Cato, a rival ‘tribute’ from another district (though the character Clove is very much an antagonist too) with a fair introduction of the series antagonist President Snow.
The book does a great job with detail which as a writer I truly appreciate, there are times when images flood your mind with the way the author (Suzanne Collins) describes things like food, contents of a back pack, descriptions of locations and all with superb detail. There were points when I would become hungry just reading certain parts of how the meals were described. The emphasis on ‘hunger’ in the book is very literal as in this future, food is scarce due to government control.
I found the pace of the book to be just right. It keeps things going in a way that keeps you interested and makes it feel fast paced without ever feeling they are rushing into anything. I found the character descriptions were executed well, not going into too much detail but well enough we feel like we know who they are or could be.
The great thing about the diversity of the group of characters is everyone has somebody to relate to. Not to mention (and no offense to anyone) but everyone is a ‘regular human’, no vampires, no super powers, no highly sophisticated suit of armor with beyond futuristic weapons. This is a story about normal teenagers trained and sent off to fight to the death. Yes, the book does feature, some ‘into the future’ tech advances here and there, but nothing that really isn’t something we’re already pursuing. The book doesn’t sugar coat the reality of what would happen in these circumstances either.
To be honest, it’s about time. While I don’t wish for the worst case scenario and while the story is fiction, the reality and gravity of the situations and circumstances are treated with a level of reality one could appreciate. So if you’re expecting to smile through out with your favorites always leaving unscathed well, tough luck.
next up… Catching Fire.