The Hunger Games (Hunger Games Series #1)

The Hunger Games - Suzanne  Collins This series has been recommended to us several times, but to be honest, I was reluctant to read it because it is Sci-Fi and Y.A. Technically, Fangs for the Fantasy is primarily focused on urban fantasy, and so I used that as my excuse to avoid this series. After receiving what amounts to the umpteenth recommendation, I finally broke down to read this book, firm in the belief that it cold never live up to all the hype that it has received from the fangs community and the blogosphere. Well folks, I was wrong. This book was so amazing that I read it in one sitting, pausing only to eat and go to the bathroom. It is a rare thing for any novel to captivate me this way, let alone a Y.A. novel.The novel takes place in a future earth in a country called Panem, which essentially consists of what we would consider to be North America. Panem is divided into 13 different districts, and a capitol which is ruled by an extremely authoritarian government. Each year the Capitol, hosts a tournament called The Hunger Games, to punish the districts for an earlier rebellion. Each district must surrender one boy and one girl between the ages of 12 and 18. They are placed into a special arena, where they not only must survive the elements, but each other. All contestants are drawn by lottery.The two contestants chosen from district 12 Primrose Everdeen and Peeta Mellark. When Primrose is chosen, her sister Katniss cannot bear the idea of Primrose in the games, and she volunteers to go in her stead. Katniss has been the main provider for her mother and her sister since her father's death in the mines. Each year she puts more than one entry into The Hunger Games lottery, because it allows her family the necessary grain that they need to survive the year. She supplements their food by hunting illegally, and trading the meat that her family does not consume for the basic necessities of life. Peeta is the bakers son, and though he has never really truly known hunger, he has never known prosperity. Life in district 12 is hard, and it is not uncommon for people to die of hunger, accidents in the mine, or disease. Peeta is brought to Katniss' attention one day when he risks a beating to give her two loaves of bread to prevent her from starving. Though she is grateful, she can never let go of the feeling of owing him.In the lead up to the game, Peeta allows it to be known that he has loved Katniss for a long time, setting up a sort of tragic Romeo and Julliet scenario for the audience watching the games at home. Throughout the game Peeta and Katniss struggle to survive. Katniss believes that Peeta is playing up the star crossed lover angle in order to encourage the sponsors to have special treats dropped into the game for them, and so she plays along. As the tension build, as I reader I found myself rooting for Katniss and Peeta despite the odds staked against them.Even though The Hunger Games takes place in a dystopian setting, this is one of the best treatments of class that I have ever read. As Katniss interacted with the various characters we learned just how impoverished the districts were, all to feed the insatiable need of the Capitol, and yet without the labour provided by the districts those in the Capitol would surely starve. District members were seen as movable chess piece without any value and expected to cheer at the slaughter that happened in the arena. The very fact that their children could be forcibly removed from them sent the message that they were indeed helpless. Read More