The Hunger Games probably don’t need much introduction, having been turned into a successful film starring Jennifer Lawrence as Katniss Everdeen. For those that don’t know, the United States of America has shrunk in size due and now consists of twelve districts plus the Capitol, which is now in the Rockies. A thirteenth district is said to be uninhabitable because of nuclear fall-out after it was bombed during a revolution against the Capitol. Every year, the districts send two ‘tributes’, a boy and a girl, to compete in the Hunger Games, a battle to the death in a specially constructed ‘arena’. That word doesn’t do justice to the scale of the Game area, but it’s appropriate. The original arenas were sand-strewn areas for gladiatorial combat. The prize for winning is a life of luxury for the victor and their family, with gifts of food and fuel for the victor’s district.
The story starts with the ‘reaping’ where the tributes are chosen for that year’s Hunger Games. Katniss Everdeen’s younger sister, Prim, is chosen and Katniss volunteers to take her place. The male tribute is the baker’s son, Peeta Mellark, a boy who gave Katniss some bread years ago when she was starving.
Suzanne Collins takes us through the opening ceremony and training, before we reach the arena. The detail is so good that I could have been there. The ‘career tributes’, children from districts 1 and 2 who are well fed and ‘trained’ for competition don’t get much attention, but I found myself disliking them for their sense of superiority. Rue, a girl from district 11, is sympathetically drawn. I liked her and cried when she was killed. The incidents in the Hunger Games, the injuries and attacks, were almost painful. I’m reaching for my cup of tea just thinking about Katniss’ dehydration!
I first read The Hunger Games when it was offered as a deal for Amazon Kindle. I read the sample, the first two chapters, and I was hooked. I wanted to know what happened to Katniss. What were the Hunger Games? How would she win? Considering the fact that I’m well outside the target age range (I haven’t been a ‘Young Adult’ for some years now), this gives an indication of the writing standard and how it draws you in to the story. Having read the trilogy, I don’t want to watch the films. However good they are, I know they won’t match the images I got from the stories.