Book Review: The Hunger Games

I finally have a real book to review! Not that the Chico and Delamar book is not real, but this one isn’t a compilation or light read. 🙂

After watching the movie, I knew I just had to start with book already. I just bought it a few days prior hoping I get to read it before the movie came out but to no avail. I would just have to stick the movie out first and hopefully doesn’t make not want to read the book.

But surprisingly, it does the opposite and I was itching to open my book as soon as came home from the movie. It took me just three nights (one part a night) to read.

The book is written by Suzanne Collins, children’s television writer in 2008, and is the first of a three part series.

The Hunger Games is set in the future North America called Panem, where it is ruled by President Snow residing in the Capitol, and with it twelve surrounding districts all with its distinct responsibilities for the Capitol.

Every year, the Capitol holds the country-wide event called the Hunger Games. A boy and girl between the age 12 to 18 are selected at random to compete against each other in an enclosed arena where only living victor can emerge.

In the farthest district, District 12, who’s main responsibility is to provide coal for Panem, lives a sixteen year old girl named Katniss Everdeen. Her father died when she was 11, and her mother has since battled with depression after that, leaving Katniss to provide for her family and take care of her younger sister, Prim. In the beginning of the book, she is out hunting for food and is joined by her best friend Gale Hawthorne, a young man of 18, and they plot to runaway together.

It’s reaping day and the town gathers at the square to witness the selection of their Tributes, the town’s representatives to the Hunger Games. To everyone’s surprise, Prim’s name is called, despite only her name written down only once in the thousands of names. Katniss bravely stands up to volunteer to take her sister place. She is joined by Peeta Mellark, the son of the baker, as the boy tribute, and together they journey to the Capitol for the event.

During the two week training, they are mentored by Haymitch Abernathy, the only living winner of the Hunger Games from District 12, and dressed by Cinna and Portia, their stylists who later on also became their advisors. They came up with strategies to win over the Gamemakers and sponsors, with Katniss being marketed as “the girl on fire” and Peeta gets admirers for his unrequited love for Katniss. These gives them high marks from the Gamemakers.

The games begin and the 24 are entrapped in bloody arena, where their sole goal is to remain alive and outlive all others. Majority are killed early on, while the smarter and stronger stay within the game. Katniss develops an unlikely alliance from Rue, the youngest Tribute, while Peeta convinces the stronger Tributes he could get Katniss for them.

In time, the game changes and if both Tributes from one districts are alive, both can win. Katniss, seeing that Peeta is still alive, looks for him, finding him badly wounded. She nurses him and plays the part of star crossed lovers, earning the two of them favor from the sponsors.

The two of them battle it all versus the stronger Tributes until the two of the emerge as victors of the Games.

The Hunger Games, if you’d be reiterating the synopsis to someone else, seems to be like a romantic adventure between two young people trapped in a harsh world where only their love can survive, when in fact deep with in the story lies underlying themes of control, power, communism, poverty and rebellion.

The book shows the power of the Capitol and President Snow and whatever it takes for them to stay in power and gain control over the country. The Hunger Games itself is a stage to show and threaten the districts of any sign of rebellion will go deeply punished.

The book also depicts the severe contrast of the two worlds of the Capitol and further districts of Eleven and Twelve. One is lavished in luxury, while the others are sunk in poverty and depression.

The book was an enjoyable read from the beginning to end and times I couldn’t put it down. I especially hold a soft spot for it due to my nature of work being in the broadcasting scene where I market and sell to sponsors a spectacular show even at the expense of our artists.

I can’t wait to get my hands on the next two books 🙂

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