Pages - 454
Published by Scholastic in 2008
Challenges - 100+ and Once Upon A Time
It is books like this one, which make me glad I started blogging. If I had never started blogging I would never have discovered this fantastic book. It is definitely one of the best books I have read this year. So thank you to all the lovely bloggers who raved about it.
I know this book has been reviewed many times, but I feel I have to ramble on about it.
This book is set in a dark alternative near future to our own. America no longer exists as we know it and 13 Districts now cover the parts still habitable after natural disasters had eaten away at much of the country. After these disasters a dark uprising occurred against the Capitol, which resulted in 12 Districts being defeated and one being obliterated. To mark the strength of the Capitol over all the Districts, the Hunger Games were set up to constantly remind the population which area is in charge.
The Hunger Games consist of two children being chosen by drawing their names from a pot, from each district. These children will then go into an arena with all the other children from the other Districts and basically fight for their survival. So twenty four go in and only one child will come out alive and win the game.
Katniss becomes one of those children,when she sacrifices herself to save her younger sister Prim from having to fight for her life. With Peeta, the baker's son, who has been in love with Katniss since he was a child, they head into the arena to fight each other and save their own lives.
This book had a Lord of the Flies feel to it for me. These children fighting for their survival, with no signs of escape being an opportunity. It also reminded me a little of the Running Man with Arnold Schwarzenegger.
Katniss is a very strong female character, who has learnt to take care of herself by hunting and killing with ease, since she had to take care of her family after her father's death. She comes across as the strong one in her relationship with Peeta, who as a baker's son is vulnerable to the wilderness environment.
In an arena designed to kill, some of the victims enjoy an element of comradeship as they help each other to outwit the real killers in the game. Rue, the young girl, who flies through the trees, is so innocent, yet her survival instincts kick in, helping her to stay one step ahead of her pursuers.
Even though, to many people, the thought of reading a book about children killing each other would put shivers down their spine, this book is not just about the ruthless televised murders. It is also about friendship, love and caring for other people. Katniss and Peeta do not kill anyone intentionally, they are fully aware of the unfairness of the situation they have been thrown into. The real killers in the book have been trained all their lives to do so and are evil and manipulative from the beginning of the story, so you feel no sympathy when they are killed. Suzanne Collins has been very clever in the way she writes this, so you don't feel like you are supporting the murders of these children, you are reading it to fight for the truth and for right person to leave the arena alive.
This book is full of suspense from the first few pages. From the way it has been written, you feel like you are right behind Katniss in the arena, willing her to survive this atrocious situation. If you don't believe me, then have a look at the first chapter here.
When this book ended, I was desperate to read the next installment and found that I have to wait until September - I am not a happy blogger!
You have to read this book, if you haven't already. It was definitely as good, if not better than City of Bones by Cassandra Clare and I loved that one.