2008. Scholastic. Hardcover. 374 pages.
From: the library, after a summer-long wait. 🙂
Synopsis: For the few people who do not know the premise of the wildly popular Hunger Games, the story is set far into a dystopian future. As punishment for a long ago rebellion, the twelve Districts of Panem must pay an annual tribute of two teenagers to fight in the Hunger Games. In the Hunger Games, the teenagers fight to the death over a period of days, their battles broadcast to the nation who are mandated to watch the ‘show.’
Katniss is from District 12 (somewhere near what is Appalachia now) and supports her mother and younger sister through illegal hunting and herb-gathering. She becomes her district’s tribute along with a boy named Peeta, who she hardly knows though he has long nursed a crush on her.
As Katniss prepares for the Games at the glittering and wealthy Capitol, she has a team to help her with pre-Game strategy. Once in the Arena, she will have to use all her wits and strength to survive and – more than that – to survive with honor in a game designed to render its combatants soulless slaughterers.
I read very few reviews and none recently before reading this book, and I’m glad I was left unspoiled for many of the details in The Hunger Games. The manner in which Katniss becomes the tribute, the rules of the games, the outcome – these all came fresh to me.
And wow, was this book ever intense! There was something very cinematic about the writing in the Hunger Games. The action was written very clearly, which is not always easy to do in novels. There was one scene where Katniss hears her name called by someone in trouble and she races to the rescue with her bow and arrow. I could just see her in my mind, this courageous and lethal girl.
I loved Katniss as a character; I loved her most when she was in her protective older sister mode. There were several moments when she is in that mode that definitely made me get teary, if not flat out cry.
The world-building was quite good. I liked that Katniss had some allies on the outside: the prep team for District 12. These adults, in their various ways, added to the tension by the knowledge that they shared with Katniss about the Games and the overarching politics.
I appreciated that Katniss never failed to notice and inwardly chronicle every meal she ate after arriving in the bounty of the Capitol (prior to fighting in the games.) It shows that indelible mark of hunger which she grew up with in District 12. After reading The Hunger Games, I myself felt a craving for goat cheese on bread, the simple repast enjoyed by Katniss and her friend Gale when they hunted together in District 12.
I look forward to reading the rest of the trilogy, as they slowly trickle into my hands from the long public library waiting list!
Fyrefly’s Book Blog – “This book’s got tension and suspense dripping off its pages, and there was just no way I was going to go to bed before finding out what happened to Katniss.”
Hey Lady! Whatcha Readin’? – “Every once in a while there’s a book that just WHAM! takes over your life until you’ve finished the book, and that means you snatch any second you have to read a chapter, a page, a sentence. THIS IS THAT BOOK.”
Presenting Lenore – “Katniss is a strong female character, a bit surly (not that you can blame her considering the circumstances), but clever and loyal. It’s natural that we root for her as the tributes enter the arena.”