Friday, March 18, 2011

Book Review: The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins

The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins follows the story of a girl name Katniss. It takes place in a future where the world has changed dramatically. As a result of wars that have taken place, the Capitol institutes a yearly event, called The Hunger Games, to remind the people of their past and to make sure it will never happen again. These games are central to the entire story for the main character, as the reader follows her through the emotions and turmoil she experiences.

The Good: The storytelling in The Hunger Games is top-notch. I found myself swiftly enthralled with the world the author created. I cared about the characters. I felt the pain and agony of the games. This is a very well written book. The author tells the story from the first-person perspective by the main character, Katniss. Throughout the entirety of the book, you come to know the character very well – as the author describes her feelings with a lot of detail. Many times I found myself caught up in the character’s thoughts to the point that I forgot it I was even reading it in the first-person perspective. There’s no doubt about it that this is an enjoyable book to read.

The Bad: Being unfamiliar with the Young Adult genre of books, my gripe on The Bad might be something that is inherent with similar books. Throughout the book, the character tends to repeat many of her thoughts and feelings. The author mentions the past regularly, and that past being referred to often is the same thing over in over. This is a minor annoyance, but it is there nonetheless. Fortunately, it doesn’t taint the overall story. Which leads me to the most ironic thing about this book…

The Ugly: I’m not sure if this was the author’s intent, but the one thing I absolutely did not like about The Hunger Games was The Hunger Games. The reasoning behind why The Hunger Games – a brutal match of young children where they all fight to the death and there is one winner, all of this televised for the population to see and for some reason enjoy – is unbelievable. I cannot see in any society tolerating something like this. I do not understand why people would accept it. The whole basis for this book feels so completely implausible that I found myself totally distracted by it while reading the entire book.

In the end, I really liked The Hunger Games. Despite the impossible premise, the story the author tells is very good. I’ve never read a book that made me feel so conflicted, and I guess that is a good thing. The fact that I like it so much in one respect and hate it in another is a testament to what the author wrote. Intentional or not, the book strikes a chord in some form and makes you think. I highly suggest you give this one a read.