Ok, in the interest of full disclosure, I should tell you that I read the entire Hunger Games trilogy in about 48 hours, but I loved each book so much I am giving each its own week on A Year In Books. So there. Also, I’ll try and be careful but I might let some spoilers slip so read with caution.
The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins is the first book in the trilogy and introduces us to Katniss Everdeen, unassuming heroine and total kick-ass chick. The books is set in post-America, which is to say, America after a series of major wars and massive destruction. The country is split into 13 districts and a Capital, and the Capital is the controlling force behind everything that happens in the districts. At some point before the book begins, the 13 districts rebelled against the Capital and the Capital won the war by effectively nuking the hell out of district 13, all the other districts fell in short order and now there are only 12 districts and a Capital. To punish the districts for the rebellion, the Capital institutes the Hunger Games in which every district has to submit one boy and one girl “tribute” to come to the Capital and fight to the death with the other “tributes” in an arena. Think young gladiators with technology and you will get a pretty good picture of the Hunger Games. Ok. So that’s what you need to know.
Katniss’s younger sister is chosen for the Hunger Games and Katniss chooses to volunteer herself in her sisters place. Also, you should know Katniss is one strong female lead. She can hunt, provide for her family, knows a bit about medicines, and is killer with a bow and arrow. She also has a keen sense of fairness and though she may seem tough, has a lot of compassion, especially for underdogs. The male chosen from her district is Peeta Mellark, someone who Katniss has complicated feelings for. Thus begins an incredible and page-turning journey.
I’m not going to tell you what happens. I want to. But I’m not going to. Because I think you should read these books. I started The Hunger Games at about midnight last Friday and couldn’t put it down so I stayed up until 4am to finish it. (I know, I’m a wild woman). Then, I had to read the next book, Catching Fire, and when I finished that I immediately started the final book Mockingjay. I was completely engrossed in these books. I loved the action and suspense of them and Collins took some chances with storyline that I appreciated. I had a difficult time predicting exactly what would happen next or how things were going to resolve themselves. Collins could be accused of using the standard love triangle plot, and indeed there is a love triangle, but it didn’t seem as cliche as others I’ve read and I quite liked those bits anyway. More than anything, I am so thankful Collins created such a strong woman as a central character. Its been quite some time since I read a book of this genre where the female lead is so independent, capable, strong, and powerful, but not without heart and emotion. We need more female characters like Katniss Everdeen. Lots more.
The Hunger Games was an amazing read and even when I finished it, I couldn’t quite stop thinking about it. That is one of the highest recommendations I could give to a book. I suggest you read this trilogy immediately, especially since they are making a movie of it due to release in 2012. Some of the most compelling and addicting books I have read since Harry Potter. Sure, I spent an entire weekend doing nothing but reading this trilogy, but trust me, it was a weekend well spent.
What are you guys reading this week??