Sunday, December 11, 2011

The Hunger Games

So I've just finished The Hunger Games for the second time. Since the movie is coming out in March and I figured that I wouldn't have much time to re-read the series once classes started again, I have decided to re-read the trilogy now. When the trailer premiered a few weeks ago (you can watch it here. I would recommend it. It's amazing), I realized how long ago it was that I read this book. I read it a little before it was published (again, because of BBYA), and that was in 2008. So I had forgotten a lot. And in order to make sure that the movie producers do an adequate job, I figured the series should be fresh in my head. Thus, I am reading it again.

The Hunger Games takes place in the near future, where the United States have collapsed and been replaced by a county called Panem. Panem is a county that is divided into a Capitol and 12 other districts. Every year, two children from each district are chosen to participate in what are called the Hunger Games, a brutal competition broadcast across the whole country where each of the 24 children are placed in an hostile environment, forced to fight for their lives. In the end, only one is left standing, only one claims victory for his/her district. When Primrose Everdeen's name is drawn for the reaping, her sister Katniss volunteers to take her place. Together, Katniss and her fellow contestant Peeta, must fight their way through the Hunger Games, desperately trying to stay alive. Who will be the last one standing? You'll have to read it to find out :)

The Hunger Games is definitely one of those books that, once you start reading it, it's incredibly hard to put down. You just want to keep going because you have to know who wins the Games, you have to know how everything plays out. There's never a dull moment. And even this being my second time reading the series, I still found that I was just as engrossed as the first time, even though I already knew what was going to happen. In my opinion, that's what makes a great novel. Sure, it's good if you can read it the first time around and be entertained. But being able to read it over and over again and still be entertained, now that's an accomplishment. Some people find it weird that I don't mind re-reading books. I quite enjoy it actually. To me, it's just like re-watching a movie that you really like, or listening to your favorite song over and over again. You do it because it's something you enjoy, something that entertains you. There are only a few series that I tend to go back to, and this is definitely one of them. The Hunger Games is something that will hold my attention every time I read it.

The other great thing about The Hunger Games is there is a really strong female character. Katniss is able to fend for herself, she doesn't wait around for the men in her life to save her. In fact, she's often the one that does the saving. She provides for her family, and the families of others through her trading, and she isn't afraid to speak her mind. Katniss, unlike a lot of female characters in books, doesn't really seem to care that much about the romance side of things. In fact, she doesn't often take it into account, the only thing she cares about is making sure her family is always provided for, there's always food on the table. And that's something to be admired. Katniss is a pretty selfless individual. She's definitely a character that teenage girls can look up to. Suzanne Collins not only did an excellent job creating Katniss, but all of her other characters as well. They're all 3-dimensional, you know, as a reader, that they all have back stories, even if they're not necessarily told in The Hunger Games. It's definitely a good piece of writing.

I think the last thing to be said here about The Hunger Games (I could go on and on about it, probably...) is the originality of Suzanne Collins' idea. I think that's what attracts everyone to this series, the fact that it's so different from basically anything else out there. Collins created something that, while it is slighting disturbing, it's difficult to put down. It's so different and compelling that you absolutely have to know what happens next. What I like about it is it gets people who don't necessarily like reading to pick it up and read it. I've recommended it to a few of my friends who aren't really big readers, and they've all loved it. It's like Harry Potter in that way. It gets people reading. And if a book series can do that, it's already fantastic in my mind. Reading is such an enjoyable thing that I wish everyone enjoyed it as much as I did.

Obviously, since I said I was re-reading the trilogy, I will be reading Catching Fire next. I'll have to tell you about the first time I read this book in my next post. I think it's quite a good story :)

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