THE HUNGER GAMES
Okay, I think I read this entire series in about a week. That is saying something already about how great it is. Before I go into the review, however, let's take a look at the blurbs: (Some Spoilers ahead)
COULD YOU SURVIVE ON YOUR OWN, IN THE WILD, WITH EVERYONE FIGHTING AGAINST YOU?
The Hunger Games
Twenty-four are forced to enter. Only the winner survives.
In the ruins of a place once known as North America lies the nation of Panem, a shining Capitol surrounded by twelve outlying districts. Each year, the districts are forced by the Capitol to send one boy and one girl between the ages of twelve and eighteen to participate in the Hunger Games, a brutal and terrifying fight to the death – televised for all of Panem to see.
Survival is second nature for sixteen-year-old Katniss Everdeen, who struggles to feed her mother and younger sister by secretly hunting and gathering beyond the fences of District 12. When Katniss steps in to take the place of her sister in the Hunger Games, she knows it may be her death sentence. If she is to survive, she must weigh survival against humanity and life against love.
Against all odds, Katniss Everdeen has won the annual Hunger Games with fellow district tribute Peeta Mellark. But it was a victory won by defiance of the Capitol and their harsh rules. Katniss and Peeta should be happy. After all, they have just won for themselves and their families a life of safety and plenty. But there are rumors of rebellion among the subjects, and Katniss and Peeta, to their horror, are the faces of that rebellion. The Capitol is angry. The Capitol wants revenge. Suzanne Collins continues the amazing story of Katniss Everdeen in Catching Fire, the second novel of the phenomenal Hunger Games trilogy.
Against all odds, Katniss Everdeen has survived the Hunger Games twice. But now that she's made it out of the bloody arena alive, she's still not safe. The Capitol is angry. The Capitol wants revenge. Who do they think should pay for the unrest? Katniss. And what's worse, President Snow has made it clear that no one else is safe either. Not Katniss's family, not her friends, not the people of District 12. Powerful and haunting, this thrilling final installment of Suzanne Collins's groundbreaking The Hunger Games trilogy promises to be one of the most talked about books of the year.
First, I have to say, this series wasn't what I expected it would be. Suzanne Collins has created a very believable world in these books. Panem is something I would imagine our world would be like if Hitler had risen to power and taken over. Where half the population is forced into workcamp-like cities, living in terrible circumstances to work for the Capitol. They slave away in a world where looking out for others and hunting for extra food for your starving family are frequently punishable crimes. Katniss Everdeen defies the government in her own secret way by sneeking off the forest with Gale Hawthorn, her best friend, killing game to provide for her family and trading in secret to the leniant authorities of District 12. But when her sister's name is drawn for the Hunger Games, a dispicable form of entertainment the Capitol indulges in which reminds the Districts that they are being punished for an uprising some 75 years previous, she steps up to go in her place. She knows she will most likely die, but the love of her sister pushes her forward.
We are taken into an unfair relm where innocent teens must fight to the death. Because if they don't fight each other, they will be killed anyway and their families will be punished. The capitol takes the teens chosen (Tributes they are called) and shows them off in a horrifyingly rediculous manner. They are primped up and paraded around town, interviewed, and trained all for the entertainment of the spoiled masses of the Capitol. This all reminds me somewhat to the Olympics. A very sadistic Olympics. People cheer their favorite tributes, can even sponsor them, but in the end there can be only one winner.
A love triangle in woven through the horror of these books between Katniss and two guys. Peeta and Gale. She leaves you guessing the entire series as to who she will chose. This was hard for me to read. I know it is neccessary and great reading when the MC has character flaws, but Katniss is pretty low at some moments, stringing along both guys when she doesn't know who to love or if she can even love. When loving means marriage and marriage means children and having children means that someday you may have to see them enter the Hunger Games. Not a fate she wants to experience. But the poor guys rally through it =).
So...(spoiler alert) The Hunger Games have to stop. And in the third book you see a war plotted between the rebels and the capitol. Katniss has become the unwitting face of the rebelion and is under constant attack. Secrets about President Snow are revealed and in the end you are still not sure what will happen. There is a surprise twist and then a twist upon the twist that leaves you breathless throughout. Like others I couldn't put these books down. If you are squeemish these books are not for you. But I must confess I thought they were going to be a whole lot more grotesque in parts and Suzanne gives you just enough to horrify you, but doens't go over the top (much to my pleasure). I was so close to not reading these because I thought they would be too much for me to handle, and I must admit that through reading the first two books I had nightmares each night I read (Geez!). But now that I have finished the entire series I can say it was worth it.
Suzanne Collins' style of writing is crisp and to the point. No flowery prose, but the prose sure make you think. She is great at reminding us at every turn what is at stake (something I need to work on in my writing) and why Katniss' situation is indeed so dire. You feel the tension every step of the way. Even when you think Katniss is safe some other form of terror rears its ugly head.
So, if you haven't read this series, follow the link above and get your copies now. But be prepared for a wild ride!