I told you I had book ADD. This book snuck to the front of my reading since I borrowed it from a friend.
The Hunger Games sort of reminded me of The Giver and Fahrenheit 451, which also takes place in the future about a civilization living under strict government rules. It is the first of a series of three books.
This book is about a civilization called Panem in the future on the North American continent. The US, Canada, and Mexico cease to exist after all but destroying themselves by war.
Panem is divided into 12 districts surrounding the Capitol. Each district has a certain industry, such as factories, gem mining, agriculture, etc. Actually there were 13, but the 13th district disobeyed strict rules made by the government and was destroyed. The main character, Katniss is from district 12, one of the poorest districts, whose industry is coal mining. When her father is killed in a mining accident she is able to help her family survive by sneaking out of the district boundaries to go hunting and gathering.
To remind the remaining districts the dire consequences of war, they introduced the Hunger Games. A boy and a girl called tributes are chosen once a year from each district, 24 in all to fight each other to the death until only one is remaining and named the winner. All of this is televised for the whole civilization to watch.
Tributes from the wealthier districts are actually trained for this event, and it is a great pride for the families to have their child selected. For the poor districts, this is an immediate death sentence. The winner and his/her family is rewarded with a life of luxury.
For a week before the Hunger Games, all the tributes are waited upon hand and foot, given the best food, clothing and training. At the beginning, there are opening ceremonies glamorizing the tributes. In a way it reminded me of the Olympics ceremonies.
Katniss and her teammate Peeta are overwhelmed by being so spoiled by rich food and attendants at their beck and call. But there is still an overwhelming nervousness of what is to come. They have an advisor, you could call him, who was a previous winner of the games from district 12. He is all but useless to Katniss and Peeta, since he is bitter and drunk all the time.
Somehow, he manages to give them useful tidbits from time to time before they are released into a huge “arena” which seems more like a giant stretch of wild land. Cameras watch their every move and announcements can be made for all the players to hear. Each night the pictures of the fallen players are displayed on a large screen over the arena. Each district has “sponsors” who can send supplies to the players need during the game.
Katniss is able to survive with a few supplies provided, and goes as far away from the starting point as she can get. She is very good at hunting and gathering from her experiences before the games, and is able to use a bow and arrow and climb trees exceedingly well.
She is able to avoid much of the violence at the beginning of the games, by running and hiding. After a brief alliance with another player ends when that player is killed, there is an announcement that if the final two players from a district remain, they will both be named the winner. Katniss and Peeta eventually team up and against the odds, become the final two players. They are waiting to be released when the announcement is made that only one can be the winner. When they outsmart the game, they are both declared the winners, but the Capitol is not happy that they have been tricked. Stay tuned for book two: Catching Fire.
This book is about survival, and the relationship she has with Peeta, and the other players. I would give it a 5 out of 5, and would read it again. Can’t wait for book 2!