My middle daughter found this book when it first came out in 2008 and kept reading it over and over with a crazed look in her eye. Sadly, I didn’t read it then because she’d just gotten off a Cat Warriors obsession and based on her indecipherable rants about which cat belonged to which tribe, I assumed that The Hunger Games was also something I wouldn’t read.
But late December boredom led me there. I read the three books in the week between Christmas and New Year’s Day. I didn’t talk to anyone. I barely moved out of my recliner, and only to go read in bed. I let the house go. Yes, it’s that good!
In a post-apocalyptic world, there are 12 poor districts, ruled by a rich and uncaring Capitol. They use the Hunger Games to keep order over the districts. One boy and one girl from each district is chosen by lottery every year to fight in the games. There is one simple rule to the games, even though the man-made arena changes every year: Only one player survives. Katniss Everdeen volunteers to take her little sister’s place even though she faces almost certain death.
There are many things I love about these books. Katniss isn’t another weak female Bella character. She doesn’t faint at the thought of death. She gets shot, beaten, stung, stabbed, burned, treed, poisoned, and manipulated. She’s tough, aggressive and unpredictable. She’s a good shot with an arrow, one of the best in this world, but can also run, hit, heal and love. Of course there’s a love triangle, but it’s not the WHOLE story. Katniss would give up both her men if it meant saving the world and her sister, Prim.
The horror of the games lasts through the three books to the very last few pages. The author comes up with inventive ways to torment people on every page. There is no black and white in this story as even the most inspiringly awful characters have some good points, the rebels are not entirely right, and there is no happily ever after. This doesn’t mean that there’s only ugliness in the books. There’s also love and loyalty, beauty and hope.
Halfway through the second book I got up in the middle of the night to finish it because I could leave Katniss where she was. There were times when I would go back and read a few pages just to experience it all over again.
This will be a difficult series to move on from.