Thursday, 27 September 2012

The Hunger Games

The Hunger Games
Suzanne Collins
London, Scholastic, 2009, 454p

Wow. That is all. Wow.

Of course, I had heard all the hype about The Hunger Games books. Children, parents, and friends of mine in their twenties swooned over the writing, the plot, the characterisation. I had let it wash over me, vowing to read it "one day". 

Yesterday, that day came. It took me less than one day to read. It has been a really long time since I have stayed up through most of the night to read a book, but this book... I held my breath in suspense, I cried in despair, and I couldn't stop. It was clever, challenging, and drew me right in to the futuristic dictatorship in which Katniss and Peeta live. 

Collin's language is irresistible. She writes smoothly and convincingly, making the book hard to put down. She doesn't explain everything straight away, but drops hints and leaves you asking for more. At the end, for example, I had no choice but to immediately pick up the next book.

The world of District 12, the Capitol and the arena are eerily close to contemporary reality, but Collins distances the reader from it by telling us it's the future of America. It's a sort of warning about modern society, and where we could end up - repressed, poverty stricken, and forced to offer one girl and one boy every year as part of a murderous form of reality TV.

The level of violence was pretty excessive - I'm intrigued to see how that has played out in the film adaptation. But it also felt necessary, in order to explicitly demonstrate the dangers of Capitol rule. 

At the end of this edition is a short interview in which Collins explains her inspiration and motivation behind The Hunger Games. She says
"it wasn't enough to visit a battlefield; we needed to know why the battle occurred, how it played out, and the consequences."
The first in this trilogy portrays how the battle played out. From reading the blurb of book two, Catching Fire is about the consequences. There have been hints about why the battle occurred, but I can only pray the rest of the trilogy explains all.

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