Okay, I'm a bit stunned. I finally read The Hunger Games and for a very good reason - I thought that I should. That's right, I read it out of obligation. I figured that if I'm writing a book blog, I should probably read the books that are getting the most pub. I also knew, going into this, that people of all ages have read it and enjoyed it. Even knowing that, my expectations were low. Well, color me chastened. It was really good! The story is unique (as far as my limited reading tastes go), and the writing is surprisingly high quality. I just don't have a single negative thing to say about it. In fact, I intend to read, at least, #2, Catching Fire, and, if all goes well, #3, Mockingjay.
Between the book and the movie, everybody knows what this is about. But for the handful of people who have been living on a deserted island for the past couple of years, here it is in a nutshell. The country is divided into 12 districts. Every year, one boy and one girl, between the ages of 12-18, are selected from each district to take part in the Hunger Games. They are called tributes and are put into a very large arena that covers many square miles and are left there until there is only one survivor. That's right, they kill each other until there is a single tribute left. The winner returns to his or her district and lives in cushy fashion for the rest of his or her life.
The Games themselves are pretty brutal. But I was intrigued by the tribute selection process and, especially, by the preparations that are made prior to the start of the Games. They each have their own team which prepares them for the pre-Games festivities. These include costumes and make-up along with interviews and much feasting. All of the pre-game activities and all of the game action is televised live to the whole country. And if the murder and mayhem slow down, then the government artificially creates scenarios where the bloodshed picks back up again.
It's a crazy premise that's carried out very well. Throw in a little romance, an inebriated mentor (the only surviving winner from District 12) and a quirky escort. Add it up and you get a very entertaining 374 pages and a strong desire to see what happens in book #2. Suzanne, nice job.