The Hunger Games by Susanne Collins
I have to admit, these are a really good read. In fact, in a rare binge, I devoured all three over the course of a week, and it only took me that long because I had to wait for the month to reset so I could get the last volume downloaded for free to my kindle. Two whole wasted days! And I did still manage to keep my family fed and clothed, but that was all.
They fall into the genre of apocalyptic literature, taking place in the dark, lean times after the Capitol managed to subjugate all the other provinces. The provinces are kept in line by extreme poverty, lack of communication with one another, martial law, and fear. The greatest fear is that their children will be chosen for the annual Hunger Games, a battle to the death for the amusement of the residents of the Capitol.
Until, that is, Katniss Everdeen steps forward on that fateful day when her little sister’s name is chosen.
Ah, Katniss. In spite of the fact that taking Prim’s place in the Games is the only act of love she has ever committed, somehow, she manages to get two really decent boys to fall in love with her: Peeta, the selfless baker’s son, who has loved her since he heard her sing so sweetly in her (slightly more) carefree childhood, and Gale, the poacher-turned-rebel, who loves her as his friend and equal. She seems to have lost the ability to love, though, and all through her journey, people sacrifice for her, including Peeta and Gale, and often with their lives, but she hardly notices, caring only insomuch as they help her to survive. She never makes a conscious decision to choose her own destiny; she never chooses to act in the best interests of someone else, with the exception of her sister; and she never grows to love either of her beaus.
That’s the only thing I didn’t like about this series: Katniss never grows. She is exactly the same at the end as she was starting out. She is so caught up in her own pain and misery that she just can’t escape her own self-pitying and self-interested ego.
Don’t let that stop you from reading, though! It’s an excellent series otherwise, and it bothers me that I haven’t yet added it to our library. Katniss’ lack of growth is why I’ve delayed, but, as I’m writing this, I’m really looking forward to reading it again. That’s the highest praise I can offer. 🙂
PS: The film adaptations are really good, too!