The Hunger Games (The Hunger Games #1)
by Suzanne Collins
Release Date: October 31, 2008
In the ruins of a place once known as North America lies the nation of Panem, a shining Capitol surrounded by twelve outlying districts. The Capitol is harsh and cruel and keeps the districts in line by forcing them all to send one boy and one girl between the ages of twelve and eighteen to participate in the annual Hunger Games, a fight to the death on live TV.
Sixteen-year-old Katniss Everdeen, who lives alone with her mother and younger sister, regards it as a death sentence when she steps forward to take her sister's place in the Games. But Katniss has been close to dead before—and survival, for her, is second nature. Without really meaning to, she becomes a contender. But if she is to win, she will have to start making choices that will weigh survival against humanity and life against love.
Wow....just wow. Absolutely amazing. Honestly, just as emotional and fantastic as the first time I read it. I don't even know where to start this review!
200 years earlier, the USA was destroyed and in its midst rose the Capitol with its surrounding 13 districts. Each district has its own way of living and for a time lived peacefully. However, after a time, the districts rose up against the Capitol and a rebellion ensued. With its superior weaponry and technology, the Capitol defeated the districts and completely obliterated District 13. To show the districts how superior Capitol is, each year two children, one boy and one girl from each district, are chosen to fight to the death in The Hunger Games. 24 enter, 1 comes out. Let the Seventy-Fourth Hunger Games begin.
Y'all need to understand that I am not and emotional person when it comes to books. No, I promise I'm not heartless, I just don't cry easily. Yes, during books my heart rate accelerates and I'll feel bad for the characters, but I don't actually cry. This is one of the only books where I have come this close to tears. And thats saying something.
But before I get into all the emotional part of this book, I want to first talk about the characters.
Katniss is fantastic. She's incredibly strong and fierce. Now, that's my favorite type of heroine and I know that sometimes these types start to blend together but something I love about her is the fact that although she may be these things like so many other heroines out there, she's not exactly lovable and witty like most others. She's standoffish and a loner and it takes a long time for someone to get through to her. She's mature beyond her years because she has to be. She became the sole supporter of her family at such a young age and it hardened her. She's a survivor. But sometimes this hard exterior became her downfall because she couldn't always see what's right in front of her: the fact that people care about her. However, although its hard to get past her hardened exterior, once you do, she is an incredibly kind and admirable person. This is especially shown through her actions at the reaping. She cared so much for her family that she was willing to risk her life, knowing that her chances for returning home were slim, just to keep her sister safe. If thats not worthy of respect, then I don't know what is.
Peeta is also a great character. He's pretty much the complete opposite of Katniss. He's personable, caring, and charming. He truly cares about Katniss even if she can't see it herself. Even though you don't get to know to much about him since this is from Katniss' perspective, you can still see that he has admirable qualities too. Normally I like the alpha male and the bad-boy (I guess its kinda my weakness) but I do also fall for the sweet, respectful guys and I fell head-over-heels for his heart.
As for secondary characters? Amazing. Each was unique in their own way. Effie, sweetly oblivious Effie. Haymitch, who may drink a bit to much, but has a heart under that surly exterior. Cinna, who truly cares about Katniss even though he hardly knows her. Even the other tributes each had their own personalities that made them unique (Don't even get me started on Rue!).
This book was just so incredibly emotional. 24 kids go into an arena and only 1 comes out. I honestly can't even imagine being in their situation. I know that I would do whatever it took to survive, but how would that change me? Each tribute was just trying to survive. They didn't want to be there (well, except a few), but were forced to be. When your facing your immediate death, what would you do? Survival changes people. These different reactions to their situations were shown remarkably well through all the different tributes. Collins' does a fantastic jobs of showing how different people would fare in this situation. While all the bloodshed in the arena itself is disturbing, perhaps the most disturbing thing for me was the fact that the people of the Capitol enjoyed it. Children were dying and to them it was just entertainment. They were completely oblivious!! It was all just a game to them. So long as they were entertained, they were happy. It was sick. Completely and utterly sick.
And to be honest, I felt awful for the other tributes, even as they tried to kill Katniss and Peeta. How could you not? They were thrown into a situation many of them weren't prepared for and just trying to get home. Although they were her enemies, I felt pity and guilt right along with Katniss. She, too, understands that they were only doing what they had to do just like she was.
My words can't even begin to describe all the emotions and feelings you get when reading this book. The Hunger Games may be a dark book about death and destruction, but within its dark exterior is a beautiful story full of survival, hope and fighting for what you love. May the odds be ever in your favor.
All the best ♥