Title: The Hunger Games
Author: Suzanne Collins
Publication Date: October 31, 2008
Summary (from Goodreads):
"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."
I was hesitant about picking up The Hunger Games; I’ve never been one for sci-fi novels. Actually, I think this might be my first step into the world of science fiction and it blew away any reservations I had. The story held me attention from page one to the point that I refused to put the book down until I read it cover to cover. It made me laugh, it made me cry, and it made me hold my breath and close my eyes and just peek at the pages in anticipation of what was going to happen! I loved the creativeness behind the book, the way Collins transformed North America into something so…ugly. Yes, that’s the only word I can use for what Panem is. Very ugly. Cold. Heartless. But within it the districts are people who are warm and funny and make you feel so much.
Right off the bat I liked Gale. There was just something about him that pulled me in instantly. I liked that he had his own ideas, that he didn’t seem to be the type that would bend and reform to be someone he wasn’t. And it was obvious that he cared deeply for Katniss, even if he never actually said the words. Okay, I’ll also admit that I love books that a pair a male and female as best friends. I get so tired of reading the same old girl/girl besties and all the drama that goes with females. Unfortunately, we didn’t get to see much of Gale in the first novel, but much like how Katniss felt, he was always in my thoughts.
Now, as for The Girl on Fire… what can I say about Katniss? I liked how strong of a character she was made out to be, but beneath all that there was a vulnerability that made her almost sweet at times, like when she was caring for Peeta. Or how she came to care for Cinna. And I adored the short friendship she had with Rue. But Katniss also came off as very cold, even towards her family and the few friends she had. She reminded me of Panem in that way….
Peeta. Oh Peeta. Everyone adores Peeta. Me? Yes, he was a good guy. Yes, he was brave and selfless in what he did by declaring his feelings for Katniss in order to save her. Of course he’s the guy you want to feel like you can take home to mom! He was perfect, and there were so many times he made me smile and laugh…but alas, my heart already belonged to another man in the book and I fear that put poor Peeta at a disadvantage when it came to winning my affections.
Suzanne Collins did a brilliant job in this novel. I cannot wait to get my hands on the second in the series!