The Hunger Games Paperback – 5 Jan 2009
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Katniss Everdeen is a survivor. She has to be; she's representing her District, number 12, in the 74th Hunger Games in the Capitol, the heart of Panem, a new land that rose from the ruins of a post-apocalyptic North America. To punish citizens for an early rebellion, the rulers require each district to provide one girl and one boy, 24 in all, to fight like gladiators in a futuristic arena. The event is broadcast like reality TV, and the winner returns with wealth for his or her district. With clear inspiration from Shirley Jackson's "The Lottery" and the Greek tale of Theseus, Collins has created a brilliantly imagined dystopia, where the Capitol is rich and the rest of the country is kept in abject poverty, where the poor battle to the death for the amusement of the rich. Impressive world-building, breathtaking action and clear philosophical concerns make this volume, the beginning of a planned trilogy, as good as The Giver and more exciting. However, poor copyediting in the first printing will distract careful readers - a crying shame. (Science fiction. 11 & up) (Kirkus Reviews) --New
From the Inside Flap
Sixteen-year-old Katniss Everdeen regards it as a death sentence when she is forced to represent her district in the annual Hunger Games, a fight to the death on live TV. But Katniss has been close to death before - and survival, for her, is second nature.
From the Publisher
Suzanne Collins is author of the international bestselling Hunger Games trilogy, which has become one of the most talked-about and successful publishing phenomena of recent years. Suzanne lives in Connecticut, USA.
Other Titles in the Series:
- Hunger Games Trilogy: Catching Fire
- Hunger Games Trilogy: Mockingjay
Hunger Games Trilogy: The Hunger Games
Set in a dark vision of the near future, a terrifying reality TV show is taking place. Twelve boys and twelve girls are forced to appear in a live event called The Hunger Games. There is only one rule: kill or be killed.
When sixteen-year-old Katniss Everdeen steps forward to take her younger sister's place in the games, she sees it as a death sentence. But Katniss has been close to death before. For her, survival is second nature.
- Powerful, haunting and ground-breaking, the Hunger Games trilogy continues to dominate in the ever-demanding teen market
- Over 2.3 million copies of the trilogy sold in the UK (Nielsen)
- Major motion picture released in March 2012 starring Jennifer Lawrence, Liam Hemsworth, Woody Harrelson, Donald Sutherland, Stanley Tucci and Lenny Kravitz
- Major online campaign targeting bloggers
- “The Hunger Games is amazing" - Stephenie Meyer
- "I couldn't stop reading" - Stephen King
- "One of the best written and most thought- provoking books I've read for a long time" - Anthony Horowitz
- Pub Date: 5th January 2009
- CBMC code: E3N79
- Age: 13-18 years
- Rights: UK and Commonwealth excluding Canada
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Post-apocalyptic gladiatorial games have got a long and honourable history in science-fiction, but The Hunger Games takes the notion into a new space. A lot of this is because of the really close description of the protagonist Katniss. She is an utterly believable, completely riveting character who carries the story from beginning to end with her un-self aware I narrative.
This is a very well judged book. Author Suzanne Collins never allows the gore to become gratuitous, keeping all the deaths human and generating at least momentary sympathy for even the most unsympathetic characters. At the same time, she never lets any part of the plot repeat, and never lets the tension subside.
With echoes of The Dispossessed and The Running Man and a tradition going back to the Roman gladiatorial games, the Hunger Games manages to conjure up something new and entirely magical in what might be seen as a worn-out plot premise. It's quite simply the best new science fiction for young adults I've read in years.
But for all the good stuff - and there are some great ideas at work here - there's also an overwhelming dependency on genre cliches (the obligatory teen love triangle <groan>). Characterisation is a bit hit-and-miss, and things happen that I was never quite able to believe in.
So, overall, there's enough good stuff here, especially in the first book, to just tip this over into the 4-star category for me. But it doesn't have the more subtle imagination, detailed writing, maturer politics and deeper characterisation that is making Veronica Roth's Divergent Trilogy such a thrilling current read for me. Recommended as an exciting though easy read.
So, Catching Fire was always going to struggle to match that. So I will rate it four stars, even though it may only deserve three. My reasoning is based on rating it as a book on its own, which you can't do, in all fairness.
This is a trilogy, so if we take the three boos as one whole story, then Catching Fire will stand up better, I hope.
The problem with this book, is that the pace seems rather lopsided. In the Hunger Games, the pace built up like a crescendo, and was incredibly gripping and dramatic.
In Catching Fire, it struggles to know where it is going, before really picking up the pace in the final third. Perhaps few stories could keep up the intensity of the Hunger Games, so I will reserve having a go at this until I have read Mockingjay, the third in the series.
Some have criticised Miss Collin's writing style. But this is first person - we are a fly on Katniss' shoulder, so we should expect the writing in this matter. It didn't bother me at all like it bothered others.
All in all, Catching Fire is well written, has great characters, and is described rather well. You do feel like you are there. The Peeta / Gale angle isn't resolved here, perhaps that will be in the final book. I'd like to see President Snow get what's coming to him, but knowing Miss Collin's ability to twist a twisted tale, that may not happen at all.
Do I hope for a happy ending? Well I think Katniss deserves it. She comes across as a good heroine, and not whiny as some say.
So - a really good go at emulating the first book, but fell a bit short.
If you have not seen the films yet - read the books first, then watch the films as it will help give a deeper meaning to the films.
Summary - Highly recommend all books in this amazing trilogy which are both suitable and recommended for most ages of reader.
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