Set in a future America, The Hunger Games, by Suzanne Collins, is a stunning novel about a post-apocalyptic society where the divide between the haves and have-nots has created a truly tieredsociety. Interweaving themes of survival, fantasy, big government, family and competition fill this tense and emotional work. The main character of the story, Katniss Everdeen, is a heroic young lady who is just starting to understand herself and the larger world around her. I forsee Katniss as a heroic, Harry Potter-esque young lady who is desperate to do the right thing and try to make the world a better place
When I was listening to the book, I was stunned at the realism of the characters and the society. As much as I believed in the characters, I was torn by the world that was presented. It was a truly frightening world in so many ways. Poverty and depravity mixed with adults and children trying their best to survive. Add a dystopian and technologically advanced society that exists on the backs of the poorer and destitute areas of the country. It is a frightening and all too real vision of the future. As I listened to the tale, I couldn't imagine a society becoming that depraved--could we ever to to the point described in the book? The gladiatorial combat of the Colosseum was one of the first incidents to come to mind. Then you throw in society's addiction to reality-based competition shows and it doesn't seem to far-fetched.
I listened to the audiobook that I downloaded from my local library's Overdrive account. Carolyn McCormick does a wonderful job of bringing the characters to life and breathing their thoughts and emotions. She made an enthralling and addictive story even more enchanting! The pain and emotion that she lent to Katniss is palpable; her stumbling, her indecision and her growth are all charted through the words, written and spoken.
The book is a very current mix of reality television, video games and action movies. It has the beginnings of a coming-of-age tale, but I need to experience the other two titles in the series to see where it ends. I was reminded of the 1987 film, The Running Man and the similar (but not seminal) video game, Super Smash TV. I would imagine that there are many similarities to Survivor, but I have never watched that television series.
This book is aimed at young adults (teens) and anyone interested in alternative/fantasy fiction. There is a lot of violence sewn into the book, but it is a necessary part of the tale. I would caution anyone under 12 from reading it.
As most anyone who has read the book will testify, it is very hard to put down, The storyline is engaging and well-paced. Even the moments of exposition were tantalizing enough to keep me wanting to learn more about Panem and what happened to society.
Suzanne Collins has woven a rich tapestry. I can't wait to start listening to the next book!