From the back of the book:
Winning means fame and fortune.
Losing means certain death.
The Hunger Games have begun…
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 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 weight survival against humanity and life against love.
Hmm. In all honesty, I was left a little bit underwhelmed by this one. I think there was, quite simply, too much hype surrounding this one for me to enjoy it fully. I kept expecting to be completely blown away… and in the end, it was just… pretty good. Not the OMG AMAZING that everyone else seems to respond to this with. Maybe it’ll get better in the second and third installments in this trilogy. One can hope.
Other than the fact that it didn’t live up to my expectations, however, it was pretty alright. Although it hasn’t had much sticking factor (I really don’t remember much of what actually went on in the book, or who most of the characters were…), it was enjoyable enough while I was reading it.
I do enjoy dystopians. So it definitely had that going for it. Some parts of it I found extremely original – mainly the time in Capitol, both before and after the games. It was so decadent, and so gaudy to the point that it was entrancing. I am VERY MUCH looking forward to seeing this part on the big screen! It reminded me a lot of the window displays that Holt Renfrew on Bloor Street (Toronto, Canada) used to have at Christmas time. Utter decadence to the extreme.
The cast of characters had so much variety as well – from the overprotective Katniss, to the drunken Haymitch, to the … well, how does one even begin to describe Effie Trinket? She is … over the top and unrelatable and unsympathetic and utterly wonderful in a horrible sort of way. She is by far my favourite character in the whole book.
The whole being thrown into an environment where you have to battle to the death to survive… well, that part of the book was boring to me, in all honesty. It would’ve been much more interesting if I had actually cared about any of the other contestants, if I had cared who lived and who died. We didn’t get to know them at all, so their threat to Katniss, Peeta and each other didn’t seem realistic. Or dangerous. We didn’t really see how dangerous they could be – and this is disappointing, especially for those contestants who grew up training for the Hunger Games. The threat NEVER seemed real.
The Bottom Line
I will continue to read the series, even though I don’t think it lived up to the hype. I am, however, quite looking forward to the movie.