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 keeps the districts in line by forcing them all to send one boy and one girl 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. If she is to win, she will have to start making choices that will weigh survival against humanity and life against love.
I probably should not have seen the movie at the cinema before I read this book. This story is built upon the concept of ‘suspense’ and I went into it knowing the ending, stupid me.
Katniss is a great character – admirable, practical, hard working, creative, crafty even – but she’s also serious and has a very plain way of stating things.
The concept of Panem is an interesting enigma, how did it grow into the stratified civilization it is now? It’s pretty clear where book two is headed even from the outset of this novel: rebellion against the capitol.
Suzanne Collin’s futuristic world has drones and cameras you cannot see and yet it also has televisions and coal mines too, lending the whole thing an air of startling authenticity.
I was disappointed by the ‘romance’ angle. Katniss refuses to face her feelings for Peeta, using the excuse that she’s a different person within the arena, which makes their scenes there frustrating. I also wondered if Katniss was a good match for him – she’s much more savvy. I’m hoping that book two outside of the arena and the return of Gale will provide me with some satisfaction in this area.
My favourite moments were all Rue related; the bread scene was my most emotional point. I got all teary. The whole book kept me on tenterhooks, worried about Katniss, but Rue made me care about the people in the districts outside of 12.
I’ll be re-watching the film soon, to figure out how it differs from the book!