by Suzanne Collins
Every year at the reaping, two children from each district, one boy, one girl, are chosen to play in The Hunger Games. Forced to battle to the death, only one victor can remain... which is a real problem for Katniss since she owes her fellow District 12 pick, Peeta, an impossible debt.
Katniss: First off, love her name! Ok, much like Clary in The Mortal Instruments series by Cassandra Clare, Katniss is another girl surrounded by hot guys who seem to love her... and yet, she just doesn't have time for them. I LOVE THIS. Often repulsed at the idea of even having children (because then they'd be forced to play in The Hunger Games too), Katniss often rebukes any claim of love as something she doesn't have time for, and doesn't understand. She's not a cold character though, she's just not a Mary Sue. She, of course, has worthwhile talents, but when it comes to jumping on board the "What's going on" train, Katniss is often the last to figure it out. She figures out her own things in her own time, but she's usually last in figuring out the more complicated stuff... which, for a girl who's only ever had to worry about keeping herself and her family alive, makes perfect sense.
Peeta: A lovely, wonderful baker's son, Peeta is stuck in the middle of his own love story... unfortunately, due to the circumstances, the leading lady isn't falling for it. Doesn't matter though, Peeta knows what he wants and will do anything to protect that.
Haymitch:A former District 12 Hunger Games winner, Haymitch is a perpetual drunk... and Katniss and Peeta's mentor. As soon as he realizes he has a pair of kids who might make it, he puts in a smooth, calculating effort to keep them alive, and even though he's repulsive and spends a good portion of the novel in a puddle of
Cinna: Katniss and Peeta's stylist for the game, he's cool, collected and not nearly as flamboyant as most of the Capitol. He's a major source of support for Katniss, and one of my favorite characters.
Prim and her Mother: Prim is Katniss' little sister and the reason Katniss ended up in the games... and the reason she fights so hard. Katniss' mother was worthless after her husband's death, but brought back by Katniss' strength.
President Snow: Supreme overlord! He's the big baddy in the Capitol, and the one calling all the shots when it comes to quelling rebel uprisings and dictating how things should be run in the districts.
Rue: A small, bird-like child from District 11 that reminds Katniss of Prim.
Quality of Writing:
I found these books easy to read and quick as well. I've heard people complain that there were misplaced commas, but honestly, I remember at one point specifically noting how well placed the commas were.
Cliffhanger of doooooom. If you liked the first book, you'll be so thankful you're reading the series now that it's all out... because honestly, if I had to wait... I might go insane.
Katniss is living in an evil society where every year 24 children are forced to play The Hunger Games until only one is left living.
Truthfully, the plot of the first book seems to have taken heavy notes from a little Japanese thriller called Battle Royale by Koushun Takami. They are the same exact premise... as punishment for bad behavior, and to keep the peasants in-line, the ruling government forces kids to play in a game where they must battle to the death... leaving one victor who then becomes a national hero... and in both books, the main character, of course, is looking desperately for a way out of it, and a way to save someone they love at the same time. The plots really are eerily similar... and while I prefer Koushun Takami's method of announcing the dead in chapter titles, I prefer Collins' extension of this story, where there is the promise of further battle against the powers that be.
Now, I've read quite a few reviews where people have found this plot unbelievable... but, you know what, this doesn't bother me. It's not a book about how the people allowed such a game to begin, it's a book where the game already exists. I found everything that happened within the context of the game to be entirely believable.
And just so no one is confused, this IS a book about children killing children... in the most basic of terms. Beyond that, it's a very interesting, deep, questioning series that makes you really sit back and wonder about the level of betrayal and manipulation and calculation that must be going on around us all the time. It's a book that makes you question and then keeps you questioning.
Believability of World:
I find this world believable. There have been many terrible things that have happened through history... instances where people where sheparded to death, knew it, and did nothing. It's not unbelievable that Katniss' world could exist.
Overall Grade: A