- Thrills & Suspense
Life in the districts is hard. The people who live and work on The Seam in District 12 know what hunger feels like. They scrimp and scrounge, hunt and trade in order to put food on the table each evening, and when they can’t, well then there will be no meal that day. They are born hungry, they grow up hardened to life on The Seam, and if they don’t die from hunger they might make it to adulthood and bring forth another generation to hunger for what they simply don’t have. Welcome to America. Only this is an America after war, and America unlike anything we know. The residents of the Districts work and toil to keep the people in The Capitol well dressed and well fed. Each of the twelve Districts is an isolated little nation all of its own. There is no communication between the Districts and the Capitol makes a great effort to keep all of it’s workers well away, except of course when it is time for the annual games, The Hunger Games.
The story takes us from the Harvesting, a time when the contestants for The Hunger Games are selected. No one volunteers to take part, as to participate is to face certain death. Names are pulled at random from all of the children aged twelve and above in the district. Except this year there is a volunteer in District 12, Katniss Everdeen. She volunteers to save her twelve year old little sister Prim from being torn apart in the arena. District 12 is the district furthest away from the Capitol, it is the poorest, the harshest and is the district least likely to produce a winner at the games. Yet Katniss and her fellow tribute Peeta take their roles and prepare to die for the viewing pleasure of the Capitol. The Hunger Games takes us on a journey to the Capitol, we see how the people there live to excess, viewing the tributes that are sent from each district as nothing more than animals, sent to face each other in the arena for their viewing pleasure. Back in the districts the residents are required to watch their children die. We follow the story through the whole of The Hunger Games until the victor is declared. Death is everywhere, sometimes it comes as a relief, but more often than not it is brutal and hard.
The characters are very well written, much better than I was expecting them to be to be honest. This is a book aimed at the young adult market, yet it is written in such a way as to draw a fully fledged adult into the story. You feel for the characters, you empathise with them, and you find yourself willing Katniss to do well. Each of the main characters has a compelling back story, so that you can see them as people rather than just words on a page, you cheer for them and you cry for them. I am not afraid to say that when I got to the end of the book I was left wondering what was next.
From young adult upwards this is a surprisingly good read. I’ll admit that it is a little predictable but that in itself is not enough to make you put the book down. I enjoyed it. The Hunger Games is at times brutal but is also gentle and romantic, if you can imagine a romance blossoming in the most brutal of environments that is. I would recommend it is an easy yet absorbing read.