A spoiler-free review.
The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins is one of the best YA novels I have read in a long time. It is thrilling, suspenseful, fascinating, well-written, and the first part in a trilogy.
The story of Katniss Everdeen is set in District 12 of Panem, formerly North America, in a post-apocalyptic world where the government, called the Capitol, controls its surrounding districts by selecting two teenagers between the ages of 12 and 16 from each of the twelve districts to participate in an annual event called the Hunger Games. These teenagers must fight their way through a Survivor-esque game, which is shown on television to all of Panem. Instead of getting voted off at Tribal Council, though, the last player left alive in the arena, a constructed space in the vast wilderness, is the winner.
There were many things I loved about the first two books in the trilogy. They are incredibly addictive. I read The Hunger Games in one evening, Catching Fire this morning, and the third book, Mockingjay, will be released in late August, otherwise I would have devoured that by now.
The second book is just as good as the first, and just as exciting. The writing is engaging because it is very intelligent but still accessible to readers of many levels. For reluctant readers, the story is well-paced and interesting enough to capture your attention. For adults who say they don’t read children’s or YA literature, this is a series that adults would really enjoy. There is a lot of darkness to it – Katniss faces many choices that challenge her morals. The politics of the Capitol and around Panem are important to the story. Collins’ portrayal of a post-apocalyptic North America is very interesting. We get to know several characters throughout the course of the story, and most of them are well-rounded and realistic. Katniss is a strong female character who’s been through some tough times, but she’s also very vulnerable in many ways.
I could go on and on, but really you should just do yourself a favour and pick up a copy. I got Corey to read it on our trip to Quebec, and we talked about it non-stop as soon as he finished.