Wednesday, 8 February 2012

61/111 - The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins

I've been bad and bought some more books.

I was at the cinema the other day and saw a trailer for the film adaptation of The Hunger Games, and thought it looked pretty interesting so I decided to take a little break from Thursday Next and read these with relative speed and ease. I've been vaguely aware of the series for a while now since working in Waterstone's, but I've never been a big fan of teen fiction as it's usually quite simplistic and corny. This definitely had some simplistic and corny parts to it, but overall was a pretty decent and suspenseful yarn.

Katniss is the main character of the novel, and she inhabits a dystopian future where there are only 12 remaining districts in the US with people still alive in them. Katniss is a lone wolf of sorts and spends most of her days hunting and trying to avoid starvation for her and her family.

As a punishment for the rebellion of the twelve districts, each year a girl and boy child are selected to play in the Hunger Games - a Battle Royale-type survival game where they must kill each other and the last remaining survivor is the winner. Katniss' little sister's name is selected, so Katniss puts herself forward in her place. The boy selected from her district, Peeta, has admired Katniss from afar for some time, but the hard-headed Katniss won't let herself see that, or feel anything. Together they must go to an arena to fight the other 22 teenagers from the remaining 11 districts and see if they can win the right to live, but obviously along the way they start to develop feelings for one another, which complicates things...

I generally quite liked this, and it was certainly a gripping read as I finished it in the space of two days, however it reminded me a little of Delirium in its simplicity and the way the story was told from the first person of a troubled teenage girl. I think if it hadn't had the element of being set in a post-apocalyptic world, I wouldn't really have enjoyed it.

I also have a problem with the slightly clumsy way books of this type deal with sex and relationships. There is lots of 'kissing', but we all know that teenagers are horny beasts and that there would have definitely been something more going on there. I dislike the way these books make the main characters seem so pure and devoid of any kind of desires, because I think this is a disservice to their human natures. Obviously for a book for teenagers you don't want it filled with Mills & Boon-type stuff, but at least be honest. It's annoying to read about a breathtakingly beautiful/smart/talented female character who is portrayed as having no idea of her unique abilities. Beautiful AND humble? Wow, what a great person!

Next: Catching Fire by Suzanne Collins.

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