Monday, September 26, 2011

The Hunger Games series, by Suzanne Collins

When I told my husband about the book series I had just finished I had to describe it 3 times before he believed me that I actually read and loved the series. If you knew me you would be surprised that these books moved to the top of my All Time Favorite Books list because I'm not usually into anything futuristic or interested in any story that could be considered close to science fiction. I don't know why, I just am and that's honestly what kept me away from The Hunger Games series (by Suzanne Collins) for so long. It wasn't until I saw a Facebook status for a friend whose husband is a lawyer and it said something about how he couldn't put the books down and loved them despite having never been a teenage girl himself. I figured if Mr. Macho Lawyer who only read law/crime stories liked them I decided to give them a try. If he gave them a shot then I should too. I tried to read them before but knowing that the story was set in the future and opening to the first page and seeing all the weird geometric symbols (think crop circles) I made a judgment that they were not for me. I'm SO glad that I went back and gave them another shot, so thanks Lawyer dude for giving them a shot first.

So, like I said, the books are set in the future but they really don't come across that way. The Hunger Games is about a nation called Panem divided into 12 districts and each of the districts sends 2 representatives to participate in The Games. They fight to the death, with only one winner being declared. Because much of the book describes how poor each of the districts are, and especially in comparison to the Capitol, it doesn't seem like its set in the future. I guess in my mind, the future doesn't include starving to death or hunting for wild animals so your family won't starve. The people who live in the Capitol do seem very futuristic though, I can't wait to see how some of that stuff translates to the movie that's coming out next year. They have hovercrafts in the Capitol and many of the people who live there have wild and outlandish outfits, makeup and plastic surgeries to make them look like oddball things like cats or tigers. Panem is meant to be located in what was formerly known as North America but I don't remember reading any reference about any landmarks remaining from the past. Kinda fun though to think of all this going on in some place that used to be New York City or some other area that is currently a very active place and full of life.

The main heroine in the story is Katniss, a teenage girl. Her father died in a mining accident (their district's main function is to provide coal to the other districts) and she lives with her mother and her younger sister Prim. She is excellent with a bow an arrow, taught by her father and uses it to provide food to her family and the family of her best friend Gale, whose father was also killed in the same mining accident that killed Katniss' father. Katniss and Gale are inseparable until it comes time for the District 11 to send 2 representatives to the Games. It's not really a spoiler to say who went to the Games, Katniss is selected as the teen girl representative and a guy she goes to school with was chosen as the teen male representative. The rest of the series focuses on the relationships between the 3 of the teens and the experiences of those who go to the Games.
I don't want to say anymore to spoil the story but I will say that the books will suck you in and you can really feel the tension of the story while reading the books, especially knowing that the Games are to be fought to the death, with only one winner. My husband is not a huge reader and can sometimes takes months to read a book but he finished the first book in one week and had completed all 3 in the series in less than a month. You KNOW if he read them that fast then they were really good. I plan on buying a few of these sets for Christmas to give to friends and family members; I want them all to love the books as much as I did!

Here are some links from Amazon to purchase the books or series.

Hunger Games is first in the trilogy

Catching Fire is second

And Mockingjay is the third book in the series

It looks like it's a little more expensive to buy the box set but sometimes I like having my books all matchy-matchy like that

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