Monday, March 28, 2011
The Hunger Games: Impressions
While reading the novel, I loved every minute of it. Katniss, the 16-year-old, reluctantly rebellious and strong young tomboy made a lovely heroine, and the dystopian world in which she lived proved an intriguing backdrop, in a 1984 meets Blindness meets Ender's Game kind of way. The setting is this: in some terrible future after a nuclear war has impliedly occurred, there are 12 Districts, the 13th having been destroyed in a rebellion against the Capitol, which seems to be located somewhere like Las Vegas or Salt Lake City. Every year, the Capitol hosts the Hunger Games, in which each of the 12 remaining districts must draw the name of one boy and one girl ages 12-18 to participate as "Tributes." The Tributes, after some crazy high tech fanfare, are then dropped in some vast outdoor 'arena' where they must survive whatever the Gamemakers through at them, and fight to the death until only one is left, deemed the victor.
So, yes, a bit bleak and bloody for my tastes, which is why it took me so long to finally pick this book up, especially with all the hype (why does hype always tend to be a dissuasive factor in my choices?). But this is one of those books that draws you right in, nearly hypnotizing you to the last pages.
Now, it is a young adult novel, so the themes are not terribly subtle. Moreover, Katniss is a little more clueless about certain things than I think she should be, but perhaps that's true of most teenagers. I found some of what occurred in the Games rather convenient to allow the plot to avoid dealing with larger, baser human issues, and that the strong female lead behaved more like a traditional boy than girl, but I did like that she was small but strong, good with a bow and arrow, clever and occasionally compassionate.
Minor, minor issues. I highly recommend this book, no matter what your age (well, as long as you're over 12 I suppose) and would probably rate it a 4.5/5, if only Goodreads would allow more range in it's ratings. Off to read Catching Fire. (Yeah. It's addictive. Be prepared.)