Reviewing: The Hunger Games Trilogy, by Suzanne Collins

February 1, 2011 stephhwilliams 0 Comments

I’ve been putting off writing this review for a good two weeks now because, honestly, I’m afraid I won’t be able to do the series justice.  And I certainly may not be able to do so without a few spoilers, so consider yourself warned.  But since I’ve now read another trilogy in the meantime and need to get them both on paper and out of my head before I start confusing plots (and because I’ve vowed not to let myself read anything new until I’ve completed these reviews), here goes nothing.

The Hunger Games TrilogyThe Hunger Games (Book 1), Catching Fire (Book 2) and Mockingjay (Book 3) – by Suzanne Collins are masterpieces in what I suppose is considered the young adult genre.  I came to read these books on the recommendation of my friend Morgan with whom I have a track record of similarities in reading tastes.  We both love to read and get a little too animated discussing our latest adventures between book pages … which is saying a lot for Morgan since she doesn’t get animated about much of anything.

Anyway, the series tells the story of a teenage girl, Katniss Everdeen, who after her father’s death in the coal mines, becomes the provider, by illegally hunting outside the designated boundaries of her District, for her young sister and near catatonic mother.  As if that weren’t enough though, the setting is one of an almost post-apocalyptic world (or, at least, post-nuclear United States), a dystopian country called Panem, divided into Districts, each with its own main purpose for the benefit of the Capital.

The Hunger Games themselves are a yearly event in which two children from each district (a boy and a girl, as young as 12) are selected to fight to the death in an environment called the arena for the entertainment of the Capital … and to remind the Districts of their true place in this world.  As one might expect, Katniss is comes to compete in The Hunger Games, though by her choice in place of her sister, and along with her District male counterpart, Peeta, become the first co-champions of The Hunger Games, having defeated (i.e., to the death) all other competitors in the arena.

And as if surviving one Hunger Games isn’t enough to write home about, Katniss and Peeta are thrown into a champion’s battle of sorts, which turns out to be none other than the Capital’s second shot as silencing them for good.  Why, you ask?  Because how Katniss and Peeta came to be co-champions in their first Hunger Games is but the spark to a fire that fuels a District-led coup to overthrow the Capital.  And Katniss, the unassuming hunting girl from District 12, becomes the Mockingjay, the symbol of the revolution, the driving force behind the rebellion.

In this series you see the many facets of Katniss and can’t help but imagining her as a real person.  Her character is so multi-dimensional that she screams of an authentic humanity.  She is not all cold and unfeeling; she is not completely pure and good; she is not always calculative and manipulative; she is not always looking out only for herself or, contrarily, only for others.  She is all those things, at varying times in the series, not necessarily consecutively or concurrently but globally.  She’s a human girl who wants nothing more to live in a world where children don’t fight to their deaths for the entertainment of the bureacracy … and she’s willing to die for it.

Read The Hunger Games Trilogy.  You’ll laugh.  You’ll cry.  You’ll punch your fist into the air with a poignant “yes” at least once (I did, in Book 2; you’ll know the part when you get there).  What I doubt you’ll ever do is want to put it down.  And when you’ve finished all three, if you’re anything like me, you’ll mourn that Katniss is gone … that is, at least on paper, ’cause there’s rumors that the series is coming to the big screen. I, for one, can’t wait.

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