Hunger GamesThe nation of Panem is now in ruins, and the Capitol’s only way to keep the twelve outlying districts in line is to force them all to send one boy and one girl between the ages of twelve and eighteen to the annual Hunger Games, an all out battle to the death that is broadcast live on television to the districts. Sixteen-year-old Katniss volunteers to take her younger sister’s place in order to save the younger from certain death, and is thrown into the “game” she desperately wanted to avoid.

Quite possibly the biggest book on the blogosphere this year, The Hunger Games is a fantastic, fast-paced, and compelling read that managed to keep me on the edge of my seat every time I picked it up. I can see why the novel has garnished so many positive — and sometimes gushing — reviews. I loved Katniss, even though I have no idea how to pronounce her name; I loved her spunk, her love of her family, and her attitude that seemed appropriate at every moment. Peeta, Gale, Prim, Cinna, Haymitch, and Effie all round out this wonderful, quirky, and real cast of characters.

However, as I got farther and farther into the story, I could help but draw similarities to a movie I saw sophomore year — “Battle Royale.” Yes, the premises are slightly different; “Battle Royale” is about forty Japanese school children who are suddenly forced to compete against one another to the death, while The Hunger Games are about districts who are forced to essentially sacrifice two children to the Capital in order to crush any dreams of an uprising. But both deals with police states where one can be shot for a minor infraction, both deal with children who must fight to the death on television, and both deal with two competitors who fall in love with one another. There are an alarming amount of similarities, and while I don’t want to say Collins copied the plot, I just can’t ignore them.

There are also several sentences that just made me cringe with the lack of proper syntax, and I was able to put the book down twice without second thought — once a hundred pages in to go to sleep and then again this afternoon with only fifty pages left to see a movie. Not exactly the making of a “five-star” book for me. I still think it is great read, and was a lot easier to stomach than “Battle Royale,” which is also a novel by the same name by Koushun Takami. I’m anticipating the sequel, Catching Fire, and cannot wait to see where Collins takes me next.

Others’ Thoughts:

Books Mentioned:

  • Collins, Suzanne. The Hunger Games. New York: Scholastic, 2008. Print. 374 pgs. ISBN: 9780439023481. Source: Library.
  • Takami, Koushun. Battle Royale. San Francisco, Calif.: Viz, 2003. Print. 624 pgs. ISBN: 9781569317785. Source: Library.
Book Cover © Scholastic. Retrieved: June 12, 2009.