The Hunger Games, written by Suzanne Collins, is a dystopian young adult novel published on 2008. The protagonist of the story, also the heroine, is the sixteen year old Katniss Everdeen. She comes from District 12, where coal is produced, and most people live in the state of poverty. Every year, two tributes are reaped from each district to compete in a sickening ‘celebration’, the Hunger Games. The Hunger Games has only one rule: to kill, or be killed. When Katniss’ sister was chosen as a tribute, Katniss bravely volunteers in replacement of her sister. Along with Peeta Mellark, Katniss is to represent District 12 in the 74th Hunger Games.
Personally I think that The Hunger Games is a great read. It is definitely a page turner that keeps you on the edge of your seat. It has a dramatic plot, which is fairly believable. The world Collins have built is somehow similar to the world we live in. Despite the fact that the Capitol and the districts are both located in Panem, the people live very different lives. This is very relatable to our world, according to statistics, more than 80% of the world’s population lives in countries where income differentials are widening, which is very identical to the situation in Panem.
In addition, less than 1% of what the world spent every year on weapons was needed to put every child into school before 2000 and yet it didn’t happen. Instead of hosting the Hunger Games, if the Capitol uses the resources to aid the districts, poverty may be diminished. However, none of the above was done. Some interesting details, such as the Capitol’s outrageous fashion trends helps readers develop a better picture of the futuristic setting. On the other hand, I found it quite impossible for the people of Panem to only rebel after 74 years of the event.
Perhaps Collins was trying to emphasize how powerful and fearsome the Capitol is, but I find it extremely odd that not a previous tribute has questioned the game, or that not a parent has attempted to stop this terrible game. The main character, Katniss, doesn’t really earn my favor. No doubt, she is a useful, determined, brave heroine. I did not find this character relatable in any way, she seems void of feeling throughout most parts of the book. She jumps to one emotion to another too quickly, as if it didn’t really matter.
Although it may be interpreted that Katniss deals with her emotions maturely, I find it quite unconvincing. The supporting characters are much more like-able. Peeta, for instance, charmed readers with his kindness and lover-boy-trait. It is a brilliant idea, setting Peeta as Katniss’ lifesaver when they were younger. It creates the whole ‘fated to be’ thing, leading to all that ‘star crossed lovers’ talk. Characters like Haymitch, Effie, and Cinna has also added life to the book, as we get to learn more of the situation from these characters.
In addition, I disagree, as most people say: The Hunger Games is brutal. In our society today, youths are easily exposed to violence in many occasions, films, graphic novels, video games, et cetra. I don’t think that The Hunger Games is brutal enough to create an impact for young adults these days. Battle Royale, by Koushun Takami, is another dystopian novel that people often compare The Hunger Games to. Regarding the violent-shock factor, I personally think that The Hunger Games did not really achieve what people have exaggerated.