On Friday the 13th I purchased a Kindle Fire for two reasons. The first was that I began enjoying the reading experience with the Kindle App on my iPhone and I wanted something bigger. The second reason was, I wanted a tablet, but I wasn’t quite prepared to go all out on an iPad. Don’t you just love it when consumers have choices. Regardless of the argument of which is better, I’m satisfied with my purchase and finished the first book I reviewed on my Kindle Fire; Elise Stokes’ debut novel, “Cassidy Jones and the Secret Formula.” I posted the review on the 15th and swore I’d spend the 16th (a day off because MLK did some great things), cleaning up and doing laundry. But I didn’t. When you purchase the Kindle Fire, you get a free month of Prime membership which allows you to watch movies and TVs shows and borrow a book every month for free with no due date. So if you’re paying the slightest bit of attention to the world, you know The Hunger Games trilogy by Suzanne Collins has gained some steam and has been made into a motion picture which hits theaters March 23, 2012. And since my mentee DeQuan Foster recommended the series to me back in September. Since it was free, I figured I’d give it a try.
The Hunger Games follows Katniss Everdeen, a teenage girl living in filthy District 12 of Panem, a new country that stands in the ruins of North America. While living in some future after our now, Katniss lives a life more akin to medieval times. Every day she has to hunt with bow and arrow for her food to feed her sister Primrose and her mother. A mother who has been quite distraught since the loss of Katniss’ father to the coal mines some years ago. While she has her best friend Gale to go at it with, life is no easy task, but the forbidden woods become her sanity. And while Panem’s war is over, the rulers in the Capitol put their already ailing citizens into a holiday war every year that reminds them of their place on the totem pole. The Hunger Games.
At the reaping names are drawn, a boy and a girl, 12 to 18 years old from each of the 12 districts, 24 competitors. You win, when everyone else is dead. Twenty slips with Katniss Everdeen’s name was in the drawing, but her sister Primrose, with just one slip, out of thousands, was drawn. But Katniss, unlike any other in all the Districts, except the Careers, exercising an old rule and volunteers in her sister’s place. And when she is on stage her counterpart, Peeta Mellark is drawn. A boy who she has a strange past with.
The two of them are ushered off to the Capitol, dolled up for the cameras, matched as lovers, and thrust into interviews. Katniss and Peeta get the star treatment of their lives, right up until it’s time to set foot in the arena. Once there at the Cornucopia, 22 other people are trying to kill them from the start. Katniss is relatively at home in the arena, made to resemble a forest. But there are man made contraptions of harm concocted by the Gamemakers that force the competitors into deadly confrontation. As time passes in the arena, Katniss longs for home and a way to strike back at the Capitol.
Suzanne Collins does a superb job in constructing her characters. When you read it you can feel that the people of Panem have real issues. Not of just their own daily struggle, but of the class war that is going on, and the feeling of no escape. Everyone knows something is wrong, but no one has the wits to stand up to the dictators. Collins shows what effect war and violence have on children here, but it goes further. This book delves into the importance of survival, the fine line between love and hate, selfishness and selflessness. Major choices have to be made by young people that could have grave consequences for more than themselves. It’s a weight that Katniss has to shoulder for herself and her family. Maybe even for all of District 12.
This is an action packed thrill ride that I’m sure you’ll enjoy. The first chapter had quite a bit of information to weed through, but it’s totally essential. It’ll all come together by chapter two. So I give a whopping two thumps up for The Hunger Games. But the story doesn’t end here. It continues in Catching Fire. Stayed tuned for my next review. I’m going to follow the trilogy to the end.
Thanks for reading and check out my debut novel, “The Virgin Surgeon,” in paperback or ebook.