The Hunger Games

April 7, 2009
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Book Review: The Hunger Games

Hot off the press is a new adventuresome novel, which takes a familiar plot and puts a futuristic spin on it. The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins takes readers on a wild ride in a test of strength and personal will. She effectively uses foreshadowing along with allusion to embellish her characterization, setting, and overall plot.

Primrose. Flavious. Octavia. Haymitch. Venia. Claudius Templesmith. These are just a few of the colorful characters wonderfully brought to life by Collins, from the drunken advisor Haymitch to the peppy, pompous, Effie Trinket to the innocent Prim and Rue. A recurring theme is the allusion to plant names for characters making for some interesting pronunciations. Ms. Collins develops each character with a persona of his or her own, often quite different from the reader may expect. With these factions in place, characterization is one of the best qualities of this novel.

Making this book different from others of the “battle royal” plot is the truly unique setting. In the first chapters, the set is in a coal mining town causing the reader to hypothesize that the year is somewhere between the late 1800's to early 1900's. However, it becomes apparent later that the setting is clearly in future as the trains travel at 250 mph, the capitol has effectively managed magnetic force fields, and have developed bionic replacement limbs. The land mass references indicate that the country used to be the United Sates. The story infers that a sort of nuclear holocaust happened where that main Capitol (located in Denver) conquered the uprising of the twelve surrounding districts. To remind the districts of the Capitol's power, each district annually draws one teenage boys and one teenage girl to participate in the “Hunger Games.” This gruesome competition pits the “tributes” against each other in a “controlled” wilderness until only one is left standing.

Along with those strengths the story contains a few woeful shortcomings. The main theme in this book is survival. Katniss has to put personal pride aside to try to save herself and her counterpart in the game. This trivial message should evolve further as the series continues. Hopefully, Ms. Collins style will also develop equally, as her wording has little variance and an air of elementary structure at times.

As the final pages loom, there is a feeling that the story is not yet complete. If on cue, the author has a note for her readers: “END OF BOOK ONE.” This foreshadowing is just one of the reasons that makes this series worth checking out for the adventuresome reader who does not mind moderate violence.

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This article has 2 comments. Post your own now!

miss_mt_dew said...
May 1, 2010 at 8:18 am

The Hunger Games is one of my favorites too, Catching Fire was great.  Awesome review! 

P.s. You have good taste in books!

Jaqueline C. This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. said...
Apr. 9, 2009 at 9:27 pm
I love that book. One of my favorites. I can't wait till "Catching Fire". Great review!
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