Hunger Games Take Nation by Storm

Hunger Games Take Nation by Storm

There is an epidemic sweeping the nation. The affliction: an addiction to the Hunger Games, a trilogy of post-apocalyptic books written by Suzanne Collins. Symptoms of Hunger Games-itis include an inability to put the books down and an inclination to discuss them with anyone within five feet.

The first novel in the series is appropriately titled “The Hunger Games”. It introduces readers to Katniss Everdeen, a teenaged girl living in District 12 of Panem, an autocratic successor to the United States. Years ago, the Districts of Panem turned against its Capitol, which harshly retaliated. As a result, every year the Capitol demands that two children from each of the twelve districts act as tributes in an exercise called the Hunger Games. Those 24 tributes are forced to fight each other to the death, until only one is left standing.

Katniss Everdeen, unfortunately for her, becomes a tribute. She and Peeta Mellark, the male tribute from her district, travel to the Capitol and prepare to battle it out. Along the way, they meet their fellow tributes, forge alliances, make enemies, and are catapulted into the stadium where they could very well die.

Collins’ novel is constantly fast paced and exciting – the textbook definition of a page turner. The dystopian Panem is very engaging to dive into. What if the United States of the future is a place where the government sponsors the slaughter of teenagers? Where every word uttered is subject to punishment from the powers that be?

The protagonist, Katniss, is a compelling character, but often lacks in depth. Her constant toying with her two love interests, Peeta and Gale Hawthorne, Katniss’ childhood friend, starts to wear on the reader.  After a point, one hopes that she will pick one and move on to something more interesting.

The first book is better than the second at providing emotional moments in the stadium. But during the second book, Catching Fire, and the third, Mockingjay, the emotional attachment starts to wane. The story is still about survival, but Collins focuses too much on Katniss’ internal monologue and romantic drama. Those things are hardly of importance considering larger events of the novels.

Now is the prime time to start reading the first book in the series, as the film adaptation is premiering on March 23. It stars Jennifer Lawrence, who played Mystique in X-Men: First Class, as Katniss, Josh Hutchison, of Bridge to Terabithia fame as Peeta, and Woody Harrelson, from Zombieland, as Haymitch Abernathy. Haymitch, a severe alcoholic and former Hunger Games winner, trains Peeta and Katniss.

Look for the Hunger Games on a big screen near you!