Book Shelf: The Hunger Games

Book Shelf is my quick look at the recent books I’ve finished and well, I finished another one.

The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins

I try to keep up on what is popular but sometimes, being the old geezer that I am, stuff passes me by. Stuff like The Hunger Games, which I had no idea even existed until I saw the movie trailer for it a month or two ago. The film trailer painted a picture of a dystopian society where people are drafted via lottery to battle to the death in an arena, this seemed directly up my alley. Tales of this kind have always fascinated me and brought vivid memories of The Lottery by Shirley Jackson, The Long Walk by Richard Bachman (Stephen King), and the classic Japanese film Battle Royale (based on a book of the same name). Understanding the severity of the event though, I found it strange that this was considered a young adult novel, but then again that might be my old age talking.

I have never been much of a fan of first person storytelling but in this novel I found it to be very engaging. The perspective keeps tension high, and the twists that come upon Katniss, the main character, come across as truly surprising.The only problem I ran into was the ending, with the first person storytelling and knowledge of the two sequels, I never felt much dramatic tension as the ending neared. That however is my own problem, although I do urge you to not read the descriptions of the two sequels if you plan on reading this book at any point.

Possibly its biggest strength though is the ability of the book to be able to convey a strong sense of emotion. Collins does a great job of transferring the conflicting emotions of anger, desperation, relief, love and loss that Katniss experiences onto the reader.

I do however wonder how the remainder of the series will turn out. Nearly the entire novel is devoted to focusing on the actual fight for survival over, what is left for Katniss? Sure there is a larger world out there to be explored but can Collins make it entertaining? We’ll see. However, quality of the sequels aside, The Hunger Games is well worth a read.

5* out of 5

*I’ve heard that Collins has been accused of basically ripping off the Japanese novel Battle Royale, which I mentioned earlier. Having not read that novel, I don’t know how similar in style the two are, but based on my knowledge of the film, The Hunger Games is a more fleshed out version of the concept, which in itself is not entirely new.

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