This wasn’t a book I had any intention of ever reading, but I forgot to pack a book for my fiancee (now husband) to read on the plane so at the airport we ended up buying it. The book is written in first person, which I don’t like, but despite that, I was able to get into it surprisingly fast. It’s an enjoyable and easy read.

HUNGER-GAMES-jacket

The story starts out in District 12, where Katniss and her friend Gale illegally hunt to keep their families from starving. This first part introduces the lottery for the hunger games and sets up the rest of the book. It’s interesting, and the little bits of information you get about the games keeps you going. This first part leading up to the games, up until they actually start, is my favourite part. The tension is high, and the world is sketched in broad strokes. The descriptions are brief, but colourful.

Once the game starts, it gets less interesting, mainly because Katniss spends most of her time hungry and looking for food while the other competitors fight away from the reader. The tension with Peeta, not knowing if he’s an enemy or how to deal with the reality of the situation, remain the best parts.

As Katniss does relatively little fighting, she has few morally difficult decisions to make during the games. I felt this was somewhat of a missed opportunity. She reminds me a bit of the unnamed woman in ‘The City, Not Long After’, but that book explores the dehumaniziation of the enemy in much more depth than this one. I don’t usually compare books in this way, but I read these two right after each other and was struck by some of the similarities in the two characters and some of the themes which are only really briefly touched on in ‘The Hunger Games’.

The fact that you only see what Katniss is doing is probably the biggest weakness of the book. You miss a lot of action and few characters fleshed out. Further, important game-changing events are announced during the game, but the reader sees none of the build-up to these events.

Overall, it was a quick, enjoyable read. It makes the premise feel fresh and new, particularly through its focus on the entertainment aspect of the games. As a side note, my husband enjoyed it a lot more than I did and was really keen to read the sequels (he’s almost finished book 2).

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