Series: The Hunger Games, #1
Author: Suzanne Collins
Pages: 388 (Kindle edition)
Publisher: Scholastic Press
Release Date: September 1, 2009
In the ruins of a place once known as North America lies the nation of Panem, a shining Capitol surrounded by twelve outlying districts. The Capitol is harsh and cruel and keeps the districts in line by forcing them all to send one boy and one girl between the ages of twelve and eighteen to participate in the annual Hunger Games, a fight to the death on live TV.
Sixteen-year-old Katniss Everdeen, who lives alone with her mother and younger sister, regards it as a death sentence when she steps forward to take her sister's place in the Games. But Katniss has been close to dead before—and survival, for her, is second nature. Without really meaning to, she becomes a contender. But if she is to win, she will have to start making choices that will weigh survival against humanity and life against love.
There's a lot of hype surrounding this series, and I kept putting off reading it, but I couldn't avoid it anymore. I'm so glad that I finally read it! The Hunger Games has one of the best first chapters that I've read. We get a peek into everyday life in District 12 of Panem, and we get quite a bit of information about the state of this nation without being bombarded with facts. Katniss is a wonderfully, real feeling character. She's a great narrator, and I feel like we get to know her inside and out. She's strong, brave, caring (especially of her little sister), smart, feisty, and stubborn. I couldn't help but root for her from the very beginning.
The writing is very easy to get into, since it flows well and moves at a nice pace. The first third is a little slow, but not dragging. It gives us a very clear picture of exactly what is happening to Katniss, almost like we're there with her. Then when we enter the arena, and the games get started, wow! The attention to detail is spectacular, like we're watching the games on TV with the rest of the nation. I was on the edge of my seat (figuratively, since I was mostly laying down) the entire time. I felt myself becoming nervous for Katniss whenever things seemed to calm, expecting someone to jump out and stab her.
I seriously could not put this down for the last third. I had no idea how this book could possibly end well with all of the twists and turns of the games and the events immediately following. There's no real closure at the end, and I have no clue what to expect from book two!