Wednesday, January 6, 2010

GuestReview | The Hunger Games

I want to introduce a good friend of mine who is actually the main reason for my addiction to reading. In our sophomore year of undergrad., my roommate and one of my best friends, Matt Pettit, had stacks of books all over his room. This piqued my interest and he gave me a few books to read, which happened to be Melanie Rawn's awesome Dragon Prince series.

Since then, Matt's never lead me astray, having recommended such great authors as Kurt Vonnegut, George R. R. Martin, John Marco, and the list goes on. In other words, you're in good hands with any recommendation he makes.

Without further ado, here's Matt's review of The Hunger Games.

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I've been hearing about Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins for some time as it has slowly built a buzz based on it's strong young adult fanbase. My Mom and my younger brother had both read it and loved it and have been nagging me to read it but I had other things on my plate at the time. At Christmas they made that final and all important recommendation of just buying the book for me. I read it in a day. The setting for the story is a post-apocalyptic North America and civilization is currently under the iron fist of the 'Capitol', a strong central government which is located somewhere in the Rockies. It is written in the mold of a classic dystopian novel with the struggle of the protagonist giving us a microcosm of the larger struggle against the establishment. The protagonist, Katniss Everdeen, is a teenage girl who has raised her family after the death of her father. She is forced to participate in the Hunger Games, a yearly event in which one male and one female representative from each of the 12 Districts under the Capitol's control are forced to fight to the death. What follows is a violent depiction of her struggle to survive; both physically in the arena, and mentally in the larger sphere of humanity. As Katniss fights against the Capitols yearly reminder of its control over the populace, she finds herself unintentionally becoming a symbol of resistance outside of the arena.


Hunger Games is very simply written. To add a little perspective, Twilight author Stephanie Meyer wrote one of the recommendations on the back jacket. As far as writing level goes Hunger Games does hover above Twilight, but not by much. However, it is void of some of the more mindless melodrama that Meyer's books are so riddled with; and the short, almost flat sentence structure that Collins' adopts in the Hunger Games lends itself well to the harsh and brutal story. It is done without the artistry and poetry of Cormac McCarthy but does achieve a similar effect in increasing the emotional impact by showing more than telling. Hunger Games has some flashes of real creativity, especially when Collins takes us to the Capitol and seems to have a blast showing us the decadence of the ruling class and the contrasting their unique interests and pursuits with the day to day drudgery we see in District 12 earlier. In the end though, Hunger Games is more of a page turner than a thought provoker. While you can't stop reading because you have to know how Katniss escapes whatever new crisis comes her way, when the book is done there's nothing to reflect upon but a trail of corpses.

Who should read this?
This is a great book to read if you're in a long series and needing something to hold you over until the next release or are in the airport waiting for your flight. It's an fast-paced, enjoyable adventure and doesn't need any time investment from the reader. Lion's Gate has already acquired the rights to the movie and production is set to begin next year. Since the book is basically a screenplay, if you don't have time for the book you can always catch the movie.

3/5 stars
4/5 stars for the cover art

CymLowell

2 comments:

  1. I was talked into reading this series by a fellow book friend. I really enjoyed it. I was surprised because I really was not looking forward to what the book was about - people forced to kill each other let alone children being made to do it. But I was pleasantly surprised and enjoyed it.

    Nice to see you having a very good friend guest blog. Cool!

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  2. I thought it made perfect sense since I'm always taking his recommendations. I really need to get to this. :)

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