Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Hunger Games

My colorist and I share a love of YA fiction. I slipped her a copy of Lonely Werewolf Girl, and she tipped me off about The Hunger Games (and that the follow-up to LWG is finally out!). Naturally, I picked up The Hunger Games immediately.

It. Was. Awesome. and I could barely put it down for the two days that it took to read it. It takes place in the dystopian future, where the former America is split into 12 districts and ruled by a central Capital (really central, like, former-Denver). Each year, "the Hunger Games" are held, in which one boy and one girl from each district have to Fight To The Death while the whole thing is televised. The district of the winner gets a fair amount of food while the other districts starve.

The book naturally has a lot of predecessors, most notably Shirley Jackson's 1948 alarming short story The Lottery, which you really must read if you haven't already, and the 1999 Battle Royale by Koushun Takami, which I have not read (but have one friend who said it's her favorite book of all time).

Anywho, as you might imagine, the young female protagonist, Katniss, becomes a contestant in the Hunger Games and struggles to survive and still hold true to her idea of herself (ie not "a murderer".) Interestingly, Katniss is a hunter, and every once in a while examines her own easy attitude toward killing and eating animals as relates to her predicament of needing to kill humans.

Another theme I liked very much about the book is how Katniss and her fellow district contestant accept or give gifts. Katniss keeps a running tally of goods and ills done her - she sees every "gift" she receives as something to be repaid. Her more generous companion does not keep score.

There are three books in the series and I intend to pick up the second one very soon! Anyone else reading these great books? Like any good fiction, I think it really defies labels, particularly that of "YA."

2 comments:

Becky K said...

I loved Hunger Games. It was the best one in the series (in my opinion). You should read Catching Fire and Mockingjay. I posted a little of what I thought on Mockingjay recently...but don't read it if you don't want to be spoiled. And you don't want to be spoiled. But seriously, stop by after you are done with the series and let me know what you think. I finished Mockingjay a last week and am still deliberating it.

Special K said...

OK, I haven't started them yet but I'm totes going to (then I'll read your review!) Thanks!