There are lots of places where you can read reviews of the latest books. I on the other hand like to review things when I have a reason to, like having a spare copy to give away and an immanent movie release.
So, while it’s not a new release, this week I’m reviewing The Hunger Games, by Suzanne Collins and giving everyone a chance to win a brand new copy.
In part 2 I’ll be following up this review with a look at character morality as this is a great book to illustrate the challenge. I’ll also be announcing the winner of the give away.
Don’t forget to leave a comment for a chance to win a copy of the book!
In a dark vision of the near future, twelve boys and twelve girls are forced to appear in a live TV show called the Hunger Games. There is only one rule: kill or be killed.
When sixteen-year-old Katniss Everdeen steps forward to take her sister’s place in the games, she sees it as a death sentence. But, Katniss has been close to death before. For her, survival is second nature.
Collins vision of the future is one of totalitarian control, where one powerful city state, The Capitiol, exerts complete control over twelve subjugated districts.
Katniss has grown up in one of the harshest of the districts, District 12, where the principle occupation is coal mining. Deprived of her father by a mining accident, Katniss has had to fend for herself and her family since she was barely out of childhood.
The tough conditions have given Katniss unflinching determination, courage and a serious cynical streak. Not to mention survival and hunting skills from years of illegal poaching in the forest surrounding her home.
She’s not a ruthless killer but she’s not going to go down without a fight. Thrown into the arena of the Hunger Games she has the skills and the will to survive, but, it’s not just about the other competitors. Every move is watched and really, they are all just pawns in one big political game.
Suzanne Collins does an excellent job of making the unthinkable, believable. But the background politics simply forms a very vivid stage for a strongly character driven story. The effect is one where you feel Katniss is swept along by events beyond her control and can simply hang on and fend off the rocks as best she can. It gives the story an air of desperation without stifling hope; a combination which makes it impossible to put down.
A Phenomenon in the Making?
The Hunger Games has already become a massive success but there’s bestseller success and then there’s the “every other tweenage girl is wearing this on a t-shirt” kind of success.
The prime example of the latter is the Twilight series of books by Stephanie Meyer, and the resulting movies. For a while it wasn’t possible to walk into a branch of HMV, WHSmiths or Clinton’s cards without slamming into a two tone wall; one half warm, earthy Jacob and the other cool, mysterious Edward.
My personal feelings about the Twilight saga (*cough* over rated *cough*) aside, the phenomenal success they have enjoyed is undeniable.
But, until the first, relatively small budget move, with it’s heretofore unknown cast snuck onto the big screen, Twilight was just another “bestseller” in the YA fiction category.
The Hunger Games could be positioned perfectly to usurp the Twilight throne in the coming weeks as the movie turns new readers on to the books. Personally, I feel it would be the superior monarch. The book deals with far more worthy themes, and the heroin, Katniss, is far less one dimensional and, (oh I’m just going to say it) wet.
Only time will tell of course, but in my opinion, if you haven’t read The Hunger Games yet, now is your last chance to do so and still be able to say “I was a fan before it got stupidly big.”
The Hunger Games movie is released Friday 23rd March (UK).
Want to get your hands on a free copy of The Hunger Games? To enter into my prize draw, just leave a comment with either an email address or Twitter ID (so I can notify you if you win).
Closing date Thursday 15th March.
Image credit – “Present box with red bow” by Master isolated images