The Hunger Games – Suzanne Collins

For my birthday this year I got a lot of things. Between all those things I got the second volume of “The Hunger Games” trilogy: Catching Fire.

Why the second volume? Well, the first one was sold out.

I don’t regret getting this present because I doubt I would’ve picked these books to read any time soon, after all my reading list is endless. I read a book and add another 10 to my to-read list.

So, I looked up for the first volume and just went with it. The result: I finished the book in one day. Yes, all I did on that day was to read, eat and go to the bathroom when needed.

Truthfully I heard about The Hunger Games from different sites and so on, you know there’s a lot of media going on because of the movie and the people that are in the movie.

I read that a lot of Harry Potter fans have become obsessed with this new trilogy. And you can’t actually blame them. The Harry Potter fans aren’t kids anymore and they need, dare I say crave something new, more mature. And The Hunger Games delivered.

I didn’t want to write about each of the books because I wanted to have a general opinion about the story as a whole.

While I was reading the first book “The Hunger Games” I had the sense I was reading a history book about old civilizations that used to punish the slaves by making them fight between each other, something similar with Romans and the fights between the gladiators while the population just cheers the ongoing slaughter.

The only difference is that the gladiators are children. Kinda makes it more gruesome doesn’t it.

The entire concept of children brutally killing each other really hits a sensible string. And while many might say this is far fetched, just one look at the state of our world and that might not be far from the truth. Humans are programmed to do whatever it takes to survive, children included.

Moving on, “The Hunger Games” is gruesome not just from the slaughter that happens between children but by the fact that the entire thing is a much “awaited” event by the people of the Capitol. The reaping is done in a ceremonial style and the kids are picked using a lottery system.

The author used normal things that happen in the real world and she gave them such a horrible use in her books. The 12 districts are basically concentration camps from where the Capitol take its supplies, the lottery system doesn’t bring any joy to its winners, a ride on the train means certain death, technology is used only for military purpose and creating monsters.

And the whole story is presented through the eyes of a 16 year girl from District 12, Katniss Everdeen. A girl that worked most of her youth to keep her mother and sister alive after the main provider of the family, her father was killed in a mine explosion.

While she does her best to keep herself and her family alive, she finds herself forced to volunteer for the Hunger Games when her little sister is chosen as one of the tributes. With this, the first book revolves on how Katniss struggles to survive in the arena. She learns that Peeta Mellark, her fellow tribute from District 12 is willing to give her life for her, while trying to explain that Katniss has no idea the “impression she leaves on people”. With this and the adoration of the crowds in the Capitol, Katniss and Peeta become the “star crossed” lovers and end up being the first two survivors of the games when normally only one tribute is allowed to live.

This again starts another set of events that takes place in the second book “Catching Fire“. The ruler of the Capitol, president Snow, makes sure that this new fame of the star crossed lovers won’t be a reason for the districts to start an uprising, and so for the 75th edition of the Hunger Games he rules that all the tributes will actually be chosen from the remaining victors.

With this new turn of events, Katniss and Peeta find themselves back in the arena but this time there will be only one victor.

And by the end of the second book the uprising begins in almost all the districts and a war starts. Katniss and Peeta are separated at the end of the games, with Peeta being captured by the Capitol and Katniss being rescued by the people of district 13, a district that was supposed to be long dead.

And then we come to book 3: “Mockingjay“, the last book and probably the hardest to read in my opinion. The scars of the games, the current situation of the war, the knowledge that everything could be destroyed really takes a toll on all the characters and even the strongest ones seem to have lost their will and capacity to function.

Katniss is broken apart by the knowledge that her help to the resistance will only mean Peeta death and the fact that things cannot continue as they are. That and add another love interest really do complicate things.

And no I won’t carry on with the ending.

Books are meant to be read and enjoyed till the end and spoilers really suck. That’s why I refuse to give any specific details about the book and the events that happen in them.

“The Hunger Games” trilogy is really that good. But I doubt the first two books will leave anyone cheery and happy, even the third on will have a more somber ending. After all, even if the story ends on a good note, the scars and the events that happened really left them marked for their entire life.

And with this I am happy to say that I am finally over my Harry Potter melancholia. I am now craving for other books who hopefully will let my imagination run wild as I read them.

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