We have been looking at book reviews and as you are reading ‘The Hunger Games’ you may find this review by Stephen King interesting.
As negative Utopias go, Suzanne Collins has created a dilly. The United States is gone. North America has become Panem, a TV-dominated dictatorship run from a city called the Capitol. The rest of Panem is divided into 12 Districts (the former 13th had the bad judgment to revolt and no longer exists). The yearly highlight in this nightmare world is the Hunger Games, a bloodthirsty reality TV show in which 24 teenagers chosen by lottery — two from each District — fight each other in a desolate environment called the ”arena.” The winner gets a life of ease; the losers get death. The only ”unspoken rule” is that you can’t eat the dead contestants. Let’s see the makers of the movie version try to get a PG-13 on this baby.
Our heroine is Katniss Everdeen (lame name, cool kid), a resident of District 12, which used to be Appalachia. She lives in a desperately poor mining community called the Seam, and when her little sister’s name is chosen as one of the contestants in the upcoming Hunger Games, Katniss volunteers to take her place. A gutsy decision, given the fact that District 12 hasn’t produced a Hunger Games winner in 30 years or so, making them the Chicago Cubs of the post-apocalypse world. Complicating her already desperate situation is her growing affection for the other District 12 contestant, a clueless baker’s son named Peeta Mellark. Further complicating her situation is her sorta-crush on her 18-year-old hunting partner, Gale. Gale isn’t clueless; Gale is smouldering. Says so right on page 14.
The love triangle is fairly standard teen-read stuff; what 16-year-old girl wouldn’t like to have two interesting guys to choose from? The rest of The Hunger Games, however, is a violent, jarring speed-rap of a novel that generates nearly constant suspense and may also generate a fair amount of controversy. I couldn’t stop reading, and once I got over the main character’s name (Gale calls her Catnip — ugh), I got to like her a lot. And although ”young adult novel” is a dumbbell term I put right up there with ”jumbo shrimp” and ”airline food” in the oxymoron sweepstakes, how many novels so categorized feature one character stung to death by monster wasps and another more or less eaten alive by mutant werewolves? I say more or less because Katniss, a bow-and-arrow Annie Oakley, puts the poor kid out of his misery before the werewolves can get to the prime cuts.
Read the rest here.