Monday, January 12, 2009

The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins

It's been a very long time since I've been absorbed into a book as completely as I was with The Hunger Games. From beginning to end, this was a difficult book to put down. For two days, I carried it with me wherever I went, just in case I happened to have a few minutes to spend reading. It was past midnight when I reached the end, and for my family's sake, I supressed the urge to shout when I reached the words, "End of Book One." I so, so want to have more of this story.

Katniss lives in a version of North America that has survived another civil war. The rebellion has failed, and as punishment, each of the twelve remaining territories must give up two of its teenagers for a gladiator-style fight to the death. Katniss, a hunter who has been providing for her family since her father's death several years earlier, is stunned when her fragile younger sister is chosen as this year's tribute, and she immediately offers herself in Prim's place.

Katniss is not a particularly sympathetic character, but she's not entirely hardened, either. She's something of an unreliable narrator, but all of her flaws and failings only make the reader identify with her more firmly. Katniss's eventual act of rebellion at the close of the Games is unsurprising, and I wanted to cheer when the idea occurred to her. 

Katniss is wonderfully complex, and utterly devoted to the people she loves. She's a character that we could probably spend several books on and still not fully understand. I sincerely cannot wait until I can read more of this story.

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