Book Review I
The Hunger Games
Trapped in a small coal mining town in a repressive nation, Katniss Everdeen barely keeps her mother and younger sister Prim alive through illegal poaching. Then Prim is selected to fight in the Hunger Games, a sadistic televised death match between children designed to remind the 12 Districts that the rebellion failed and the Capitol rules completely. Katniss volunteers to take Prim’s place, knowing that one of the people she will have to kill is the baker’s son who once saved her life.
This was suggested to me by Amazon a while back, so I put it on my Christmas list. My nephew Benjamin got me two of the books in the series, so I bought the third and have been working my way through them. I’ve been waiting several days to write this review, so you can tell I’ve been going through them pretty fast. The writing certainly keeps you wanting to know what happens [+], often using the classic trick of figuring out what the worst thing that could happen to the characters is, and then making that happen. The characters are a bit spotty. There’s a lot of them, to be sure, but even allowing for that none of them are fleshed out really well except for Katniss [-]. However, the interactions between the characters are well done [+], and that keeps you interested enough in them to care. The story is good too: the fear and defiance of the weak surviving through the hell caused by the strong and the evil [+]. However, I find the background to be weak [-]. Enclosed monoculture communities separated by long train rides just seems like an incredibly inefficient way to run a nation. And the concept of the Hunger Games is so sadistic and evil. It’s worse than anything I’ve read since Vernor Vinge’s A Deepness in the Sky (which is so disturbing I have not been able to reread it despite how good I think it is). It just strikes me as implausible that a totalitarian state with that level of sadism could survive for any length of time. I’m going to give this book one point of oomph, because despite the problems I have with it, it kept me reading and still has me reading in the second book (Catching Fire).
Final Rating: 6/10
Best Quote: “You’ve got about as much charm as a dead slug.”