Need a break from vampires? Enter the science-fiction world of Panem, a place of horrifying and chilling political games designed to kill innocent kids in fatal fights for no reason but to entertain a heartless president.
Bestselling author Suzanne Collins has written an eye-opening science-fiction novel, “The Hunger Games.” Fear will be a constant emotion throughout your literary journey. Your heart will not stop racing as your eyes stay glued to this page turner.
Aimed at the young-adult/teen demographic, the novel offers suspense, heartache and action. Collins forces the reader to discover just how far a corrupt political system can go to punish those “beneath” them. She will also offer faith in finding the will to triumph over the powers that be.
Young Katniss, our strong-willed protagonist, is living in a post-apocalyptic North America, now divided into districts. Back in the day, 13 Districts remained after destruction from war and famine. As history states, District 13 led a revolt against the corrupt Capital. Of course, they were dealt with, because no one crosses the Capital and gets away with it.
The remaining 12, as an annual reminder of their sins, are required by law to perform what is called a reaping – a live, televised, inhumane lottery where two adolescents are chosen from each district and get thrown into an arena to fight each other to the death. If that doesn’t sound terrifying enough, their impoverished families must surrender their kids and watch daily broadcasts as their own children kill – and possibly become savagely murdered by – the others. Only one can survive.
Well, one thing is for sure: This broadcast is not your average reality TV show. (And you thought the things they did on “Survivor” were bad.)
Of course, the reader sees it coming; Katniss winds up in the arena, since she is our protagonist. She is certainly written as the type of character that brings to mind the ancient Greek goddess Artemis – she hunts, fights and does anything to protect her family. Collins brilliantly writes her as a character that is not only relatable, but also one of a kind.
Readers will be rooting for a winner and concurrently cringing at the fact that these are mere children. (Wait until you come across Rue, a 12-year-old thrown into the arena.) The thought of these youths brutally murdering for no other reason but the government’s sheer enjoyment is enough to make you appreciate what you thought were your current corrupt elected officials. Collins writes with enough detail and feeling to make you believe this is a reality.
Although the novel is seemingly original, Collins, as mentioned, borrows from the Greek classics. The inspiration behind the myth of the “Labyrinth and the Minotaur,” as well as the classic novel “Lord of the Flies” are evident in the games. Regardless of where her ideas sprung from, she takes science fiction to a whole new level.
Collins has definitely outdone herself with this one. It will entertain, envelop your psyche, make you question your morals, feed at your deepest horrors, chill you to the bone and force you to think twice when the next election comes.