Book: The Hunger Games

hunger-games-150.jpgI’d been catching some buzz about “The Hunger Games,” with some people saying it would be the next big movie series, a successor to “Harry Potter” and “Twilight.” In fact, “Hunger Games” is now in development as a movie.

I found a copy at Sam’s Club in the Young Adult section, surrounded by the “Twilight” books and other novels  featuring vampires, werewolves, and post-apocalyptic themes.

“The Hunger Games” is in the post-apocalyptic camp. From what I could piece together, the United States is pretty much gone, except for 13 small cities scattered around a country now called Panem. Twelve of those cities are under the domination of The Capitol, a ruthless high-tech city in what used to be Colorado. The authoritarian Capitol keeps the other cities poor and subservient.

Every year (this is the 74th year), two teenagers are chosen by lot from each town. The 24 teens are then taken to the Capitol, where they compete to the death in the Hunger Games, a gladiatorial fight to the death. The winner is rewarded with lifetime perks. Everything is televised throughout the 13 cities.

katniss-peeta-200.jpgThe protagonist is Katniss Everdeen, a 15-year-old girl living in a mining town somewhere in the Appalachians (each town has some kind of specialty). When her little sister, Prim, is selected to represent her city in the Hunger Games, Katniss offers to take her place. Joining her is Peeta, a boy who has had a crush on Katniss for years, though she’s oblivious to that.

Katniss and Peeta are whisked off to The Capitol, where they go through a period of training. Then the game begins. I’m not going to say anything more, lest I give away something. But I’ll say this: I really enjoyed it. While the plot sounds like “The Running Man” and other movies, “The Hunger Games” plows a fresh field.

Being a young adult book, “The Hunger Games” is clean of sexual content and obscenity. That was nice.

All three books in the trilogy are in print, but only the first book is in paperback. As soon as the others reach paperback, I’ll buy them, because I really want to know what happens next. Suzanne Collins, the author, created future that I’m eager to learn more about. We only catch some hints, dropped sparingly. Somehow, the Capitol needs to be overthrown. That doesn’t happen in “The Hunger Games,” so I anxiously await the next two books.

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