In this post-apocalyptic, dystopian novel, Suzanne Collins has created a world called Panem, located where the United States of America used to be. In Panem, every district works to provide The Capitol with everything they need to run the country. The Capitol holds absolute power, and to prove their power, they hold The Hunger Games every year. One boy and one girl from each district in Panem are chosen to participate. In The Hunger Games, the object is to fight to the death - the last one standing is the Victor. The Hunger Games are required viewing for the citizens of Panem, and they're also a required celebration. By holding The Hunger Games, The Capitol proves that absolutely no one is outside of their reach, not even the children.
I was captivated by this world so far from my own within the first few pages of this novel. I was drawn into the struggle to survive, not just by those participating in The Hunger Games, but also everyone else in the district who lives to make the lives of those in The Capitol pleasant. Suzanne Collins paints a very vivid picture of a dystopian, police state society, arguably more real than Orwell's 1984. I clearly envisioned everything that happens within these pages as I read along, and found myself cheering for more than one participant in The Hunger Games. These characters are very well developed, with good character histories given, and their interactions with others make them even more well rounded. The struggle between absolute power and humanity is so tangible in this story, it's hard to walk away from this book and not make comparisons to our own society. We may not live in a police state, but I could draw some distinct parallels between the world of Panem and the United States today. This frightens me. It has been a long, long time since a book gave me chills, and this book kept my breathing shallow all the way through. This world is so real, so intriguing, so terrifying - I could not put this book down. I didn't want to. I put it down to work, because I had to, and I put this book aside for a few minutes because I had to eat. But only because I had to since, believe me, I really didn't want to. And now I am aching to read the second book. I guess the simplest way I can recommend this book lies in these words: It's called The Hunger Games not just because that's the name of the competition, but because you may actually not eat until you have finished this book because you can't put it down. This is one of those books where you won't understand all the hype until you've read it. Once you've finished, I will be happy to tell you "I told you so."
Legal Necessities: I borrowed this book from Amazon.com's lending program for the Kindle.