Yes, I'm extremely late to the party, I know, but I'm going to weigh in on this series anyway. I'll just go ahead and credit this book with fueling my new interest in young adult literature and I don't mean that in a genre sense. I've tried reading some of the traditionally published 'genre,' and have been severely underwhelmed to the point that I can't bear to waste time finishing them. Nothing had really impressed me since Harry Potter. But this book--indeed, as I'm finished with the final book I can say the whole series--is so well written, well paced, and with such strong characters, I want to read anything Suzanne Collins has written no matter the genre or target age group. It is also the first book I've read in first-person present tense that I thoroughly enjoyed. I generally don't care for it as it's seldom well-done, but as I said, the writing is so strong, it could be in any voice and I'd love it. I also need to say that I have since found other authors/books in this category well worth reading, but I'll review them later.
I doubt if many people are ignorant of the premise for the story, but if you're here seeking out a review at this point, perhaps you are: In a brutal future United States where the privileged few live extravagantly and wastefully in the "Capitol," the average citizen lives in one of twelve districts. Each district has it's specialty--mining, cattle, agriculture, etc.--but most barely scratch out an existence while the best of everything is sent to the Capitol. Why don't they rebel? Well, once upon a time there were thirteen districts. 13 rebelled and 13 no longer exists--at least as far as anyone knows. To commemorate the occasion and remind the districts of what can happen again, each district gives up one boy and one girl each year to the Hunger Games, a brutal arena free-for-all where only one winner can survive. Katniss Everdeen, something of a tough loner who would do anything for her sister, becomes the girl for District 12.
The Hunger Games is certainly brutal and violent but not over the top. Some parts were unpleasant but never so graphic as to make me want to skip parts (I have my limits for blood and guts). The violence is a part of the story and propels it forward. Yes, there is certainly a love story, but it never becomes too sentimental or steamy. It's a very clean read in that perspective which I liked. The motives for everything, including the love interest, is what I found the most appealing.
And I'm glad that I read the book first, but the movie is truly excellent. Considering I had read it recently, I wasn't aware of anything important missing and felt myself right back in the story. That's pretty amazing. It sets just the right tone at the beginning, the rural and impoverished District 12 looking like something out of 1940s Appalachia. In contrast, the Capitol is all high tech, high fashion, and wanton wastefulness. Presiding over all, though not conspicuous is the president of Panem, Snow, well played by Donald Sutherland. I don't like Donald Sutherland, never have, but kudos to the casting directors. He's perfect. Actually that's one of the best things about the movie--its cast. They nailed it. Even Lenny Kravitz as Cinna is perfect. No, really! If they ever make a movie/movies out of my series, I want them to cast it. (I can dream!)
Ultimate verdict? Go see the movie, but read the book first!
More Glister Journals info and excerpts at the book's website here: theglisterjournals.com
Note: All original text and materials by or commissioned by B. B. Shepherd are copyright 2012-2014 to China Blue Publishing.