I read this book for my own personal pleasure and was not required to write a review. Therefore, all comments and opinions are entirely my own.
The nation of Panem, formed from a post-apocalyptic North America, is a country that consists of a wealthy Capitol region surrounded by 12 poorer districts. Early in its history, a rebellion led by a 13th district against the Capitol resulted in its destruction and the creation of an annual televised event known as the Hunger Games. In punishment, and as a reminder of the power and grace of the Capitol, each district must yield one boy and one girl between the ages of 12 and 18 through a lottery system to participate in the games. The ‘tributes’ are chosen during the annual Reaping and are forced to fight to the death, leaving only one survivor to claim victory.
When 16-year-old Katniss’s young sister, Prim, is selected as District 12’s female representative, Katniss volunteers to take her place. She and her male counterpart Peeta, are pitted against bigger, stronger representatives, some of whom have trained for this their whole lives. , she sees it as a death sentence. But Katniss has been close to death before. For her, survival is second nature.
The popularity of The Hunger Games has almost surpassed that of Harry Potter or even the Narnia series and it has very valid reasons for gaining so much attention. It is a book completely new to its genre (or was when it first came out) and has one of the most interesting and unique storylines to be read in Dystopian novels.
The characters are incredibly developed and realistic in how they would act under the conditions of such a barbaric game. The story progresses fairly well paced once you get passed the first few chapters (which tend to drag on and be slow) and it holds your attention with twists and surprises.
The action in the book was surprisingly low key to my expectations, but that may just be due to the fact that my expectations were high. Regardless, I didn’t find the action to be graphic in any way and I don’t remember any profane language. The sexual content was there but to a very bare minimum, mainly staying in Katniss’s thoughts and/or daydreams and not being very intense at that (just her dreaming of kissing). There is a scene in which two characters (male and female) sleep together in the arena, but it is for the sheer purpose of trying to keep each other alive, not sexual in any way.
The morals present aren’t plentiful, but I did pick up on self-sacrifice, dedication and love for family, and there were scenes in which Katniss served the underdogs rather than consuming everything herself.
So, if you can get past the barbaric aspects of killing each other for sport (in the contestants defense, they are forced to do so, but some are more willing to participate than others), Katniss is a decent roll model regarding her character and the storyline is intriguing. All in all, The Hunger Games makes for a good, intense read and I did enjoy reading it. I give it 4 out of 5 stars.