The Hunger Games
Written By Suzanne Collins
What Happens in The Hunger Games?
In the land once known as North America, from the ashes of war, the new country of Panem rises, composed of a Capitol at its centre and surrounded by thirteen districts. When war breaks out, the Capitol defeats the thirteen Districts. In the aftermath, District 13 is obliterated from existence and the Hunger Games are established. Every year, each District provides two tributes, a male and a female, to compete in the Hunger Games and to fight to the death.
Enter Katniss Everdeen, sixteen years old and from the slums of District 12, the poorest of all the Districts. After the death of her father, when Katniss was twelve, Katniss provides for her family after her mother breaks down. Proficient with a bow, Katniss hunts outside the fence limits of District 12. On reaping day, when two tributes are selected from each district all the citizens are sent to the town square where the tributes are to be selected. Against all odds, and with only one ballot, Primrose Everdeen, Katniss’ twelve-year-old sister is chosen. In a rush of emotion Katniss volunteers herself in Prim’s place.
After the male tribute, Peeta Mellark, is selected, the tributes are given one last chance to say their farewells to their families. Afterwards, they are whisked to the Capitol, where they get paraded around the city, interviewed, and trained for the Games. When Katniss enters the arena, nothing can prepare her for the bonds, friendships, and romances that shape her during her fight. But the only thing on her mind: survival.
Who Are The Characters in The Hunger Games?
Katniss Everdeen proves herself to be a strong, intelligent and resourceful person who you do not want to mess with. After the loss of her father at a young age from a mining accident, Katniss becomes the leader of her household, learning to hunt with a bow and arrow to feed her family who live in the Seam, the poorest area in the poorest district.
These survival skills that she learned during her time hunting prove useful to her survival throughout the Hunger Games themselves. Though she can be stoic at times, rarely showing her emotions, she does have a softer side when it comes to her sister Prim. She also has a close bond with her friend and hunting partner Gale.
Peeta Mellark, the male tribute has not had as hard a life as Katniss being the baker’s son, though of course he still lives in District 12. Due to his years helping at the bakery Peeta is quite strong as he can lift flour with ease and camouflage himself due to his cake decorating skills. Peeta is quite compassionate and kind, as he does not really want to kill anyone.
Gale is Katniss’ male counterpart. He too lost his father and learned how to hunt, though Gale himself is a little more opinionated than Katniss, as he expresses his disdain for the Hunger Games and discusses running away with Katniss.
Haymitch begins the story as a drunk mentor who is not much help but after making a deal with Katniss and Peeta and seeing that they might have a chance at winning he sobers up and actually does his duty as a mentor by helping them with training and trying to get them sponsors for when they are in the arena.
What Makes The Hunger Games So Good?
The Hunger Games has many strengths, with one of its major strengths being its characters. While Katniss and Peeta are well developed, and we get to know them throughout the story there are 11 other districts with a male and female tributes. Suzanne Collins uses the first-person perspective so that the reader sees these characters the way Katniss sees them and we get brief and sometimes more in depth description of all the tributes.
The pacing of the novel is also great with the build up to the games having a sense of dread but also anticipation, as the reader waits to see what will happen in the arena. Once they are in the arena, the reader won’t want to put the book down as Katniss is constantly put in dangerous situations that you can’t wait to see how she survives. The action in the novel is top tier as well as Katniss’ archery skills gives her many ways to handle a situation and no two action scenes are the same. They are all not bloodbath fights with Katniss being smart enough to stay away from those.
My only major weakness with the novel is that I wish there was more description of the Capitol and the twelve districts. The history and the war that lead to the Hunger Games wasn’t discussed much, and I would have liked to learn more about the districts themselves though I know they are given more detail in the sequels.
All in all this is one of my favourite books that is gripping and keeps you at the edge of your seat with great violent action, great characters and a dark but interesting world. I highly recommend this one.