In a future dystopian North America, the sparkling Capitol represses the outlying Districts and keeps them in line partially through the annual Hunger Games. Each District must send two teenagers, a boy and a girl, to a televised, weeks-long, fight to the death. Think “Survivor” but with swords, spears, daggers, bows and arrows. Lest the competitors (the “tributes”) refuse to fight, the Gamesmakers spice things up a bit by occasionally sending in forest fires or packs of rabid animals to stimulate the violence. Only one competitor will emerge to glory and fame; the rest will die. Katniss Everdeen volunteers to take the spot of her little sister when she is chosen for the Games.
They are called the “Hunger” games because the competitors are dropped in a wilderness area and have to scavenge for themselves for food. Also, the normal life in the Districts is pretty tight and food can be hard to come by. This is underscored by Katniss’ detailed descriptions of food whenever she gets some – I thought this was clever of the author, because food IS what someone with Katniss’ experience would really take notice of.
I really enjoyed the book – lots of suspense at wondering at the competitor’s next moves and also at Katniss’ “partner” from her District, Peeta. Is he friend or foe? Hard to tell until nearly the end. Another clever thing by the author is that although brutality and violence reigns in the Games, the reader’s impression of Katniss is not diminished by her taking part; she strictly acts in self-defense and in the protection of others.
Not sure I am looking forward to the sequel or not … I have a feeling it is going to be a “Do I love Edward? Or do I love Jacob? I can’t decide!!!” type of Twilight-esque teenybopper romantic quandary blah. But who knows.