A very popular book, and not just because of the movie that’s being released at the end of March, The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins is reminiscent of Battle Royale by Koushun Takami, the story of a class of schoolchildren forced to fight each other to the death.
Now I read Battle Royale years before The Hunger Games was even a thought in Collins’s head (or maybe it was. It does take a mighty long time to write a book for some of us). Don’t worry this isn’t going to be a ‘let’s bash The Hunger Games because it’s a lesser version of Battle Royale‘ post. Because it can’t be. Because The Hunger Games was different enough from Battle Royale that it was enjoyable. But Battle Royale was still better, in my opinion.
The Hunger Games takes place in a remade North America, now called Panem. After a war, what was left of North America was sectioned off into 12 districts and a Capitol. Each district is in charge of providing something. Our heroine, Katniss Everdeen, is from district 12: the coal district, which is, unfortunately, a district that everyone tends to write off as a load of savages. But they survive.
Every year the capitol demands two tributes, a boy and a girl, from each district to play in the hunger games. 24 tributes go in, 1 comes out. And, to Katniss’s surprise, her sister’s name is pulled from the bowl at the ceremony, known as the reaping. Her sister who just turned 12 and whose first year it is to join in the reaping. Without hesitating, Katniss volunteers herself in her sister’s place.
Now she has to survive the hunger games not only for herself, but for her family as well. Fighting against brutish boys and cunning girls, some who have been trained their whole life for this moment, and even against falling in love with the boy tribute from district 12, Peeta, all she knows about hunting and gathering will be put to the test.
Overall, I think this was a very well written book. I read it on my Kindle, so I’m not sure of the exact page count, but I read through it pretty fast so I know it couldn’t have been too long. The story line is also addictive and drives the reader on. Collins knows exactly when to end a chapter in order for the reader to want to keep going. The characters are interesting, but I definitely would’ve wanted to know more about all of them. She focuses mostly on Katniss and Peeta, who’s the narrator of the book, and only strays on the other characters for a bit. I think if I had written this book I would’ve wrote it in third person and switched between different characters in order to get the entire perspective of the hunger games.
It’s no Battle Royale, but it’s a game all of it’s own.