Tuesday, February 12, 2013

The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins (Spoiler Alert)

I am one who avoids book series like the plague. I am like a HUGE Harry Potter fan, but that is like the only book series that I have ever bothered with. My hatred or dislike (for the lack of a better word) occurs because I am the kind of person who, even though I get super absorbed in any book that I read, I want to see new characters and a new story every time I pick up a different book, not a continuation of a book that I read in the past. I just had to make exception to that rule for The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins. Goodreads link is here: http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/7285601-the-hunger-games I had heard so much praise for this book that I was curious to find out what the big deal is. So I got myself a copy of the first book of this three part book series and read it.

Honestly speaking, even before I started reading the book, I had convinced myself that I am not going to like it. Because I didn’t want to get involved in another series. But I got hooked on this book from the very first page. This is one of those books where the author manages to capture and hold the reader’s attention and imagination from the very first word and then manages to keep it until the very end. This is one of those books where the pages just keep on turning themselves and you simply can not put the book down until it is finished.

If you are into dystopian stuff like I am, then this is the book for you. I don’t know why, but for some reason this really reminded me about the book 1984 by George Orwell. I think maybe because there was a similar theme going on in this book. I guess one can actually make a lot of parallels between George Orwell’s 1984 and The Hunger Games.

So what happens in the Hunger Games is that the whole continent of North America has turned into a whole country called Panem (I am not sure if I got the spelling correctly here) and this nation has been divided into 12 Districts. The Districts are divided on the basis of industry, like District 12 deals with coal mining and District 11 deals with agriculture. And then there is the Capitol which is the ruler of them all. However, one fine day there was a rebellion against the system however the rebellion was a failure. Now in order to keep the population “in check”, so to speak, the Capitol makes the population participate in the annual Hunger Games. Every District has to supply one girl and one boy who is selected through a draw where they join an arena to a fight to the death. All the contestants are killed, except one of them.

The reason why I draw parallel between The Hunger Games and George Orwell’s 1984 is two fold. Firstly, Big Brother. In both of the books, the entire population is being brainwashed by the government and being told by the government what exactly they should think and the flow of information is strictly controlled. Dissent is dealt with very harshly. Big Brother/Capitol is constantly watching you, your every single word being recorded. People are wanting to escape but if they do they are doomed. Secondly, the system can not be broken. It appears as if this is how it always was and this is how it always will be. The ability to think is gone. Asking a question is like the biggest possible rebellion. Use your brain and you are dead.

In this book, we also learn about team work and how alliances are formed in order to fight a common enemy after which the alliance is broken and all the members of the former alliance turn against each other. This book deals with the dynamics of that very well. Kind of reminded me of the age old saying, “Enemy of my enemy is my friend”.

So, overall I would say that if dystopian things appeal to you, and especially if you are a fan of the book 1984 by George Orwell, this is the book for you as The Hunger Games and 1984 have sharp overlappings. Its a very interesting book that grips you from the very beginning and then afterwards it is impossible to put down in the very end. The characters are well developed and interesting. It is a must-read book.

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