For Christmas a friend handed me a book, The Hunger Games, by Suzanne Collins. I put off reading it for a bit, but couldn't hold off any longer and took to it this weekend. It's a young adult novel, futuristic, and somewhat dreary at first. The book gripped me, though, pretty much from the start. There's no putting it down once you're a few chapters in.
Initially I had trouble with the futuristic, negative slant. The whole world has gone to hell in a hand basket, with the main character doing whatever it takes to find food for her family, and that being the norm for many families. But I was drawn in to the girl, Katniss, and her world, her plight, when her sister won the lottery to become a Hunger Game contestant and Katniss volunteered to take her place. The Hunger Games are a nationally televised fight to the death between 24 adolescent contestants from the 12 districts in this futuristic world, one boy and one girl from each district.
I had a lot of questions throughout the book. Little ones, like how and why did Katniss' costume designer get his job? Why did the author make an issue of it, then let it lie? I read to the end looking for answers to some of the little things which came up but weren't addressed. Then discovered The Hunger Games is the first in a trilogy. And was published in 2008. Dang it.
As a stand alone book I was disappointed. Personally, I think every book needs to stand on its own, with no need to read the book prior or following to understand what's going on or feel satisfied. I came away from the ending wondering if any of my questions would even be addressed in the next book, and if so, would they simply be slapped in to pacify, rather like a patch thrown on a torn garment?
However, I'd still give The Hunger Games a seven out of ten rating, simply because it held my attention. It was interesting. I felt for the main character, as well as the potential love interest(?). And I kept telling myself that because it's a young adult novel (basically for Maybelline's age range), my questions probably wouldn't be answered. That things which mattered, details I wanted, were glossed over intentionally. But I've read enough YA novels to know that I was just making excuses.
If you're looking for a good read, something to keep you up till two AM, that will get you thinking about the future of our country, this really is a good book. I can recommend it. Just know its shortcomings in advance. And be ready to buy the second book when it hits the shelves. You won't be able to stop yourself. Despite my frustrations, this is a good read.
Until I write again ...