I felt compelled to read The Hunger Games based on all the hype the young adult series of books has been garnering. Many of the students in my school have read the trilogy and were very excited about the release of the movie last week. So, I thought I should read the book before I hear all about the movie from them.
The book didn’t grab me right away but I decided to reserve any judgement and keep plugging away at it. The first half of the novel was a little boring as the author set to establish this future distopian world. I wasn’t impressed with the quality of the writing either. I almost thought about putting the book down.
About halfway through the book, I was woken up from my slumberly read through with a very violent and unexpected scene.
The title of the book refers to a yearly competition in which kids are pitted against each other in a fight to the death. The competitors are chosen at random, one boy and one girl from each of the twelve districts. Each district specializes in one industry and the inhabitants have to work hard for very little compensation. As such, they are perpetually underfed. The winner’s district is rewarded with extra food and the entire event is televised for all to see.
I was really put off by how violent this book is and how it is marketed towards children. The book really is about untrained kids being thrown into a large biosphere of a gladiator’s arena and being forced to kill one another.
The book is very violent and it’s not even that fresh of a concept. It reminded me of the Arnold Swartzenegger movie The Running Man. We care for the characters who don’t want to be part of the game but have a lot at stake in surviving. It hits the basic emotional arcs we’d expect from this type of tale but it really doesn’t do much else.
I didn’t enjoy this book and I don’t plan on reading any more of the series. I really can’t understand the fandom that has surrounded it and I don’t think it’s something young children should be exposed to. How come they can’t turn the Artemis Fowl series into a movie franchise? I can think of half a dozen other series that deserve the fandom more.
That’s my take on it.