Welcome to the 74th annual Hunger Games! After North America was destroyed, after the small country of Panem rose from the ashes, after the districts tried to revolt but were put down by the capitol... the Hunger Games were constructed. They are to serve as a reminder of the Capitols complete control. Every year, two tributes from each district are selected to participate in a fight to the death. Every year, Katniss prays for safety for herself and her loved ones.
This year, Katniss is a tribute
She must survive on her instincts and her skills, outwitting the other twenty-three contenders as their fight is broadcast live across the country. But more importantly, Katniss must hold on to her humanity when she must kill to win.
I mentioned this book a couple weeks ago with the Buckeye Book Awards. There is no doubt that it belongs on that list. It isn't clear how far into the future the book is set, but Katniss's world isn't much different than ours. District Twelve is poverty-stricken, so we don't get a feel of the technology until we reach the Capitol, and even then they still have trains and televisions. In this setting, Collins has constructed a desperate society. The Games are not named only for the contestants who struggle to keep themselves fed as well as injuring their fellows. It is the hunger of the people, who may be entered in the pool extra times in exchange for much-needed food. It is the hunger of the Capitol to control their domain, oppressing its citizens and turning a blind eye to their plight.
I'm avoiding turning this into an essay, but there are countless factors at work here to create a terrifying post-apocalyptic world. These meticulous details are woven into a high-action plot and a fair amount of character development. I ran across some fragmenty sentences on occasion, but they were a minor annoyance that hardly stopped me from reading.
The Hunger Games is a phenomenal book, and I'm hoping the sequel lives up to expectations!