Wednesday, November 30, 2011

The Dystopian Lit Review, Part 1: The Hunger Games

I was recently talking to Kevin about books, and I realized that many of my favorites fall into the dystopian genre.  I found this rather surprising, because I guess dystopian novels can be a bit of a downer, or perhaps a little too similar.  But regardless, the heart wants what it wants.  This is the start to (hopefully) a series about the dystopian books I've read, either in the past or recently.  And let's start with one of my current obsessions:

The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins is one of my new favorite books.  (The trilogy as a whole is supremely excellent, but for our purposes today I'll be talking only about the first.)  If you haven't read it, here's a synopsis via Daily Blam:
THE HUNGER GAMES chronicles a dystopic Capitol which requires its twelve subjugated districts to pay tribute in the form of a teenage boy and girl, forced to participate in the annual “Hunger Games,” a fight-to-the-death live televised event. Katniss Everdeen’s little sister is chosen in the lottery to participate and Katniss volunteers to take her place. Although persevering through hardship is commonplace for Katniss, she must start making choices that weigh survival against humanity and life against love in order to win the games and return home.
Don't be mistaken - this is not the same as Battle Royale by Koushun Takami.  You can read about the differences here.

So why do I like The Hunger Games?
  1. I think it's very well-written, and for a piece of young adult fiction, Collins does not pull any punches.  It's a brave book and it really does make you a little uncomfortable.
  2. Katniss is a strong female character and a role model for young girls.  A lot of people compare HG to Twilight, but I think that, aside from a main female character and a love triangle (one which is much more emphasized than the other - guess which), you can't get much different.  The difference between Bella and Katniss would need its own post, however.  I like Katniss because she's young and hot-headed, but she fights for what matters to her.  And just like any other teenage girl, she doesn't always know what she really wants, but she moves forward anyway.
  3. It's a social commentary (as most dystopian stories are), but with a new twist: reality television.  The Hunger Games in the novels are televised for all of Panem to see; citizens of the twelve districts and the Capitol city itself tune in to watch these children kill one another.  How far off are shows like Survivor, Fear Factor, and Real Housewives?  Is this the future of America? 
  4. I'm also intrigued by the Roman influences in the trilogy, with the fight-to-the-death event itself and the country's name, Panem.
  5. I always love a series with a good following.  I think that's what makes Harry Potter so great - the community that surrounds it.  I feel like, with the help of the movies coming out starting this March, the Hunger Games community is really growing.  And who doesn't like having a bunch of people to talk about books with? (Oh, is it just nerdy people like me?  All right then.)
Hunger Games Extras:
  • Visit The Capitol here to be placed in a district.  I'm a member of District 3 (the Technology district):

  • Check out the trailer for the movie (out March 23, 2012) here!
  • Hunger Games Wiki - if you're really hardcore about this whole thing.
  • And I'll leave you with some character posters for the movie, because they look totally badass (see all eight here):

Did you read Hunger Games?  What did you think?

1 comment:

  1. Loved it and so glad you told me about it. I am in the process of reading the Mockingjay now. That one had a slow start for me, but it is picking up now. I love that you were put in the "technology" district as "technical support"!!! (Especially given the "technology" industry basically "funded" your childhood and paid for your education at A&M!)