Tuesday, 19 June 2012

The Hunger Games: A gripping trilogy

So the other day I told you about how I accomplished my reading of 3-and-a-bit books in the past month. I am pleased to share with you that whilst I was away lapping up the sunshine and cocktails on holiday in Porto Santo, I finally got round to reading Suzanne Collins' bestseller books, The Hunger Games

Unfortunately for me I only had the first two books to hand, but I didn't expect to read so much if I'm honest. It was like my Twilight affair from yesteryears all over again. It was immediately a case of me questioning why on earth I didn't get round to reading them sooner. I was obsessed. 


A really brief outline is that it's a dystopian book set in the future, in a place called Panem which was once known as North America. It is ruled by the "Capitol", which we learn is a callous and sick dictatorship ruled by President Snow. There are twelve districts surrounding the Capitol, each focusing on a different trade such as mining or agriculture. Once every year there is a live televised event which picks two 'tributes' (candidates) from each of the twelve districts, in which they are then forced to fight to death. The capitol call it a pageant, but it's far from that. The only rule is that there can only be one survivor. So it's bitter sweet to learn that the hopeful protagonist Katniss Everdeen is made publicly aware of her partner tribute's feelings towards her. It's love. Which makes the book even more gripping and potentially heartbreaking.

Collins has most definitely created a page turner book. Each of the two books took me two days in total to read. That's a record for me. I couldn't help but wonder why I liked the books so much though. Because when you consider the storyline, it's gross and sadistic. But after some serious pondering, isn't the whole of mankind that way? We ridicule people under spotlights, just look at our current versions of reality TV. Big Brother, for example. People are laughed at, we force them to fight with claws out to get the winning prize. The only difference being that prizes in current times are now promised fame, as opposed to the gift of your life being spared. 

I read an article in a magazine recently which spoke of advice for amateur budding novelists about how to get noticed and how to write a best selling novel. They said to find an author whose style and technique you like, and to attempt to mimick it in your own book. With that in mind, while reading THG I questioned who Suzanne Collin's wrote like, and almost immediately I found a likeness to Stephenie Meyer. So it was no surprise to see that Meyer wrote a review which features on front page of the second book.

Similarity #1: They both have written hugely successful teen trilogies.
Similarity #2: The love triangle. Gale's character bears a striking resemblance to Jacob, the good looking best friend whom the female protagonist never sees "in that way". But there's clearly denied chemistry. Hello Katniss Everdeen, or should I say Bella Swan. The mysterious heroic girl who keeps herself to herself. The budding beauty who doesn't realise her power. And then there's Peeta, the Edward of this trilogy. Good looking, smooth and has a way with words. It's all there.

If you're looking for a gripping read, then look no further.

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