The Hunger Games – part 1

I’ve never been one to jump on the bandwagon. When the Hunger Games made a big impact at the box office, all of my friends and family were raving about Katniss Everdeen and the book the film is based on. I fought it for a while. Then in conversation with my Dad he admitted that he to had read the trilogy, despite the fact that my Dad’s favourite books are The Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy, Lord of the Rings and Harry Potter, nothing wrong with these books, just not my thing, I trust his opinion. From what I had heard about the Hunger Games I didn’t think it would his thing, strangely though he loved it. So I jumped on the bandwagon and bought the whole trilogy.

The story takes place in the fictional city of Panem. At the heart of Panem is the Capitol, which is surrounded by 12 outlying districts. Every year, as a reminder to the inhabitants of the Capitols strength and in an attempt to prevent an uprising, the Capitol holds the Hunger Games. A boy and a girl from each district are chosen, or reaped, to be tributes and enter an arena to fight to the death. The last survivor is hailed the victor and the games come to an end for another year. The whole thing is filmed and broadcast to the whole of Panem and is often considered by the president compulsory viewing. Think Big Brother but instead of contestants voting for each others eviction, they are murdering each other…

The story follows the life of Katniss Everdeen, a sixteen year old girl from district twelve. When her younger sister, twelve year old Prim, is chosen in the reaping, Katniss steps forward and volunteers to take her place. Leaving behind her mother, Prim and best friend Gale, Katniss embarks on a journey of survival, friendship and love.

The premise of the story is that of a tyrannical government and a brutal reality TV show. The characters themselves are well-rounded and believable. In fact so much so that I could see what was going to happen next, this meant the story became a little predictable. I knew how the characters were going to react to specific situations. One of the major plotlines that had initially brought hope to Katniss and her friend/ally/fellow tribute/lover Peeta had the potential to merely be an elaborate plan to stir things up in the arena. I’m sure I was not the only reader to have seen through this plot.

 I was also told that I would fall in love with the love story, but in the first book I didn’t really see it. Katniss and Peeta are thrown in to this situation where they can’t trust anyone or anything. Katniss believes that Peeta’s every move is all part of the games, a cunning trick to curry favour with the sponsors (wealthy spectators who could pay money to deliver much needed, life saving parcels to a specific tribute in the games) and from this, a love story apparently grows. The one thing I did like about this aspect of the book is the way Katniss dealt with her blossoming feelings. Suzanne Collins writes of first love and confused feelings very accurately, I could relate to the unknown, the questions, the feeling of not knowing what you are feeling… This, I thought fit very well into the story.

I guess when I picked up this book I had very high expectations. Of all the people who raved about the book, the story, the love. I was hoping for more. The story in itself is good, the characters are believable, it’s action packed, exciting, tense. It’s well written the ideas are fully formed. I think if I hadn’t been expecting so much from it, I would have loved it. So, what was I expecting? Well, I guess perfection. Sadly, this is not what I found. The flaws where minor, predictability, a flawed love story, (was it flawed or was it just that I was expecting more, again? Who knows?) Either way, I must have been expecting the earth to move or something. This is why I am usually reluctant to jump on the bandwagon. My standards are set too high that it is impossible for anything to live up! I’ve only written about the first book in the trilogy, the second and third provoked an entirely different reaction. I might write about those at a later date but in the meantime I’m jumping on another bandwagon, Fifty Shades of Grey by E.L. James, from what I hear of that one, the earth might actually move…

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About gemmag1985

Scottish girl living in Bristol - I turn 30 this year. Reading, running, shoes. View all posts by gemmag1985

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