This review has been copied from my blog, The Towering Pile. It was originally published here
When Katniss Everdeen's younger sister is selected to participate in the Hunger Games, an annual fight to the death between 24 children from the districts of Panem, she volunteers to take her place. She is sent to the Capitol, where the people see the disturbing, dystopian version of reality television as the highest form of entertainment. Much violence ensues, along with some adorableness (Rue!) and a little bit of romance.
I could not put this book down. (Warning: I'm probably about to get really vague. I accidentally waited too long before writing this review and now all that left is SO MUCH EMOTION.) What can I say, it was just SO GOOD. This is a great dystopian novel, because it manages to be a terrifying picture of what the world could become, and it's believable. No fantasy required. And the setting is really interesting: North America has become a single country, consisting of a capitol and 12 districts, with the capitol ruling cruelly over the districts while pretending to be taking care of them. In other words, colonialism! See what I mean, with the disturbing realism?
Katniss is a great main character. She's a female lead who kicks ass, so that's already enough for me to like her. She's kind and caring, but is also willing to do what needs to be done to survive, to get back to her family that depends on her. Peeta and Gale, to be honest, don't have me feeling much of anything. I've heard that the second book gets more love triangle-y, which I'm kind of dreading. As you may have noticed, I'm not a big romance fan. And rarely do I enjoy a love triangle. I'd be perfectly happy if Katniss just kept on being a butt-kicking single gal. But I'm probably the minority in that.
My favourite character is Rue. A 12 year old girl selected from District 11, she instantly has your sympathy. And when she (minor spoilers ahead!) surprisingly scores a 7 in training, and says in her interview that "if they can't catch me, they can't kill me", you know she's going to be more than meets the eye.
I can't really say much more while avoiding major spoilers. If you haven't read the book yet, you should!
5 stars. I didn't even do it justice with this review, but it's so good!