When it comes to The Hunger Games, I feel like I’m walking into the ballroom in my tuxedo with a bottle of champagne in each hand only to find no one there except for a lone janitor sweeping up confetti along with a couple of people passed out under tables and there's only a bottle of crème de menthe left at the bar. In other words, I’m late to the party.
Since I’m so tardy, I don’t think there’s anything I can add, particularly since YA isn’t my usual thing. So I’ll just give it four stars and note a few things that stuck out for me:
* I particularly liked the way that Collins portrayed the reality television aspect to the games. The idea that the smart contestants have to play a role in order to get public support even as they’re fighting for their lives was a good way to work some subtle points about the nature of watching people who know they’re being observed.
* Collins also did a nice job of depicting the ‘hunger’ aspect of this. The descriptions of the food deprived District 12, Katniss’s constant struggle to literally put bread on the table, and then her fascination with the rich food of the Capital kept you aware of how food was always on her mind. It also had me constantly raiding the fridge.
* This reminded me a lot of Stephen King’s The Long Walk (Written under his Richard Bachman alias originally.) in a good way. That story also featured young people competing in a brutal public contest that was orchestrated by the government for the amusement of the masses. This gave me the urge to reread it.
* I’ve got a teenage niece who went through an unfortunate Twilight phase, but she came through unscathed and is a big fan of this series. I’m tremendously glad about that because I obviously prefer her using the tough and independent Katniss as a role model rather than Bella Swan. I’d rather see her running through the woods hunting humans with a bow-n-arrow rather than pining over pale losers.