Andrew's Reviews > The Hunger Games

The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins
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May 14, 2012

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Read in May, 2012

** spoiler alert ** Hunger Games is a book that I for the most part enjoyed reading. What I particularly liked was the world building aspects of the books: establishing the setting of an authoritarian future America that entertains itself by watching young children who aren't from the Capital compete to the death. It's a great irony of the book that the audience in the Capital is so superficial that they allow themselves to get caught up in such trivialities as the sparkling dress the main character Katniss wears before the games begin and the love story between her and fellow District 12 contestant Peeta, knowing all the while that 23 of the 24 children in this contest are going to be violently murdered(yet Katniss's dress and the love story between her and Peeta are THE talk of the Capital). The description of the struggles to survive in this futuristic world for Katniss, both before and after the games, are very well done.

If I did have a complaint about the story it's that the author makes things a bit too easy and convenient for Katniss and eliminates what could have been some fascinating ethical choices for her. For example Katniss forms a friendship and partnership with a younger contestant named Rue in the novel, and it would have been interesting to see if she would have killed a younger friend and partner of hers in order to guarantee her own survival. But because another contestant kills Rue before Katniss can save her we never get an answer to that. Similarly a relatively harmless contestant nicknamed Foxface is killed when she steals berries from Peeta and Katniss that turn out to be toxic. Would Katniss have been willing to kill a contestant that posed little threat to her and hadn't tried to kill anyone up to that point? Again we'll never know since she never has to make that choice. The characters Katniss does kill are the easy villains: the older "career" tributes who revel in hurting and killing other kids. Which I suppose is an easy way to keep Katniss as the protagonist, but I would have been interested to see how a protagonist would keep the readers sympathy if she did have the ethical dilemma of killing Rue or Foxface. Towards the very end of the book they force Katniss to fight Peeta to the death in order to win the games after initially announcing they could both be co-winners, and it's only then that she makes a tough choice: she'd rather they both die then either of them have to kill the other. It's a strong ending, but it doesn't negate the fact that the author took the easy way out with the ethical dilemma of killing Rue or Foxface, again mostly so that Katniss could keep the sympathies of the reader throughout the novel.

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