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USG Book Review: The Hunger Games

Hey Everybody Rick here with a book review.  I don't normally do book reviews on the site not because I don't like to read.  Far from it, I love reading.  I just have not had much time to do so.  That said, I recently was given a copy of a book that caught me completely by surprise.    The book is The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins.

The Hunger Games takes place in a dystopian future where what used to be North America is now divided into districts and is now known as Panem.  The lower number districts are the wealthier ones while the higher numbered districts are significantly poorer and force the citizens to the point of poverty and abject starvation.  In an effort to control the masses from revolution, the Capital of Panem does an annual culling of the youth, picking a male and female from each district as tribute to participate in the Hunger Games.  These kids are essentially put in an arena and forced to fight to the death.  The winner is bestowed with riches and prety much never having to starve ever again.   However, the games are overseen by the Gamemakers who can change conditions in the arena to pretty much whatever they want in an effort to make for good television.  Oh yeah, these "games" are televised.

The Hunger Games follows Katniss Everdeen, a citizen of District 12 who volunteers as tribute in place of her sister Prim who gets selected to be in the games. We follow Katniss and the male tribute from District 12, Peeta as they are prepared for the games and everything that they go through before, during and after the games.  I won't go into spoilers but the story is filled with twists, turns, and some really surprisingly violent moments. 

That is the good, and believe me, the good definitely outweighs the bad here.  Having said that, I did take issue with a couple of things and I think that this is just my fanboy ranting but still these things annoyed me.  The first issue was that the book was written in first person with a present tense.  That took me out of the story at first.  Once I got over that hurdle (which was not too long after I started reading), I was able to enjoy the book a lot more.  Second, the characters of Peeta and Gale were not fleshed out enough.  Peeta is a major character and he was a little too second fiddle for me.  I know it was because we were following Katniss exclusively as the main character but I would  have loved to get more backstory and the mindset of at the very least Peeta.  Perhaps this will pay off for both of the male lead characters in the later books...

Otherwise the story is very tight and a very quick read, and a very good read as well. You can't help but get caught up in the story and once the games start, the twists start coming in fast and hit you hard.

While The Hunger Games is a story written for teenagers, it is heavy stuff and things get super dark and really intense. Even still, The Hunger Games is one hell of a fun read. I was not expecting to enjoy reading it as much as I did. I cannot possibly recommend this book enough. The movie will be out at the end of this month so I am very curious to see how they pulled off certain things in the book.

Final Rating: A-

I read this book after a recommendation from a co-worker. I was afraid of another Twilight struggle, but found myself really enjoying this book and the two subsequent novels. Cannot recommend this enough.

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