SUMMARY (Courtesy of Borders.com):
In a futuristic society, the United States is divided into 12 districts, each based on their area's natural product. Sixteen-year-old Katniss Everdeen lives in District 12, an area once known as Appalachia. District 12's product is coal. Almost everyone is a miner. It is not a wealthy area. Residents are forced to eat whatever they can find or pay with a chance on their child's life to obtain government surplus foods. Luckily Kat's father taught her how to hunt and gather before he was blown up in a mine explosion. After his death her family depends on her for survival, until the very worst thing happens to them: She is sent to the Hunger Games to represent District 12 in a fight to the death. If she wins, both her family and her district will be rewarded with all the food and wealth they need. Kat is ready to do battle with the wilderness and the other tributes, but she isn't ready to fall in love. What happens when she finds she has feelings for her partner and knows she must kill him...
OPINION: 4 STARS
My first thought on this book was that it was very much like Battle Royale in the basic idea but it has enough of its own spark and flare to make me forget that. The set up of the Games and everything leading up was well done- perfectly cruel and created with a hopeless sense of dread and loss. The way things were written managed to draw me in, making me feel that same sense of worry and fear and even hatred of the overly powerful government that is inflicting this on its constituents.
One thing I really did like was that the lead up to Katniss leaving for the Games did not take a long time, and even the time in the pregame related stuff was not drawn out- everything happened at a good, steady pace. There were some parts of the actual Games that I felt dragged but at the same time, I think it did help the story because it gave a break from the action but not a break from the fear and worry and exhaustion that would come with being forced into the Arena.
Katniss's character, however, did bother me. There were times where I didn't feel like her decisions made sense and she often seemed to have an irritating ability to miss obvious things. However, her decision with the berries was perfect and also set a great stage for the rest of the trilogy although I am not sure where it could go from here.
As far as cliff hanger endings go, this one was only decent in my mind- it didn't leave me completely dying for the next book but it did make me want to keep reading at some point.
Drawing courtesy of Deviantart