I really need to give in to book blogger peer pressure more often. I gave in and read the Uglies series by Scott Westerfeld, and truly enjoyed them. I wasn’t sure about reading Suzanne Collins’ The Hunger Games, though, because it was the same genre and I thought I might be ready for a break from dystopian fiction. But then I read Sandy’s review and Vasilly’s review and I caved. I am so glad I did.
Most of you have read multiple reviews of this book, so I’m going to skip the plot synopsis and just tell you why I loved this book and rated it five stars, when I only gave Uglies four. Don’t get me wrong – I enjoyed the Uglies series very much (first three, anyway – haven’t read book four yet); four stars in my rating system means “I loved it.” Five stars however means that I will actively proselytize for this book, telling everyone they should get their hands on a copy no matter what it takes and read it right now. And that’s how I feel about The Hunger Games.
I think the biggest reason is the main character, Katniss. She is someone who has been required to become a strong survivor and provide for her family, and yet Collins writes her with just enough vulnerability to keep her from seeming hard. Collins has a talent for writing characters – even the minor ones – in such a way that you care for them. I couldn’t believe how hard I cried over the death of one of the relatively minor characters – both because of the character and because of Katniss’s reaction. I cared so much about the characters that I couldn’t stop turning the pages this afternoon, letting laundry and housework and blogging all go by the wayside until I had finished.
Collins also has a talent for description. This is definitely a plot-driven novel, and yet Collins gives the right amount of well-crafted description to help you see this book. In fact, there were scenes that played out in my head like a movie. (I wasn’t surprised to learn that this book has been optioned for a film adaptation. I am especially pleased that Ms. Collins will be writing the screenplay herself – perhaps the film will hold up to the book.) Because I could see the action in my head, certain scenes were intensely emotional, while others were incredibly disturbing. The future that this book portrays is completely different from the future in Uglies, and yet equally as believable.
The book ends with some things unresolved, and I will be anxiously awaiting book two, Catching Fire, which comes out in September.