THE HUNGER GAMES: If You’ve Seen the Movie, Read the Trilogy!

Darn, in the midst of Book III, Mockingjay, of The Hunger Games, I think what a treat I almost missed.  So to take a break and stretch out the time I have to savor this excellently constructed plot—conflict and rising action, Book I, The Hunger Games; crisis, Book II, Catching Fire; and the climax and denouement, Book III, Mockingjay—I insert my bookmark, close the book, and look for something else to do.  But I can’t stop thinking about it.

The Hunger Games is the first in Suzanne Collins’s trilogy in which she tells the history of the Hunger Games in Panem, the country that rose up out of the ashes of what once was North America.  Disasters, droughts, storms, fire, and the encroaching seas destroyed so much of the land, and brutal war to claim what little sustenance remained followed.  “The result was Panem, a shining Capitol ringed by thirteen districts, which brought peace and prosperity to its citizens.  Then came the Dark Days, the uprising of the districts against the Capitol.  Twelve were defeated, the thirteenth obliterated.”  The Treaty of Treason was signed, and to punish the remaining districts—and to keep them in line—the Hunger Games were invented.

According to the rules of the Hunger Games, each district must provide one girl and one boy, called tributes, to participate.  The twenty-four tributes are imprisoned in a vast outdoor arena where they must over a period of several weeks fight to the death.

When I began the series, I was disturbed by the fact that young people were given permission to kill one another but realized soon there was a larger message.  I fell in love with some of the major characters, particularly Katniss Everdeen of District 12, the main character.  The entire series is riveting, captivating, heartbreaking . . . and the reader is ever hopeful that in spite of the twists and turns, the devastating losses, all might right itself in the end.

Perhaps you saw the blockbuster movie made from the first book, The Hunger Games, but I doubt the movie does the book justice.  I cannot imagine that even the movie was able to capture the depth of emotion and suspense Suzanne Collins displays in her books.  Read the book to see what you’re missing, and be sure to have book two, Catching Fire, and book three, Mockingjay, on hand because I guarantee you will not be able to put them down until you have finished.

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