“Harry Potter” is finished. Let’s face it, our childhood is over. No more standing in line at midnight dressed as a favorite character. No more days spent lounging in pajamas as your fingers flip through the latest adventure. Time to forget about reading and return to the latest story arc of “Breaking Bad.”
This was my approach until someone loaned me a copy of “The Hunger Games” by Suzanne Collins. I had heard quite a bit of hype, what with a movie release scheduled for this March. Maybe this was it! The written word’s newest savior. Maybe lovable Harry could be pushed aside by the more abrasive Katniss. With new found hope I set about reading the first novel in the series.
Katniss, a sixteen-year-old from a locality known as District 12, lives in a futuristic North America after the present day countries have been abolished and replaced by a continent known as Panem. At some point during the history of Panem, the surrounding districts had rebelled against the capitol and had failed miserably. As punishment, the capitol selects a boy and girl between the ages of 12 and 18 from each of the thirteen surrounding districts to fight to the death in what is known as The Hunger Games. This arena can be any climate and the event is broadcast to the entire population.
“Good start,” I thought to myself. Anything involving an oppressive government has to be somewhat entertaining. The story so far is intriguing. Although the writing is plain and simplistic, the plot keeps me glued to the book.
Katniss, as well as a boy from her district known as Peeta, are selected to be the “tributes” from their district in the games. Throughout the course of the book, Katniss and Peeta are forced to fight and sometimes kill other tributes. They eventually team up and start to form a relationship as the world watches.
“A little dramatic,” I thought to myself. I do like the aspect of rebellion creeping into the story however. Maybe this is going somewhere. One thing the author does well is tie in minor story lines that lead up to future books. This book sets the scene for a possible uprising against the capitol later in the series. Again, the writing continued to be weak but the action was very exciting so I found it plenty entertaining.
So as not to spoil the book, I wont give away too much of the final exciting moments of the games or the resulting reaction from the rest of Panem. Suffice it to say that the book starts to focus less on the action and more on the dramatic mess of Katniss’ romance. Peeta loves her. She loves some old fling named Gale back in District 12. Peeta gets mad. Tensions grow.
“Well dang. It’s a soap opera,” I thought to myself.
So maybe it is not the replacement for “Harry Potter.” It is a little corny, the writing is not fantastic, and the storyline is ripped from older novels. But “The Hunger Games” is a thoroughly enjoyable read that I would recommend that any young person read before turning to “Pretty Little Liars” to fill that void left by good old Harry.