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I had put off reading this trilogy for a long time because the very idea of systematic killing of teens for the entertainment of those in power made me sick. But a few days back I read a post on tumblr where the author compared Panem with today’s world. Disturbingly, there were too many similarities in their world & ours!

In the ruins of a place once known as North America lies the nation of Panem, a shining Capitol surrounded by twelve outlying districts. Long ago the districts waged war on the Capitol and were defeated. As part of the surrender terms, each district agreed to send one boy and one girl to appear in an annual televised event called, “The Hunger Games,” a fight to the death on live TV. Sixteen-year-old Katniss Everdeen, who lives alone with her mother and younger sister, regards it as a death sentence when she is forced to represent her district in the Games. The terrain, rules, and level of audience participation may change but one thing is constant: kill or be killed.

– Amazon

The book has a good pace & I finished reading it in two days. It was hard to put down & Katniss, Peeta, and the Games kept popping up in my head even at work.

What I liked:

  • It is fast paced & to the point
  • The author did not waste time in introducing all the 24 tributes & giving us their stories
  • The cute romance between Peeta & Katniss. I am so glad it wasn’t some highly passionate thing. It was a romance fit for teenagers.
  • The descriptions of the Capitol & its arrangements for the games were excellent.
  • I loved Cinna. I have read just this one book but I think Cinna resents these games as much as Katniss. And so does Haymitch in my opinion. If it comes to a rebellion she can surely count these two on her sides.
  • Cinna’s idea of the ‘girl on fire’ was brilliant. He was given coal & instead of doing the tried & tested thing he did a brilliant job with the costumes. I totally loved his ideas.
  • For a change the female lead was all about physical strength & the male relied on charming his enemies with his wit & talks & his acting skills. And the author did this without making Peeta look girlish & Katniss too much of a brute.
  • Rue! What a lovely girl. I was waiting for her to show her true colours…but then her being a genuine person was truly the best thing. In that land of everything fake she was just what she seemed like.
  • If the author truly did write this novel as a reflection of today’s world then I think she has done a brilliant job.

What I did not like:

  • I just knew it that somehow the rules would bend just for our lovely couple. When the rules changed I nearly rolled my eyes. I was so happy when they said the rules were being changed once again at the last minute, but well…
  • An arena which was mostly a forest, somewhere where Katniss has spent half her life? Could have been better.
  • I was surprised that there were no latent rebellious feelings in the districts. They say if you really want to incite someone to act, involve his children in the game. Here the Capitol has been butchering the district’s children for years now just for the sake of their entertainment & all we see are people watching the games, some training their children to win. While I agree that there is little that the people can do against the Capitol given their complete isolation from one another & the Capitol’s complete control over all their activities I would have been glad if more people had thought like Peeta & Gale & Katniss. Maybe they did. But I never got to read that since it is all from Katniss’s POV.
  • Having only Katniss’s POV also presented the problem that I never got to read about the people in the other districts. What little I learnt about District 11 from Rue was fascinating. I hope the next books offer more glimpses into the other districts.

The book was an engaging read & I will definitely recommend it to everyone. A 4.5