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Friday, June 28, 2013

Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins

The Hunger Games (The Hunger Games #1)The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Jacket blurb: Could you survive on your own, in the wild, with everyone out to make sure you don't live to see the morning?

In the ruins of a place once known as North America lies the nation of Panem, a shining Capitol surrounded by twelve outlying districts. The Capitol is harsh and cruel and keeps the districts in line by forcing them all to send one boy and one girl between the ages of twelve and eighteen to participate in the annual 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 steps forward to take her sister’s place in the Games. But Katniss has been close to dead before—and survival, for her, is second nature. Without really meaning to, she becomes a contender.

If she is to win, she will have to start making choices that will weigh survival against humanity and life against lov

I usually don't jump on the "bestseller" bandwagon and I don't respond well to "You HAVE to read this!" declarations because my tastes are a bit eclectic and I know what I prefer and what I don't enjoy.  So it was with a bit of reluctance that I picked up the Hunger Games. I wanted something different from my usual audiobooks and this was actually available.

I admit I was pleasantly surprised.  I did enjoy this but with some reservations, which might be due to the audiobook narrator herself and not an actual function of the story.  I've mentioned before, a narrator can make or break a story, even a good one.

My main complaint was the story felt overly dramatic to me:  dehydration on day one; a wall of fire to get the action going, but yet there are other long stretches that the 'audience' could have found boring; no less than three contestants who, at any given time, were just hiding - again, a wall of fire, then nothing?  The narrator read the action bits in this slow, breathy, undetermined accent and I found myself going "yeahhh, right..." more than once. 

For a YA book, this was a pretty violent concept - which I already knew from the movie previews - putting 24 kids ranging between the ages of 12 to 18 and have them fight to the death.  And yet, it was made into a movie?  For kids?  I'm flummoxed...

I did like how the author approached the 'love story' in this - our main character Katniss is confused about her own emotions and falls back on habits she knows will support and comfort her.  There is no starry eyed 'falling in love'.  There is no jumping into the sack.  The emotions are raw, confused, and add nicely to the overall story.

This was a good book that explored a futuristic society through the eyes of one girl and one very viscous game.  Recommended as an audiobook.

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