“The Hunger Games” Trilogy by Suzanne Collins

I’ve been putting off writing this entry because I needed time to sort out my emotions and thoughts after finishing “The Hunger Games” trilogy. The first movie was released last month and that is what got me hooked. Based on all the rave reviews and the similarities with a Japanese movie titled “Battle Royale”, it seemed like it had a lot of potential.

Here is a basic plot summary of “The Hunger Games”: the story is set in the nation of Panem (post-apocalyptic North America) which is composed of 12 districts and the Capitol. Each of the districts is responsible for a different industry, for example District 12 mines coal, and all the resources are delivered to the Capitol. This is a classic “poor vs. rich” class struggle and it is as compelling and relevant as ever (especially during this recession). There was a 13th district but it was destroyed during a failed rebellion. As a reminder of this failed rebellion,1 boy and 1 girl are picked from each district to serve as tributes in a televised battle to the death known as the Hunger Games.

I saw the movie a few weeks after it was released and was blown away by it. “Wow…” is the only way to describe it. “The Hunger Games” is a emotionally touching story of survival, oppression and one’s ability to maintain his/her own character despite these struggles. The most touching scene was when Rue, the smallest and youngest tribute, is killed and Katniss, the main character and her ally, stays by her side, protecting here until she dies. After Rue’s death, Katniss collects flowers and decorates her body as a final burial and farewell, giving her death some dignity despite it being televised entertainment.

This is targeted towards young adults and naturally there is a romantic love triangle that appeals to the teenage girl inside us (ahem… Twilight), but I think it enhanced the story rather than dominated it. Despite the horrors and cruelty of the games, these were still teenagers who wanted to live a normal life but would never be able to have it. Also I think that the two male love interests serve as symbols which Katniss ultimately needs to choose between.

After only 1 movie, I was hooked. It was impossible to find a copy at my local library and I bit the bullet and ordered the trilogy. 4 days later, 1000+ pages read, I was floored. The trilogy is set up as 3 acts and each book serves a specific purpose. Separately, they were amazing books, but together, they were a symphony. It reflected so many current topics: economic inequality, reality TV, violence, child soldiers, war. It is a story of survival and hope, and though it wasn’t a happy ending, it was as close as one we could have. War may bring change but it comes at a very large price.

This is one instance where I felt the movie was just as good (if not better) than the book. The next movie is set to be released in November 2013. Until then, I smile at every “The Hunger Games”, “Catching Fire” and “Mockingjay” book I see on the train and try to control my urge to dive into the world of Panem again.

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