Sunday, July 4, 2010

Could you survive on your own, in the wild, with every one 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. But if she is to win, she will have to start making choices that will weigh survival against humanity and life against love.

This trilogy is I think the most under-appreciated Young Adult Fiction of this time. With teens and tweens melting over The Twilight Saga, it's understandable that they be too preoccupied to read something new, something better written, with a mesmerizing more detailed, more creative fictional world with well-rounded characters and, most of all, something with an independent, courageous but endearing heroine.

We have less and less novels for teens which promote a strong feminine example and it makes me sick that  a needy, love / lust crazed, insecure female character (Yes, I'm talking about Bella) is more celebrated than a strong, self preserving one. Most books would often just have ordinary-girl-meets-handsome-supernatural-boy, girl-gets-saved-by-supernatural-handsome-boy, and-they-lived-happily-ever-after-until-girl-needs-to-be-saved-again. Do we, females, always have to be dependent on our male counterparts? Is that all we can do, play the damsel in distress? Thank Suzanne Collins for a novel like this.

I had been searching for an "unputdownable" book for so long now. The kind that you never want to let go because it's so engaging and you just stop because your eyes can't take it anymore. After reading popular novels in almost every genre, imagine my surprise when this mildly popular Teen's book just managed to suck me right in its captivating world.

Don't be fooled by the minimalist cover. The Hunger Games is a wonderful book. Yes, it's brutal, it's violent, it's about a bunch of teenagers shoved in an arena to kill each other until there is only one left. But it is also about love, about responsibility, about honor, survival, freedom and trust.

I think the thing that I like most about this book is it's heroine, Katniss Everdeen. She is undoubtedly a pillar of strength and spirit. A sort of character that I have no problem if teens want to identify with her. Another is the lack of full-on romance. There is romance, and it's very well incorporated into the action of the story, but it is absolutely refreshing to read a young adult book without it as the primary subject of the whole novel. Last among the many wonderful things that I like about this trilogy is the world. Its ingenious post-apocalyptic world, Panem, is very well thought out, from the city to the different districts and their specialties, to the mutant animals that serves as both foe and friend. Of course it doesn't match JKR's Wizarding World but it can stand its own.

The second book of the trilogy is entitled Catching Fire. The third is Mockingjay, due to be released this August 24, 2010.

For some reason, I feel that it is my mission to introduce the world to this wonderful creation and convert them to fans, especially the lost little ones who still think that The Twilight Saga is the greatest book in the history of mankind. Hopefully, with this post, even to some infinitesimal extent, I have.


Celine said...

The Hunger Games Series is a lot better than Twilight Saga. I have actually read the first and second book. I cannot wait to read Mockingjay.

The Hunger Games Trilogy

Clarriscent said...

Me too. August is taking too long.

Clarriscent said...

R.L. Stine recommended The Hunger Games as a novel that has the four essential ingredients for any successful, saleable novel for the YA audience.

1. An interesting, believable, credible protagonist they can relate to.
2. A story told from the point of view of that protagonist, and that protagonist only—no head hopping. The closer you stay to the character, the more readers will be able to connect with him or her.
3. A growing threat to that character until it appears there’s no way out.
4. Lots of twists and turns—YA novels love shocks and surprises.

Netherland said...

A friend recommend the trilogy because of its strong female lead and I really liked the series. And like you, I'm not too into sci-fi. Another series I picked up at the same time (recommended by the same person for the same reason) was Graceling (sequel Fire, final book out this year Bitterblue), a fantasy story I'd recommend. My friend partially recommended the two so I'd see the difference between sci-fi and fantasy, a distinction she finds important.

Anonymous said...

I like it when you said "unputdownable" book. Meyer also said that, haha i think she realize that her novels must not so be overrated. yikes!

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