I have been reading a lot of young adult fiction lately. I am not sure why. But my sister-in-law gave me Hunger Games to read on our beach vacation.
I read it less than a day. It is the story of a 16 year old girl in a post apocalyptic North America. A brutal government has organized North American into 13 districts (12 still exist, the 13th was destroyed when it rebelled.)
Each year, the government organizes the Hunger Games both as a distraction for the people and as an example of the power the central government. Two teens, one boy and one girls are chosen from each district and forced to fight to the death. The game is televised and watched like an extreme version of American Idol.
This clearly has some references to the classic short story, “The Lottery” and some hints at the ideas in “Lord of the Flies”. This is a very good young adult books, but is fairly brutal, after all the central idea of the book is a game where all the contestants kill one another. It is still youth fiction, even though there are some graphic fight scenes, the language is mild, and the romance is chaste.
In some ways it is similar to Legacy (my review). Both are about teen girls. Legacy is set in an ancient kingdom, Hunger Games in a future post-apocalyptic North America. Both involve outside challenges and difficulties with romance. But in the end Hunger Games leans more toward Orson Scott Card’s Ender’s Game (one of my all time favorite novels) and Legacy leans toward a Disney classic. I think Hunger Games is very good, but the second book is even better. I will blog about the second book on Friday. The third book comes out in Aug 2010.