I just finished reading the three books in the Hunger Games series. I have to admit that I was blown away by the first book and it compelled me to read this whole Young Adult book series.
Here are my summaries on the three books. Note: I may reveal things you don’t want to know if you want to read the books yourself. I will conclude with my thoughts on the series and if you’re going to read the boos yourself, feel free to skip to the conclusion and make your own summaries later.
(1) The Hunger Games – The main character Katniss situates us in a world called Panem, in a world with 12 districts each providing the Capital city with a certain resource. 12 produced coal in mines. It is clear that the districts are given only what they need to survive. Each year, the districts have to send two youth to The Hunger Games. A gladiatorial combat game where there can be only one survivor. The Capital glories in the violence and it reminds the districts, who had been subdued by the capital in a past war, where they stand. Under the Capital’s thumb. Katniss and her friend Peeta end up in the games and it is action packed, bloody, and the end is a mind blower. The theme is survival in the face of all odds. The story is primarily about Katniss but also about how she doesn’t want to have to kill anyone. The genetic mutations and the excesses of the Capital stand in a terrible contrast to life in the districts. The large amount of time spent in District 12 felt good for this book. You felt the culture, the lives, the ability to hold on despite terrible circumstance. The depression and hardship was evident. Haymitch, a drunken character, who had seen the contrast between wealth and poverty, emblemized the sadness in this book. But it is a book ultimately about victory against all odds by the underdogs. Because of a fake (or is it) relationship, the two (Katniss and Peeta) survive rather than the One in the Hunger games. This book is a page turner all the way through. The way the rules change to allow two to win, however, shows the sympathies of the people in the Capital for the relationship, and the Capital loses their iron propaganda grip on the people. The end of this book leaves uncertainty in the air. They won, but what will the Capital do to them next?
(2) Catching Fire – Katniss and Peeta are sent from District to district to be shown off as victors. They see the conditions of each place and recognize the types of people who they had to kill from the different districts in the arena. The Girl on Fire, as Katniss is called (because of her amazing costume designer Cinna), lights a flame of rebellion as she is seen by certain districts. They are sent back to District 12, but things have gotten worse there. Katniss, a hunter, can no longer get around the electric fence to the woods, the old peace keepers have been replaced by tougher more army like people, and a new head peacekeeper takes violent vengeance on everyone who breaks rules. The black market is burned, Katniss’ love interest from 12 is whipped to near death, but it doesn’t matter because the year ends up being a Quarter Quell. Victors from past Hunger Games are to reenter the Hunger Games, and fight to the death. Peeta and Katniss are rounded up and placed again in the ring. The President of the Capital shows his power and scares Katniss. There is a lot of build up, but the Hunger games have more personality this time around. The victors are very unique and have reasons they had won the Hunger Games before. It would be very intense. Though the games never finish. The rebellion is behind the scenes. This book is about Rebellion – and stands up to the times we are in with Revolutions around the world. It takes a long time to build the action, but the action is very creative. Well written, and the end of the book again blows your mind. The discovery of the hidden and forgotten district 13, with nuclear arms, promises hope for the rebellion. People die to fight the capital, then get bombed. District 12 is wiped clean at the end of this book.
(3) Mockingjay – This book begins in District 13. Katniss is disoriented and spends a lot of time building up the nerve to be the “Mockingjay” of the people. Basically a symbol of the rebellion – the Girl on fire. Much of the book is about details of spreading rebel propaganda to the Capital which has closely secured television networks. She visits the battlefield, you see her get to know her sister more. They find a comfort from the family cat, though Katniss has a hate relationship with it. District 13 is underground and has nuclear armaments. The President of 13 is just as conniving and brilliant as the President of the Capital. Coin is her name. Snow is the name of the Capital’s president. They are both power brokers with ruthless plans for their rule. Katniss cares nothing for power, but eventually agrees to be the Mockingjay and goes into battle. Much of this book is about medications, order in the community, fighting the Capital, but the end builds to a Real Life Hunger Games as the rebels move into the Capital after capturing all the districts and their resources. Katniss promises to take the life of President Snow and so she pushes her military unit into the heat of battle and they end up in some tough spots. They lose most of their team but in the end there is a shocker. The rebels take the city, but it seems that Coin had it staged that many children would be bombed to make people hate President Snow. Katniss can’t stand Coin or Snow in the end. She gets knocked so bad by the end bombs that she has to be patched up, but the series really takes some interesting turns here. I won’t reveal the very end but I will say that I expected it to end as it did.
Conclusion – This series is perfect to be read in conjunction with what is happening in our world today. The rebellions, the survival of people across the world, the huge amount of accumulated wealth in contrast to abject poverty in most of the nations of the earth and the feeling of being under the thumb of those who hold onto power in the midst of walls and money. The people who live in the midst of the wealth have no clue how bad the world is as a whole, or if they feel it, it is more of a ghost of a feeling rather than an actual knowledge. There are many who choose not to know that the world outside the walls are not as nice as within. But the strength of this book really shows how those who are refined on the outside, without realizing it, are much stronger, and their wills eventually win out. Those who live in complacency and within the walls of corruption and greed – eventually fall. Why? People build good nations on bonds of loyalty and trust. Any nation ruled on the back of pure power and fear will eventually be superseded. Whether God intends this, or it is just a basic principle, I highly recommend all to read The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins. A very worthy read and right up there (in the realm of ideas and worlds) as the Dune Series by the Hebert (though much smaller in scope as a universe). The movies will be coming out soon as well. That will be interesting. Read the books first!