Monday, June 06, 2011

The Hunger Games, by Suzanne Collins



(hb; 2008: first book in The Hunger Game series)

From the inside jacket:

"In the ruins of a place once known as North America lies the capital 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 became a contender. But if she is to win, she will have to start making choices that weigh survival against humanity and life against love."

Review:

Good action-packed, romantic and descriptive teen novel, with science fiction leanings. It reads like a Westernized, more gauzy-eyed (and more straightforward) variation on Koushun Takami's 1999 novel, Battle Royale.

The Hunger Games would have been an excellent read, except for Collins' use of the present tense in her writing. Interested readers - like myself - who are put off by that editorially frowned-upon writing approach may want to borrow the novel from the library. Initally, I only read beyond the first few pages because a literate, professional cake-making friend challenged me to give it an hour (thanks, Melinda!); I did, and Collins' descriptive writing and race-through pace made me, for the span of the novel, tolerate Collins' use of present tense writing. (For me, present tense writing only works in short-short stories, plays and screenplays.)

Worth owning, if you're an afficionado of first-person/present tense teen fiction (I prefer to borrow my teen fiction, as my reading fare usually runs toward darker, more adult fare).

Followed by The Hunger Games: Catching Fire.



The Hunger Games is scheduled to be released stateside as a film on March 23, 2012.

Jennifer Lawrence is set to play Katniss Everdeen. Josh Hutcherson is scheduled to play Peeta Mellark. Liam Hemsworth is set to play Gale Hawthorne. Woody Harrelson is set to play Haymitch Abernathy. Willow Shields is set to play Primrose Everdeen. Lenny Kravitz is set to play Cinna.

Isabelle Fuhrman is set to play Clove. Alexander Ludwig is set to play Cato. Amber Chaney is set to play "Avox Girl". Leven Rambin is set to play Glimmer. Amandla Stenberg is set to play Rue. Dayo Okeniyi is set to play Thresh. Latarsha Rose is set to play Portia. Brooke Bundy is set to play Octavia. Tim Taylor is set to play "Gamekeeper".

Donald Sutherland is set to play President Snow. Stanley Tucci is set to play Caesar Flickerman. Wes Bentley is set to play Seneca Crane. Paula Malcolmson is set to play Mrs. Everdeen. Toby Jones is set to play Claudius Templesmith.

The film is set to be scripted and directed by Gary Ross.

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