In this futuristic world the country Panem (the area once known as North America) has been divided into 12 Districts, all under control of the main city called Capitol. People in the Districts live in poverty and under constant fear of punishment from the wealthy citizens of Capitol. After a rebellion in the past caused the destruction of a thirteenth district the Capitol created the Hunger Games as a way to control the population. Every year each District must supply two children (one male and one female) between the ages of 12 and 18 to take part in the televised games. 24 children go into the games but only one will be alive at the end, they must kill or be killed in the ultimate fight for survival.
I feel like I must be one of the last people on the planet to actually start reading the Hunger Games series. I've had so many recommendations for the series over the last few years but for some reason never found the time to read it. Having seen the film trailers and desperately wanting to watch it I decided I really should read the book before it comes out in March. Well at least I can now understand what all the hype is about, I was completely hooked on the story and can't wait to read the next two books.
The story is told from the point of view of 16 year old Katniss who has been looking after her mother and sister ever since the death of her father five years ago. Her mother was completely unable to cope with her loss and it was up to Katniss to learn to hunt and gather food to keep them from starving. Katniss would do anything to protect her sister so when Prim is selected as one of the District 12 Tributes she immediately steps forward to take her place. She knows she has hardly any chance of surviving the games but she can't let them take her sister. It was easy to like Katniss, she is loyal to her family and friends, courageous enough to stand up for what she believes in and at times a bit of a rebel even in a society where rebellion can be the death of you. She is also intelligent enough to realise that she has to play the game and give the viewers what they want if she has any hope of making it through the games in one piece.
There were times when I felt the story was a little on the predictable side, some things were obviously going to happen and although I didn't always know how you would get from point A to point B I did know what point B would be. Having said that I still thoroughly enjoyed the journey and found it difficult to put the book down once I'd started reading. I was rooting for Katniss to find a way to beat the system, I wanted to see her come out on top and thoroughly enjoyed watching her beat the odds. The story line moves at a good pace and makes for an addictive read.
I'm looking forward to finding out more about the side characters in Catching Fire. While Peeta was a nice character I have to admit I'm a lot more interested in Gale so I'm hoping we get to see much more of him in the next book. I'm very curious about how the series will play out and am even more excited about watching the film than I was before. If you're like I was and nervous that Hunger Games won't live up to the hype then stop worrying and grab your copy today - I'm sure you won't be disappointed!