The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins

The Hunger Games (Hunger Games, #1)The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Somehow, despite the popularity of this book, I managed to escape ever having read a review or a detailed description. All I knew was that it was about a girl who has to survive a "The Most Dangerous Game" type of situation. Pretty strong stuff for YA fiction, and it turns out that the author didn't pull back from the dark side of such a plot. People must die, even good people. (No, I'm not marking this as a spoiler. Katniss, our heroine, makes that clear very early in the book.) Within the confines of the world Collins has built for the actual Hunger Games, life is not fair. The line between the haves and the have-not is drawn by proximity to the Capitol district of a post civil war North America, with those living the farthest away geographically also living the farthest away economically. That carries through to the participants in the Games, something invented supposedly to remind the various districts the repercussions of fighting against....and there is where the story starts to fall apart for me. There's no solid back story for the how and why North America remains a totalitarian state. What happened that obliterated that basic primal instinct of protecting the young? Why would people continue to have children in the outlying districts? Sure, there will always be people who go along to get along, but there will always also be people, people who don't even have children, who would stand up and say, "No, not the children". How did the citizens of Panem come to the point that they not only allowed their children to be killed year after year, but it becomes a popular entertainment if your child isn't included? Also, it doesn't make sense for a government to allow the second and third strongest competitors to be killed. In a society so interested in strength and beauty, wouldn't they be saved for breeding? I can imagine there are ways this could happen, but I want to know why they happened in this story.

I'm going to keep going with the series, partially because Collins has invented an intriguing character with Kstniss, but all because I want to see where she goes with a society that can't last the way it's been portrayed so far.

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