I wrote this review awhile ago, but I held off on posting it, thinking both, "do I really want to do book reviews?" and also "do I really need to tell all my smart readers that they need to read the Hunger Games? Hasn't everybody read it?" However, my friend recently admitted to reading The Hunger Games and her husband said, "sounds like a chick book." And then on Facebook, a friend gushed about it and somebody commented on her wall saying, "is that some dumb twilight sh*t?" [sic]
Let's just start out by disabusing the notion that a book that has a female main character is a chick book, mmmkay? It's also not really a kids book, although the three books are all short and read really fast (you should have all three on hand before starting the first one.)
The Hunger Games is, at it's core, about politics, revolution, power, poverty, friendship, and survival. There is a romantic story to it, but kind of the way James Bond movies have a romantic story. It's not a romance, the way Twilight is. It's much more Harry Potter, but instead of good vs. evil, everything has shades of gray.
Hunger Games is about a society in which there are 12 districts and a Capital. The 12 Districts once tried to rebel, and they lost. So now, every year, each district sends 2 children to the Capital to "The Hunger Games" in which the 24 participants are locked in an arena and fight each other to the death. The books are incredibly creative, and not quite like anything else I've read. I spent each book trying to figure out what would happen, and I never saw it coming.
In most epic tales, you have a main character and a Gandalf/Dumbledore/Obi Wan Kenobi type guy. Eventually that guy gets killed off and the main character has to finish what the old wizardy/advisory guy started. You also have a main character that is a boy who goes on an epic quest to rid the world of evil. Here, you have a girl who is simply trying to keep her family together and fed amid serious poverty and a hostile political environment. The Hunger Games turns the modern epic trilogy on it's head. You also have a true partnership between the characters, in which both have strengths, weaknesses, and enormous respect for each other.
If you like:
-strong female characters
-cautionary tales (think Oryx and Crake)
then you will probably like The Hunger Games. Note - I did not put romance on the list. That is because I think that if you are looking for a romance, you're going to be disappointed.
If you like Twilight, you will probably also like the Hunger Games. This is because I believe the popularity of the Twilight books and the Hunger Games has a lot more to do with the fact that there aren't enough books that feature young women as the main characters, and a lot less to do with the fact that the Twilight books feature sparkly vampires. However, if you hated the Twilight books and/or you subscribe to the belief that "if women like it, it must be stupid", you will probably also like the Hunger Games because they're awesome.
Have you read the Hunger Games, or are you holding out because you think it's a chick book? Or perhaps a young adult book? Do you agree with my assessment that it's not a romance, or were the romantic aspects of it a big draw for you? Should I do more book reviews?