The Hunger Games (1st volume)
Today I’ll present you a novel that I really enjoyed even if it’s a dystopia. Written by Suzanne Collins and published in 2008, The Hunger Games is a trilogy which was adapted in a movie, but I’ll only talk about the first volume here.
The story is related by Katniss Everdeen, a sixteen-year-old teenager who lives in a post-apocalyptic America, now named Panem. Panem is separated in twelve districts, the thirteenth having been destroyed after the rebellion that it created against the Capitol, the powerful repressive government of the country. To punish the districts, the Capitol created a televised game named The Hunger Games, in which one boy and one girl of each district (24 “tribes”) have to fight in a gigantic arena. In this arena an ecosystem has been recreated, and there are traps everywhere to complicate the task of staying alive. The last participant alive is declared the winner and comes back into its district with a large quantities of groceries for each inhabitant.
It is into this nightmare that Katniss will be drawn. Indeed, her little sister Prim must be District 12’s tribute but Katniss presents herself as a volunteer to save her from death. Furthermore, it was the first time Prim had put her name in the box which is used to select the two tributes, so it’s really a misfortune that she was selected. So, Katniss and the other tribute Peeta, a son of baker with whom she has a special link, has to go to the Capitol to be presented to the Gamemakers in a fabulous ceremony. There, Katniss and Peeta receive an ovation from the crowd because of their outfit, designed by their stylists Cinna and Portia; indeed, they wear a black suit with a fired cap to represent the burned coal in the mines. Then, they have to train for a few days before their entrance in the arena.
I wont describe all the hardships Katniss has to bear, but at the end she wins the Games with Peeta thanks to an ingenious stratagem which consists in simulating a requited love; they were the “star-crossed lovers from district 12” and attracted the sympathy of the public.
I think it’s a good story because the abnegation of Katniss toward her sister is very rare; everyone wants to stay alive and even brothers and sisters refuse to fight against each other. It’s a lesson of courage and generosity that she gives.
Moreover, there is a reference to the legend of the Minotaur: born of the union of Pasiphaë and a white bull sent by Poseido to Minos, the king of Crete, he was shut in the Daedalus’ labyrinth. In order to punish the crime of Egee, the king of Athenes who murdered Minos’s son, seven young men and seven young women were sent as sacrifices into the labyrinth. One year, Egeus’s son, Theseus, was sent too. He defeats the Minotaur thanks to Ariane, Minos’ daughter.
The author specified too that she was thinking about war when she had the idea of The Hunger Games.
In a nutshell, I really liked reading this book. I read it in French the first time and in English the second time, so I can tell you that’s the translation is pretty correct in French. If you aren’t really used to reading books in English, you wont lose anything, but it’s really easy too understand it. I’m not that good but I could end it so you can ! I’m reading the second volume and I can say that it’s promising too.
I hope that you’ve enjoyed this review!
Good bye !