"What happens if we choose entertainment over humanity? In Collins's world, we'll be obsessed with grooming, we'll talk funny, and all our sentences will end with the same rise as questions. When Katniss is sent to stylists to be made more telegenic before she competes, she stands naked in front of them, strangely unembarrassed. “They're so unlike people that I'm no more self-conscious than if a trio of oddly colored birds were pecking around my feet,” she thinks. In order not to hate these creatures who are sending her to her death, she imagines them as pets. It isn't just the contestants who risk the loss of their humanity. It is all who watch."
--Publishers Weekly, Megan Whalen Turner, STARRED REVIEW
What could I possibly say about this book that so many other people haven't already said. My good friend Natalie (blog writer extraordinare of Browsing Bookshelves on Blogspot.com) recommended this book to me and at first I was a bit hesitant because it isn't something I would usually read, but right from the get go I was trapped in this very dystopian world of Katniss Everdeen. In the beginning you get a feeling of a very powerful although lonely heroine Katniss; her world has been turned upside down of the division of North America into 13 Districts, hers being the 12th, and to boot every year the Capitol holds something (sort of like the Olympics in my mind but much more deadly) called the Hunger Games. After that has been described to you within the book you think "Oh well she's obviously going to be chosen to contend in the Games" but that is not at all how it happens. I won't reveal what happens but she does eventually go to the Capitol to contend in the Hunger Games with her male contestant a very average, mediocre village boy named Peeta. But little does the reader and Katniss realize this boy is about to throw her world upside down.
I must admit at first I was a little annoyed by Peeta he really didn't turn out to be the "love" interest I thought would be chosen for Katniss by the author but by the end of the book I was totally attached to him. Throughout the Games he proves time after time that he is truly meant for her although she is too thick skulled to actually realize it right away. And at the end of the book she starts to realize it and the reader is left with this uncertain feeling that perhaps she is finally getting that he actually cares about her. But by that point she is also thinking of her long time friend back home Gale, who if you're a Peeta fan throws a wrench in Katniss' and Peeta's relationship. The author leaves the book with a great (yet annoying) little cliff hanger at the end begging for the reader to continue right into the second one without a pause (which I am about to do!).
Overall this book was nothing as I expected. It has all the rebellion and action you would expect from a Dystopian novel, and yet more romance then I personally thought I would find. The author (Suzanne Collins) does an absolute superb job of getting the reader hooked first with Katniss and her harsh yet delicate personality and then continues that addiction with adding in her friendly partner in crime, the tempting Gale, BUT ALSO then throwing in the average but bewitching Peeta. What's the poor girl to do !!
The writing is fantastic with never a dull moment, and the first book leaves you wanting more and more once you're done. I would suggest everyone at least read the first novel of this marvelous trilogy if not for the budding romance but at least for the action filled, on the edge your seat, tantalizing Hunger Games.