The Hunger Games

The Hunger Games  - Suzanne  Collins Suzanne Collins' "The Hunger Games" surprised me with how raw and intelligent it presents itself in several considerations. It's as much of a political story as it is one of survival, not only in domestic considerations, but also within the harrowing events of the Hunger Games, where a girl and a boy from each of twelve districts are chosen to compete in a life and death tangle where only one could truly emerge as a winner, but somehow manages to have more surprises than anything else. Katniss manages a meager living with her mother and sister within District 12, but when her younger sister is chosen to compete out of many for the annual Hunger Games competition, she steps up to volunteer in her sister's place. But volunteering to take the coveted, yet feared representative of her district put Katniss in many situations she never expects, including coming into the competition with a boy who'd helped her in the past, having to put on a front in a sea of media coverage, and having to use what survival skills she can in a horrifying tangle of instrumented events and murderous intent.I was surprised by how well the first person narration came across (Katniss is a strong character and easy to relate to), as well as the pacing of events. I wouldn't say that the book is as immediately harrowing as other stories I've read in similar considerations ("Lord of the Files", "The Most Dangerous Game"), but for the dystopic world it establishes and the ability it has to draw you into its conflicts, characterization and action, it's remarkably well done. The writing is simple and straightforward - easy for readers of its target audience (YA) and beyond to digest.The minor gripe I have to make in regards to the first book is the abrupt ending, but it does set the stage for the remaining books in the series, which I definitely plan to partake when I have the opportunity. The major gripe that I have might be something that might surprise some people - despite being thoroughly engaged to the end, I don't think I really took any gripping messages from the book, which I think the author could've delved more acutely and really ran home with them for the issues that are raised. Granted, it is a YA book, but I think adding underlying currents of the intrigues that she presents could've added another level of depth to this book that would really shake the reader to think about the atrocities (fear) and string-pulling that occurs in the book, and I think the audience could've handled it. If "Hunger Games" had punctuated the story with that deeper level, it would be hands down one of the best books I could say I've read. Still, I have no qualms saying that it's one of the finest books I've read in the past few years in YA, and I'd consider it a favorite.Overall score: 4/5