This book has received much publicity and praise since its release and is now the basis of a major motion picture to be released this spring, so I wanted to see what all the hype was about. The Hunger Games is the first in a trilogy aimed at young adults. My feelings are mixed on this one; the story did keep your attention, but the premise was hard to take. Here we have a twelve district country suffering under a cruel totalitarian regime, that as part of its control mechanism forces each district to offer two of their children (12-18 year olds) as competitors in an annual gladiator-type event.
In this story, 24 teens are chosen by lottery and then spend several days preparing themselves to enter an arena where they hunt each other down and savagely murder one another, the victor is the sole survivor. The entire event is aired on live tv throughout the districts, where viewing is required, and passed off as entertainment (think Roman Empire). These hunger games have been in effect for 74 years to remind the citizens of the futility of rebellion. There is only a hint of objection from the main characters to this brutality, who are helpless to rebel and can only fulfill their obligation in the arena. I know many futuristic novels have similar themes, but I find it a bit disturbing that this is such a wildly popular novel for teens.
I will give the author credit for writing a very readable book that kept the story moving forward at a fast pace. However, much of the story and dialogue seem forced and I found Katniss (the main character) a little shallow. Despite that, readers will cheer for her success. I realize my opinion is a great minority, maybe I was expecting too much after all of the promotion. Since this is only book one, I will at least read the next in this series hoping for a better future.