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I got a present of The Hunger Games boxset for Christmas but have been trying to put off reading them. There were a couple of reasons for this, namely because I had heard so much hype about them. Now in my opinion there are 2 main problems which can stem from a book in particular having so much hype behind it.
It could be awful. Lots of people have read it and think it’s brilliant so the rest of the world feels compelled to agree for fear that they will be thought “uncultured” for not enjoying it. In which case I really didn’t want to put myself through something painfully horrible to read. Why would anyone do that to themselves?
It could be brilliant…..now a lot of people may not understand why I think this is a problem, but they are probably the same sort of people who wouldn’t understand how I ended up with 130 books on my to be read shelf. See if a book on my shelf is in fact brilliant and I read it, then it has to go on my Read shelf and then I won’t have it to look forward to anymore. It’ll be one of those that I’ve read once upon a time. No more suspense, no more carefully caressing it, or pulling it off the shelf to look and then carefully placing it back to be read another day. It’s done with and that’s it.
I have a weird relationship with books.
Despite all of this, on a sunny Sunday afternoon, after originally picking a Jeffrey Archer book to begin, I changed my mind and decided I needed to try this out. If it was going to be brilliant, then I can’t think of any better time that a sunny Sunday afternoon to find out.
Let’s just say, I finished it that evening. It took me 2 sittings, only because I had to make an emergency trip to the shops; even then I dragged myself away from the sunlounger.
Katniss lives in a very different world to ours. In her world the Capitol rules and the 12 districts surrounding it, must comply. Part of this involves each district sending 2 young people between 12 and 18 to an event called the Hunger Games. The Hunger Games just happens to be a fight to the death. The rewards however outweigh the losses in the eyes of many, for whoever wins, will never have to worry about poverty again, and until the next Hunger Games the winner’s district will be showered with gifts and food.
Unfortunately for Katniss, her district, number 12 is the poorest one. Unlike 1, 2 and 3 they cannot afford to spend time and money training the young people to fight, district 12’s teenagers must just survive if they can. On the day of the Reaping, everyone must gather in the square to watch the names being picked out, and on this day, Katniss Everdeen’s younger sister who has just turned 12 is the first name out of the drum. Sacrificing herself for her sister, Katniss volunteers to take her place.
What I loved about this is the immense detail which is given about the world they live in. The rules of The Hunger Games are detailed as are the ceremonies and rituals leading up to it, but it never feels like exposition. It feels real. I flew through the book but yet there was so much information that my mind was reeling after it. I really want to read the next one but now there is even more pressure, see points 1 and 2 above!
Hype in this case was well and truly deserved. I just wish there had been Young Adult books like this around when I was growing up. There seems to be a plethora of them now, with really good, gripping stories and I’m delighted that young people get the chance to indulge in these fantasy worlds and hope they enjoy them and keep reading as adults.