Someone told me everyone’s going crazy over The Hunger Games, so I thought, well let’s read it then. Suzanne Collins, the author of the Underland Chronicles (the books about Gregor), obviously finds dystopic future worlds interesting material and she’s created a fairly bleak one in The Hunger Games.
Panem was once the United States of America and is now a series of Districts (12 in total – the 13th was destroyed to teach people a lesson) ruled from the capital (conveniently called the Capitol) whose effete and blood-thirsty citizens are entertained once a year by the Hunger Games. The Hunger Games are a fight to the death broadcast on national television (essential viewing for the Capitol, enforced viewing for the Districts), with each District being represented by a girl and a boy. Twenty four “tributes” are left in an elaborately built arena (complete with hills, valleys, lakes, forests) to duke it out until there’s only one alive.
The Hunger Games is a kind of cross between The Truman Show and The Lord of the Flies. It’s a quick, gripping read and I recommend it: it’s one of the best YA books I’ve read this year. Check out what Stephen King had to say about it in Entertainment Weekly (I agree with his comment about authorial laziness, but I didn’t really care). He’s a better reviewer than I am.