Friday, 17 August 2012

Hunger Games

Hunger Games

I finally finished The Hunger Games trilogy. I must say it took me longer than I thought but I am glad I read it.

For those who don’t know The Hunger Games is a young adult novel by American television writer and novelist Suzanne Collins. It is written in the voice of 16-year-old Katniss Everdeen, who lives in the post-apocalyptic nation of Panem, where the countries of North America once existed. The Capitol, a highly advanced metropolis, rules over the rest of the nation. The Hunger Games are an annual event in which one boy and one girl aged 12 to 18 from each of the twelve districts surrounding the Capitol are selected by lottery to compete in a televised battle to the death until only one person remains.

The hunger games originated after district 13 had an uprising against the Capitol and then after destroying 13 the Capitol instated these “games” as a lesson to the rest to ensure that they don’t also start an uprising.

In the first book titled The Hunger Games, Katniss takes her sister, Prim’s, place when her name gets called in the Reaping. The other tribute from 12 is the baker’s son Peeta. The tributes are then placed on a train and they are then transported to the Capitol. On arrival they get a prep team who has to redo the tributes and make them spectacular. They also have a mentor who was a previous victor, the drunken Haymitch. On the first day of the games nearly half of the tributes are killed and Katniss depends on her hunting skills to survive. While Peeta is spinning the story of the star crossed lovers who will never be able to be together thanks to the games.

The gamemakers announce that if the tributes can survive with their district tribute both of them can survive. Katniss and Peeta join forces and fight to the end. Until the shocking revelation that they won’t be spared. Katniss gives Peeta and herself a handful of poisonous berries and they make to eat them, when the gamemakers intervene and lift them out of the arena. They are treated to a hero’s welcome, but this has also flamed the unrest already spreading through the districts.

The second book is called Catching Fire. Both of them receive considerable wealth and are living in the affluent Victor's Village of the district; however, they have rarely spoken since winning the Games, as Peeta realized that Katniss's proclaimed love towards him was exaggerated at their mentor, Haymitch Abernathy's, request in order to receive life-saving gifts from sponsors. Katniss struggles to understand her feelings about Peeta and her best friend, Gale, who kissed Katniss upon her return to District 12. As part of their duties as victors of the Hunger Games, they are preparing to embark on a "Victory Tour" to all districts within Panem. President Snow announces that, for the 75th Hunger Games, as part of the "Quarter Quell", a special edition of the Games every quarter-century, tributes will be reaped from a pool of all living Victors of past Hunger Games. Desperate to prepare, Katniss, Peeta and Haymitch begin training and studying the winning tactics of past victors. Being the only living female victor from District 12, Katniss is chosen for the Quarter Quell by default. When Haymitch is chosen as male tribute, Peeta volunteers in his place to protect Katniss. The new Games arena is a beach and jungle terrain with the Cornucopia located on a small island in the center of a miniature sea. The arena resembles an analog clock with one lethal event occurring every hour on a twelve hour cycle. At night, the group splits to prepare for the plan, but is attacked separately by the remaining tributes. Katniss is knocked out and has her tracker removed by Johanna. Johanna then leads the two remaining careers away from Katniss. An injured Katniss comes across Beetee, holding a knife tied to the wire and appearing to have planned to direct the knife into the force field. Katniss realizes the plan all along was to destroy the forcefield, and she directs the lightning at the force field's control panel with an arrow tied to the wire, destroying the force field and temporarily paralyzing her. When she awakens, Katniss discovers she is being transported to District 13: a place widely believed to no longer exist. But to her horror she realises Peeta was taken by the Capitol.

The last book is called Mockingjay, After her rescue by the rebels of District 13, Katniss is convinced to become "the Mockingjay": a symbol of the rebellion against the ruling Capitol. As part of a deal, she demands that the leader of District 13, President Coin, grant immunity to all of the Hunger Games victors, including Peeta, and that Katniss receives the right to kill President Snow, the leader of Panem, herself. Katniss watches Peeta on television, and is unable to cope with her guilt. Finally, District 13 leaders decide to rescue Peeta, realizing that Katniss' guilt is impeding her role as "the Mockingjay." After the rescue, it is discovered that Peeta has been brainwashed into believing Katniss is the enemy, and he attempts to strangle her during their reunion. Peeta gradually improves after much treatment and therapy, including cake decorating. His childhood friend, Delly Cartwright, helps with his recovery by retelling happy events in District 12. Soon, Peeta recovers fully enough to train. The rebels and Katniss eventually set off on a mission to the Capitol, and President Coin later sends Peeta with them in replacement of another soldier, although his many scarred memories fuel his rage. After the rebels conquer the Capitol and place President Snow on house arrest, he informs Katniss that the final assault that killed Prim was ordered by President Coin. Katniss realizes that if this is true, the bombing may have been the result of a plan originally developed by Gale Hawthorne; however, Gale denies his involvement. Katniss remembers a conversation with Snow, following the 74th Annual Hunger Games, in which they agreed not to lie to each other. Her suspicions plaguing her, Katniss banishes Gale from her life. When she goes to execute Snow, Katniss realizes he was telling the truth and kills Coin instead. A riot ensues and Snow is found dead, having possibly choked on his own blood (laughing) or been trampled in the crowd. Katniss then tries to commit suicide by swallowing a suicide pill sewn onto her suit before the campaign to conquer the districts began (in case the Capitol captured her during one of her missions), but Peeta stops her.

In the epilogue, Katniss speaks as an adult, twenty years later. She and Peeta are married and have two children. The Hunger Games are over, but she dreads the day her children learn about their parents' involvement in both the Games and the war. When she feels distressed, Katniss plays a comforting but repetitive "game," reminding herself of every good thing that she has ever seen someone do. The series ends with Katniss claiming that "there are much worse games to play."

This was one of the best books a read.

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