Having seen the films, to say that I was intrigued about how Suzanne Collins had written the books. It was a trilogy I had been wanting to read for a while and now that I had finally been given the chance, I was not disappointed.
Katniss Everdeen is just an ordinary girl, fighting for survival in District 12 were food is scarce and money even scarcer. When her sister’s name is called for the annual Hunger Games, Katniss steps forward to take her place. Within hours, she is whisked away to the Capitol where she is presented to the world as the girl on fire, along with her fellow tribute Peeta. After that, it is just a matter of days in which they are trained in order to have a hope at staying alive within the games themselves where there can only be one victor from the 24 tributes.
Once in the arena, Katniss must fight to keep herself alive while having her emotions confused and manipulated through an unexpected declaration of love from Peeta just before the games began. Her survival depends on whether or not she can convince others that she loves him in return, all the way through to the finale.
What surprised me about the book is the fact that it is written in first person. Having seen the films I knew the intensity of the emotions and the brutality of some of the storyline, so to be able to carry that off in a first person narration shows Collins’s skill, for carry it off she does. The book moves at a fairly clipped pace, but it must do so in order to not become stagnant, especially as only getting things from Katniss’s point of view means there is no time spent to show what is going on elsewhere as that would break the narration.
Collins presents the characters in likeable and realistic ways. Katniss feels pain and fear and that is portrayed through her actions and reactions to things. There would have been no other way to do it for anything internal risked her character becoming unlikeable if she just focused on how unlucky she was to be where she is. Yet at the same time there is nothing arrogant about her or presuming that she will win. In fact, the way the book is written means you feel the whole way through she could be killed and the narration would still work.
Having wanted to read them for an age, it was refreshing to find the book did not disappoint. It was engaging and gripping even with knowing the final result and had already led to me wanting to carry on reading them despite knowing where the storyline is going to go. Collins has an interesting use of narrative and characters who are not afraid to show their flaws. It only ends up making you love them even more, a trait that is not easy to carry off when everything is being told from one person’s perspective.