Read By: Carolyn McCormick
Published in December 2008
Enter the futuristic world of Panem. What used to be America is now twelve districts that surround The Capitol. Each of the districts are forced to give up a randomly selected male and female (age 12 - 18) to participate in the hunger games, a fight to the death that is broadcast live across Panem. The hunger games is punishment to the already poor and famished citizens of the districts for a failed uprising attempt that happened years ago. In district twelve, Prim is selected to be their district's "tribute" but her older sister Katniss decides to volunteer to take her place. The games are brutal and it's either kill or be killed.
I always tell myself that I'm not going to feed into the hype and read a book that everyone says is good. It never works. I wasn't supposed to read Harry Potter and I did and I loved it. I wasn't supposed to read Twilight and I did and I loved it. I wasn't supposed to read Vampire Academy but I did and I loved it. Which brings me to The Hunger Games, I wasn't going to read it but I did and I have to agree with a lot of people out there. It was amazing and I loved it!
Once I started listening to this book I didn't want to stop. I think that Carolyn McCormick did an excellent job narrating the story. At first her voice seemed a little mature for it to belong to a sixteen year old girl, once I was able to look past that, her narration helped make the story come alive. Katniss is a great, strong female lead character. She was very easy to understand and relate to. I really admire her courage and cleverness. She always seemed very aware that an audience was watching her every move and was able to make smart decisions because of it. I am a sucker for strong female characters she is the best one I've read since Rose in VA. I also couldn't help but fall in love with Peeta, the male tribute from district twelve. He came across as a genuinely honest and likable guy. The more I learned about them both, the more I wanted them both to win.
Everything about this world seems real. The thought of reading a book in which 23 people are supposed to die really didn't excite me. I felt sympathy for these people being used in such a way and I wanted nothing more than to see justice served against The Capitol. It turned out to be much different than I expected it to be. It wasn't as gory or brutal as I had imagined. I'm surprised by the connections that Katniss is able to make with the reader and other tributes. In some ways, this book reminded me of a reality television show. It got very intense as the story progressed and the number of tributes slowly begin to dwindle. I was at the edge of my seat waiting to see what would happen next. The ending was nothing short of amazing. Katniss is a strong girl with a good heart that shine through.
This story had me hooked from beginning to end. There were nice little touches and details that made the story strong. I would definitely recommend this book to fans of young adult and dystopian fantasy. I am very anxious to get my hands on the second book and I have already put the audio version on hold.