“Hunger Games”, by Suzanne Collins


hunger games movie book coverMany stories begin with a phrase like “a long time ago, long ago, so long ago that no one can remember”. Here will talk about a story that goes like this…

After many years, several wars and a lot of big changes in our world, at the area that we know as North America there’s a new nation called Panem. Panem consists of the capital, named Capitol and located at the Rocky Mountains, and 13 tributary districts. Each district produces goods that are shipped, almost entirely, to Capitol, leaving the people at the rest districts starving. Panem is a totalitarian oppressive state and that led to a revolution. When the rebels lost, Capitol obliterated District 13 and an annual event was established: the Hunger Games.

These “Games” gave the name to the first book of this book series by Suzanne Collins. Hunger Games were published in Greek in 2009 by Platypus Publications, with a remarkably good translation by Penelope Triada. But, let’s get back to the plot, somewhere near Appalachia…

There, in District 12, lives Katniss, her little sister and her mother. Katniss Everdeen, who is 16 years old is the main character of Hunger Games. When she was 11 her father died in an accident at the mines – District 12 provides coal to Capitol. Her mother falls into depression and she doesn’t do anything anymore, not even for her daughters.

Katniss becomes a hunter to provide food for her family. She had earned her skills with the bow and arrow, nature and hunting from her father when she was a little kid. Any kind of weapons are prohibited of course in Panem, so Katniss has her bow hidden and hunts in secret. During the night she leaves her home and exits the fence that surrounds District 12. She can’t even afford to consider that this is illegal – her family’s survival is her duty.

Of course this is not a normal life for a teenager, but, so far, Katniss has proven herself worthy. The day of the Reaping comes. This is the first day of the Hunger Games. A lottery will choose one boy and one girl from each District to participate in the Games that Panem established as a reminder for the suppression of the revolution. Hunger Games are both simple and barbaric. Each District is obliged to supply every year a teenage boy and a girl to take part in the Games. Those 24 children are called “tributes”. They are imprisoned into an outdoor arena, surrounded by a force field, where they must fight to death. The last survivor is declared the winner and he (or she) returns home with enough luxuries and riches for his entire life. Capitol uses the Hunger Games for two reasons: to remind to all the citizen that Capitol is the ruler of Panem and to offer “entertainment” to the wealty citizens of the Capitol, who can watch the Hunger Games as a television show.

In this year’s Reaping – the day that the “Tributes” are chosen – Primrose, Katniss baby sister, will participate for her first time in the lottery. The chances are that Prim will probably not be drawn, but Katniss has agony. When Primrose name is announced, along with Peeta Mellarc. Katniss does the first and the only thing that comes to her mind: she volunteers to take her sister’s place as a “Tribute” for the Hunger Games.

Hunger GamesI already told you too much for the plot of this unique novel, and I am sure that this will rock the Greek readers as it has done abroad. The plot that Suzanne Collins conceived is stunning. The heroes have exciting character and her writing is highly addictive. Hunger Games gets you from the first paragraph and they don’t let you go till the last page. But even when you finish this book, you ‘ll think about it time and again.

The pictures that the author creates in our mind are shocking and the suspense is increasing with every page turn. Thankfully there are more Hunger Games books following. This is undoubtedly one of the best books I’ve ever read. I was riveted, I felt scared and I was moved with the story. Reading Hunger Games gave me a lot food for thought…

Hunger Games is a book that will raise discussions. Read it and, not only you’ll be able to take part in discussing about it, but you will also find it one of the most fascinating books. Enjoy it!


The synopsis at the back of the book:

In the ruins of a place once known as North America lies the nation of Panem, a shining Capitol surrounded by twelve outlying districts. Long ago the districts waged war on the Capitol and were defeated. As part of the surrender terms, each district agreed to send one boy and one girl to appear in an annual televised event called, “The Hunger Games,” a fight to the death on live TV. Sixteen-year-old Katniss Everdeen, who lives alone with her mother and younger sister, regards it as a death sentence when she is forced to represent her district in the Games. The terrain, rules, and level of audience participation may change but one thing is constant: kill or be killed.