In the ruins of a place once known as North America lies the nation of Panem, a shining Capitol surrounded by twelve outlying districts. The Capitol is harsh and cruel and keeps the districts in line by forcing them all to send one boy and one girl between the ages of twelve and eighteen to participate in the annual 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. But Katniss has been close to dead before - and survival.When I first read the synopsis, I wasn't sure. Seemed a little too Sci-Fi for me... however, I've enjoyed Sci-Fi a bit more lately, plus this was a young-adult novel, so I knew it wasn't going to get too complicated or out there for my liking. The premise is obviously depressing and I couldn't imagine actually enjoying a book that kills off teenagers one by one - for sport. But the author does a decent job of making several of Katniss' competitors, and the residents of the Capitol, unlikable while at the same time making our heroine our primary concern.
The Hunger Games are kind of like the Olympics because there's training, an opening ceremonies, costumes, interviews and performance. A good portion of the book is devoted to all these elements leading up to the actual Games. While it was interesting and you meet some important characters during this part of the book, I was anxious for the action to start. And, I have to say that while reading about kids killing each other (sick, right?) was hard, the Games were the most interesting, fast-moving part of the novel. You learn about strategy, survival, greed, alliances, trust and love.
When you go into book knowing there are sequels, you lose part of the mystery, but then The Hunger Games ends on a loose end and definitely makes you want more. I really liked the book, it was written very well and was very engaging. I read for two hours straight last Saturday night and I haven't done that in a long, long time. So, I'm very excited for the next two books.