So let's get to it, shall we?
The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins
Briefly: Katniss Everdeen is a 16 year old girl fighting to survive in District 12. She hunts illegally in the forests outside of the fence; she does whatever it takes to keep her family alive. When Katniss' little sister's name is drawn as one of the twenty-four tributes to go into the Hunger Games-- a battle to the death, where only 1 of the 24 participants will live -- Katniss volunteers to go in her place and learns what it really means to fight to survive.
If you haven't heard of the fabulousness that is this book, I think you've been living in a hole. It's hard to describe this book or review it without talking in circles or giving something away, so I'm just going to do a quick little review where I rave about its fantasticness.
We all know I'm a fan of dystopia, and this one is a prime example.
You have the classic struggle: Katniss, and all of the other inhabitants of the twelve Districts, are at the mercy of the ruthless Capitol, where the yearly deaths of the tributes is entertainment.
You have the humanist aspect: There are good people in the midst of this, on the District side as well as the Capitol side, allowing you to gauge the "wrongness" of this dystopian world.
You have the ♥: a triangle no less, but if you haven't heard of Peeta and Gale...again, hole.
You have the questions, the myriad 'why's that come with a great dystopian novel, that make you discuss it with friends and coworkers, and let it invade your brain and analyze yourself and what you hold true.
All of the factors of a great dystopia are there.
But The Hunger Games is more than that. Katniss reads incredibly authentic; I never felt like I was reading Suzanne Collins, it was always Katniss. Collins keeps a great tone throughout, and makes Katniss likeable even when she's being a bit bloodthirsty/obtuse/naive, etc.
There is great gray area in the book, which I love. Every one seems so human and flawed, and therefore it is sometimes painful and heartbreaking, but always engaging and powerful.
The idea of the Hunger Games themselves -- a Roman arena-style fight to the death, taken to the extremes that modern and future technology make capable -- is brilliant. The idea that the Hunger Games are not just entertainment for the rich Capitol-ites, but are punitive measures taken against the rest of the country (the Districts) for an unprising, is brilliant. There is an ominous tone, and that fantastic eerie psychological quality that abusers use -- "you brought this on yourself" -- taken to the extreme, as well as the fact that the Districts are essentially having to send off their children to fight to the death, while they are forced to watch it on TV -- disturbingly brilliant!
If you haven't read it, WHAT ARE YOU WAITING FOR???
This has won a bajillion awards, a list of which can be found on here.
The series of course has its own website, where you can find sample chapters, downloads, videos, games and more.
Here is the unofficial fan site - enjoy.
You can find an insane amount of Hunger Games trailers on Youtube, showing just how popular it is. You can also create your own trailer and enter it in the trailer competition on the book's site, which I mentioned above ^.
Here is the official trailer:
Friendly reminder: now that I've reviewed it, The Hunger Games is eligible as a prize in my 100 followers contest!