Be prepare for The 74th Hunger Games! =)
Hunger Games Summary from Goodreads :
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 Primrose, regards it as a death sentence when she steps forward to take her sister's place in the Games. But Katniss has been close to dead before — and survival, for her, is second nature. Without really meaning to, she becomes a contender. But if she is to win, she will have to start making choices that will weigh survival against humanity and life against love.
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I can't believe myself why I've waited for so long to read this series, about more than a year they stayed at my book shelf! I've seen this on Best Seller list on Amazon and everywhere, and read all people amazement of this series yet I still ignored it! Now I know why Hunger Games is a must read for YA book lovers, especially dystopia novels lover. It's big fat crazy story-plot and damn A-MAZ-ING. SO A-MAZ-ING that I also feel so thankful that I've read other Dystopia books before Hunger Games so I don't make it as a 'standard' for other novels in the same genre (well, talking about how people keep compare other new Dystopia novels with this, kinda pissed me off =| )
Anyway, despite of its amazingness, I found myself a bit hard to keep reading all 3 books straight in row. I stopped a while after done with Hunger Games (which I read approx. just in 1 day), a bit slow at Catching Fire, stopped again for a while, and then fast move at Mockingjay. Just say I spent a month to finish all 3 books. I think if I read them all in one sit my head would explode because all of those excitement, emotions, and stresses because the-loss-of-some-characters-I-love then I'd be coma for some moments =p. Well, okay just exaggerating, but maybe some of you feel the same as me while reading this series. Maybe because it's too awesome till my head couldn't accomodate =p
One thing made me reluctant to read this series at the first was because the story concept did remind me to Japanese manga/movie called 'Battle Royale' and yeah, I didn't like it because it was too bloody brutal and I couldn't really catch what it's all about. After I finished reading Mockingjay, maybe the bloody brutal part was almost the same but Hunger Games is a lot wider and deeper than just a killing tournament. This absolutely a worth reading and has a big moral message. The storyline itself grows more tense and brutally fascinating on each book, kept surprising me with shocking and cliffhanger ending till I couldn't expect what happen next. Suzanne Collins sure has a very awesome skill in mixing emotions, actions, imaginations and characters that creates and make us feel such a rich atmosphere with just reading her writings.
Hunger Games is thereabouts a girl who is forced to have certain abilities and to be brave, then 'accidentally' becomes an important key of a hassle against dictator and cruel government with absurd authority, both from the Districts and a little part of the Capitol itself. It's also rich of emotions; the action parts are mostly so violent and gory (thinking of die with any methods you can find); I couldn't imagine standing on Katniss shoes and facing those horrifying new world where Capitol residents consider watching people killing each other like animals as an amusing reality show /dizzy/. Imagining those disturbing scenes how tributes die in any possible ways was pretty scary and tensing action scenes made my heart thumped so fast, but thankfully there are also some simple 'heartwarming' and moving scenes that allowed me to shed some tears (lol yeah I'm so sappy like that). And as an YA genre this series doesn't have much love scenes. Katniss looks never sure about her own feeling, it's for Peeta or Gale (well I quite understand,she's busy surviving and protecting people around her, but still I was a bit pissed of her uncertainty. Kinda Peeta bias :p), even at first love string between Katniss and Peeta was 'fake' and a trick to make them surviving Hunger Games. However, surprisingly that little romance between Katniss and Peeta, and also between other characters are sweet enough to somehow soften the heavy atmosphere that set on entire story. Katniss also doesn't fall hard instantly to Peeta (I assumed she unconsciusly already had a feeling for Peeta after 'bread' thing. Hey,who wouldn't? :p) and gradually she becomes too obsessed to protect and save him, her way to show she loves him.
Talking about characters, they are built in interesting and unique way. I especially love how Collins set so contrast characteristics for Katniss and Peeta's and they're kinda, well, crosspost. Katniss; since she had lost her father and had had to be the one who taken care of her 'invalid' mom and little sister; is strong, smart, determined, independent, rigid, and really hard to express her feeling. She also has an exquisite ability using bow and arrow for hunting. Her characteristics have background and make sense but although I admire her for being so determined and strong on taking such a deathly role, she's too er.... serious. I dunno, but I felt her characters too dominant and overwhelming for me. I might like her, but not enough to be my favorite.
Yet thankfully Collins created Peeta, a baker boy, muscly but cute and lovely, talkative, nice and type of domestic boy. He knows well how to make a delicious pastries, but doesn't know how to fight at all. There are many scenes that shows how 'weak' Peeta seem and Katniss always takes all cool parts. Strangely, I found myself very adoring him. He's so amazing. Like the story said, Peeta maybe weak, but he's really smart and diplomatic, and people easily love him, and not only in HG world, I believe most readers (girls) easily love him too. I was moved by his kindness and how he always try to protect Katniss even at his worst condition /sobs/. Somehow I think he's like a 'neutralizer' of the story and I became as stressful as Katniss when he's missing and cameback as different person (woopsy spoiler :p). Katniss and Peeta with their crosspost and distinct personalities, complete each other and it's very hard not to love this unique couple. Then I think I have to talk about Gale, Katniss's best friend and brother-like. At Hunger Games he doesn't really show up but he takes more part at Catching Fire and Mockingjay, really glad I could know him more there. He has similar personalities with Katniss and actually a really nice guy who dedicates himself to his family. He's also so ambitious and rebellion, really itching to fight Capitol back since the start. People saw him as a part of love triangle, but for me, he didn't really leave me that impression because Katniss' uncertain feeling and my overbias of Peeta xD. Obviously he has feeling for Katniss and would end up with her if Peeta didn't show up. Somehow it's like Katniss is kinda snapped from him and I feel bad for him,haha.
There are also a lot side characters that stay like forever or just come and go. Those who just names and bad people are easily to forget but there are also some, despite of their appearance period, are so lovable and made me shock and sad when they're gone.
Since I try to make a spoiler-free review, this maybe not enough to satisfy your curiousity, and I might blabber too much. But trust me, Hunger Games series become the best seller for several years because it's simply so phenomenal like that. No doubt this is one of best series I've read this year (so damn late!). It's so remarkable and I think I won't forget about this book after some years ahead. Go buy and be prepare for the 74th and 75th Hunger Games. May the odds be ever in your favor! :D