The Star (Nairobi)

19 December 2012

Kenya: A Book With Lots of Action, Thrills and Mushy Moments

I had never imagined I could read a novel in a day - that was until I got my hands on 'The Hunger Games' by Suzanne Collins. To be precise though, I read it in its entirety on a flight from New York to Zurich to Nairobi including connection times.

Initially after hearing all the Hollywood buzz about the film version, my bookworm nose had disdainfully turned up its nose, but when one of my flights was delayed I needed 'easy' reading and since all the airport shops were shoving it down my throat I had little choice but to read what all the fuss was about.

'The Hunger Games' is set in Panem in the future. North America has been destroyed and is now run by the powerful Capital and is divided into 12 districts (district 13 has been destroyed due to a rebellion).

Our heroine, Katniss Everdeen, hails from district 12. She is 16 years old and an ace hunter whose hunting skills have kept her sister and mother alive.

The Hunger Games are an annual tradition directed by the Capitol rulers, not only to amuse the citizens, but also to preserve control over the districts by demonstrating they are the boss. Each district holds a drawing of one boy and one girl to go as tributes. When her sister is picked, Katniss exercises her option to volunteer for the games. Along with Katniss comes Peeta, the baker's son, who grew up with her.

Katniss and Peeta must fend for themselves against natural elements, the Gamemakers and the other contestants whose only option is to kill or be killed. It reminds one of the reality show 'Survivor' only more fatal.

What follows is action, thrills, mushy moments and tonnes of entertainment. It's been a while since I read a novel that made me laugh out loud, bawl my eyes out and strike so many of my forgotten teenage chords.

I loved that Collins gave us a strong female heroine to love as let's face it, 'Twilight's' Bella Swan is annoyingly vapid and Hermione Granger never gets the credit as 'Harry Potter' steals it, so it's gratifying to finally have a female protagonist that would give Joan of Arc a run for her bow and arrow!

Apart from the lame names and the somewhat clichéd love triangle, 'the Hunger Games' is creative, immersing and humorous and here's a few words of advice: If chapter 1 doesn't suck you in then step away from the novella and walk away as it never will - Collins had me at Katniss.

In conclusion, 'The Hunger Games' is a quick, easy and entertaining read. And after the atrocious 'Twilight' films (the books weren't bad but the films could induce projectile vomiting), it is a pleasure to read a tween novel and actually enjoy it.

Book Review: The Hunger Games

Author: Suzanne Collins

Reviewed by: Ruhila Adatia

STAR RATINGS: 5 Stars

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