Part of my absence in the last few weeks can be blamed on the four days I spent reading "The Hunger Games" series by Suzanne Collins. I was an absentee wife, mom and employee while I plowed through all three books. Several people have asked me questions about the books and the upcoming movie, so I decided to write a blog about it. I have tried to avoid spoilers in case you decide you want to read the books too!
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, 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.
The Hunger Games is intriguing, smart, haunting and addicting. I couldn't put the books down and when I finished the first I was immediately anxious to read the next. The books have a lot of killing and military like content, but because it is young adult literature it thankfully lacks gruesome details. As a huge fan of the Ender's Game books, I found this a suitable comparison in that it uses children in decidedly adult roles in sort of a futuristic way. I loved Katniss as the main character, a young woman who I thought was portrayed mostly accurately for a 16-year old girl. Bottom line: this is a great series.
I LOVED the first two books (The Hunger Games and Catching Fire). Those two books have great continuity and tug at the same heartstrings. Nothing that I thought would happen did. I kept turning pages because I had to know what happened next. The final book in the series (Mockingjay) is my least favorite, but I understand that it was not going to be able to continue as the first two had. Even though I didn't love Mockingjay, I had to read it because I needed resolution of the story.
The Hunger Games movie comes out in 2012 and casting is nearly complete. Jennifer Lawrence has been cast as Katniss and Josh Hutcherson as Peeta. I don't have a lot of feelings about either of them, as for some reason I never had much of a vision of their faces in my head. They were both in critically acclaimed films last year so I imagine they are deserving of their roles. Lenny Kravitz will play the role of Cinna. Kravitz certainly doesn't fit the image I held in my head of Cinna, as I envisioned someone a little less sexy. Elizabeth Banks will play Effie. That one is great casting as is Woody Harrelson in the role of drunken Haymitch. Stanley Tucci will be playing Caesar, the interviewer. My husband doesn't really agree with that casting, but I can't really say for sure. All of the people from the capital should be costumed and made up strangely as the book describes, thus making for speculation of their characters difficult for me.
This is one of those series that will stay with me for a long time. The idea of putting teenagers in a fight-to-the-death match disturbed me the whole time I was reading, but I couldn't put it down. This is definitely a series you don't want to miss!