The Hunger Games
This did not really sound like a book that I would normally get into, so I put off buying it for about a year. Then it turns out that my fiancé bought it to read for his YA Literature class. So he read it and told me that I had to read it so that he would have someone to talk to about it. We don't usually have the same taste in stories, so I was a bit hesitant. I finally agreed to at least give it a try, and I'm glad I did!
I thought the characters where pretty well developed; definitely above average for the genre. The beginning was a little slow, but picks up at the drop of a hat (quickly enough that I didn't loose interest). Most of the book is action packed. There is a bit of romance thrown in, but it has a much different angle than the Twilight-ish stuff that seems to be coming out in abundance lately.
I started ready the second one, Catching Fire, right after I finished this one. I can't wait to get back to it and see what happens next!
Panam is a country made up where North America used to be. There were 13 districts and they rose up against the Capital. Twelve survived and the Capital decided that they needed to be punished. Now one boy and one girl from each district must be chosen each year in the Reaping to participate in The Hunger Games, where only one survives. The winner is returned to their district with gifts. Katniss wakes up on the day of the Reaping and sneaks out through the electric fence (which is hardly ever on) to get food for her mom and sister, Prim Rose. She meets her friend Gale and together they catch fish and gather some food. They go back into town to sell some of their findings at the Hobb (underground market) and to the mayor's daughter, Madge. They go their separate ways to get ready for the Reaping. Prim is worried about Katniss being called because her name has been added so many times to get extra food for their family. However, when Effie Trinket pulls out the girl's name, Prim is the one that is called.
Katniss volunteers to take her sister's place. After the confusion of the unusual circumstance, Katniss is allowed to step up and the crowd is endeared to her. They salute her and Haymitch, a former tribute survivor, makes a fool of himself, distracting everyone from Katniss. Effie then pulls the boy's name and it is Peeta Mellark. Katniss remembers life in the seam (poor part of District 12) and when her father died in a mining accident. Her mother became catatonic. Katniss had to take care of the family from then on. Lastly, she remembers starting to starve and going through the baker's trash. She was caught by the baker's wife and forced to move on, but she was too sick to move. Peeta saw her and (after some commotion) he tossed her some burnt bread (that he may have burnt on purpose). The bread renewed her resolve and she took it home to her family. Evenutally, she realizes how they will survive from what her father taught her.
Katniss and Peeta are taken into custody where their friends and family are allowed to visit for a small amount of time. She gives instructions to her family on how to survive. Her and Gale had made a deal to look out for each other's families if the other should be chosen. The baker comes in and give her some cookies. He promises to make sure Prim doesn't starve. Madge comes in and gives her the pin she was wearing earlier. She asks her to wear it as her one item from their district. Next, Gale comes in and gives her advice on how to survive. He tells her to remember something, but the peace keepers take him away before he can really tell her.
The train for their trip to the Capital is very fancy. They are given as much food as they can eat and have some time to rest before the festivities of the games begin. Katniss spends a lot of time reminiscing about her life in the seam. Haymitch spends most of his time getting drunk. Both Peeta and Katniss realize that Haymitch is their best hope for getting sponsers, so they gang up on him. Eventually, they reach an agreement: they don't mess with his alcohol and he will stay sober enough to help them. Haymitch's first piece of advice is to let the stylists do whatever it is they are going to do.
Upon arriving at the Capital, Katniss and Peeta are handed over to their respective grooming teams. Katniss is scrubbed, waxed, and plucked by a trio of flamboyant assistants before being introduced to Cinna. He is less flamboyant than the other people in the Capital seem to be. He is nice to her and tells her that instead of using coal to represent their district, they will be using fire. Katniss and Peeta rejoin on a chariot to be paraded around the Captial, ending in the square. They are the center of attention thanks to their costumes. Later at dinner, Katniss thinks she recognizes the server. Effie says that there is no way that Katniss could know a Avox (criminal that has had their tongue cut out) and so Peeta covers for her. When they are alone, he asks her about the situation. Katniss debates on whether or not to tell him. He takes her up to the roof, where they feel they will actually be alone. She tells Peeta about how her and Gale saw the girl running with a boy who both looked like they were from the Capital. They were carried away by a hovercraft, using a net for the girl and a spear for the boy. The girl screamed for them to help, but Katniss and Gale didn't move from where they were hiding.
The next morning, Katniss, Peeta, and Haymitch sit down for breakfast. Haymitch asks them about their abilities, but they both underestimate themselves. Peeta ends up saying something about how Katniss has an effect on people that she doesn't realize. Katniss thinks he means that people feel sorry for her and gets angry. Haymitch tells them that the plan is to stick together and to not show the other tributes their strengths. They go to training and find that they are the only two who are dressed in matching outfits. They start going through the different stations, avoiding archry and weight lifting.
When the day of the interviews arrives, Peeta decides that he wants to work on this separately. Katniss spends the first half of the day working on walking, posture, and poise with Effie. After lunch, she works with Haymitch on content. He isn't able to find an angel for her to work with, especially since he upset her at the beginning of their session. After she is prepared and dressed by Cinna and his crew, he helps her by telling her to pretend that she is talking to him during the interview. She sits and watches the other tributes and then it is her turn. She gets up there and looks for Cinna. She plays along with Ceasar, the host, until he asks about Prim. She tells him that she is going to try to win for her. Peeta goes up, and after some small talk he tells the world that he is in love with Katniss. When they get back to their floor, Katniss shoves Peeta into a vase, knocking them both over. Haymitch explains Peeta's strategy and after a while Katniss agrees that he has helped her.
The next day, they are prepared for the arena. Haymitch tells them to get distance as soon as possible and find water. Katniss grabs onto a ladder that freezes her and after being hoisted up into a hover craft, she is injected with a tracker. She spends the rest of the time with Cinna, waiting for the games to start.
Katniss is raised up on a platform from the room she was in with Cinna to the playing field. She starts looking around at the people and the items around the cornicopia. She sees a bow and a sheath full of arrows just before she looks at Peeta. He shakes his head at her and the buzzer goes off, signifying that they can move off of the platforms. Katniss runs for a orange backpack and reaches it just a boy does. The boy dies and the knife thrower from District 2 is on her. She blocks the knife that is thrown at her and runs, glad that she now has a knife.
Going through her backpack, Katniss finds that she has some decent items. She is able to strap herself into a tree and use a sleeping bag to keep warm. She has a water container, but it needs to be filled. It is almost morning when she hears someone trying to start a fire. The girl is successful, but it leads to her death by a group of career tributes that have teamed up. She is shocked to learn that Peeta is with them. After they leave, she comes down from the tree and starts looking for water. She is really feeling the effects of dehydration by the time she does. She decides to stay around this area, but the game makers have other plans. A fire is taking over the area of the forest that Katniss is in. As she starts running, she also has to start dodging fireballs that are being hurled at her. One hits her in the leg. She is able to escape and finds a pool of water that she lets cool the burns.
Katniss moves on and knows that the careers are approaching. She ignores her pain and climbs up into a tree. The careers see her, but they are unable to follow because the branches will not hold their weight. Katniss sees Rue in the trees. The little girl points to a nest of wasps. Katniss realizes that they are deadly tracker jackers, and they have been subdued by the smoke from the fire. In the morning, Katniss warns Rue that she is going to cut the limb that the nest is on. Rue leaves her and Katniss gets to work. Katniss is stung three times, but the nest falls. Some of the careers run, but one, Glimmer, isn't so lucky. She dies from the poisonous sting. Luckily for Katniss, she was the one with the bow and arrows. Katniss has to break the other girls fingers to get the weapon. Peeta appears and tells Katniss to run. She starts to, but is hulicinating and has some trouble. She makes it away from Peeta and the careers, but passes out shortly after.
Waking up, Katniss realizes that she needs to get going. She hunts and gets a couple of kills. A little later, she sees Rue and calls out that they could form an alliance. Rue comes out of hiding and they heal each other's wounds. They eat and sleep together high up in a tree. The next morning, they come up with a plan to wipe out the supplies that the careers are guarding down by the lake. They split up the supplies and go their separate ways with a plan to meet later.
Finding the spot with cover that Rue had told her about, Katniss looks at the pyramid of supplies. She can't figure out why the careers left behind the boy from District 3 to guard them. The boy leaves to help the others and just as Katniss is about to check it out, the fox faced girl comes out and does some manuvers to get some supplies, leaving as she had come. Katniss realizes that the boy from District 3 has taken the explosives from the platforms to booby trap the supplies. Katniss uses this to her advantage and shoots arrows at a sack of apples until they fall, setting of the explosion. She is unable to move for a while and has temporarily lost her hearing. The careers come back, killing the boy from District 3 for his failure, and Katniss has to wait to escape.
When the time is right, Katniss leaves and goes to where she is supposed to meet Rue. However, Rue isn't there. She goes to check on the spot of the third fire that Rue was supposed to set and sees that it was never lit. Suddenly, she hears Rue's songs coming from the Mockingjays. Then she hears Rue scream. She runs to her, but it is too late. Katniss is unable to stop the boy from District 1's spear that goes through her friend. Katniss mourns her friend and salutes her. She soon receives a gift of bread from District 11.
Katniss walks through the forest in a bit of a daze. She doesn't really care if she is attacked, but she knows that she will kill anyone that comes after her. She knows that nothing has happened in a while and decides to get some rest before something happens to draw the remaining six tributes together. The head game maker makes an announcement that if two tributes from the same district are the last two standing, they will both be winners. Katniss knows she has to find Peeta, knowing that only the two careers from District 2 can also use this advantage.
Traveling down the stream, Katniss finally finds Peeta camofloged in the mud. She gets him as close as she can to the stream and cleans him up. She tries to get all of the puss out from the tracker jacker stings, cleans up the wounds with her burn cream, and takes him to a cave nearby. They start talking about what has been going on and it leads to an argument. Katniss ends up kissing Peeta to make sure that she wins (and also for the cameras). A pot of soup is parachuted down to her from Haymitch, but she realizes that she is going to need more to help Peeta because he has a blood infection. The head game maker makes another anouncement: at the cornicopia, there is something that each district needs. Peeta refuses to let Katniss go get the medicine for him, so Haymitch sends her sleep syrup. She gives it to him mixed into some berries and head out to save him.
Waiting at the cornicopia, Katniss sees the packages appear. Fox Face runs out of the cornicopia, grabs her package, and runs away. Katniss goes for her package next but is stopped by Clove, the girl from District 2. Clove threatens to cut her open, making fun of Katniss and Rue's relationship. Thresh comes and saves her. Katniss tells him the story of how Rue died and she sang to her and burried her in flowers. Thresh lets her go and they are even. Cato, the boy from District 2, comes for Clove, but she is dying. Thresh takes District 2's backpack and runs off. Katniss runs and hears the canon. She makes it back to Peeta and injects him with the medicine before passing out.
When Katniss wakes up, she finds that Peeta is much better. He informs her that Cato killed Thresh. They are happy to be back together and in relatively good health, but there is an ongoing storm outside. They stay in the cave, taking turns sleeping and keeping watch. They lie together talking and Peeta tells the story of when he first developed the crush on Katniss. She makes it seem like she's in love with him too, and Haymitch sends them a feast.
The game makers decide that it is time for the final showdown and drive everyone towards the cornucopia. They are chased by some kind of hybrid dogs that have some resemblance to the previous tributes. Peeta is bitten while he and Katniss try to get onto the cornucopia with Cato. Cato falls off and Katniss shoots an arrow at him to end his suffering while the dogs attack him. Katniss and Peeta go down by the bank of the lack to make sure that Cato’s body is collected and they are announced as victors. However, the announcer comes on the loud speaker and says that the rule to allow two winners has been revoked. Katniss pulls out the berries that killed fox face and they agree to eat them at the same time. They put the berries in their mouths and the game maker comes back on and announces that they are both the victors. They are taken up into a hovercraft to be healed from their wounds.
Before their final interview, Haymitch tells Katniss that the Capital thinks that the stunt with the berries has been seen as an act of rebellion. Katniss must act like she was driven insane by the thought of losing Peeta because they are madly in love. Katniss and Peeta are publically reunited. Katniss finds out that Peeta’s leg had to be amputated and has been replaced with a fake one.
On the return ride home, Katniss reveals to Peeta that the whole thing was for survival. Peeta is upset and disappointed that Katniss doesn’t return his feelings, but agrees to continue with act until the cameras have left District 12.