I finished the second book in Stephen King's dark tower and needed to take a break from the series for a bit. The books are incredible, but they are a daunting read.
So I picked up The Host by Stephenie Meyer, which was pretty good. Definitely had some things in it that reminded me of Twilight, but I'll let that slide. Overall it was an enjoyable book.
I wasn't quite reading to start the third book in the Dark Tower series after reading The Host, so on recommendation from Stephenie Meyer I went out and bought "The Hunger Games" by Suzanne Collins.
I read it in five hours--could not put it down. It was pretty apparent as the book drew to a close that there would have to be a second book and I couldn't be more thrilled. The only sad thing is that this book just came out on September 14th--so it seems I'm going to be waiting a while.
The story is set in America sometime in the future after the collapse and rebuilding of society. Twelve districts make up the country of Parem--each district contributing to the success of the country as a whole. Several years back, a thirteenth district had lead an uprising against the capital and lost. Every year since then, the capital has hosted The Hunger Games to remind the citizens of Parem that of the Capitals power over it's people.
The people of Parem are mostly poor--except for those few districts that contribute to the wealth of the capital. The main character, Katniss is a sixteen-year-old girl comes from the poorest of all Districts--the coal mining district 12. Since the death of her father at 14, Katniss has learned to support her family by hunting and gathering. She's an expert with a bow and arrow, she's also very strong and very well versed in the fauna of the forrest.
When the day of the Reaping draws near it's evident that the Hunger Games are an ominous event. Two children age 12-18 (one boy, one girl) are chosen to represent their district in the Hunger Games, which is basically a survival game to the death. The last one still standing wins.
Every child has their name entered into the drawing for the Hunger Games once they turn twelve. A child can also put their name into the drawing more than once and receive food and resources for their family for the rest of the year. Although Katniss is only sixteen, she has her named entered into the drawing a whopping 24 times. Her chances of getting chosen are higher than most--so when her little 12-year-old sister's name is chosen, Katniss volunteers to take her place.
The Hunger Games are more than just a fight for survival--it's a way for the capital to show control over the rest of Parem. The "gamemakers" or the people from the capital in charge of the game can change the stakes anytime they want, give advantages to anyone they want, or kill a tribute (those children chosen to compete) if they feel so inclined. It's a lethal game with unfair advantages, and there are no happy endings.
Go and buy The Hunger Games. Read it immediately. You can thank me later.