SPOILER ALERT!

The Hunger Games - Suzanne Collins

The Hunger Games - Suzanne  Collins

So, as we all know, The Hunger Games franchise is The Current Thing (although it has been slightly upstaged of late by The Fault in Our Stars). I've been meaning to read it for a while, mainly based on the recommendations of practically all my friends, and I've finally got round to it.

It follows 16-year-old Katniss Everdeen as she is entered in the Hunger Games, a live television show in which twenty-four competitors fight to the death. There are some unexpected twists and turns, and a carefully-planned narrative in which everything falls into place at the end - always the mark of a good story. At first, I couldn't work out why the Gamemakers (unfortunate coincidence there with the "Gamesmakers" of the London Olympics!) would allow two tributes to win - but when they reneged on their promise the whole sorry plan became clear. And I like the way that Collins managed to shake up the whole romance thing by keeping us on our toes as to whether it's genuine.

Panem is a fascinating, utterly believable world (apart from the hackneyed general amazingness of the Capitol, where the shower can do anything! and the food appears in the blink of an eye in total disregard for the laws of physics! and it's so amazing but it happens in every single sci-fi novel anywhere!), and, scarily, not inconceivably far away from where we are now, what with the voyeurism of The X-Factor and Big Brother, etc. (Yes, I know Big Brother isn't a thing any more, but you get the idea.) I did find it hard to put the book down, but I'm not sure if that's simply because it was an escape from the big, challenging degree-course novels I'm reading at the moment. Procrastination, you might say.

Well, I think The Hunger Games is a genuinely good novel, which asks some important questions (more important than the ones Twilight asks, anyway), but I wouldn't call it "amazing" or "life-changing". Not really.