Colosseum-style games become all too real in a not-too-distant future society.
This series is a great example of a tale that brings together lots of familiar elements to create something new and riveting. Collins incorporates Roman history, Greek mythology, and the dystopian literary tradition in this exciting and thought-provoking story. The three books, THE HUNGER GAMES, CATCHING FIRE, and MOCKINGJAY should be read together, but each one contains a satisfying story arc of its own. I'm not a big YA reader, but these three books are fun reads that offer more than enough substance.
I really appreciated the main character Katniss. She is much more than the typical "strong female lead." She is a complicated mix of vulnerability, reserve, coldness, violence, compassion and power. She is everything from a hero to a style icon to a propaganda lynchpin. There are aspects of her personality that just aren't that nice, and her flaws are complex and believable. She forces the reader to confront the circumstances that forged her into a person who will do just about anything to survive, and will do even more than that to protect the few people that she loves.
Collins explores the effects of violence, loss and desperation on very young characters. All the books have high body counts, and Collins does not shy away from showing the ugly side of exciting battles and of victory. Revenge, suicide, and sacrifice are important themes, adding depth to the fast-paced story. For the most part, Collins does not go for the easy resolution. There is always a loose end or two, and "happily ever after" becomes a painful process in her hands.
The website of Suzanne Collins
THE HUNGER GAMES: $5 for the Kindle edition
CATCHING FIRE: $8 for the Kindle edition
MOCKINGJAY: $6 for the Kindle edition
To what extent do you think children can or should be protected from violence and its effects? When should they be exposed to the realities of a world that can be very ugly?