The feature film is playing in theaters across North America now so I can write about the fact that Hollywood has acquired the rights to yet another teen movie franchise that will no doubt garner many awards and accolades for the writer, Suzanne Collins, not to mention the endless media frenzy surrounding its young stars. The Twilight saga is finally so 15 minutes ago and has been replaced by a more appealing and dare I say, realistic story line for a young audience tired of the Edward-Bella vampire/werewolf chronicles, while many younger audiences will embrace this story of courage and determination.
Although The Hunger Games was initially written for a Young Adult audience, it nevertheless appeals to adult readers. I first read The Hunger Games when it came out in hardcover in 2008 when many high school students were first reading it and out of curiosity, I began to wonder about its initial attraction. Needless to say, I quickly became hooked: the reason being that Collins’ prose reads easily and concisely.
The story is narrated by Katniss Everdeen, the story’s reluctant 16-year-old heroine. It takes place in the distant post-apocalyptic nation of Panem in what was once North America and which has since been divided into 12 Districts and controlled by a wealthy hegemony known as the Capitol. Due to a previous 13th District rebellion against the Capitol, as punishment, an annual event in the form of a lottery states that one male and one female between the ages of 12-18 will be chosen from the 12 Districts and sent to an open outdoor arena (controlled by the Capitol) to fight to the death with only one victor reaping the spoils of a lifetime of untold wealth and luxury.
The second installment is entitled, Catching Fire and the third called, Mockingjay, round off the trilogy and the adventures of Katniss Everdeen.
It is worth mentioning that although the trilogy holds its own in terms of literary abilities by the author, it is controversial in that it’s been criticized for allegedly plagiarizing from the 1999 Japanese cult novel, Battle Royale by Koushun Takami. I admit that there are a few similarities having read the novel recently but publishers will be hard pressed to prove this allegation as well as potentially jeopardizing the future feature films. Collins’ story is much more thought-provoking and its characters well-developed whereas Takami seemed much more interested in the shock value of the violent events surrounding “the game”. His characters numbered 42 and most of them are depicted as cold-hearted, brutal and egotistical maniacs bent on destroying their “classmates” at all costs. The Japanese counterpart has little emotional value and it’s difficult to care for any of the characters. If Ms Collins did indeed ‘plagiarise’ she did so by using the idea of the reality-based games such as TV’s, Survivor, to name one. Having said that, I’m not an expert at comparative literature and I’m too biased to qualify as an objective reader having read The Hunger Games trilogy first.
If you’re interested at all in Young Adult literature and/or post-apocalyptic adventures, these books will satiate and thrill your curiosity. My advice is to read the books first and then see the film. The second installment of the series on film isn’t scheduled for release until the fall of 2013, giving readers plenty of time to catch up on all the buzz surrounding The Hunger Games. Happy reading! This is the word for this April Easter weekend.