Sixteen-year-old Katniss Everdeen lives in District Twelve of Panem, a nation located in the area formerly known as North America. Life in District Twelve is harsh for many reasons, not the least of which is a serious lack of food -- death by starvation is not an unusual occurrence. Since her father's death four years ago, Katniss has been the family's main provider. While handling weapons, leaving the confines of the district and hunting are all punishable by death, the local authorities like fresh meat as much as anyone else, so they turn a blind eye to her activities.
Although Katniss has confidence in her survival skills, she knows that volunteering for The Hunger Games is suicide. Every year, two children are chosen at random from each district -- when her younger sister's name is drawn, Katniss knows that she doesn't have a choice.
So. Katniss Everdeen and twenty-three others. In an arena. In a fight to the death. While the entire country watches them on television.
Yeah. Those of you who have already read this one will not be surprised to hear that I read this book in one sitting. It's super fast paced and the story is told in the present tense, which I felt added a good amount of suspense about what the ultimate outcome would be -- after all, just because there's a sequel in the works doesn't necessarily mean that it'll be about the same characters!
While it's action packed and written primarily in short sentences and sentence fragments, I didn't feel that the book lacked depth -- the world building is strong and the character development is decent. I'm curious, especially, to see how the politics of the world will play into the next installment, and I'm dying to see if my suspicions about some of the minor characters will prove correct...
More than anything else, I was surprised to discover that there was less one-on-one violence than I'd have expected -- rather than being a big endless fight, The Hunger Games was more a survival story than anything else. While I wait for the sequel, I'm going to order a copy of Battle Royale to tide me over. And maybe Netflix The Running Man. And Death Race 2000. And maybe re-read The Long Walk. Other suggestions?